Buckingham hockey captain and Marsh Gibbon girl Zoe Shipperley has won a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Part of the 16-strong England women’s hockey squad, Shipperley helped her nation to finish second in Group B, which set-up a semi-final clash against New Zealand.
In a tense match, Lily Owsley gave Buckingham a lead before New Zealand hit back with a late goal, but England prevailed when they won the penalty shoot-out to reach the gold medal match, where they faced much-fancied Australia.
Despite going into the match as underdogs, England more than held their own as Owsley put them into a deserved lead and they seemed on course for gold, only for Australia to break England hearts by scoring with just 11 seconds remaining before going on to win the shoot-out.
Despite narrowly missing out on gold, Shipperley was proud of her achievements.
She said: “It was heartbreaking. I was sitting on the bench and counting down the seconds - it was absolutely gutting to see them score so late
“We still felt confident going into the shoot-out though because we have one of the best goalkeepers in the world, so we were positive, but sometimes in sport things don’t go your way. It was devastating.
“But, in hindsight, a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games is a great achievement.
“I had such an amazing experience and no one can take that away from me. I’m so proud of my silver medal.
“Coming so close makes me hungrier to come back in four years time and go for gold.”
Zoe first broke into the Great Britain hockey team in February when she made her debut in a 2-1 win over New Zealand. Although she has kept her place in the team ever since, the 24-year-old admitted it was a nervous wait to see if she would be part of the England side that went to Glasgow.
She added: “The squad got cut from 18 to 16 so it was a nerve-wracking wait to see if I had been selected, but when I found out it was such a massive relief to be picked.
“We had the London Investec Cup before and that was good because I had time to get settled in with the girls.
“The Commonwealth Games were an absolutely amazing experience and it’s something I’ll never forget.
“Glasgow was great, the people were so friendly and it was amazing to take part in a multi-sport event and see people from other sports like Tom Daley and Sam Whitlock walking around the village.
“The venue was incredible too and the weather for the first week was amazing, which made it even better. It was just a brilliant experience.
“It’s a nice feeling to come away from such a big tournament and feel like you played well. It’s always a massive thing to play for your country.”
Shipperley has now set her sights on the upcoming season with Buckingham where she will captain the club in their first ever season in the Investec Premier Division.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve been working so long on getting this far, it took us until our fourth year in the play-offs to get here. I can’t wait. The girls are buzzing. But don’t want to just make up the numbers – we want to become a permanent Premier Division team.”