Commonwealth Games 2018: England women bag hockey bronze
PUBLISHED: 07:55 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:34 14 April 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
England’s women bounced back from their semi-final penalty shuffles heartbreak to bag a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Having seen their hopes of gold ended by New Zealand, a hat-trick from Sophie Bray inspired England to a 6-0 success over India on the Gold Coast to secure a sixth successive medal at the Games.
And captain Alex Danson paid tribute to her side, saying: “Absolutely delighted and so proud of every single member of our team. We came out fighting and it’s a fantastic result.
“What you saw was character. It was a heart breaking result against New Zealand and we were devastated. But we came together, picked ourselves up and I think we came out with the right mentality and showed how well we stick together and we put on a fine display.
“I’m delighted for this team. Mostly though I am delighted for us going forward because I think we are a team on the up. But we can go away now and celebrate this result and we’ve one eye on the World Cup!
“Sometimes I think the hardest defeats give you an opportunity to just stop, look at it, and see where we can make those fine adjustments that are the difference between the best in the world because the differences are tiny.
“We can go away now and look at what we’ve done well – we’ve been incredibly resistant. It means an awful lot to me, it will be my last Commonwealth Games and we have a World Cup coming up on home soil and I think it will be the best World Cup ever in Hockey and we are going to go home, regroup as a whole squad and be absolutely intent in our focus and I believe we’re set it alive.”
England had lost to India in the group phase and needed an early save from Maddie Hinch to deny Gurjit Kaur, who was also thwarted by Havering’s Emily Defroand at a short corner.
Laura Unsworth and Ellie Rayer were kept out by Savita at the other end, before Hollie Pearne-Webb fired England ahead from a corner three minutes before half time.
Bray, Hinch and Ellie Watton produced key blocks to deny India corners after the restart, with Hinch making two more key saves before Laura Unsworth fired wide from Pearne-Webb’s pass.
England doubled their lead when Bray lifted a backhand shot into the top corner and she made it 3-0 on 49 minutes, after another goalline clearance inbetween times.
Unsworth swept home the fourth from a tight angle, before Bray completed her 13-minute hat-trick and then set up Danson to cap a stunning display.
Goalie Hinch, one of several Olympic gold medalists in the squad, added: “For a few of us this was a disappointment but in the grand scheme of things I think it’s important that we’ve won and it sets us up for the summer.
“The older you get the more you are unsure it could be your last Commonwealth Games so you have to take advantage but the bigger pitch is we bounce back for this summer and make sure we are better.
“I think there’s a few key things around our ability to convert all our changes and I think the outcomes need to be better but that’s something we can work on. There were times throughout the tournament where we were not as sound as we have been and as we went on we found we did that better.”