Comm Games Day 8: The Lunch Wrap

Heartbreak for the Black Sticks, but bronze sweetness for wrestling and bowls in a rollercoaster day for Kiwi wāhine in Birmingham; check it all out in our Day 8 Lunch Wrap.

Performances of the day

Competing in another sport and grappling with the men has paid off for wrestler Tayla Ford, who’s just won her second Commonwealth Games bronze medal.

Ford last won bronze in Glasgow eight years ago, and this time round, beat Amylee Sephora Aza of Mauritius in the 68kg bout for third, which lasted less than 40s – throwing her opponent to the ground, holding her head, then confidently pinning her there .

Living in Australia for the last five years, Ford has been training with men and competing in jiu jitsu because she doesn’t have female club mates in Adelaide.

It’s no big deal for 29-year-old Ford to take on another sport. She’s already a triple international – having represented New Zealand in sevens and judo.

Ford was the only medalist from New Zealand’s wrestling contingent. But it was another successful day for the wider team, with a remarkable gold and silver in the men’s discus from Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill, and the women’s bowls triples also taking home bronze.

Kiwi wrestler Tayla Ford has her opponent from Mauritius right where she wants her for her bronze medal win. Photo: Getty Images.

Originally from Nelson, Ford was relieved to secure bronze this morning, putting it down to her experience and confidence in herself.

“I knew I was going to win. I wanted to win. I think that helped a lot,” she told Sky Sport. “I went out there 110%. I wanted to be aggressive, focused and to breathe and stay calm.

“I’m still learning. Even from today, I have a lot that I’ve picked up, but in that particular session, I think my experience played a big part.”

For the second time in a week, the Kiwi trio of Val Smith, Tayla Bruce and Nicole Toomey bounced back from the disappointment of semifinal losses to win bronze on the bowling rink.

They’d won fours bronze – along with Selina Goddard – on Wednesday and seemed to carry that confidence with them through triples pool play. When it came to the semifinal against Malaysia last night, they lost 16-9, but skip Val Smith was thrilled to see her younger team-mates settle down and draw some “beautiful” shots in their 26-7 win over Cook Islands to secure a second medal.

“It’s been absolutely amazing; I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome,” Toomey said of her Games debut. “It kind of makes you want to keep playing more bowls.”

Triples bronze medalists (from left) Nicole Toomey, Tayla Bruce and Val Smith.

Goddard could match her team-mates, when she and Katelyn Inch play for pairs bronze tonight, up against Malaysia. They lost their semifinal match to England today, 19-12.

Quote of the day

“Sport can be an absolute beauty and it can be a beast – and it’s a beast of a day for us today. We will have to make it a beauty in that bronze medal [game]” – Black Ferns co-captain Megan Hull after they lost the semi in a penalty shoot-out to England.

The good news

Joelle King’s hunt for a medal in Birmingham stays alive, making both the mixed doubles and women’s doubles squash semifinals.

King and Amanda Landers-Murphy defeated England 11-8, 11-6, while King and Paul Coll had a tight battle against Scotland – winning 11-7, 11-9, with some long rallies making for an intense game.

Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy were all smiles after a comfortable victory over England in the women’s squash doubles.

The Birmingham crowd was quickly silenced at the beach volleyball, as the Kiwi duo of Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley defeated England 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) to make the semifinal. They’ll face Canada, who beat them 2-0 in pool play, on Sunday morning.

New Zealand’s youngest athlete at these Commonwealth Games, 16-year-old Maggie Squire showed she’s capable of keeping up with international caliber competition, finishing the 1m springboard final in 10th. Scoring 208.65 across her five dives in the preliminary event, Squire improved her score by almost 24 points in the final, finishing with 232.60.

Anona Pak and Oliver Leydon-Davis recorded their second win of the Games, beating Australia 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) to make the mixed doubles badminton quarterfinals.

It’s been eons since New Zealand has had a gymnast in the all-round final of the Games, but Havana Hopman did her country proud finishing ninth overall; her clubs routine again her strongest suit. Fellow Kiwi Paris Chin was 14th overall, after problems with the ball. Hopman will now compete for a medal in the clubs final.

The not so good news

Just as they did in the semi-final of 2018, the Black Sticks found themselves in a sudden death, penalty shoot-out with England to determine who’d play for gold.

Back then on the Gold Coast, New Zealand stunned England, thanks to the efforts of back-up goalie Grace O’Hanlon. This time, O’Hanlon almost did it again – keeping the home side scoreless during the semifinal this morning and saving their first two penalty attempts, after it was 0-0 following 60 minutes of field play.

The Black Sticks, gold medalists on the Gold Coast, couldn’t get the ball past England’s heroic goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch, who foiled four of their attempts in the shootout. Eventually Izzy Petter and Hannah Martin found the back of the goal – and redemption was England’s.

New Zealand, who beat England at last month’s World Cup, had many scoring chances to score during the match, Katie Doar working overtime to set up play. But their penalty corner shots were either off-target or blocked by Hinch.

Co-captain Megan Hull, who had a stellar match on defense, paid kudos to her team. “There’s a lot of hurt and a few shattered hearts out there.

“One word that comes to me is proud, because that performance out there tonight was nothing short of incredible from our girls.”

She promised they would come out fighting against India tomorrow night in the play-off for bronze. England meet world No.3 Australia for gold.

Sarah says

“It’s hammer time… and Julia Ratcliffe is looking for a third Commonwealth Games medal,” says LockerRoom athletics guru Sarah Cowley Ross. “But she’ll face stiff competition to defend her title from Canadian Camryn Rogers. It’s great to have Nicole Bradley in the final as well in her Games debut.

“A massive morning awaits for the Silver Ferns, meeting the Jamaican netball side. Birmingham has a huge Caribbean population so the National Entertainment Center will be electric as the Ferns try to find form to get into the gold medal match. The White Ferns will also need your support to get over Aussie in their T20 Cricket semifinal clash and it’s semifinal time for our beach volleyballers, Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley.

“It’s ok to be late for work on Monday morning because the final day of the Comm Games has finals galore, all going well overnight for the Kiwi athletes. Look for a strong finish from Joelle King in both the mixed doubles with partner Paul Coll and in the women’s with Amanda Landers-Murphy.

“It’s been an exceptional Games for the Kiwis. So many medals, but more than that it’s been a New Zealand team full of manaakitanga. To the 232 Kiwi athletes living their sporting dreams on the Commonwealth Games stage, thank you for making us so proud . Time for some much-needed sleep.”

Who’s up next


LAWN BOWLS:Women’s pairs bronze medal match, 7.30pm

NETBALL:Silver Ferns vs Jamaica, semifinals, 8pm

COUNTRY:Keeley O’Hagan, high jump final, 9.15pm

WRESTLING:Michelle Montague (76kg), 9.30pm

BADMINTON:Mixed doubles quarter final, 10pm

RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS:Havana Hopman, clubs final, 10.20pm


SQUASH:Mixed doubles quarterfinal, 1.15am; women’s doubles quarterfinals, 6.30am

CRICKET:White Ferns vs Australia, semi final, 5am

COUNTRY:Julia Ratcliffe, Nicole Bradley, hammer throw final, 6am; Portia Bing, 400m hurdles final, 6.30am

BEACH VOLLEYBALL:New Zealand vs Canada, semi final, 7am

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