NICOLA White has revealed the pain of missing the European Hockey Championships through injury.
And the 29-year-old former Saddleworth Hockey Club member couldn’t even get to Holland to cheer on the England team as she was receiving treatment at Bisham Abbey.
Nicola, who damaged ankle ligaments during a training match for the Europeans against England U17 boys, is hoping to be back in action on six weeks.
Recalling the horrific moment she sustained the injury, Nicola said: “I was running and changed directions when I tore the ligaments.
“I was hoping it wasn’t too bad, but feared the worst as it was hurting a lot.”
Since breaking into the England and Great Britain teams in 2009, this is the first tournament Nicola has missed through injury.
Nicola continued: “It has hard to take and unsettling when I was told the injury would rule me out of the tournament.
“But when it began two weeks later and I was still on crutches, it made it easier knowing there was no way I could be there.”
Reigning Euro champions England won bronze – they lost to hosts Holland 1-0 in the semi final, but beat Germany on the play-off for third and fourth places.
Nicola added: “I would have loved to have gone over and been part of it, but it would have been difficult travelling using crutches. It was easier to stay here and concentrate on my rehabilitation.”
Nicola watched all the matches on television, though mum Gill and her partner went to Holland to cheer on the team.
“I think they found it weird with me not playing,” she said. “But a little bit of me was there through them, and I was pleased we won a medal.”
England and/or Great Britain have won a medal at a tournament every year since 2009 and this year there was also a bronze in the World League semi final.
Nicola is hoping to have regained fitness and be selected for the World League final in December in New Zealand.
That tournament will feature the top eight nations in the world and Nicola is happy how the new-look national team is shaping up after many of the team that struck Olympic gold in Rio are no longer playing.
Nicola said: “This year has been a transitional one so to win two medals has been pleasing, though it is good they were disappointed it was not Euro gold. I would rather lose now and learn lessons rather than doing so it Tokyo in 2020.
“It is a good platform to build on and there is a lot of potential with this group. And if we win a medal at the World League final it will have been a successful year and we will be on track to where we want to be in the build up to the next Olympics.
“Next year is also a big one as there is the Commonwealth Games and then we host the World Cup, and there is definitely the potential to win gold.”