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PNG grabs first medal for Pacific Islands

We saw an exciting day two at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as the Fijiana, the Fiji women’s rugby sevens team look to be the first Pacific Island team to pick a gold medal in Birmingham.

There was action all around and the Games have really picked up momentum. The Pacific claimed their first medal through Papua New Guinea with Morea Baru picking up a silver in the men’s weightlifting 61kg with a total weight of 273kg.

Morea Baru of PNG after winning a silver medal in Birmingham. Picture: ONOC

He said his hard work had paid off. The sport of weightlifting is likely to bring in more medals for the Pacific teams. In case you missed out, here is a round up of day two at Birmingham 2022.

RUGBY SEVENS

Australia stunned old rivals New Zealand to end the All Blacks’ defence of their women’s Rugby Sevens title.

New Zealand came to Birmingham defending both women’s and men’s titles and were expected to beat Australia to reach the final, but a hat-trick of tries from Maddison Levi saw the Aussies through to Sunday’s final.

Australia will square off against Fiji for the gold medal after their dominant 24-7 semi-final win over Canada. New Zealand remain on course to defend their title in the men’s competition, making the semi-finals with a 31-0 win over Kenya.

The Fiji Women beat Australia in pool play and now face them in the gold medal playoff. Picture: Fiji Rugby

Fiji and South Africa are also in the last four after dominant wins, with Australia rounding off the semi-finals. England’s medal hopes in both men’s and women’s competitions ended in the group stages, with both sides losing to New Zealand.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Australia’s Chris McHugh began the defence of his gold medal alongside new partner Paul Burnett with a 2-0 win over the Maldives.

There were also wins for Rwanda and New Zealand while England beat Tuvalu as the Pacific archipelago made its Games debut.

Tuvalu’s Australian coach Marty Collins explained the determination of his team to compete as their nation battles against the effects of climate change.

“In these guys’ lifetime, if nothing changes their homeland won’t be there any more,” said Collins.

“They don’t really have a beach that’s wide and flat enough to set up a court. A few places they have had courts in the last few years aren’t really there any more, partly because of global warming.

“In the last few months they had to make a court in the outer islands which a couple of hours’ boat ride away. They went there and they had a little camp. Put it this way – they weren’t staying in hotels out there.”

In the women’s competition, Canada beat Ghana 2-0 and New Zealand beat Kenya 2-0.

CRICKET

Alice Capsey defied a black eye to anchor England’s pursuit of 107 as the hosts marked their first ever foray into cricket at the Commonwealth Games with a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

England’s Alice Capsey hits a four during the women’s Twenty20 Cricket match between England and Sri Lanka on day two of the Commonwealth Games at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England, on July 30, 2022. Picture: Darren Staples / AFP

England slipped to 63 for four on a tricky Edgbaston surface, where timing proved difficult, but Capsey was a reassuring presence despite the 17-year-old only making her international debut last Saturday.

Sporting a shiner having top-edged a ball into her face while warming up in the nets, Capsey shrugged of the issue to top-score with 44 off 45 balls as England overhauled their target after 17.1 overs.

Suzie Bates struck an unbeaten 91 off just 64 balls to help New Zealand to a 13-run win over South Africa.

Bates struck three sixes and eight other boundaries to help the Kiwis pile on 167 for two before a spell of three for 37 from Sophie Devine helped restrict the Proteas to 154 for seven.

TABLE TENNIS

Australia eased into the women’s team semi-finals with a 3-0 victory over Canada, while Malaysia came through a thrilling contest against defending champions India to win 3-2.

Singapore, beaten finalists four years ago, beat Guyana 3-0 to reach the last four and Wales progressed with a 3-0 win over England.

Women’s table tennis event with Fiji’s Grace Ried and Titana Touea. Picture: ONOC

Defending men’s team champions India progressed to the quarter-finals with a perfect record after a 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland, while Nigeria and England also claimed maximum points to top their respective groups.

Canada topped Group 4 with a 3-1 win over Malaysia, who also progress to the last-eight stage, as do Bangladesh, Singapore and Cyprus.

NETBALL

England saw off stiff competition from Malawi to make it back-to-back wins in defence of their women’s netball title.

Eleanor Cardwell scored 31 goals in a 66-41 victory, with Joanne Harten contributing 21, as the Roses added to Friday’s resounding win over Trinidad and Tobago.

New Zealand beat Uganda 53-40, while Australia beat Scotland 83-30 and Jamaica beat South Africa 55-31.

BASKETBALL 3X3

England and Australia made it two wins from two in the men’s Pool B. Australia came through 21-11 winners over New Zealand while England beat the British Virgin Islands 22-5.

In the women’s 3×3 competition, New Zealand have a perfect record after beating England 15-14 and Canada 21-11. In the wheelchair basketball, Canada racked up two wins, beating Kenya 17-1 and Northern Ireland 13-5.

BADMINTON

Defending mixed team champions India eased past Sri Lanka 5-0, Australia edged Pakistan 3-2, while wins for Scotland and Canada – 4-1 over Uganda and 5-0 against the Maldives respectively – saw the two victors reach the quarter-finals.

England suffered their first defeat of the group stage, losing 4-1 to Singapore, while 2018 silver medallists Malaysia thrashed South Africa 5-0 as all four nations progressed.

Canada progressed after a 3-2 win over Scotland, who have also qualified. Jamaica and Mauritius both claimed 4-1 score lines over Zambia and Barbados respectively but their wins were in vain as they failed to advance.

HOCKEY

Team England kicked off their campaign in Birmingham in style with a thumping 12-0 triumph over Ghana in women’s Pool A, as Grace Balsdon’s hat-trick helped them to their biggest ever win at the Commonwealth Games.

Australia’s Shanea Tonkin (3L) celebrates scoring with her teammates during the Women’s Hockey event against Kenya on day two of the Commonwealth Games at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre in Birmingham, central England, on July 30, 2022. Picture: Glyn Kirk / AFP

The team has won a medal at every Games since hockey was first introduced in 1998 having picked up three silver and three bronze medals, but they will be looking to complete the set in Birmingham.

Australia eased past Kenya 8-0, India beat Wales 3-1 and New Zealand beat Scotland 1-0. In the men’s competition South Africa drew with Pakistan and Wales beat Canada 5-1.

LAWN BOWLS

Team England secured big wins over the Falkland Islands and the Cook Islands in the men’s pairs, hitting 67 points across their two matches.

In the para women’s pairs, Australia picked up victories over South Africa and New Zealand – who also suffered defeat at the hands of Scotland.

BOXING

Nigeria’s Abdul-Afeez Osoba earned a knockout win over Carl Leviticus Hield of the Bahamas in the men’s Over 67kg round of 32, where there were also wins for Merven Clair of Mauritius and Cyprus’ Rafail Pafios.

MORE NEWS:
Day one -what happened at the games
The Pacific’s big Commonwealth Games hopes

England’s Jodie Charlotte Wilkinson beat Nigeria’s Bolanle Temitope Shogbamu in the women’s Over 6kg round of 16.

SQUASH

England’s defending men’s singles champion James Willstrop is into the last 16 after a 3-0 win over Christian Navas. Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold won 3-0 in the women’s singles, with Canada’s Nicole Bunyan also into the last 16.

View the Pacific medal tally on The Pacific Advocate homepage HERE.

View the entire 2022 Commonwealth Games medal tally HERE.

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