Games live: Discus thrower goes for gold; another medal won

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Aug 2022, 8:43am
Georgia Williams after taking third in the women's road cycling time trial. Photosport
Georgia Williams after taking third in the women's road cycling time trial. Photosport

Games live: Discus thrower goes for gold; another medal won

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Aug 2022, 8:43am

All the live action from day seven of the Commonwealth Games.

For the full schedule and results for all the New Zealand teams and athletes, click here.

White Ferns crushed

Fortunately for the White Ferns, they were already assured a semifinal spot before their destruction by England.

The bad news, however, is now they have to play Australia.

New Zealand warmed up for the medal rounds in the worst possible fashion at Edgbaston today, losing to the hosts by seven wickets.

The problem wasn't just the margin of the defeat - though that was less than ideal - but the manner.

The White Ferns staggered to 71-9 after winning the toss and choosing to bat, a decision that looked ill-considered within four balls.

The top order was scythed through, the middle order offered little and the lower order batted for time when runs were desperately needed.

It all added up to New Zealand's third-lowest total in T20 internationals, removing some of the gloss from the competitive scores they posted in wins over South Africa and Sri Lanka to begin the tournament.

In reply, there would only ever be one result, the sole question remaining was how quickly England would reach their target.

And despite Fran Jonas striking in the first over of the chase, the answer soon became clear, the hosts roared on to reach their target in the 12th over.

The White Ferns' penalty for playing their worst cricket in Birmingham will be a match against the best team in the world.

Australia, naturally, advanced unbeaten through pool play, being pushed by India before crushing Barbados and Pakistan.

They began the Commonwealth Games as heavy favourites to add this T20 crown to the ODI World Cup they won earlier this year in New Zealand, and nothing about the last week has changed that status.

The White Ferns have two days to forget about this defeat and somehow find a way to topple Australia, or they will face a bronze-medal match against the loser of the other semifinal between England and India.

New Zealand will certainly need a radically improved performance from their recognised batters to stand a chance.

Skipper Sophie Devine saw her leg stump sent cartwheeling in the opening over but she, like Amelia Kerr, was at least the victim of a peach from England bowler Katherine Brunt, who finished with figures of 2-4 from three overs.

Suzie Bates, who began the tournament with a brilliant 91 against South Africa, sent a simple catch to midwicket with a nonchalant flick. Brooke Halliday ran herself out in comical fashion before Hayley Jensen fell to an ugly off-side hack.

That marked the halfway point of the innings, with the White Ferns on 35-5 and boasting only two boundaries to their name.

They would collect just two more in the next 10 overs, as Maddy Green top scored with 19 from 24 balls before the tailenders oddly elected to occupy the crease rather than go down swinging.

That left England to chase a straightforward target and, despite Kerr picking up a couple of wickets, left New Zealand to tackle the most unenviable task in cricket.

Cyclists shine again

Georgia Williams has claimed New Zealand's 16th cycling medal at the Commonwealth Games, with a bronze in the women's individual time trial.

Williams, who took silver in the road race in 2018, added another medal to her collection with a calculated, well-paced ride, crossing all of the four time checks on the 28.8 kilometre course in third place.

She didn't threaten the top two riders, with Australia's Grace Brown cruising to victory by 33 seconds over England's Anna Henderson, with Williams a further 47 seconds back in third, but neither was she under pressure from the rest of the field, with her third place always looking secure.

Her closing 5.6 kilometres were her slowest split of the race, but she still had a 19 second buffer over fourth-placed Georgia Baker to wrap up another medal for New Zealand's cyclists.

Fellow Kiwi Mikayla Harvey finished in 20th while Henrietta Christie did not start.

In the men's time trial, Aaron Gate narrowly missed his chance for a fourth medal at the Games.

After winning three gold medals on the track, Gate finished fourth in the time trial on the road, though was well behind the trio of medallists, all of whom star on cycling's World Tour.

Australia's Rohan Dennis took the gold medal by 26 seconds over Fred Wright, with last month's Tour de France podium finisher Geraint Thomas two seconds further back in third.

Gate finished two minutes and 22 seconds behind Dennis, while teammate Tom Sexton finished ninth.

Hammer blow for Kiwi

Kiwi hammer thrower Lauren Bruce has seen her Commonwealth Games campaign end in disaster.

New Zealand's national record holder, Bruce came into the event as a serious medal contender, holding the second-best throw of the 17 competitors in the field.

But it all came unstuck in qualifying for the 25-year-old, failing to record a successful attempt on her three throws.

She stepped out of the ring on her first attempt, before her second attempt went into the left webbing of the net.

That left Bruce with a do-or-die throw, merely needing to register an effort of over 60 metres to qualify for the final.

Instead, the Cantabrian with a personal best of 74.61m threw it wide, and was left with her hands on her head in anguish after a third foul throw eliminated her from the competition.

Despite Bruce's shock exit, New Zealand still have two representatives in the final, with Julia Ratcliffe throwing the second-best attempt in qualifying with 68.73m, while Nicole Bradley qualified eighth with 61.77m.

Ratcliffe, the defending champion, will have her work cut out to win gold however, with the favourite being Canada's Camryn Rogers, who produced a Games record throw of 74.68m.

The hammer throw final is at 6am on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Sam Tanner has just snuck into the final of the men's 1500m.

After the first heat was run in a winning time of 3.37.57, the second heat was much slower, meaning that only the top five finishers would advance to the final.

Tanner had to fight for position multiple times and stumbled before the closing straight in a physical race, but regained his position and then sprinted well in the mass finish to claim fifth.

Only 0.31 seconds separated heat winner Jack Wightman and Tanner in fifth, with Tanner holding a 0.33 second gap over sixth place to ensure he'd move on to the final, held at 12.10am on Saturday.

In the women's high jump, Keeley O'Hagan qualified for the final, as one of 12 jumpers to hit 1.81m.

Black Sticks make semis

The women's Black Sticks have secured a spot in the semifinals of the Commonwealth Games after a 4-1 win over South Africa.

The Black Sticks shot out to a 3-0 lead within 12 minutes through goals from Tessa Jopp, Tyler Lench and Hope Ralph, with Kaitlin Cotter adding another in the final period before a consolation goal from South Africa.

The win sees New Zealand finish second in their pool, behind Australia, and will face the unbeaten English in a semifinal on Saturday morning.