Commonwealth Games: England’s women beat Australia to win historic first hockey gold
|host: Birmingham date: July 28-August 8|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV via BBC iPlayer, Red Button, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport mobile app; listen to BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live texts and clips online.|
England’s women’s hockey team beat Australia 2-1 to win their first Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Holly Hunt’s brilliant goal opened the scoring for England before Tess Howard deflected after the second minute.
Australia got a consolation with 19 seconds left but couldn’t quiet the crowd.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed – it’s the first time we’ve done this in our history,” England captain Holly Pearn-Webber told BBC Sport.
“It’s a new team. I think it’s very exciting for us to join the British team over the next two years when the Scots and Welshmen come in.
“The support from the audience has been absolutely amazing. I just feel lucky to have a home Commonwealth Games in my career.”
England has won medals at every Commonwealth Games since hockey was included in the sport in 1998, but never gold.
That all changed on Sunday at the University of Birmingham, where they perfectly played the role of England’s 12th woman in front of a raucous family audience.
After a cautious opening period, England won three penalty corners and Flora Peele fed Hunter at the top of the D early in the second to give the hosts the lead.
Just four minutes later, Peele swept the ball into the net and Howard past the Australian goalkeeper into the net.
Australia looked stronger after the break, but England came close to a third goal through Ana Toman, who slammed into the post from a penalty corner.
The hockey team did manage to pull a ball back in the closing seconds, with Ambrosia Malone hitting a fine ball behind a short corner, which was finally confirmed after a lengthy video review.
It was the second consecutive final defeat for four-time champions Australia, having lost to New Zealand on home soil four years ago.
On how she felt at the final whistle, Pierne-Webber added: “Just pure relief – it was a game of ups and downs. We played well in the first half, backed up a bit in the second half and absorbed a little bit of pressure. and eventually get there.”
Pearne-Webb was one of six England players who won Olympic gold for Great Britain in 2016. In the two years leading up to the Olympics, their home country competed as GB in the Olympics and the FIH Pro League.
England’s Grace Ballsden finished as joint top scorer with six goals.