England’s Nick Matthew and Adrian Grant were unable to defend their men’s doubles title after they were beaten by Australia’s Cameron Pilley and David Palmer at Scotstoun in the final action at the Commonwealth Games.
Glasgow 2014 was wrapped up when Matthew was unable to retrieve a shot in the last moments of competition in the 11-day multi-sport event as the Australian pair claimed a 10-11 11-7 11-9 victory over the English duo in a hard-fought match.
Matthew, who was crowned Commonwealth men’s singles champion when he beat rival James Willstrop in an enthralling final last Monday, was looking to win his fourth Commonwealth gold after he also won the singles and doubles titles in Delhi four years ago
Alongside Grant, the man who he won doubles gold with at the 2010 Games, the 34-year-old narrowly missed out after Palmer and Pilley pushed the English pair all of the way and were well worth their victory.
The six-time British champion and team-mate Grant were more refreshed than their experienced opponents, who had both been in action earlier in the day - Pilley winning mixed doubles bronze with Kasey Brown while Palmer won gold with Rachael Grinham after they defeated England’s Alison Waters and Peter Barker.
However, that was not apparent at the end of the one hour and 20-minute match, with Matthew and Grant having to settle for silver.
They edged the first game 11-10 after an evenly-matched start before Pilley and Palmer crept to a 4-1 lead in game two.
The English pair clawed their way back into the game but were unable to halt the slide as their opponents took the match into a decider.
Strong play from England saw them move 3-0 ahead in the third and final game but Australia came back to level at 4-4 before moving 8-6 ahead.
The defending champions stayed in touching distance, though, and levelled the match at 9-9 but the Australian pair were too strong and closed out the Games in style.
Matthew was understandably disappointed after missing out on gold, but remained philosophical after what was still a successful week.
“I thought the good start in the final game was going to carry us through but you can second-guess every shot in doubles,” Matthew said.
“In singles there is a planning structure where if something goes wrong it is easier to correct but in doubles there are so many variables and it is such a momentum game.
“We did ourselves proud, we put our game plan into practice but they pulled off two great shots to win.
“We never got more than a two-point lead having gone 3-0 up so I guess if we would have had that cushion we may have got the win.
“I’m happy with my week’s work. I was on a hospital bed five weeks ago and had minimal court time but I have played every day of action here.
“I would have signed for what I have achieved beforehand, we both wouldn’t have achieved what we have done in the game if we weren’t disappointed by this loss.”
Grant added: “It went to the wire, at that stage it just takes one small shot, one shot off the frame and that is the game gone.
“Credit where it is due to the Australians, they fought hard and so did we and that was what the crowd was here to see.”