Despite a shaky first set, Bournemouth’s Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf were able to hold on and dispatch of their Cyprus counterparts with a comfortable second set for a 2-0 victory. The pair said:
Chris said: “I think defensively the dynamic was good today, obviously we set up some plays and went with some tactics and we blocked a few, we also got some digs as well. So all in all, a good day defensively for sure.
Jake said: “I thought it was good, I thought we played solid. Our defence was great, service was really good and we put them under a lot of pressure, that allowed us to make a lot of points on defence. I think Chris’ blocking was great, our positioning on the court was really good and we covered most of the court, so credit to the block we put up but also the work we’ve been doing on defence.
Chris said: “I think when you get to that point in a set, you’re looking to make a break, you’re looking to pull away, so thankfully we managed to get a run of points and put a bit of pressure on, they obviously came back and we had a little blip towards the end of the first set, but thankfully managed to close it out. The second set we had a lot of freedom to go after our serve and put on pressure and it worked, so it was down to that really.”
North Walsham-born James Willstrop gets to the Squash men’s single semi-final and defeats host country’s player Cameron Pilley. He said:
“I know how good of a player he is, I know that he is in his own country, I know that he doesn’t worry about nerves, he goes through it, he takes the game for everyone he plays so he wasn’t going to come on me nervous, he was going to crack the hell out of it, he is going to go for the neck, he was going to try to win.
“I really just wanted to play tomorrow, so I’ve done that and we’ll see how it goes, it’s a hard match to recover from but I’ll do my best, I’m just really happy to be in there, playing and being in the semi-final of the commonwealth games, you don’t get that every day.”
After a disappointing 14-12 loss to New Zealand in Round 5 of the men’s lawn bowls doubles, lead Louis Ridout from Taunton, said:
“It was always going to be a tight game, New Zealand are probably one of the favourites to win the pairs so we knew it was going to be a tight game. I thought we played same ability as them, we did well. Trouble was we were looking always next door, the game that we wanted to go our way was next door and towards the end it went away and we were trying to fight shots back, but it was always going to be a good game against them.
“It’s hard enough playing New Zealand, let alone with a distraction but you’ve got to focus all the way. We done our best, I think if there was no distraction we could have beat New Zealand, but results didn’t go our way. We go ahead now, take a day off, go in for the fours and do better, and probably medal for the fours.
“Luckily it’s only one rest day so we won’t dwell on it too much, horrid couple days but go away tomorrow, relax, get away from the bowls green and take a day off, come here and re-group and get ready for Monday and the fours.”
Nick Matthew, from Sheffield, defeated by Malaysian Nafiizwan Adnan in the Squash’s men quarterfinal, and said:
“He played really well so he deserved it, I was not even in the atmosphere of being good enough, it was a negative performance. I wasn’t positive enough with my attacking game and even my defensive game wasn’t positive enough. I was playing not to lose rather than to win and that’s where I fell down today.
“I fell on top of the hamstring I injured recently, which is why I pulled out of the last tournament and did the same injury again, so it was pure frustration. I apologise for the reaction you don’t want to show that to the kids, it was just pure frustration, feeling something tightening up and slipping on a big point, I felt I was coming back into the game but then you give somebody a free point so that was hard, but I do apologise.
“It was a good performance from him but mine was poor and I’m disappointed. I didn’t play like me, I didn’t have my usual aggression and he totally deserved it, he slow boarded well, he attacked when he had the opportunity, he played a great tactical game, I’d like to focus more on what he did, but I am bitterly disappointed.
“I was still hugely ambitious, I trained really hard, I felt like I was in peek shape but unfortunately sports come down to on the day and on the day I lost the better player so congratulation to him.”
Speaking after her dominant performance, setting a world record in a gold medal-winning performance in the women’s B&VI 1000m TT, Stockport’s Sophie Thornhill said:
“Amazing. It’s more than we ever thought we’d come away with, to come away with two golds and two
world records is just insane. Everyone kept asking me if I was going to break (own world record), but I’m absolutely over the moon. Can’t believe it.
“The trust that I have in (Helen) definitely came out in a second sprint match on Thursday, fir me I trust her 100% and the way that we’re going to go quick and the way that our bike’s going to be the best is having complete trust in her and letting her do her thing, so I just have to sit there and pedal hard. You need to co-operate, on and off the bike.
“It’s been a busy few weeks for us, we just came from the world championships and to go home with four golds and four world records is more than we ever imagined so we are absolutely over the moon.
“They just love sport in Australia, as soon as they clocked on that it was going to be a fast time you could hear them going louder and louder and for them to give us a standing ovation was just amazing.”
Birmingham’s Helen Scott, who also has two gold medals to her name from these Games as a part of the Thornhill-Scott duo in para track cycling, said:
“We knew that we could do something pretty good so anything we did around what we did in Rio we’d be pleased with, and to surpass it is unbelievable.
“Sophie and I have been riding together for four years now, we’re really good friends and I’ve got no doubt that really helps. Getting along with each other and being so comfortable enough to have those difficult conversations when training isn’t going quite so well and pushing each other every day, I think I spend more time with Sophie than I do with my family and my friends back home. It’s a really special partnership and we trust each other one hundred per cent, and as the years have gone by we’ve synced together much better, it’s a dream team.
“In term of speed, I have no idea of what’s going on when we race, we just go as hard as we can. We could hear the crowd, but I didn’t know at the time whether they were just cheering to support or whether it was because it was a great time and obviously when we crossed the line we realised why they were going wild and it’s the best crowd we’ve ever had.
“The only times we’ve seen a crowd like this is at the Paralympic games. They were even better, they all stood up and I’m not sure they would have done that in Rio, if I could bottle that moment I would.”
Preston’s Chloe Birch progressed into the individual Badminton’s semi-final after beating Canadian’s Michelle Li. Following her victory, she said:
“We’ve had a really tough January and February setting up for this tournament, so I felt really good out there and that was probably one of the best wins of my career, so I am really happy.
“I knew that if I kept my speed I was quicker and that was the key. If I got to the shuttle early enough then I could apply the pressure first and I think that was kind of what helped me in the end. I fought at the start of the rally to make sure I was there early and then I think she felt a little bit of pressure to hit the perfect shot.
“Malaysia will be a really tough match tomorrow, they are one of the favourite coming in the team event, but I think we are in a great form and everyone is playing very well so we’ll go into it with great confidence.”
Marcus Ellis, from Huddersfield, and Chris Langridge, from Epsom, oversaw the Canadian’s in their opening match of the badminton mixed team quarterfinal.
Marcus said: “We are happy to get the first rubber on the board for England. It’s so important in team matches how you start. I think there is a bit of pressure going on first. There is that feeling that you have to start well for your team. I don’t think that affected our performance. I don’t think it was our best performance. The Canadians put up a good fight, we have to respect that. We were a little unprepared in certain parts of the game but we managed to get the win.
“Sometimes you wish you would be a bit more challenged in the group stages because it was quite comfortable in the group. We did have quite a good group. Coming out here, we are the favourites against Canada in most matches. It doesn’t mean that they’re not going to fight the whole way. If they even scrape one rubber off on us, then all of a sudden it puts pressure on us. This was certainly a rubber for us that we needed to win and wanted to win. We were huge favourites so I’m just happy we managed to do that.”
Chris said: “We are a good team. Everyone is tight. Everyone is good friends. Everybody really wants to win. Every game, everyone is giving absolutely everything. Working well as a team. Canada are the best team to be runners up but it’s quite tough to have them. As Marcus said the first game is the pressure one because we are supposed to win that. And if we don’t, all of a sudden it could be more pressure on the later games. You have got to get off to that good start. I was in and out a lot. Before the game my prep wasn’t as good as it should have been. The timings I was meant to play, I messed up. I definitely won’t let that happen again. It’s great to win that first game.
“I think I’m the old dog of the team. I don’t have as long as some of the others have left. Every match means that bit more. For me, I’m not a perfectionist but I get very frustrated if I don’t do as well as I know I can. I don’t expect to play 100% all the time but when I miss things I make 80% of the time I do get annoyed. I shouldn’t get annoyed. Dust it under the carpet and carry on. Sometimes I’m my own hindrance in a way because I get too frustrated in a way. After the game, Pete said ‘you won, it’s fine’. It’s so tough when part of the game I played well, part of the game I was awful. It’s trying to find that middle ground which I didn’t find. I think that’s why I’m hard on myself because I know I can perform. But when I’m down at the bottom it’s an angry place to be.”
Alice Kinsella, from Basildon, won bronze in the women’s artistic gymnastics all-around final and said:
“It was quite tight, I could have done better today, my landings weren’t so good, but I still feel proud. I have worked so hard and one of my goals was to get an all-around medal and I did.”
Kelly Simm finished 5th in the women’s artistic gymnastics finals, and the Southampton-born gymnast said:
“Overall, I’m pretty happy. Beam obviously cost me a medal chance, but I did my best and can be proud of my performance. I had a long wait to compete on beam and that could maybe have affected me. After two years of injury problems I’m just so happy to be competing at these big events and be amongst the top gymnasts. I now need to put today behind me and focus on the finals ahead.”
After his commanding gold medal performance in the men’s 100m breaststroke, Adam Peaty, from Uttoxeter, said:
“This is a little different, even though it’s a gold medal and it’s four years undefeated and that’s kind of completed the circle, I’m not happy with that performance because it wasn’t the best version of me and I just want to go out there and try to do the better version.
“No one in Europe is better than me so I know I can win this one, once rested I can go out and do anything. It’s been a big learning curve here, my strokes feel nowhere near what it should feel like and I think we need to go back to the drawing board now to see what’s what in September to December and how to improve that from April to July to August. It was the first time I felt not in control of my race and I think I let the event got to me too much and I was thinking about the end results instead of the process.
“There is a bit of pressure I put on myself, expectation more like. When in the heat, I didn’t feel the crowd, I didn’t feel like I was swimming with the crowd in a sense, it might seem strange to you but when I come out as a world champion or Olympics I think ‘Yes. This is what I’m here for’ but maybe because it’s April, I haven’t trained my mind for this kind of event so big learning curve for us, if I compete in April in the future we know what to do now.
“I think for me I just try and focus on trying to go out there, and tonight was all about defending the title, completing the quad, four years undefeated and I couldn’t have asked for more except for maybe the expectation I put on myself.
(How long can you go undefeated) “A lifetime, if I’m on it. If I wasn’t on my best, I’d rectify it, go over it in training, how can I get better and how I can be the best version of myself, because without Ewan telling me I was cramping up with 15m to go and that never happens and I think it was because I was taking too many strokes, what made me so good in Rio was that I was focusing on the process not the time. It’s a half mental, half technical thing.
“The more worrying thing for me is how can I keep the sport new. How can I keep my motivation high, because that’ll be the next challenge.
“Sport is a strange one, because one day you can perform amazing but feel bad and the next day you feel amazing and swim bad, I think some summer’s here I haven’t performed well here, and that was nowhere near my best. I’m not like the other swimmers that look up and go ‘oh my god I’ve won gold’, I look at the time and think that’s not the best version of myself. I’m obsessed with self-improvement.”
Peter McGrail, from Liverpool, following his victory over Kenya’s Benson in the Men’s 56kg Round of 16 said:
“It was my first fight in the competition. You get the most nerves for it. Before the fight you get used to the warm-ups, putting my wraps on. Getting your gloves on, going in the arena. (I’m) happy to get a good performance out of the way. Everyone knows in the tournament that with each fight you get better. To put a good performance in, to know in my head I’m only going to get better and better. That is really good for my confidence. (It was a) very experienced fight today. He is over 10 years older than me so I’m happy the way I won as well. Got knocked down in the first. I’m just over the moon with the win. Everyone watching me now thinking I have a chance of getting into the next round.
“It wasn’t a bad performance. There’s nothing worse than putting a bad performance in. Not boxing to the best of your ability. Everyone seems happy with me. I felt comfortable, I felt relaxed in there. Just putting on that performance now and (I) look forward to my next fight.
“He was experienced but he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. Two shots, then the odd lean back. He was quite predictable. I knew what he was going to do. He came out the start of the second round and I still think I was getting the better of him. I think I was scoring the cleaner shots. I looked better technically as a boxer. I’m over the moon and I look forward to my next one on Tuesday I think.
“Anytime you ask anyone, all they want is the gold medal. Some people might be happy with a silver or a bronze. If I was to get either a silver or a bronze I wouldn’t be happy. Everyone knows that I’m the best for my weight here.”
A valiant display from England’s men’s triples lawn bowl’s team sees them narrowly miss out on a semi-final spot, as they were narrowly beaten by the Norfolk Islands 19-18. Robert Paxton (Exeter), David Bolt (Sunderland) and Jamie Chestney (Kings Lynn) said:
Jamie said: ‘We didn’t play as well as we could, and we lost.
David said: “We let them get ahead and we had one bad end, mid-game I think we were about six behind and, like Jamie said, we were a little bit scratchy and they just hung in and hung in and got the ones that they needed at the end there. Robert was unlucky on the actual last end but got inside and we thought we had the game, but that’s just the way it goes.”
Robert: “We just didn’t put them under enough pressure on that side, so it was disappointing but we’ve got to get our heads on for the next event we’ve all got in the next couple of days.”
Alex Collier, from Manchester, finished eighth in the men’s weightlifting 85kg final and said:
“I’m happy. I came in with an injury, so I came to do anything I could really. I have had a problem in my knee for two weeks to a month but I don’t know what it is yet as I haven’t had it scanned yet, hopefully soon. You have to push through for the commonwealth games.”
“I am not disappointed, you take what you’re given, and I’ve done the best I could so I’m happy. I’m going to have a bit of rest, sort my knee out and look on to the next competition.”
London-born squash player Alison Waters was defeated by Malaysia’s Nicol David in the women’s singles quarter final and said:
“I thought it was a good game. Nicol is a great champion and fought back from two nil down. I was positive going into it. I knew I had a good chance of winning. I could have won so it was a fine line really.”
“I thought it was a good game of squash. There wasn’t much in it. Lost by a couple points. I think winning that third was obviously important for her. She got the momentum there in the fourth. The fifth was obviously a bit of a battle. Next time.”
Nuneaton-born Becky Raybould, traditionally an endurance cyclist, filled the void for Team England in the women’s 500m time trial in admirable fashion, placing in a very respectable 15th position. She said:
“I might make the change, but no I didn’t go as fast as them. It’s a lot different, I haven’t done a 500m in a long time but I was quite excited, I got put into it a few days ago just to get me racing really, just something to get my legs going. I quite enjoyed that, it was a lot shorter than a lot of other races that I’m used to but yeah it was fun.
“I literally cannot remember the last time I did a 500m, so I wasn’t looking to get a time I was just looking to get the effort out really.
“Getting up to speed is a big part in a team pursuit so the faster you can get up to speed efficiently is the most important part, the more efficient you can be at getting up to see, the more energy you’ll have towards the back end.
“It’s been really enjoyable, I’ve loved every minute of being in Australia and the Commonwealth Games.
“We’re pretty much straight back into Road (after the Gold Coast) so I’m reserved for the road race here but either way I’ll be training to get back into the road when I get back, I have a stage race in Luxembourg at the end of the month so I’ll be working for that.”
Emily Nelson, from Burton-Upon-Trent, offers her thoughts after the women’s 25Km Points Race final where she finished 9th said:
“It was a really hard race and I didn’t have the legs that I wanted coming in to this and it’s been quite hard using them, I keep crashing and getting injured so I’ve had a lot of time off, I’ve played catch up quite a bit and I think now I’m just paying with a bit of bad leg so I just want to get stuck in and enjoy the race.”
“The world championships were so closed to these games. The Australians didn’t do the world championships so that they could target this. It’s been tough, but I went out there and gave the best that I had on the day.”
“I’m more of a faster rider so I’d be going for sprints rather than going to take laps. I was never really looking for a lap game, I was going to follow things if they went but I was really aiming for the sprints.”
“I have the road race next Saturday and I haven’t done one since last July and I just trained for the track championships so the road race will be interesting, but it will be a bit of fun so looking forward to them.”
Lauren Bate, from Billinge, achieved a new PB whilst finishing fifth in the women’s 500m time train final and said:
“Yeah I’m really happy with that. That’s a two tenth PB. I can’t ask for more can I?
“To be honest I thought I would be on better form. I was going really well at world. Coming into this I did feel a bit flat and I don’t feel the best. At the end of the day you just have to crack on and give your all.
“I’ll give it everything I can whether I will be faster or not. Who knows. I’ll give it everything.
“To be honest I do love 500’s now. I love standing laps. I do love a time trial but I think when it comes to a match sprint and it’s that one on one it can get a lot out of it. You would always have to be the fastest to win. I think keirin will be interesting. I don’t think it’s my strongest point but I do think I can give it a good go. Who knows. I’m not the fastest in the field but it might not matter.
“Anything can happen really when it comes to racing. With time trial it’s just you against the clock. That’s how it is. But when there’s another one in the race or another five people in the race, anything can happen. You could be in the wrong position or you could be in the best position of the race. It just all depends on where you are at the right time you know. I think anything is possible tomorrow.
“I think still being so young and coming here. I might not be the best but still giving a good fight. It’s exciting to see. There is still a lot of work to do. Where could I be in a year or two years’ time when I’ve got that work in the bank. It’s quite exciting. I didn’t come here expecting to be the fastest but it’s nice to still come and put out an alright time.”
Paul Drinkhall, from Middlesbrough, on behalf of England’s Men’s Table Tennis team after their victory in the quarter-finals said:
“The all team prepared well, we’ve had quite a few matches. Not in the last few weeks but before that like national championships and world cup and we’ve had success in a lot of them. Sometimes I’ve not performed as well as I wanted to personally, but I think as a team we are in a great place, we are very confident going in the semi-finals.”
“We’ve done the best we could to be in the best place we can and we hopefully are going to be able to play our best table tennis in the next few days for the team event and continue that onto the singles and doubles and I believe we are in a good enough physical place to do that.”
Lawn Bowls para mixed triples Michael Robertson (Peterborough), Kieran Rollings (Kettering), Paul Brown (Bristol) after defeating Australia said:
Michael said: “Absolutely over the moon. I think all the triples in the para-triples are really good triples, great atmosphere, noisy crowd, it’s lovely to play in that atmosphere.”
Kieran said: “I’m speechless really, especially beating the Aussies on their home territory, it’s a real confidence boost and now we’re going in the next game to get Scotland.”
Paul said: “It was a really good game of bowls; those teams played some really exceptional bowls and basically you had to be on top of your game to come out victorious and I think we were on top of our games.”
In the men’s 15km Scratch race final, Chris Latham from Bolton achieved a bronze medal, with Oliver Wood, from Wakefield, coming fourth.
Chris said: “That was kind of my plan. Just stay hidden. There’s a lot of weapons in there. Everyone is watching everyone. (I was) just trying to sneak in the back of it. Then set it off for the finish.
“I’m trying to just stay near the front. If he (Ethan) is dying then we need to be there to pick up the pieces. Just kind of be there and get to the front. Try to back off is anything (happens). Give him more of a gap, get back in and third wheel.
“You’re not really together as such. You’re not together, just not working against each other. It’s quite easily do-able.”
Oliver said: “It was a good ride for me, shame I couldn’t hang on but sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t but at least we’ve got someone on the podium.
“It’s a very different dynamic to what we are used to. Usually on the world stage you don’t have any team mates but here we do, and we look at for each other.”
England’s quartet of Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, from Bath, Holly Hibbott, from Southport, Eleanor Faulkner, from Sheffield and Freya Anderson, from Birkenhead, secured a bronze medal in the Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Swimming Relay behind Australia and Canada.
Siobhan said: “We all did really well and it was great to get another medal for Team England.”
Freya said: “We didn’t expect it at all. There was a bit of a race between the home nations so it was really exciting to come out on top.”
Eleanor said: “It was a bit harder than the other night unfortunately. I didn’t go as fast but I’m happy the team came together and obviously pulled out a nice bronze medal. We’re obviously top of the British nations so that’s another bonus.”
Holly said: “It was definitely nice to join the team on this one and get a bronze medal, so yeah it’s great. Obviously it’s a little bit of pressure but these girls did great to get us into medal position before I dove in.”
You can catch up from today’s action at www.teamengland.org with Team England’s daily medal tracker and regular website updates