It would’ve been easy to leave their equipment gathering dust when Covid-19 hit but Tayside’s top hockey talents are sticking at it ahead of a huge summer.
Former Dundee Wanderer Charlotte Watson, current star Emily Dark and ex-Grove Menzieshill brothers Cameron and Jamie Golden are among Scotland’s brightest lights.
Undeterred by the coronavirus pandemic and the disruption its brought, they have been making rapid progress in recent times, through both the national set-up and for Team GB, all the while broadening their horizons at club level.
Charlotte Watson – forward
Watson, now with Loughborough Students after a stint at Holcombe, is a pivotal player for the Scots, capped 67 times, and is hoping to make her mark at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
The 23-year-old Dundonian, recently recovered from a foot injury, is in Mark Hager’s training squad ahead of the Games and has aims of jetting off to Japan in July.
Britain’s women are looking to defend the gold they won at Rio 2016 and former St John’s pupil Watson will be striving to be a part of it.
She took part in a four-game series against Ireland at Bisham Abbey last weekend and played her role in a successful warm-up for GB.
The games are coming thick and fast, too, with Pro League fixtures at Lee Valley, London against Germany and the USA in May before EuroHockey Championship matches with Scotland in June.
Dark, too, should be involved in the fixtures against Spain, Ireland and defending champions and hosts Holland in Amsterdam.
Not only is the competition important continentally, the event will also be used as qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.
Emily Dark – defender
Dark, still with Wanderers while she finishes her studies in physics at St Andrews University, looks set to become a real high-flier in more ways than one.
Not only is the 20-year-old soaring on the pitch, she is doing so as an RAF reservist as well, aiming to become the City of Edinburgh squadron’s first-ever female regiment gunner.
The skilful defender, who won St Andrews’ Chancellor’s Award for Sporting Excellence last year, is already a key player for Scotland and is making her name for Great Britain, too.
Along with the Golden brothers, she is in the GB Elite Development Programme (EDP) for 2021/22 and has recently been involved in Hager’s top-team squad, picking up experience at the highest level.
With 23 Scotland caps under her belt it appears it won’t be long before she picks up her first for GB.
Cameron Golden – forward
It feels like Cammy Golden has been around forever such was his impact at a young age but, incredibly, the Invergowrie lad is still only 21.
Currently starring as a goal-hungry striker for UHC Hamburg, where former Grove team-mate Gavin Byers is a player-coach, Golden is a crucial component of the senior Scotland team and GB U/23s.
An EDP member, formerly of top Dutch team Klein Zwitserland, he’ll head into the summer looking to add to a successful British youth career.
Golden was central to the GB U/21s Sultan of Johor Cup win in Malaysia in 2018 and won the FIH MVP (Most Valuable Player) Award at the Hockey Series Open in Lousada, Portugal, 2018, and the Series Finals in Le Touquet Plage, France, 2019.
Ankle and foot injuries have held him back at times but he appears determined not to let it hamper his progress going forward as he gets set for the EuroHockey Championships II in Poland with Scotland in August.
The Scots, ranked 20th in the world, will take on Austria, Ukraine and Switzerland in Pool B looking to progress.
With an eye on the immediate future, Golden and Hamburg this season made the Bundesliga play-offs while, on the personal front, the youngster hopes to pick up his honours in sport and exercise science from Abertay University this summer.
Jamie Golden – midfielder/forward
At 19, youngest of the pack Jamie has it all ahead of him and is already some way down the path of following in his big brother’s footsteps.
That said, the Goldens are a huge hockey family, with Cammy already following the lead of dad Paul in many ways.
Jamie, also a part of the EDP and a 2019 Sultan of Johor Cup winner, is currently starring for English Premier League champions Surbiton after leaving Grove.
He will be alongside his big brother in Gniezno, Poland, this summer looking to pick up his first senior outdoor cap for Scotland.
The tall midfielder made his Blue Sticks indoor bow last year and has worked his way through all youth levels as well as making his mark for Team GB.
With cortisone now injected into a troublesome wrist, Jamie should be back fit and firing for upcoming Scotland camps.
A senior cap beckons and he’ll be hoping to defend his Scottish Hockey U/19 Player of the Year crown from 2019 with no awards yet handed out for 2020. Cammy, U/21 winner, is in the same boat.
With more Midlands talent appearing over the horizon in younger age groups, the production line shows no sign of slowing down.