GERRINGONG’S Grace Stewart and her Hockeyroos have clinched top spot in Pool B and will play India in the 2018 Commonwealth semi-finals after a 2-nil win over Scotland on Tuesday night at Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
The win means Australia leapfrogged New Zealand into first place in the pool, finishing the initial phase with 10 points from four games, scoring eight goals and not conceding one.
Jodie Kenny’s 12th minute drag flick and Gerringong youngster Grace Stewart’s calm third quarter finish ensured the crucial victory for the Hockeyroos.
Possession was fairly even, but the Hockeyroos turned that into attacking opportunities all night, with 31 circle entries to Scotland’s 10, along with seven penalty corners.
The Hockeyroos will now face India at 9:15pm AEST on Thursday in the semi-finals, with England to take on New Zealand in the other semi.
Australia had the better of the early chances with skipper Emily Smith intercepting and flashing wide in the fifth minute, before the first penalty corner of the game on 11 minutes.
Scotland keeper Amy Gibson denied Jodie Kenny with the initial drag flick but Australia successfully referred for a secondary penalty corner which the 30-year-old Queenslander converted.
The Hockeyroos came close to doubling their advantage in the 20th minute with Kenny involved again after a fine overhead found Eddie Bone whose left-flank cutback was well controlled by Savannah Fitzpatrick whose shot was saved by Scotland sub keeper Nicola Cochrane.
Australia tested Scotland from another penalty corner with Emily Hurtz denied from the rebound.
The Scottish gave the Hockeyroos a scare when Sarah Jamieson in behind the defence inside the circle but none of her teammates could get on the end of her cutback across goal.
Some Madi Ratcliffe magic on the baseline almost created an opening for Australia, with Fitzpatrick’s shot blocked.
The Hockeyroos would get the second goal in the 41st minute on a fast break when Fitzpatrick laid inside for Stewart who thundered her shot under Gibson and into the backboard.
Scotland launched a series of final quarter penalty corners to put Australia under pressure, while Fitzpatrick forced a close-range save with Ratcliffe unable to put home the rebound.
Ratcliffe was in the thick of the action again as Australia raced forward with Cochrane denying Smith at the crucial moment with five minutes to play.
Hurtz forced a late save from Cochrane in the penultimate minute on the counter-attack as Scotland pushed forward but it ended 2-nil.