TEAM NI: Day Two Review – Personal bests being achieved in Glasgow

Ashley Robinson
Ashley Robinson

It was an action-packed second day at the Commonwealth Games for Team NI, with many athletes qualifying and achieving personal bests.

It was an action-packed second day at the Commonwealth Games for Team NI, with many athletes qualifying and achieving personal bests.

The boxers fought with confidence in their opening matches, with Ballymena’s Steven Donnelly defeating his Pakistan opponent Hasan Asif by knockout in 37 seconds.

“I trained tremendously hard for this and as you saw in the first round it all paid off. But I’m not going to get carried away, it’s only the first round and I have a hard second round ahead.”

Ruairi Dalton (52kg) comfortably beat his Zambian opponent Christopher Katanga 3-0 with a unanimous decision from the judges, which sees him through to fight in the last 16 this Sunday.

“It’s good to get in there and get the win, that’s the main thing. There is a lot of pressure, you want to keep on winning and you don’t want to let anyone down but that spurs you on. I’m going for Gold. The support from the crowd was brilliant, it felt like home,” said Dalton.

Michael Conlan defeated Nauru’s Mathew Martin in a unanimous decision in the Men’s Bantam. He’ll be back in action on Monday.

“I was fully in control and felt happy with my performance. I’m looking forward to the next fight. It’s going to be a tough one,” said the boxing star.

“It’s against an Indian who is the world’s number 3 and I’m the number 2. It’s a finals kind of fight and one I’m definitely going to have to win and be in the best form,” added Conlan.

After a curtailed first day on the shooting range in the full bore rifle pairs, David Calvert, competing at his 10th Commonwealth Games, is in fourth position alongside his teammate Jack Alexander.

Parag Patel and David Luckman from England were leading the way on day one of qualification before heavy fog stopped competition early.

The England pair currently sits on top of the qualifcation group with a score of 200-29v, just ahead of James Corbett and Geoff Grenfell (Australia)on 200.26v. Calvert and Alexander have an overnight score of 119-25v.

All 19 teams will complete the remainder of their stage 1 shots at the 600-yard range on Sunday before moving on to the stage 2 targets of 900 and 1000 yards. Meanwhile, after three rounds in the men’s skeet Clement Buchanan lies 11th and David Christie 15th.

The Northern Ireland badminton team will face Jersey on Saturday morning at the Emirates Arena with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals of the mixed team event later in the day.

Brother and sister Tony and Alannah Stephenson led the way in the 4-1 victory over Mauritius on Friday with wins in the men’s and women’s singles.

Tony then teamed up with Tony Murphy to win the men’s doubles that made the win assured with Sinead Chambers and Caroline Black also victorious in the women’s doubles before Sinead and Ciaran Chambers narrowly lost the mixed doubles but by then it was a dead rubber. Jersey were beaten by Group winners England 5-0.

In cycling, James Brown and Dave Readle came 5th in the Men’s 1000m Time Trial B2 Tandem, 7.317 behind victorious Scottish duo Neil Fachie and Craig Maclean.

Northern Ireland had two more semi-finalists in the pool on Friday night giving them five over the first two days of competition. Michael Dawson finished in 16th 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:04.65.

Meanwhile, after winning a swim-off this morning to make the semi-finals of the 100m backstroke where she set a new personal best time of 1:05.36, 14-year-old Danielle Hill finished in 15th place in a slightly slower time of 1:06.17.

Hill’s PB time gave Northern Ireland swimmers seven PBs so far at the Commonwealth Games.

In Friday morning’s heats, Paralympic gold medalist Bethany Firth was 19th overall in 1:08.30.

Firth is positive about her experience at the Games: “It is great to be competing in mainstream events and the atmosphere is amazing! My first swim isn’t always the best so I’m looking forward to getting back in again. Team NI is really close and we all looking out for watch other, I’m looking forward to following my other Paralympic teammates in their events,” she said.

Jordan Sloan set a new personal best, his second of the Games so far, in the heats of the men’s 200m freestyle. Sloan finished fifth in a time of 1:50.01 and was ranked 12th overall.

Speaking after the race, Sloan said: “That is another PB so things are going well after a shaky start in the pool yesterday morning but a PB last night and today is great!”

In the women’s 50m freestyle heats Danielle Hill set the sixth personal best time for Northern Ireland swimmers so far at the Games, finishing second in 27:23 just ahead of team mate Rachel Bethel in 5th in 27:70. Bethany Firth was 8th in her heat in a time of 27:61. The three girls ranked 22nd, 32nd and 31st respectively.

In table tennis after qualifying for the knockout stages of the men’s team event the Northern Ireland trio of Paul McCreery, Ashley Robinson and Peter Graham were narrowly beaten 3-2 in the last 16 by fourth seeds Nigeria. McCreery warmed up for the singles competition to come by winning both his games.

However, the women’s team - Ashley Givan, Amanda Mogey, Hannah Lynch-Dawson and Emma Ludlow - lost out to Sri Lanka 3-1 despite a doubles win for Mogey and Lynch-Dawson and will now go into the classification round.

In netball, despite a strong performance, Northern Ireland suffered a defeat by Jamaica 65-34. They face New Zealand on Sunday.

In Lawn Bowls, the Men’s triples (Paul Daly, Neil Mulholland, Neil Booth) beat Fiji 23-8 and are into the Quarter Final with a game to spare. The Women’s fours lost their third game 15-11 to Malyasia and cannot qualify for the quarter finals.

In the Women’s Singles, Catherine McMillen has kept her hopes alive of reaching the quarter finals after a 21-15 win over Carmela Spiteri of Malta. McMillen now has three wins out of four but will need to beat England’s Natalie Melmore in her final group game to make it into the last eight. Meanwhile, Ian McClure and Martin McHugh remains alive in the Men’s

Pairs after two wins on Friday but will still need a victory over Canada and other results to go their way if they are to qualify.