By Kirsty Smyth
A DUNS hockey player has pulled on her country’s colours, more than two decades after she first tried out for Scotland.
Veteran Carolyn Allison was part of the victorious Scotland team that fought off stiff competition from England and Wales to win the women’s Home International Masters Tournament on Saturday.
It was a case of better late than never for Carolyn, who narrowly missed out on selection to the Scotland under 21 squad in her earlier years.
“I played South Schools inter-district but didn’t break into the Scottish squad,” she told The Berwickshire News. “I had Scotland Under 21 trials and didn’t quite get there - so it’s better late than never!”
After leaving the schools set up, Carolyn played with Melrose for many years in the National League. “Then I had children and had a break,” she explained. She now plays with Duns ladies, and for fun with a mixed team at the Berwickshire High School.
Six weeks ago Carolyn was again asked to go along to Scotland trials. “I went through three sets of trials and then some training,” she said. “I was delighted to be picked!”
And with a Home Nations trophy now under her belt, the 46-year-old couldn’t have asked for a better national debut.
Scotland fought their way to victory at the tournament which was staged at Abbeydale in Sheffield over the weekend, beating England 2-1 and drawing with Wales 1-1. Ireland didn’t compete as they couldn’t raise a team.
“It was a really good weekend,” Carolyn said. “There were three of us from the Borders, and I have played against the other girls in the squad over the years, so there were some familiar faces.
“As a team we got on really well and played well together - the level we played was really high.
“The main thing was to bring the trophy back and we did that.”
Scotland were triumphant in less than easy conditions.
“It was a tough ask because it was very hot,” Carolyn explained. “We had the two full internationals on the Saturday against England and Wales and it was very muggy and humid.
“On the Sunday we played the same teams again in friendlies - there were some tired legs and it was 29 degrees!
“It was extremely tiring but really good fun, and to win it was fantastic.”
Carolyn said the squad knew they were capable of a good performance, so they were glad it all came right on the day.
“Scotland sometimes don’t produce the goods when it really matters, when it’s important, but we did what we had to do,” she said.
“We were all quietly confident that we could win it - we knew we had a good squad.
“It was a fantastic weekend, really good fun,” she added.