Saddleworth’s Nicola White delighted to reach hockey semi-finals at Rio 2016

SADDLEWORTH’S NICOLA White helped Great Britain defeat Spain 3-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Olympic Games women’s hockey tournament.

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Nicola White in action at Rio 2016

And the 28-year-old, who began her playing days at Saddleworth Hockey Club, couldn’t be happier to be facing New Zealand on Wednesday, 9pm British time, for a place in the final.

After winning all five pool games, Great Britain had a favourable last-eight draw against Spain.

And with the world’s top two teams, Holland and Argentina paired together in the quarter finals, that resulted in the latter being eliminated.

White explained: “I don’t think the draw could have been any kinder because we would have been expecting to play one of those teams in the semi-finals.

“We couldn’t be in a better position to be in the semi-final and playing New Zealand. You couldn’t have called that and would have expected to be playing Holland, Argentina or Australia.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but we couldn’t be happier to be playing New Zealand who we haven’t played for a while, but we always do well against them, though they are good, fast, counter-attacking team.

“We can only take confidence from what we have done. We are playing well and have momentum.”

White added scoring two goals in the opening quarter of the game from Georgie Twigg and Helen Richardson-Walsh were important in settling the nerves.

Lily Owsley added a third goal before half time, and Spain scored what turned out to be a consolation by Georgina Oliva towards the end.

And looking at the tournament as a whole, White said: “Six wins out of six is unbelievable. Obviously you want to do well, but to get six out of six is unreal.

“We couldn’t have wished for any better, and we could not be in a better position

The match against Spain also marked the 50th Great Britain cap for Sam Quek and 100th international appearance for goalkeeper Maddie Hinch.

 

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