THE wait is almost over as local hockey player Nicola White will learn this week whether she has been selected to play for England in next month’s Commonwealth Games.
The 30-year-old, who was brought up in Shaw, looks set to the be on the plane to Australia’s Gold Coast after recovering from the ankle ligament injury that ruled her out of last year’s European Championships in Holland and World League final in New Zealand.
But after playing for Great Britain last month in a five Test series against Argentina, Nicola is relieved to be finally over her injury blues.
When Nicola, a former pupil at Farrowdale Primary, injured her ankle in June, she never for one moment envisaged she would spend seven months on the sidelines.
Nicola, who initially thought she would be back in action in a matter of weeks, said: “It was the first serious injury I had ever had and that is why I struggled psychologically as I didn’t know how to handle it.
“I was really down and annoyed to be missing tournaments and it was hard to see my team mates training. I had never experienced anything like it before.”
Nicola finally rejoined the GB squad in January and was back in international action against Argentina.
Though Great Britain lost the series 4-1, Nicola was delighted to be playing again.
She said: “My ankle is still not perfect, but I am able to play with it heavily strapped.
“It is a case of keeping my head down and getting my confidence back on the ball and also my fitness.”
After losing so many players after winning gold at the Olympic Games in Rio, Nicola added there were eight or nine new ones making their first Team GB trip.
“Argentina are a brilliant team, one of the best in the world, so it was quite a challenge,” she continued.
Nicola hopes to make the team as she says Commonwealth Games gold would complete the set having been a winner in the Olympics and European Championships.
“I am chasing the missing gold medal after coming so close in Glasgow four years ago,” she said.
England then made the final and were 11 seconds from winning when Australia scored a last-gasp equaliser before triumphing in a shootout.
Nicola added switching from Great Britain to England duty for the Commonwealth Games is in itself a challenge.
She said: “The Scottish and Welsh girls have gone to play for their countries.
“It is hard when we play against them as they know our tactics and all our secrets are out in the open.”
Nicola added England are the last of the team sports to name their squad as it will only be announced nine days before departure.