Women’s sport must build on summer of English success – hockey star Flora Peel

England hero Flora Peel wants women’s sport to capitalise on the summer success of football and hockey.

Peel set up both goals as England beat Australia 2-1 to win Commonwealth Games hockey gold for the first time in Birmingham on Sunday.

Victory came just seven days after the Lionesses had won Euro 2022 at Wembley to profile women’s sport in England like never before.

Peel said “We had a couple of messages from some of the Lionesses (on Sunday morning).

“They said the previous group of ours (Great Britain’s women won the Olympic title at Rio in 2016) had inspired them, and they hoped they did the same for us.

“They definitely have, and our win will keep raising the profile of the sport.

“You’ve seen with the Lionesses what it’s done for them.

England’s Euro 2022 success – Trafalgar Square
England’s Euros-winning Lionesses sent good luck messages to hockey counterparts before their Commonwealth Games final against Australia (Steven Paston/PA)

“After Rio we had a big boost and then it dropped off a bit. But at the moment women’s sport is really taking off .

“It’s about capitalising on those opportunities and hopefully women’s sport will continue to grow.”

Australia had won four of the six women’s competitions since hockey was introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and had conceded only once before the final.

But England’s win was well merited, with Holly Hunt and Tess Howard scoring before the Hockeyroos managed a later consolation inside the final 20 seconds.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Day Ten
England’s Tess Howard (centre) celebrates scoring the Commonwealth Games final winner against Australia (Joe Giddens/PA)

Howard missed the Tokyo Olympics through a knee injury and spent 12 months on the sidelines before returning in May.

“Missing out on last summer was devastating, but it gave me a lot of time to realise how much I wanted this,” said the 23-year-old forward.

“It was always the dream for me in rehab to stand here.”

Howard dived forward to flick home the winner and revealed her sporting background had helped her score.

She said: “I did judo when I was younger, so I know how to roll.

“When the ball comes in it’s a goal-scoring opportunity, so you’ve just got to launch yourself.

“I thought I had got it out of the D, so I was a bit worried.

“I always love it when my midfielders hit it and I get ready to put the stick in the right place. It was a cool moment.”