England claim first Commonwealth Games hockey gold with victory over Australia

England won Commonwealth Games hockey gold for the first time when Australia were beaten 2-1 at Birmingham 2022.

Second-quarter goals from Holly Hunt and Tess Howard brought glory to England’s women less than 24 hours after the men had suffered a semi-final upset at the hands of Australia.

Ambrosia Malone consoled Australia in the last 20 seconds.

England captain Hollie Pearne-Webb revealed the squad received a pre-match video message of good luck from Lionesses skipper Leah Williams, while Gary, Phil and Tracey Neville also sent their best wishes.

“We saw what the Lionesses did last week and they were an inspiration to us,” said Pearne-Webb, part of Great Britain who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Being part of the entire female team sports movement is an absolute privilege. This has never been achieved by an English hockey team before and it is so special.

“We knew they were going to come out hard and I think we surprised them by putting them on the back foot a little bit.

– I am very satisfied with how we started the first half. We stepped out of the game a bit, but we got there in the end.

England, one place behind Australia in fourth place in the world rankings, came into the gold medal game as slight underdogs, but the Hockeyroos were outwitted, outplayed and outplayed by tenacious hosts.

The capacity crowd at the University of Birmingham Hockey Center nailed every moment on a scorching afternoon, raising the decibels to record levels as the final seconds counted down.

Australia had pedigree on their side having won four of the six Commonwealth Games editions, while England were three-time silver medallists.

The Hockeyroos were also unbeaten in eight games against England, a run that stretches back to 2013.

Both sides needed shoot-outs to progress to the final, with success in this tournament built on solid defensive foundations.

Flora Peel had the first try to Australia keeper Aleisha Power, but the contest soon settled into a tactical battle with neither side finding any momentum.

England’s first penalty corner saw the visitors lose the video reference after Australia claimed the ball was played too high to one of their players.

England's Shona McCallin, left, and Australia's Jane-Anne Claxton in action

England’s Shona McCallin, left, and Australia’s Jane-Anne Claxton in action (Joe Giddens/PA)

It was the first of a series of three penalty corners from England, but Grace Balsdon couldn’t find her way past Power.

Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch was unemployed at the other end, and the semi-final hero who didn’t touch the ball once in the first quarter.

England’s growing superiority told when Peel crossed from the right and Hunt controlled smartly to smash home.

It was only the second goal Australia had conceded at these Games.

The third didn’t take long with Peel provider again for England’s second, this time popping up the left to set up Howard’s clever finish.

Australia knew they needed to show more attacking intent in the second half, but England were happy to drop deep and defend in numbers.

Hinch was well protected by a white-shirted wall in front of her, although she had to parry a ball that went up in the air and towards her goal.

Anna Toman almost put the matter beyond doubt with a penalty corner that cannoned off a cross.

England's Tess Howard celebrates scoring

England’s Tess Howard celebrates scoring (Joe Giddens/PA)

Hinch made her first save at the start of the fourth quarter to deny Hockeyroos captain Jane-Anne Claxton.

Australia turned the screw in the final moments and Hinch saved from Shanea Tonkin and Mariah Williams before Malone fired home.

But Australia ran out of time and England’s long wait for gold was finally over.

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