Tasmanian hockey players Eddie Ockenden and Jeremy Edwards said they were proud to be part of Australia’s sixth straight men’s Commonwealth Games hockey triumph.
The Hobart pair played their part in the 2-0 defeat of New Zealand late on Saturday night in the gold medal match at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
Second-quarter goals from Aaron Kleinschmidt and Matt Dawson proved the difference between the trans-Tasman rivals.
The tournament had seen Australia register 4-0 thrashings of South Africa and Canada and a 6-1 defeat of Scotland before narrow 2-1 wins over New Zealand and England.
The victory maintains the Kookaburras’ proud record of only ever having lost one Commonwealth Games match – against South Africa back in 1998.
Ockenden has been a part of half of those tournament wins, claiming gold medals in New Delhi, Glasgow and now Gold Coast.
“It feels awesome,” said the 31-year-old triple Olympian, two-time World Cup and World League final winner who has also been a part of eight Champions Trophy campaigns, winning six.
“I wasn’t thinking about the others, we just wanted to win this one because a lot of the other guys hadn’t won one and we wanted to do that for Mark Knowles so to finish like that was great.
“I’ve played all my career with Knowlesy and he’s been sensational. You just stand a bit taller when you’re playing with him. He’s been one of Australia’s great sportsmen.
“This is a big year for us with the World Cup but we certainly set ourselves for this because it’s a big event. I just love the Commonwealth Games, it’s such a great tournament.”
In contrast, Edwards, 26, who helped the team to World League final and Oceania Cup gold last year and was a part of the recent Azlan Shah Cup triumph in Malaysia, was making his Commonwealth Games debut.
“This is very humbling,” he said.
“I grew up watching the 1998 Comm Games with my older brother. That was the first year hockey was played and it’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
“A multi-sport event in Australia with family watching who don’t normally get to watch me play is very special and just makes me incredibly proud.”
Ockenden and Edwards join freestyle swimmer Ariarne Titmus (three gold, one silver), lawn bowler Rebecca Van Asch (two gold), track cyclist Amy Cure (two gold), triathlete Jake Birtwhistle (one gold, one silver), weightlifter Kaity Fassina (silver) and javelin thrower Hamish Peacock (both silver) as Tasmanian medal winners at the Games with Chris Goulding and Lucas Walker assured of at least a silver in Sunday’s basketball final.
THE STORY SO FAR
Ariarne Titmus: 200m freestyle, heat 1st, final SILVER; 4x200m freestyle relay GOLD; 800m freestyle, heat 1st, final GOLD; 400m freestyle, heat 1st, final GOLD
Jake Birtwhistle: men’s triathlon, SILVER; mixed teams relay GOLD
Amy Cure: women’s team pursuit, qualifying 1st, final GOLD; women’s points race, 7th; women’s scratch race GOLD
Georgia Baker: women’s points race, 21st
Rebecca Van Asch: bowls, women’s fours, d Papua New Guinea 41-1, d Cook Islands 15-9, d Namibia 23-9, d Malaysia 14-13, quarter-final d Malaysia 14-12, semi-final d Canada 10-9, final d South Africa 18-16 GOLD; women’s triples, d Papua New Guinea 32-12, d India 20-11, d Canada 20-13, d Fiji 24-9, quarter-final d Northern Ireland 30-5, semi-final d England 16-13, final d Scotland 21-12 GOLD
Chris Goulding, Lucas Walker: men’s basketball, d Canada 95-55, d New Zealand 79-73, d Nigeria 97-55, semi-final d Scotland 103-46
Eddie Ockenden, Jeremy Edwards: men’s hockey, d South Africa 4-0, d Scotland 6-1, d Canada 4-0, d New Zealand 2-1, semi-final d England 2-1, final d New Zealand 2-0 GOLD (x2)
Huw Peacock: men’s hammer, 11th
Stewart McSweyn: men’s 5000m, 5th; 10,000m, 11th
Kaity Fassina: women’s 90kg weightlifting, SILVER
Sam Walker: men’s T38 100m, 6th
Danielle McConnell: women’s hammer, 8th
Hamish Peacock: men’s javelin, qualification 1st, final SILVER
Jack Hale: 4x100m relay, heat 2nd, final 4th
TOMORROW’S SCHEDULE (SUNDAY APRIL 15)
11.30am Basketball, final, Australia v Canada (Goulding, Walker, GC Convention Centre)