RHONA SIMPSON, the Great Britain striker, scored twice as Scotland won their first cross-over match against the Ukraine in the Women's European Nations Cup here yesterday.
The coach, Mike Gilbert, said: "I am delighted with the result. We made it difficult at times, but today we achieved a very important victory for Scottish hockey." It confirms their place in Europe's top six, which assures continued Lottery funding. Their fifth or sixth place decider this evening is against Spain, who yesterday beat Lithuania 2-1.
Scotland's vocal band of supporters were silenced when sloppy defending allowed Elvira Djemilova to open the scoring for the Ukraine in the 13th minute. Ten minutes later Simpson scored the first of her two goals after good work down the right by Carrie Corcoran.
Then Susan Gilmour, who plays for the tournament hosts, Rot-Weiss Cologne, touched home Val Thomson's penalty corner to put Scotland ahead. One minute before the interval a sweeping Scottish move started by their captain, Sue Fraser, and moved on by Corcoran, saw Simpson claiming her second.
A tiring Scottish side defended heroically, with goalkeeper Tracey Robb giving another fine performance. But Ukraine pulled a goal back in the 64th minute through Tetyana Kobzenko to provide a tense final six minutes.
SCOTLAND: T Robb (Glasgow Western); V Thomson (Grange Edinburgh); S Fraser (Bonagrass Grove, capt), A Longmuir, J Jack (both Grange Edinburgh); H Walker, E Rochlin (both Glasgow Western), S Gilmour (Rot-Weiss Cologne), L Burton; R Simpson, A Grant (all Grange Edinburgh). Substitutes used: N Kleppang (Bonagrass Grove), C Corcoran (Grange Edinburgh), J Burley (Wimbledon), S Judge (Glasgow Western).
UKRAINE: H Huchenko, capt; V Kranarenko; M Litvinchuk, S Humenna, S Kalinina; L Guda, T Salenko, O Fritche; E Djemilova, T Kobzenko, N Vynohradove. Substitutes used: V Kotlyarenko, Z Savenko, V Syeda, A Vlasova.
Umpires: J Nockolds (Eng), A Royaards (Neth).
Women's European Nations Cup (Cologne): 5/8th: Scotland 3 Ukraine 2; Spain 2 Lithuania 1. Semi-finals: Germany v Russia; Netherlands v England.