Saddleworth’s Nicola White helps GB hockey team beat rivals in opener at Rio 2016

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Nicola White in action for Great Britain against Australia

NICOLA WHITE helped Great Britain beat arch rivals Australia in their opening hockey match at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

It was especially sweet for the 28-year-old former Saddleworth Hockey Club player as it was Australia who beat White’s England in the final of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

After experiencing some hiccups on the road to Rio, everything came good last night for Great Britain who won 2-1 through goals from Lily Owsley and Alex Danson.

White, a bronze medallist at London 2012, said: “We are up and running and have points on the board and great to make a good start in the opening game of a tournament.

“Australia are a tough side and there is history between us, especially what happened at the Commonwealth Games.”

England were seconds from winning gold when the Aussies scored a last-gasp equaliser and went on to win following a shootout in the most dramatic manner imaginable.

White continued: “It was a feisty game but we had a game plan and executed it well.

“Australia is a very good team and there are times when you have to soak up pressure and earn the right to attack.

“We did that and then showed clinical finishing, something we have been working on.”

White added there is great spirit in the team and all the players trust one another.

Great Britain’s next group game is on Monday, August 8 against India with White saying it will be completely different to last night.

“While Australia are physical, India are skilful and quick, and will present a different challenge,” she said.

White is enjoying Brazil and in down time the team visited Sugar Loaf mountain, one of the city’s iconic tourist attractions.

She added it is a great experience living in the athletes village  saying she has seen some of her sporting idols, Serena and Venus Williams, and Usain Bolt.

And she has also spoken to top British stars Andy Murray and Laura Trott.

“You often bump into them in the lift and have a chat,” she explained.

 

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