England pip Hockeyroos for maiden gold

Murray Wenzel / AAP News


The Hockeyroos have won the women’s hockey silver medal after a battle with England in front of a raucous home crowd.


The rebuilding Hockeyroos have been left looking for silver linings after England outplayed them 2-1 to claim their first women’s Commonwealth hockey title in Birmingham.

Poor control around the attacking circle and several defensive lapses were costly for Australia, who rallied in the final quarter but were bereft of ideas in attack at Birmingham University.

The result, in their first game against England since 2014, completed an eight-week tour for the four-time Commonwealth champions that included third place at the World Cup last month.

Their two-medal tour comes barely a year since the program’s overhaul after allegations of bullying, body shaming and homophobic behaviour.

Coach Paul Gaudoin followed high performance manager Toni Cumpston out the door just four months before last year’s Olympics in Tokyo, where the side were upset by India in the quarter-finals.

A semi-final defeat of India in a shootout on Friday earned Australia, who lost in the 2018 gold medal game to New Zealand, a slice of revenge.

But on Sunday their struggles in the front third, where they found it difficult to create genuine goal-scoring chances, meant they couldn’t complete the job.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, some of that’s technical, some tactical and some under the pressure of a home team in a Commonwealth Games that’s up for the fight,” new coach Katrina Powell said.

Two-time Olympic champion Powell said she was “super proud” of the players’ efforts and Hockey Australia’s approach since her return as a coach.

“It’s a bigger picture there that it isn’t just about the athletes that have been rejuvenated,” she said.

‘It’s the organisation, the way we go about things, the wellbeing of athletes all taken into consideration because they impact performance.

“Getting all of those core things right, continually, will see better performance.”

Kaitlin Nobbs, who brought up 100 games during the tournament, fell to her knees and was consoled by teammates after an opportunity was lost to end an eight-week tour with gold.

“That (reaction) was a bit of a physical, emotional drain … it really hurt, it sucked a little bit,” she said.

“To be honest I’m really, really happy. We’ve had so much fun this tournament.

“Today wasn’t our day but we’ve got Paris (Olympics) in two years, so that’s going to come around really, really quickly.”

The teams enjoyed parity in the middle third but it was the hosts, backed by another full house, who were more clinical up front.

Some loose defending helped too, an unmarked Holly Hunt trapping and squeezing her shot past Australian goalkeeper Aleisha Power for the opener.

Then a costly turnover in defence gifted England possession and they pounced, Tess Howard roofing her deflection for a 2-0 lead before Rosie Malone’s consolation goal with 26 seconds remaining.



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