By Neil Leverett and Nicola Kenton
- England’s Roses take stunning netball gold, beating Australia with last-second winning goal
- Ellis and Langridge and Adcocks complete badminton golden double
- Final medals for home nations in squash, table tennis, rugby sevens and marathons
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – England take a dramatic gold in the women’s Netball, beating home favourites Australia, as Ellis and Langridge and Adcocks win badminton gold to round off the XXI Commonwealth Games.
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Roses claim last-gasp victory for historic gold
England’s netball team produced a stunning display to beat strong favourites beat Australia in the gold medal match, thanks to Helen Housby‘s last-gasp goal to beat the hosts 52-51, on the final day of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
In the Roses’ first major international final, England came from behind in the final quarter to edge a nail-biting climax at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre.
After beating Jamaica in an equally tense semifinal, the lead switched between England and Australia, before Housby netted in the dying seconds to secure victory and an historic gold medal.
The first quarter was a tight affair with both sides highly accurate with their shots on goal. However, it was the Diamonds who led after the first period.
Another tight quarter ensued and the sides went into half-time with the scores level at 25 each. It was the third quarter where Australia tried to pull away. England opened up a three-point lead but the host nation levelled and then gained a two point advantage by the end of the third quarter.
The final period of the game was frenetic and Australia extended their lead to four points but the Red Roses battled back and in the final minutes the scores were level once again. The final three minutes of the game saw England retake the lead but Australia kept drawing level.
In the last 30 seconds of normal time, England had possession and had opportunities on goal but could not produce the finish needed. Jo Harten tried a shot from three metres out, Housby caught the rebound and missed her first shot but netted the final shot of the game to clinch the gold medal with a 52-51 scoreline.
Coach Tracey Neville’s aim has been to beat Australia in the biggest competitions and this was a step in the right direction. Next year’s World Cup is being held on home soil in Liverpool and England will hope to replicate this performance in 2019.
Badminton gold for Ellis and Langridge, Adcocks
At the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre, England rounded of their Gold Coast competition in style with a double gold in both the men’s and mixed doubles finals.
There was joy for Chris Ellis and Marcus Langridge in the men’s event, after the pair beat Indian second seeds Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in straight games winning 21-16 in the decisive second – a first English gold in the men’s doubles for 40 years.
The pair put of a tactical and composed showing to beat their higher ranked opponents, utilising Langridge’s patented power smash to greater effect.
Having had their funding removed by UK Sport, the pair have been vocal in their frustration over the decision but will hope this win is further evidence of a rethink in the sport.
As is the one-two in the mixed doubles. England’s Gabby and Chris Adcock retained their titles after beating compatriot – again Ellis – and Lauren Smith by two games to one.
The win was an emotional one for the Adcocks couple with Gabby having come back from potentially career-ending ligament damage in the past year.
Having won gold in Glasgow to years ago, the duo successfully defend their titles in the past also won by assistant team coach Nathan Robertson, and Gail Emms at Melbourne in 2006.
Hawkins collapses in Marathon with gold in sight
On the roads of the Gold Coast, Scotland’s Callum Hawkins collapsed with exhaustion in the men’s marathon within a mile of the finish line, leading the race.
The 25-year old Scot who finished ninth in Rio in 2016 and fourth at the World Championships in London last August, suffered in temperatures above 30 degrees in the Queensland sun.
With Hawkins visibly struggling, as he was running across the bridge into Southport Broadwater Parklands lost his bearings completely and collapses to the baking tarmac, with stunned on-lookers unsure of what actions to take.
It took 10 minutes before the athlete was tended to by paramedics as second-placed Michael Shelley of Australia overtook his stricken competitor and go on to win the gold, ahead of Uganda’s Munyo Solomon Mutai, with Hawkins’ team-mate Robbie Simpson going on to take the bronze.
Hawkins meanwhiles was taken to hospital for tests where he being kept overnight with severe exhaustion and dehydration, but is expected to recover before flying home in the next few days.
In the men’s and women’s T54 marathons there was a silver and two bronzes for John Smith, Simon Lawson and in the women’s race for Jade Jones respectively.
Kurt Fearnley, who was pipped to gold on the track earlier in the week, brought a glorious end to his career winning gold ahead of Smith and Lawson, as the 37-year-old from New South Wales rolled off into the sunset.
Elsewhere in the final events of the Games, England’s men and women both took bronze in the medal matches of the rugby sevens at the Robina Stadium against South Africa and Canada, with the women scoring three first-half tries as the men came from behind to beat the Springboks 21-14.
Squash pair Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller had to settle for silver for England after losing to Australian duo David Palmer and Zac Alexander 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, whilst Englishmen James Willstrop and Declan James beat Scottish pair Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban to the bronze in the their match.
Curtain comes down on the Gold Coast
So after 11 days of fierce competition, the XXI Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast are at an end. Like England did on British soil, it was Australia who this time finished on top of the pile with a extraordinary 80 gold medals.
Whilst England won 45 – more than 20 less than four years ago, the home nations took home no less than 65 Commonwealth titles between them, as both Wales and Scotland smash their medal record for previous competitions.
The target for UK Sport will undoubtedly be Tokyo in just 27 months time, but the progress being made by a largely youthful home nations’ squads will be hugely encouraging having finished third on the medals table in Rio, and keen to back up their success from South America in Asia come 2020.
The XXXII Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan take place between July 24th and August 9th, 2020.
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