GC2018: Day 1 Highlights
BALL AND MITCHELL WIN TEAM WALES’ FIRST MEDAL IN GOLD COAST
Tandem pair strike silver at the Anna Meares Velodrome
Stunning start for women’s hockey with historic victory over India
Anna Hursey, 11, wins her first doubles match at GC2018
Para cyclist James Ball and tandem pilot Pete Mitchell delivered Wales’ first medal of the Games on day one of competition at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Ball, from Newport, and Mitchell won Silver in the Blind and Visually Impaired 1000m Time-Trial at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane.
“We are thrilled to win the first one for Wales,” said Ball, after the tandem partners received their medal from Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
“I always knew it would be good opposition, but we came here fresh after performing well at the World Championships in Rio. We know we have got more to work on – me and Pete have not been together that long. But at my first Commonwealth Games, I hope I can do Wales proud.”
added: “It’s so special to be part of Wales’ first medal at these Games. The
mood in the camp has been so good and positive. Everyone is excited to race.
It’s brilliant to be part of it.”
Earlier, Wales’s Women’s Hockey team enjoyed one of their greatest ever victories, beating India 3-2 in a morning of high drama at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
Natasha Marke-Jones scored a brilliant one-handed winner, three minutes from time, against a team ranked 16 places above them in the world rankings (Wales 26, India 10).
It is the first time Wales’ women have claimed the scalp of a top 10 team for more than 30 years.
Earlier Lisa Daley’s first-time shot and Sian French’s penalty flick had given Wales a half-time lead before India pulled themselves level in the third quarter, before Marke-Jones’ stunning strike to take the points.
“It’s one of the best goals I’ve scored,” said the midfielder from Bridgend. “To score the winner in my first Commonwealth Games in our first match is what you dream of. The win really sets the tone for what we’ve got to come. It shows our ambition.
“Two years ago, we might have settled for a 2-2 draw against the number 10 team, but we really tested them and kept going.”
Two 18 years old players – Caro Hulme and Izzy Howell – made their senior debuts, while captain Leah Wilkinson became the most capped Welsh female hockey player in her 142nd match.
“I couldn’t pick a better day really. It’s the biggest win I’ve ever had in my hockey career, to captain the team for the first time and to get the caps, I’m floating really!”
The victory is a huge confidence booster ahead of Wales’ next match against local-rivals England on Friday night (1930 local time; 1030am BST).
The Men’s Hockey team came close to repeating a similar upset against Pakistan, a country ranked 11 places higher, but they were left frustrated with a draw.
Pakistan controlled large parts of the game, but it was Wales who got the all-important first goal thanks to Rupert Shipperley.
However their lead only lasted six minutes after Pakistan scored through Ali Mubashar from a well worked penalty corner. The match finished 1 – 1.
“It’s a chance that slipped away and we needed a bit more momentum,” captain Lewis Prosser said.
“We need to look back at ourselves after that performance. But we’ve built so much in the last five years and there’s a lot more to come from us.”
Next up, they face Malaysia on Saturday 7 April.
Team Wales captain Non Stanford finished 8th in the women’s triathlon after a patchy start in the water. She led the bike chase on the first lap but fell out of contention on the second, eventually finishing almost two minutes behind the winner from Bermuda.
“I am disappointed but I knew from the start that this would be a challenge for me. My transitions were slower than I’d want and I just didn’t have it in my legs when it came to the run. But saying that, I’m really proud to be representing my country and I just hope that this can show the rest of the team that even when things don’t go to plan, you have to keep going. I’ve got the relay on Saturday and I’m really looking forward to that.”
On the first night of swimming finals, Dan Jervis was an outside medal hope for Wales in the 400m freestyle after qualifying second fastest. He finished fourth, as Olympic Champion Mack Horton from England took gold, but he didn’t see it as a disappointment.
“I’m buzzing! I know it’s fourth but the talent in the pool is unreal and this isn’t my event. I can’t believe that I just did that!”
Jack Thomas and Alex Rosser came away with 5th and 6th (respectively) in the men’s S14 200m freestyle and Chloe Tutton qualified as a last reserve for the women’s 50m breaststroke with a time of 31:43.
Xavier Castelli will be swimming for a medal in the final of the men’s 100m backstroke after qualifying with a time of 55:13. Alys Thomas made the 100m butterfly final, but her team mates Harriet Jones and Harriet West missed out.
Wales’ Billy Edwards took an unanimous win to earn Team Wales their first boxing victory of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The seven times national champion started slowly with Antigua’s Alston Ryan dominating much of the first round. But the 21-year-old Welshman, who trains at the Dyffryn Boxing Club in Colwyn Bay, stepped up a level as the fight unfolded, with all five judges scoring it in his favour.
“I absolutely cannot describe how I’m feeling right now,” said Edwards. “I started off a bit slow but hopefully I can carry this on into the next fight.
“I have to give a lot of respect to Ryan, the both of us had to fight hard out there but I’m over the moon to get the win. I’m seriously buzzing.”
Billy will now face Zambia’s Nkumbu Silungwe in the last 16 this Sunday at 1300 local time (0400 BST) at the Oxenford Studios.
Back at the track cycling in Brisbane, Wales’ Women’s Team Pursuit; Jess Roberts, Manon Lloyd, Ciara Horne and Megan Barker took 5th place with a time of 4:24:825, just slightly missing out on a Bronze ride out with England taking 4th place 4:24:519.
The Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit saw Rhys Britton, Sam Harrison, Joe Holt and Ethan Vernon qualify into the Bronze ride out. Despite putting up quite the fight against Canada, a podium spot wasn’t quite meant to be; and they came in with 4th place; time of 4.01:362.
It was so close for Ellie Coster and Rachel James in the Women’s Team Sprint Bronze ride-out, but Team England’s Katie Marchant and Lauren Bate claimed the Bronze medal.
In table tennis, 11 year old Anna Hursey – the youngest athlete at the Commonwealth Games – produced a confident display to win her doubles match against India in the women’s team table tennis event. Despite her victory alongside Charlotte Carey, Wales went on to lose the best-of-five match 3-1.
Anna said, “I was really excited and a bit nervous, but because I was doubling up with Charlotte I felt good about the game. It wasn’t that scary once I started and I really enjoyed the game.”
Other results today include:
· Weightlifting – Seth Casidsid 9th in the Mens’ 56kg; Hannah Powell 10th in the Women’s 48kg
· Lawn bowls – Laura Daniels won two matches in the women’s singles; the Men’s Triples beat India and South Africa; the Mens Pairs beat the Isle of Man 22-11 before losing to South Africa while the Women’s Fours beat Niue after losing to Canada; and the open B^/B&/B* Triples lost heavily to New Zealand.
· In squash, a round-of-64 victory for Dean Sakin, while Tesni Evans moved into the last 16 with a 3-0 win over Taylor Fernandes Guy from Guyana. Peter Creed is out after losing 3-1 to Lewis Walters from Jamaica, but Joel Makin is through to the last 32 with a 3-0 win over Fiji.
· Men’s Gymnastics Team competition – Wales team of Jac Davies, Benjamin Eyre, Iwan Metham, Josh Cook and Clinton Purnell finished 7th, qualifying for the all-round final. Davies and Mepham qualified for the Men’s artistic apparatus finals, while Purnell and Cook secured spots in Saturday’s all-around final.
For a full schedule for Team Wales on Friday 6th April, please go to: https://results.gc2018.com/en/all-sports/schedule-wales.htm