Former Kinross-CYMS phenom Rachel Divall starred as her NSW side reclaimed the Hockey Australia Women’s Indoor Championship on Sunday and now her attention turns to winning a second gold medal in as many weeks.
Divall was phenomenal for the NSW opens, scoring four goals in her side’s seven games in Wollongong last week and finding the net at a crucial point of Sunday’s decider, which the sky blues trumped Western Australia in.
That form puts her in great stead leading into this week, where she steps back into NSW’s under-21 side for its corresponding national championship, also in Wollongong.
Divall, now based in Sydney, will be joined in the NSW under 21s by Dubbo’s Emma Corcoran and Bathurst twins Sarah and Jessica Watterson.
The central west quartet’s NSW side takes on Queensland in a State of Origin-style campaign opener on Tuesday afternoon, before facing perennial heavyweights Victoria that night.
Should Divall’s side triumph, it won’t be the first time she’s claimed multiple national championships in the same month. She achieved that feat in January of 2014, when her NSW under-18 and under-21 sides both claimed titles.
In the opens championship, Divall’s NSW side was desperate to make up for the disappointment of 2016. The sky blues lost to Queensland in the final last year.
NSW didn’t start well, suffering a disappointing loss to Western Australia. Divall and her chums sacrificed a 3-0 half-time lead to go down 4-3.
Bathurst’s Tamsin Bunt, a Hockeyroo, was also in the NSW side and said that defeat – considering the format of the 2017 competition – put pressure on the side, but also instilled a steely determination.
“It was different this year, you had to make the top two. In the past we had semis – and anything can happen in semis – but this year you had to basically win every round game, you couldn’t lose more than one game really,” Bunt said.
“After that loss we thought ‘well, you’ve got to pick yourself up and show what you can do in the next game’.
“In indoor anything can happen, so you have got to have that in the back of your mind.
“Every game was pretty much a semi-final for us, we treated every game like that and it really worked out.”
NSW went on to finish the preliminary stage second, setting up a rematch in the final against the westerners.
Divall scored in NSW’s group wins over Tasmania (12-0), Queensland (2-1) and ACT (4-3) while the sky blues also trumped South Australia (5-1) and Victoria (1-0).
She also scored the third of NSW’s five goals in the decider, the side kept Western Australia scoreless.
NSW led 2-0 at half-time and notched three goals in the second stanza to win.