Annie led from first to Last on her way to Commonwealth gold in the women’s cross-country mountain biking.
The 27-year-old Annie Last could only manage fourth in Glasgow four years ago, but on Thursday she and compatriot Evie Richards led from the off on their way to an English one-two, the first time England’s women have won a Commonwealth medal in this event.
Hitting the front at the very first corner, Last and Richards, 21, never looked back over the six-lap race.
The Sheffield rider then made her move to drop Richards early on the third lap, and eventually took victory by 48 seconds, with Richards a further minute and a half clear of Canada’s Haley Smith in bronze, while Scotland’s Isla Short was fifth.
And Last revealed that it had been a deliberate tactic to get to the front early in a bid to avoid any unfortunate mishaps on the course in Nerang.
She said: “I’m really happy with the race. For me it went to plan. I had a smooth race, I didn’t make too many big mistakes and I managed to position correctly so that I was able to get it all out there and pace it well. I’m really happy and it’s great to have Evie second and pushing the race.
“There’s quite a bit of single track on this course so I wanted to be in a position where I was near the front at least. There’s the potential that if you’re gunning too far back, someone in front of you could have messed up and you could have lost kind of contention with the front so I wanted to make sure I was near the front.”
Richards added: "I've dreamt about getting a medal at the Commonwealth Games since I was a child. I had no idea I would be able to place. I'm so chuffed.
"I watched in Glasgow because I was just getting into mountain biking then. I watched Annie in Glasgow and now to get a medal alongside her is just so special."
Later in the day England’s Frazer Clacherty took fifth as the highest-placed Brit in the men’s event which was won in dramatic fashion by New Zealand’s Sam Gaze.
Keeping it in the family
It’s fair to say shooting runs in the McIntosh family and now Scotland’s Seonaid can claim to have joined the party.
The 22-year-old scored 618.1 points to take bronze in the women’s 50m rifle prone event.
That made her the third member of her family to win a Commonwealth Games shooting medal after older sister Jennifer and mother Shirley – the latter winning gold in the 50m rifle prone event at Victoria 1994.
Gold went to Singapore’s Martina Lindsay with a Games record 621.0 with Jennifer, who won two golds at Delhi 2010, coming eighth.
England’s Lina Jones was fourth, two places above the Isle of Man’s Rachel Glover.
Sheaf and Gregory miss out on medal
Jake Sheaf and Chris Gregory’s bid for silverware came up short on the Coolangatta beachfront as they were defeated by New Zealand pairing Ben and Sam O’Dea.
The English duo were seeded third for the competition, one place above their opponents, but they were outplayed in the bronze medal match on the beach.
New Zealand took the opening set 21-13 and raced into an early lead in the second. But while Sheaf and Gregory did manage to get a few points on the board, it only halted the Kiwi charge so long as New Zealand wrapped up the win 21-13 21-15 in 40 minutes.
Strong start for Johnson-Thompson
Katarina Johnson-Thompson set the early pace in the women’s heptathlon, taking the lead after the opening two events.
The two-time Olympian opened with the fourth best time of 13.54 in the 100m hurdles before clearing a best height of 1.87m to accrue 2111 points, with Canada’s Nina Schultz second on 2084. This evening sees the shot put and 200m.
There was an encouraging performance from England’s Alexandra Bell who set a personal best 2:00.11 on the way to a maiden Commonwealth Games 800m final although Shelayna Oskan-Clarke and Adelle Tracey both missed out.
Bell said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have a guaranteed place in the final. With 150m to go I felt really strong so I just tried to stay as close to the leaders as possible and drove through to the line. I could not believe it when I looked at the board!"
Tiffany Porter and Alicia Barrett both made Friday’s 100m hurdles final, Sophie McKinna, Rachel Wallader and Amelia Strickler came through shot put qualification while Nathan Douglas progressed into his second Commonwealth Games triple jump final.
Elsewhere on the Gold Coast
Commonwealth champion Jack Laugher qualified for this morning’s 3m springboard final with a plethora of home nations joining him in the medal dives.
Laugher, already a 1m springboard gold medallist, scored 396.40 to sit in fifth after qualification – two paces behind Ross Haslam while fellow Englishman Jack Haslam sat in 12th.
Wales’ Aidan Heslop also progressed as did James Heatly of Scotland – one day after becoming his country’s first diving medallist since his grandad 60 years ago.
England are in women’s hockey semi-final action later this morning while Wales beat Ghana on a shootout to finish ninth and Scotland defeated Malaysia 4-2 for seventh.
A narrow win over Barbados saw Scotland secure ninth in the netball, one place behind Northern Ireland, with Wales beating Fiji for 11th.
Meanwhile Scotland are into the women’s triples lawn bowls final where Australia await after they beat England, while Scotland also reached the semi-finals of the women’s pairs.
Scotland’s Darren Burnett and Robert Paxton of England are also into the men’s singles last four.
The table tennis quarter finals take place later today with a number of British hopefuls while the semi-finals are in reach on the squash court.
Chloe Birch and Jess Pugh progressed into the women’s doubles badminton quarter-finals, as did Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith in the mixed and Rajiv Ouseph in the singles.
But Ben Lane and Chris Adcock missed out, as did Alex Dunn and Eleanor O’Donnell for Scotland.