Oakham teacher Ellie Watton has won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games as part of the England women’s hockey team.
England had to settle for the silver medal on Saturday night at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre after a heartbreaking shoot-out defeat to Australia in the final.
England were leading 1-0, thanks to Lily Owsley’s second-half strike, as time ticked down, only 11 seconds away from what would have been a brilliant and remarkable victory.
But Jodie Kenny broke English hearts with virtually the last play of the game, firing in from a penalty corner after Anna Flanagan’s initial strike was saved by Maddie Hinch.
The last-gasp equaliser meant the gold medal was decided by shoot-out and despite Georgie Twigg levelling things up to one each, it was Australia who held their nerve in the end to defend their Commonwealth Gamescrown with a 3-1 shoot-out victory.
Watton, who has taught hockey at Oakham School for the last three years, came off the replacements’ bench in the final. The Beeston attacker was not selected to take one of the penalties.
The performance was a marked improvement from England’s showing at the World Cup earlier this year, and England came so close to beating Australia having suffered a 3-0 defeat at their hands in the group stages of the Commonwealth Games last week.
Watton told The Mercury: “It feels great to have won a medal. It has taken a couple of days to get over the disappointment of coming so close to the gold medal but I am extremely proud to have the silver.
“There were a lot of emotions on Saturday night after the game but time has allowed us all to see how much a silver medal still means
“We have come so far as a team since the disappointment of the World Cup only two months ago and we have shown that we can compete with the very best.
“The closing ceremony was great fun. To see Kylie perform and to enjoy celebrating with the team was fantastic. It was a brilliant atmosphere and we had a great time with all of the other athletes.
“The Games was certainly an experience I will never forget. A roller coaster ride of emotions, but Glasgow did a fantastic job - the support for us was incredible and they lived up to their moto of ‘the friendly games.”
England reached the final following a thrilling contest against world number four side New Zealand which went to a shoot-out after full-time finished 1-1 on Friday.
England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch was the hero, pulling off three saves in the shoot-out to take her side through to the gold medal match the next day.
Lily Owsley had given England a 27th minute lead but just like the final, England conceded a late goal. Katie Glynn equalised for the Black Sticks with just two minutes remaining to take the game into a shoot-out.
But Hinch kept her nerve, only conceding once from New Zealand’s four attempts. England dominated in attack as well taking the shoot-out 3-1 thanks to goals from Georgie Twigg, Alex Danson and Susie Gilbert.