COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Halford helps Wales to team silver
WILTSHIRE rhythmic gymnast Laura Halford and teammates Francesca Jones and Nikara Jenkins made history by winning Wales' first ever Commonwealth Games team medal as they claimed silver in Glasgow.
The trio finished behind hot favourites Canada thanks to an all-round consistent performance.
The Canadian team of Patricia Bezzoubenko, Maria Kitkarska and Annabelle Kovacs won gold with a total score of 141.450, with Wales' tally of 136.625 putting them in second place ahead of Malaysia in bronze.
England's Stephani Sherlock - who trains with Cricklade's Halford at Swindon's Esprit club, Lynne Hutchison and Mimi-Isabella Cesar came home in fourth place, while the Scottish trio of Lauren Brash, Rebecca Bee and Victoria Clow finished in seventh.
Halford also booked her place in Friday's all-around final and Saturday's hoop, ball and ribbon finals. Sherlock qualified for the all-around, hoop and ball finals.
After the afternoon session which saw the gymnasts compete with the hoop and ball, Wales held second place and they consolidated their position in the evening in front of an almost sell-out crowd at the Hydro with consistent and often dazzling performances with the clubs and ribbon.
Jenkins opened the decisive session for Wales with 11.850 for her ribbon routine before Halford achieved 13.400 to extend her team's lead at the top of the standings early in the third rotation.
Jones weighed in with 13.675 after a couple of minor errors as the medal favourites continued to live up to their credentials.
Wales stayed on top until Bezzoubenko's excellent 15.575 with the clubs capped a strong team performance that saw Canada surge almost seven points clear.
Sherlock nearly went clean in her clubs routine but for a slight lack of control at the end.
With one rotation remaining, Canada were in gold medal position ahead of Wales, with Malaysia third, England fourth and hosts Scotland in seventh.
Halford kept Wales firmly in medal contention with 13.500 for her clubs routine.
Jones finished off the evening's proceedings for Wales and kissed her clubs before being hugged by her teammates as her score of 15.150 propelled Wales back to the top of the standings.
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