The Australian women’s cricket team now officially has it all.
The T20 and ODI World Cup winners are Commonwealth Games champions too after a nine-run win over India in front of a bumper crowd at Edgbaston.
When we talk about greatness in Australian team sports, surely now they must be counted amongst the very best we’ve ever seen.
“It was certainly a medal that we never thought we’d ever win, we never thought we’d be a part of a Commonwealth Games,” Australia all-rounder Ash Gardner said.
“We’ve won a lot of medals, but I think this one’s pretty special.”
The Australians batted first and made 8-161, largely thanks to Beth Mooney’s 61 off 41 balls.
As she so often does, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur took control to put India in a dangerous position before Gardner dismissed her for 65.
“I thought they had control that chase for a long period of that batting innings of theirs,” Mooney said.
“But on the flip side, I thought that if we got a couple of wickets that we were in with a real shot of turning the screws and putting the squeeze on them, which is what happened.”
India needed 11 runs off the final over, with two wickets left.
But Jess Jonassen delivered the goods with the ball as the Australians claimed another major title.
A strange sideshow played out during the game.
On the morning of the match Australia all-rounder Tahlia McGrath tested positive to COVID-19, but she was still allowed to play.
In bizarre scenes, McGrath had to socially distance from her teammates when she took a catch – never mind that they were all touching the same ball.
And all the COVID safe protocols were forgotten when she was swept up by her teammates in the festivities at the end of the match.
“It’d be pretty upsetting for someone like Tahlia who’s been in this team not being able to hug her teammates when we’ve won a gold medal,” Mooney said.
“So hopefully they turn a blind eye to that and forget that happened.”
Megan Schutt said the team felt bad for McGrath.
“It was so weird. We didn’t want to get in trouble,” Schutt told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We felt bad for Tahlia at the end there.
“At the end, screw it. If we get COVID, so be it.”
Hockeyroos win silver after defeat to England
The Hockeyroos were outmuscled by England in the women’s hockey gold medal match at Edgbaston Hockey Club, with the home side deservedly winning 2-1.
The Hockeyroos lacked fluency and the killer instinct in the circle, while England was boosted by a buoyant home crowd to win gold for the first time.
But instead of slumping to the ground in tears, or comforting each other, for the most part, the Australians kept a smile on their face, patted each other on the back, and tried to appreciate what they’d managed to achieve.
Several weeks after winning a bronze medal at the World Cup, the Hockeyroos wanted to make sure they celebrated winning silver.
Coach Katrina Powell — a two-time Olympic gold medalist — gathered all players and support staff in a huddle on the pitch, and passionately spoke to the team.
“[I told them] how proud I am of them and how we progressed while we’ve been away and how hard it is,” Powell said.
“Also [I gave them] a little reminder that you do win silver, hockey competitions are really interesting that [people think] you lose gold.
“We just won a bronze, so we saw how much happier we were than the silver medalists at the World Cup.
“And I think you miss out on that fun, that excitement, that experience, if you’re not happy with winning silver.”
That’s not to say the Hockeyroos are content with remaining second best.
Powell took over the team just before the Tokyo Olympics, where they were knocked out in the quarter finals.
It is a new look team on the pitch and behind the scenes.
Powell says everyone in the program is “rejuvenated and refocused” as they look towards the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I think one of the things we’ve learned is that we’re not quite there yet,” she said.
“And that’s a really powerful thing going forward to know that you’re happy and okay with where you’re at, but certainly not satisfied.”