Commonwealth Games

Devon delight at the Commonwealth Games

Torbay Weekly

Ollie Payne’s grandad had to leave halfway through one of England’s previous group games because he could not cope with the tension. It was a good job he wasn’t in attendance for their remarkable match against India.

The England hockey goalkeeper from Totnes has brought as many friends and family as possible, including grandparents Ron and Val.

But they were not in the stands for the big game against India at the University of Birmingham, and that was probably a good thing.

Payne said: “Half of Devon, I think has come up. (My grandparents) have been up but grandad watched one half of a game and then said his blood pressure was too high so he had to leave.”

Up against their biggest rivals in the group, England looked well off the pace as they trailed 3-0 at half-time.

A strike from Liam Ansell early in the third quarter looked like it would be a mere consolation when Harmanpreet Singh restored India’s three-goal lead.

But from there, England pounced on India’s indiscipline, including two yellow cards in the fourth quarter.

Phil Roper cut the deficit to two with a brilliant individual score before Nick Bandurak’s double earned the draw in a game England arguably could have won at the death – leaving Payne struggling to find the words to sum it up.

He said: “There are loads and loads of emotions. We shouldn’t have started poorly but the character to come back and do what we did was pretty special. It was a pretty special day to be part of. I haven’t played in front of a home crowd like that, ever.”

Devon duo Louis Ridout and Jamie Chestney held off an audacious Australian comeback to clinch Commonwealth gold in the lawn bowls men’s triples event in Leamington Spa.

Alongside Nick Brett, Ridout and Chestney held their nerve in the final two ends to hold off their Australian counterparts after letting a 12-1 lead slip to 12-12 before gaining a shot on each of the final two ends.

Skip Chestney was the calmest man in Victoria Park as he pulled out two big shots at the end to secure gold and send the crowd into delirium.

“I stayed positive, I just didn’t feel like we’d dropped off that much,” said Chestney.

“Australia started playing a lot better second half but we didn’t lose our heads and hoped a chance would come, luckily it did on the 17th end.

“I’m absolutely over the moon, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. I’m pretty emotional, [it was] up and down, to get over the line – there’s no feeling like it, the best moment of my career.

“I just saw my daughter Eliza as well which brought a tear to my eye. To have their support, it’s fantastic.”

The gold was Chestney’s third Commonwealth medal and Ridout’s second, but it was a first for Commonwealth debutant Nick Brett.

“[It feels] absolutely outstanding,” enthused Brett. “One of the best feelings I’ve ever had in the game.

“We’ve all got a bucket list, gold medal in a home Commonwealth Games is definitely on the list.

“Playing with these two, who have played fantastically, is on there too – they have been outstanding.

“If you’d had said to us at the start of the game you’d be 12-12 with two ends to play, we’d have all taken that.

“Jamie played a couple of bombs which earned us these puppies.”

It was an electric atmosphere at Leamington Spa as the home crowd willed on the England trio, and Ridout hailed the support of the spectators.

“The crowd has been fantastic, the atmosphere has been brilliant,” added Ridout. “Hopefully that showed bowls in a good image and pushed the sport forward.”

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