IT WAS a golden and historic few hours for two of Tamworth’s sporting heroes, with Paddy Ryan’s NSW Waratahs claiming their maiden Super Rugby title and then Kate Jenner’s Hockeyroos defending their Commonwealth Games gold from four years ago.
Both were gripping and dramatic contests.
The Waratahs kicked things off, ending a 19-year drought with a heart-stopping 33-32 grand final win over New Zealand team the Crusaders.
Waratahs five-eighth Bernard Foley nailed a clutch penalty from 45m out to send most of the almost 62,000-strong crowd delirious.
They had squandered an early 14-point lead to be on the brink of their third painful finals defeat at the hands of their New Zealand nemeses.
But Foley’s 23-point contribution from a conversion and seven penalty goals and a two-try effort from veteran centre Adam Ashley-Cooper – the man of the match – proved just enough to deny the seven-time champions.
Ryan started off the bench and was there for the final dramatic moments, coming on with about 15 minutes to go.
The Hockeyroos then made it back-to-back golds, with a 3-1 penalty shoot-out win over England.
Jenner had to watch all the drama unfold from the sidelines, after injuring her shoulder in training on the Thursday before the semi-final against South Africa.
And what drama there was.
Trailing 1-0 with 18 seconds remaining, defender Jodie Kenny showed her cool as she slotted home a late equaliser from a penalty corner rebound to force the shoot-out.
Lily Owsley had earlier put England ahead against the run of play, but Kenny’s leveller brought the tournament to a nail-biting conclusion, with captain Madonna Blyth stepping up to score the winning goal in the shoot-out.
The Hockeyroos were also pushed to a shoot-out to win four years ago – that time by New Zealand.
Jenner was also a part of that success.