This wasn’t how it was meant to be. 2 minutes remaining and England persist in defending their circle and overhearing the ball over our press resulting in a lack of attack. We are 1 nil down and after a highly successful tournament letting in only 1 goal prior to the final it hardly seemed fair to lose the final.
I still remember looking at the clock and seeing 2 minutes remaining, coming to the conclusion that I had to prepare myself that we had lost the Gold Medal despite such dominance in the tournament. What a kick in the gut that would be! As fate would have it in the final play of the game along with the assistance of Georgie Parker, I was able to work the ball into the circle and be rewarded with the much needed penalty corner. The whole time I had it on the end of my stick I can remember thinking just don’t do anything stupid i.e kick it. Fortunatley I have size 6 feet so it would have been a pretty special effort had I managed to do that.
6 games which equates to 420 minutes of match play (look at my mad maths skills, thanks school) and it all came down to 9 seconds !! You could almost equate the final short corner to a 100m sprint. We had to execute when the pressure was high and any mistake could result in the loss of a gold medal. The initial flick from Anna Flanagan was saved by Maddie Hinch but as luck would have it, it fell to in form Jodie Kenny who made no mistake in flicking the ball back into the low right hand corner of the goal. Raw emotion took over and poor Jodie felt the wrath of my excitement scaling her long limbs like a koala bear and squeezing her with all my might. We hadn’t even won but given that all hope had been lost just 1 minute before, the fact we were going to one on ones and still had a chance to win that highly prized medal we were all riding high.
Usually in shoot outs I am a nervous wreck opting to keep my head down and murmur a series of words much like a mad voodoo woman. Surprisingly however, given our current knack of getting ourselves into these situations and coming out on top (never losing a one on one contest) I was fairly calm and confident. Once again the preparation to know the opposition goalie and their key penalty takers paid dividends. Rach Lynch continued to tackle better than any striker in our team to force many missed opportunities for England, giving some breathing space to our girls who were selected to take the penalties.
Our much loved El Capitano Madonna Blyth was landed with the job of taking the final penalty which would secure our win. And what a fitting way to win the gold medal as Donny really does epitomise what the Hockeyroos are all about – persistant, tough and calm under pressure. As the ball sailed into the goal, Donny opened her arms like a an albatross in full flight preparing herself for the herd of elephants (the non plenty takers) storming the field headed in her general direction.
Pure elation is all I can say that I felt. Going from the feeling of losing to winning a gold medal felt much like ……well perhaps what menopause might feel like – confusing, filled with hot flushes and highly emotional As for the girls playing for England I did feel for them, they would have been confident that they had pulled off a surprising win much different to their performance at World Cup. It would have been one of the most devastating ways to lose and yet they should be proud of their performance as they had backed up with a great game after a punishing semi final v NZ.
After a long few months including World Cup and Commonwealth Games, we are highly satisfied with our results and pleased to have reward for our efforts so far. Eyes now turn to Rio only being 1 year and a half away which will come quicker than one thinks and by that stage we are wanting to be as dominant as our male counterparts The Kookaburras with depth in our squad. So after a short break we will return to the drawing board and continue to progress. Thanks to everyone over the past couple of months for their support, we have been so happy to see the amount of people join the #ROOVOLUTION!!!
Before I go – if you are interested click on the link to see the video I created pre tournament to show just what the Commonwealth Games Village was like. I couldn’t release it while at the games due to media control. Please enjoy !!!
#8 The Hockeyroos – Dual Gold Medalist
#8 The HockeyroosRead More