The parents of England hockey captain Hollie Pearne-Webb missed seeing her score the Olympic gold medal goal in Rio de Janeiro and were barred from traveling to Tokyo last year, but he there will be no such problems for the Commonwealth Games.
The 2016 Games – where the defender’s strike in the penalty shootout secured a first gold medal for the women’s team – were simply too far and too expensive for dad Gary and mum Maxine to attend while restrictions of Covid were denying viewers a chance to watch in Japan.
But with the University of Birmingham Hockey Center just 80km away, it’s the closest a major tournament is likely to be to the Webb family home in Belper.
“My parents have transported me and my sister all over the country for years, so it will be very nice for them to drive just an hour to Birmingham and then they can go home, instead of staying in accommodation” , Pearne-Webb told the PA news agency.
“It will be really good for them to be able to come see me very close to home.”
On missing her parents to witness the biggest moment of a career that produced over 200 combined caps for Britain and England, the 31-year-old added: “It was way too much. expensive to go to Rio and there were no spectators in Tokyo.
“They are not able to do that (follow her around the world) otherwise my mother would go absolutely everywhere to watch me play.
“Paris (the 2024 Olympics) will be much easier.”
Although a home tournament has a number of benefits, it comes with added expectations from the larger than usual crowd supporting the team.
But while England, ranked fourth in the world, avoided Australia and New Zealand in the draw, they still have to face India – who Britain beat in the bronze medal game in Tokyo – Wales, Canada and Ghana.
“I think there’s probably a little more expectation as a home team and it would be great to win, but there are still a lot of really good teams that we have to get past first,” said Pearne-Webb.
“I think it definitely gives us a boost. In the last Commonwealths it was us, Australia and New Zealand, but now India is a huge force.
“And as England when you play Wales or Scotland, those are ridiculously tough games because they seem to come up against us every time.
“But the only Commonwealth medal I don’t have is gold, so that’s definitely on the wish list.”