Published Monday 28 July 2014

New Zealand really got among the medals at the Commonwealth Games today, picking up three gold medals, two silvers and two bronzes.

CYCLING

It was Shane Archbold’s turn to take centre stage at the Velodrome.

Archbold timed his sprint perfectly in the men’s 20km scratch race to edge out fast-finishing Australian Glenn O’Shea. Canadian Remi Pelletier was third.

The other New Zealanders in the field were Tom Scully, who was eighth and Dylan Kennett, 12th.

As with much of the track squad’s work in Glasgow, the race was a real team effort. Archbold was one of four riders to put a lap on the field and was assisted by his countrymen.

"Dylan and Tom rode so well for me and we did the perfect race,” Archbold said after the race. “Strongest and smartest team out there.

"It's been a long time coming and I've seen a lot of other people get success over and beyond me and I've always done the hard work. Today makes it pay off."

Rushlee Buchanan finished a creditable fifth in the women’s point race. She was one of eight riders who lapped the field and picked up some minor points in the sprints, but wasn’t quite able to score heavily enough to get among the medals.

Meanwhile Sam Webster continued his glorious Games run.

The 23-year-old picked up the silver medal in the keirin, the final event of the track schedule for the Commonwealth Games.

Webster had to work hard for the medal. He won his heat well in 10.577s. Dawkins and Simon van Velthooven missed out and went into repechages. There van Velthooven could do no better than third, and was eliminated.

In the semi-finals, Webster and Dawkins were outstanding and finished first and second in their race.

Webster’s silver meant he leaves Glasgow with two gold medals and a silver. The New Zealand track squad won 11 medals in Glasgow, including four gold. At the 210 Delhi Commonwealth Games they were lauded for winning nine.

The keirin was won by Australian Matthew Glaetzer in 10.465s, with Webster pressing him all the way.

The other New Zealander in the field, Eddie Dawkins, was sixth.

BOWLS

Jo Edwards added to her already bursting list of bowls credits when she won the singles gold medal.

Edwards, 44, beat defending champion Natalie Melmore of England 21-15 in the final, having earlier brushed aside Catherine McMillen of Northern Ireland 21-8 in the semi-finals.

Against Melmore, Edwards began in sizzling fashion. She led 7-0 in no time and soon it was 14-2. The gold seemed Edwards’ for sure when it was 18-6 and though the Englishwoman fought back, Edwards was always in charge, eventually winning 21-15 after 24 ends.

Edwards, from Nelson, has a fantastic bowls CV that includes a Commonwealth Games pairs gold medal and an astonishing seven world titles. She is one of the all-time greats of New Zealand bowls.

Her victory was a happy family occasion – the New Zealand bowls team is being coached by her husband, Dave.

Edwards’ gold medal came only hours after the New Zealand women’s four of Selina Goddard, Amy McIlroy, Val Smith and Mandy Boyd beat Scotland 21-15 to earn a bronze medal. Earlier the New Zealanders had dipped out 13-11 to Malaysia.

Dave Edwards said that as a coach he was over the moon after the result, and as a husband he was proud and emotional.

“To replace Val [Smith, a former world champion] in the singles was a big decision, but the selectors got it right.

“I know Jo felt the pressure, but she is a great player. She has a tremendous temperament and one of her big attributes is patience. She needed it in the final. We knew Natalie would come back, but Jo was patient and got there in the end.”

In a first round men’s singles match, Shannon McIlroy beat Petelo Gabriel of Samoa 21-10.

ATHLETICS

New Zealand began their games track and field campaign in style.

Twins Zane and Jake Robertson ran superbly in the 5000m, taking the race to the Kenyans. Zane was rewarded for his bravery with a bronze medal, in a time of 13min 16.52s. Jake was unfortunate. A couple of laps from the end, he was clipped from behind by countryman Nick Willis. Jake tumbled to the ground and though he got up quickly and resumed running, the race was effectively over for him.

Willis, too, seemed to lose his rhythm and did not challenge as he had been expected to, though the swift final couple of laps may have tested him anyway. Jake Robertson was ninth in 13min 29.69s, and Willis was 10th in 13min 34.46s.

In the shot put qualifying, both Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill got through comfortably. Walsh stepped up, uncorked a 21.24m effort first up and not only qualified top, but was his personal best outdoors and also a games record.

Walsh is a quiet achiever, but the quality of his shot putting over the past few months has certainly spoken eloquently.

Gill had to work a little harder, but his first throw of 19.54m was enough to qualify him fifth. He followed that with two no throws, but was never in danger of missing the final.

There was more good news when hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe recorded a 67.96m effort at her first attempt. That was all she needed to qualify second behind Canadian Sultana Frizell.

SWIMMING

Sophie Pascoe provided New Zealand with their first medal in the pool when she totally dominated the women’s SB9 100m breaststroke event.

The 21-year-old Cantabrian showed what was likely to happen when she won her morning heat by more than two seconds in a time of 1min 19.71s.

In the final, she was even quicker – 1min 19.36s – and was two seconds ahead of silver medallist Madeleine Scott of Australia.

Fifteen-year-old New Zealander Nikita Howarth, swimming up a division so she could compete at the games, was seventh in 1min 33.21s.

In the women’s 100m freestyle, Wellingtonian Samantha Lucie-Smith qualified eighth fastest for the semi-finals with a time of 55.71s. She found the going tougher in the semis, swimming 56.09s, which slipped her down to 12th overall and out of the final.

Glenn Snyders bounced back from the disappointment of missing out on a medal in the 100m breaststroke to qualify fourth for the 50m semi-finals. Snyders clocked 27.45s. In the semis, Snyders was fractionally faster, 27.43s, and was the sixth fastest qualifier for the final.

The New Zealand men’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay team qualified fourth for the final. In their heat, Matthew Stanley, Mitchell Donaldson, Ewan Jackson and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett recorded a promising 7min 19.69s. However, in the final, they dropped back to sixth, even though their 7min 14.63s was a much quicker time.

Lauren Boyle, the big name in the New Zealand team, was the second fastest qualifier in her best race, the 800m. Boyle looked very assured, clocking 8min 24.85s. In the same event, Emma Robinson missed out on the final when she finished 10th equal, swimming 8nmin 41.02s.

SQUASH

Joelle King’s strong run in the women’s singles squash ended when she was beaten in straight games by world No 1 Nicol David of Malaysia in the semi-finals.

King, the third seed, played some good strokes, but found it difficult to counter the court speed and consistency of David, who has been the top-ranked player in the world since 2006.

David won 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 in 39 minutes. King will now play off for the bronze medal.

 “I was disappointed with that,” King said. “I was hoping to at least take a game off her, but really that was pretty comfortable for her.”

King felt she made too many errors.

“I’ll have to go away and think about it. Maybe she is so fast and retrieves so well that she made me go too low.

“I had a couple of patches where I got a roll on, but really she didn’t give me much.”

RUGBY

New Zealand’s long reign as Commonwealth Games rugby sevens champions was ended by a blindingly fast South African team at Ibrox Stadium.

The South Africans upset New Zealand 17-12 in a quality final.

The result meant that New Zealand have finally lost a match at the Commonwealth Games, after a victorious run stretching right back to when the sport was introduced, in 1998. It also ended coach Gordon Tietjens run of nearly 30 successive Games wins.

New Zealand began the final promisingly when Sherwin Stowers scored under the posts after four minutes.

However, the South Africans had several speedsters who looked increasingly threatening. In particular Seabelo Senalta constantly threatened the New Zealand defence.

When New Zealand’s Bryce Heem was sinbinned, it allowed the South Africans to score just before halftime, and not surprisngly, it was Senalta who burst through.

In the second half, Senalta went over again and Cecil Afrika added another.

A late try by Joe Webber closed the gap, but the South Africans hung on to score a historic win.

In their quarter-final match they beat Kenya 19-7, having led 12-0 at halftime. The score was good for New Zealand, even if it was still a somewhat shaky performance. For New Zealand, Ben Lam 2, and Tim Mikkelson scored tries.

Facing a sterner test against Australia in the semi-finals, the New Zealanders took an early 7-0 lead after Mikkelson scored in the opening minute. Australia equalised right on halftime and for a while the second half was a see-sawing battle. Scott Curry broke open the game when he scored twice in the final three minutes, the second time a spectacular effort in the corner. New Zealand won 19-7 to set up a final against South Africa who pummelled Samoa 35-7 and hinted at what was to come.

New Zealand captain DJ Forbes was philosophical after the final.

“That's finals footy,” he said. “Pressure builds and causes players to make the wrong decisions at crucial times and that was all of us from one to 12. It's disappointing.

“The only positive is that Tietj said before ‘form is temporary but class lasts forever’. We're a classy side, no doubt. But maybe 10 or 11 minutes of that 20-minute final we were a bit off that pace. Good on South Africa, they played really well."

BOXING

Lightweight Chad Milnes continued his good work with another points victory.

Facing Namibian Lazarus Shaningwa, Milnes began well and was too classy over the first two rounds. Shaningwa suffered a knockdown in the second round, which virtually sealed his fate.

The Namibian came back aggressively and just grabbed the third round, but by then Milnes had built an unassailable lead.

Light-heavyweight David Nyika scored his second win, a points decision over Scott Forest of Scotland. It was a one-sided bout – the New Zealander won every round on every scorecard.

Light-welterweight Leroy Hindley kept up the New Zealanders’ winning record when he scored a third-round TKO victory over Rashield Williams of the Bahamas. Hindley had looked in charge throughout the bout.

New Zealand’s day at the boxing finished in spectacular fashion when heavyweight David Light knocked out his Malaysian opponent, Muhammad Omar, with a beautiful left hook in the second round.

WEIGHTLIFTING

Lauren Roberts struggled in the 63kg division and finished 11th. She began with a snatch of 79kg, but was unable to lift 81kg in her two subsequent attempts. In the clean and jerk, she was successful with 88kg, missed at 91kg and then got it on her third attempt. Her total was 170kg, some distance behind the winning total of 207kg.

In the men’s 77kg division, Matthew Madsen finished sixth with a total of 305kg. In the snatch, he succeeded with 125kg, missed with 128kg and then got it on his third attempt. In the clean and jerk, he managed 167kg and 172kg, but could not manage 177kg on his final lift.

HOCKEY

The New Zealand women’s hockey team maintained their clean sheet by beating India 3-0.

The New Zealanders led 1-0 at halftime, courtesy of a goal in the third minute by Gemma Flynn. In the second half they added two more, from Anita Punt – from a penalty corner and a penalty stroke - to record a decisive victory.

Punt said later: “It wasn’t our best performance, but it’s a good place to build from. We just need to work on the basics and think well together as a team.”

NETBALL

The New Zealand netballers made it three from three when they beat Northern Ireland 78-29, having led 40-15 at halftime.

Coach Waimarama Taumaunu took the opportunity to give all her squad a run, except for midcourter Ellen Halpenny, who is nursing a sore ankle.

Jodi Brown was much improved in the shooting circle, with 45 goals from 52 attempts, and Cathrine Latu was even more deadly, with 32 from 34.

SHOOTING

John Snowden and Mike Collings are struggling after stage one of the Queen’s Prize individual final.

The New Zealanders, who shot so well in Delhi four years ago, are well down the 34-strong field, which is led by Australian Geoff Grenfell with 105 points. Snowden is 19th on 102 after shooting 34, 35, 33. Collings is 27th on 99 after shooting 33, 33, 31.