Cannock's Lily Walker started 2022 as a Commonwealth Games ticket holder and finished it with a gold medal from the very same event.

The 21-year-old immediately put her name in for tickets to the women's hockey final after it was announced that the 2022 Games would take place at the University of Birmingham Hockey Centre.

Little did the midfielder know that she would actually be part of the history-making Team England squad that soared to gold in Birmingham.

Her mum Tania, dad Geoff, brother Charlie and an array of friends watched from the stands as Walker achieved her dreams of finally representing Team England on the Commonwealth stage.

"When that full-time whistle went, we knew that we had made history and it was one of the best feelings of my life," she said.

"I really can't put the feeling into words and I don't think it will ever be something I will ever get back, just because it was in front of so many friends and family.

"I'd been on that pitch so many times before, made my Premier League debut on that pitch and scored my first ever Premier League goal on that pitch.

"So to be able to enjoy the biggest moment in my career in that place with all my family and friends around was amazing."

Walker was a Social Policy student at the time of the Games and the win was only made sweeter by the fact it took place on the sacred ground of her own University campus.

The hockey player was also the youngest member of the gold medal-winning squad and relished every moment following a call-up she did not foresee.

"It was incredibly surreal to be named for Birmingham," she said.

"I never expected to be in the team at the time I was. It worked out perfectly.

"To come into the squad initially was amazing and to then hear that I was selected for the Games was a really special moment.

"We went into the tournament with massive goals coming off the back of the World Cup, feeling confident and as a team. I think we were in a really good place.

"Game to game in got better and in the final everyone was so up for it and realised what was in front of us. The opportunity to win a gold medal.

"Every single one of us on the pitch gave it our all, we knew what we could do in front of a home crowd who backed us all the way and really got us over the line."

Walker currently plays in midfield for East Grinstead, having picked up her first hockey stick aged six.

And her first experience of a Commonwealth Games has only left the youngster yearning for another opportunity to represent Team England in the future.

"More than anything, it's just given me a hunger to want more," she added.

"I have so many aspirations, one is to just keep enjoying playing hockey and the sport itself.

"And the other big one is hopefully going to the Olympics and another Commonwealth Games."