England netball coach Tracey Neville savoured “a dream come true” after her team stunned hosts Australia to snatch a dramatic gold on the final day of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The Roses clinched victory with the final throw of a tense final, Helen Housby scoring to seal a 52-51 win. It was their first ever major title and helped England to achieve their highest gold medal tally at an overseas Games since 1990.
“Its my dream come true,” said Neville. “The girls have worked so hard over the last international phase. Australia are the renowned world No1s – to beat them, Im really, really proud. The feeling is amazing.”
England came back from six points behind in an epic semi-final with Jamaica and overturned a four-point deficit in the final quarter against Australia – before Housbys winner.
“As a shooter you dream of that moment – Commonwealth Games final, last-second goal – but you never believe Its really going to happen,” she said. “Its the best day of my life.”
Husband-and-wife pair Chris and Gabby Adcock won badminton mixed doubles gold after beating Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith in an all-English final.
Liam Pitchford and Tin-Tin Ho took mixed doubles silver in table tennis, while there was more silver in squash for Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller in the doubles, with James Willstrop and Declan James securing bronze.
Team Englands final haul of 45 golds was seven fewer than the last Games in Edinburgh but only one shy of their achievement in Auckland 28 years ago – by far their best Commonwealths outside the British Isles.
Another 45 silvers and 46 bronzes gave them a total of 136 medals – also their second best for an overseas Games.
Organisers were forced to defend their athlete welfare arrangements after doctors took two minutes to reach Scotlands Callum Hawkins when he collapsed while leading the marathon.
Hawkins, 25, hit his head on a barrier although he was conscious when taken to hospital for checks.
Commentator and former middle distance runner Steve Cram called the wait for treatment “disgrace”, but Mark Hawkins of the local organising committee said: “We need to check the facts out. You can't have medical people on every kilometre of the road.”