Published Monday 04 August 2014

Jack Bauer and the netball team picked up silver medals today, lifting the New Zealand team’s overall haul to 45 medals – 14 gold, 14 silver, 17 bronze.

New Zealand finished sixth on the medal table. Its gold medal haul is second only to Auckland, 1990, and it is the equal biggest (with Manchester, 2002) number of medals New Zealand has won at an overseas games.

CYCLING

Tenacious Jack Bauer picked up a hard-earned silver medal in the men’s road race.

Bauer is a favourite with cycle fans who don’t even know him because he shares the same name as Kiefer Sutherland’s character in the hit drama “24”.

They’d have been pleased with how he went today.

The 140 starters had to contend with torrential rain for part of their journey and conditions were so hazardous the riders had to be really careful on some of the sharp corners.

Bauer, 29, looked good throughout, and got into in a breakaway group of three – along with Welshman Geraint Thomas and Englishman Scott Thwaites - near the end.

It became clear the three would be dividing the medals between themselves. Then 11km from the end, Thomas rode away to sew up the gold medal, though he did have a scare six kilometres from the finish when he punctured.

Bauer and Thwaites were left to dispute the silver and the Englishman led out in the final sprint, before Bauer came through and took him on the line.

Thomas won in 4h 13min 05s, giving him a margin of 1min 21s over Bauer and Thwaites.

For Bauer, the medal came as welcome relief after some near misses.

The man from Takaka is well-respected on the European professional tours, riding for American team Garmin-Sharp. In the Tour de France this year he went excruciatingly close to winning stage 15. For 222 kilometres he was in a breakaway group of two, but was caught when only 50 metres from the finishing line.

Bauer has compiled a solid CV of performances in major races, without getting among the medals. He was 10th in the road race at the Delhi Commonwealth Games and also at the 2012 London Olympics. He has won stages on tours in Europe and has always appealed as a medal contender at a games.

But in the road race – more than four hours of strength-sapping racing – anything can happen. It worked out for Bauer.

The other New Zealander to finish the race, Greg Henderson, was seventh in 4h 18min 20s.

Tom Scully, Shane Archbold, Jesse Sergent and Michael Northey pulled out when their jobs were done.

In the women’s race, Linda Villumsen finished fifth, only three seconds outside the bronze.

Villumsen, who won the road time trial gold medal a few days ago, was always well placed and came on strongly towards the end.

She could do nothing about the two Englishwomen who headed the field, Lizzie Armistead and Emma Pooley, but finished just behind South African Ashley Pasio and Australian Tiffany Cromwell.

Armistead won in 2h 38min 43s. Villumsen was timed at 2h 39min 57s – 1min 14s behind the gold medallist.

There were five other New Zealanders in the race and they finished in a bunch at 2h 44min 12s. Joanne Kiesanowski crossed in ninth place, Emily Collins 10th, Rushlee Buchanan 15th, Reta Trotman 16th and Jaime Nielsen 17th.

There were 63 starters.

NETBALL

The New Zealand netball team’s hopes of a gold medal were extinguished in no uncertain fashion by Australia.

Australia won the final 58-40, which in netball terms is a pasting.

Though it was 14-14 at quarter-time, the signs were there that the Australian shooters, Caitlin Bassett in particular, were not under enough pressure.

By halftime, Australia led 28-24 and the game was effectively over at three-quarter-time, when it was 43-32.

New Zealand coach Waimarama Taumaunu was hamstrung because her No 1 goal shoot, Cathrine Latu, was injured.

She tried all sorts of combinations, including bringing Latu on for the final quarter.

The New Zealand defence struggled throughout to stop the ball being fed to Bassett. Casey Kopua at goal defence and, for a while, at goal keep, was always energetic, but there didn’t seem to be the organisation required.

Bassett was a tower of strength for Australia. She had 53 attempts and succeeded with 49 of them, giving her a ratio of 92 per cent – outstanding for a netball final.

The New Zealand shooters struggled for accuracy.

Jodi Brown managed 11 from 16 (69 per cent) and Maria Tutaia 22 from 31 (71 per cent). When she came on for the last quarter, Latu showed what might have been. She added energy to the attack and scored with all seven of her attempts.

“We never made it difficult for them to feed Bassett,” Taumaunu said. “We never made them work hard enough at that end, so they were never under enough pressure.”

Taumaunu said Australia were composed and skilful, but said she was very disappointed with the quality of New Zealand’s performance.

“We could not stop the Australian flow through the court. We had the opportunity to play for the gold and didn’t take it.”

Jamaica took the bronze medal by beating England 52-48. Therefore England, who went within one goal of beating both Australia and New Zealand, came away with no medal.

 

HOCKEY

The New Zealand men’s hockey team lost their bronze medal match against England in cruel circumstances.

After the score was locked at 3-3 at fulltime, England won the ensuing shootout 4-2. It was the second time a New Zealand team had lost an important shootout in three days.

The New Zealand women lost their semi-final to England in the same circumstances.

As Simon Child, who scored two goals in the bronze medal match, said: “It's really not a nice way to lose.”

The match was played in torrential rain, which slowed down the pace.

New Zealand went into the play-off quietly confident, having beaten England 1-0 in pool play.

Child scored a good goal after 12 minutes. He fired a shot, then latched on to the rebound to flick the ball into goal.

However, England took the initiative with two goals within three minutes, in the 29th and 31st minutes.

Just before halftime, Andy Hayward converted a penalty corner to get it back to level terms, 2-2.

In the second spell England quickly regained the lead. Finally Child got it to 3-3 11 minutes from the end.

In the shootout, Blair Hilton and Child could not convert their opportunities, but New Zealand goalie Devon Manchester was unable to save any from England.

"It was a close game and could have gone either way."

New Zealand captain Dean Couzins said the players were naturally very disappointed afterwards.

"It's really hard. We hung in there until the end but we just didn't take enough chances," he said. "It was 50-50. We had similar opportunities. It's a real shame."

SQUASH

Martin Knight and Joelle King were unable to win a medal in the mixed doubles squash.

In a rerun of the Commonwealth Games final at Delhi in 2010, Knight and King went down to Australians Cameron Pilley and Kasey Brown 8-11, 11-9, 11-8 in a gruelling 78-minute match.

The New Zealanders did not get the rub of the green. Pilley got away with a couple of double bounces and there were two hotly disputed refereeing decisions in the third game that went against Knight and King.

The result means that though several of them played above their world rankings, the squash team came away with just one medal – King’s bronze in the singles – for their efforts in Glasgow.