ZOE Shipperley reflected on a dream come true after helping England reach the women’s hockey semi-finals.
The 24-year-old, from Marsh Gibbon, near Bicester, was part of a determined defensive effort that saw England hold on to beat Scotland 2-1 in their final pool match.
That victory earned her side a semi-final showdown with New Zealand tomorrow and kept alive their gold medal hopes.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” said the former St Edward’s School, Oxford pupil and staff member, who only made her England debut this year.
“The opportunity to play for your country is an unbelievable one and to play in the semi-finals and potentially a gold is just something you always dream of.
“It’s great when it becomes a reality and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Due to their superior goal difference, England only had to avoid defeat to make the semi-finals.
Shipperley is part of a strong St Edward’s hockey contingent here.
In the Welsh men’s squad, head coach Zak Jones is the school’s head of hockey, while his brother Huw is a Wales player and Teddies teacher.
Another Welsh squad member, Pete Swainson, is a former pupil and ex-Oxford Hawks player.
“There are a few of us here and we all support each other really well and stick together,” said Shipperley.
England have a rest day today, but the pressure increases tomorrow.
“Now it definitely does get serious,” said Shipperley.
“We wanted a medal and hopefully that is what we are going to bring home.”
The Wales women’s team, including Oxford Hawks’ Emma Batten, ended the pool stage with a 0-0 draw against Malaysia.
They finished bottom of the table with a record of four defeats and a draw and without a goal scored. Batten said afterwards: “We knew we had to win. We came all out attacking and it’s frustrating that we did not win.”