Diamonds win Australia’s 1,000th Commonwealth Games gold medal with netball title, Australia wins historic women’s cricket final

The Diamonds have won Australia’s 1,000th Commonwealth Games gold medal with a thrilling 55-51 victory over Jamaica in the netball final.

Australia became the first country to reach four figures on the penultimate day of competition in Birmingham, which yielded seven golds as part of a 19-medal haul to stay well clear at the top of the tally heading into the final day of competition.

The Diamonds’ triumph was their fourth Commonwealth Games gold medal, but just their second since 2002 as they claimed redemption for a one-goal loss to England in the 2018 final and revenge for a group stage loss to the Jamaicans.

Despite playing in their first gold medal match, the Sunshine Girls looked more composed to start, and did not panic when Australia jumped out to a 13-7 lead, pegging them back to 14-12 at the first break.

Jamaica started the second quarter on a 10-4 run, but Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich did a complete reshuffle of her line-up, moving Gretel Bueta from goal-shooter to goal-attack, introducing Cara Koenen as GS, and bringing Sarah Klau on as goal-keeper.

The complexion of the game changed from that point and scores were tied at 29 heading into half-time.

The Diamonds started the third quarter on a 10-1 run and ratcheted up the defensive pressure to rattle Jamaica, who trailed by six goals heading into the final term.

That was the same margin they trailed by in the group clash with Australia, which ended up as a two-goal win for Jamaica, but there was to be no such turnaround this time, with Bueta ending with a perfect 37/37 shooting record across both attacking positions.

Klau and Courtney Bruce performed excellently in the opposite circle, although Jamaican captain Jhaniele Fowler still ended with 46 goals from 47 attempts.

Earlier, New Zealand beat England 55-48 to claim bronze.

Seven gold medals on second-last day in Birmingham

Another of Australia’s most successful teams, our women’s cricketers, claimed an historic gold medal in the T20 competition.

They became the first gold medallists in women’s cricket at the Commonwealth Games with a nine-run win over India in the final, adding the gold medal to their Twenty20 and 50-over World Cup wins.

Tahlia McGrath could not celebrate with the team though, as she tested positive for COVID-19 just before the match. She was still allowed to play but could not contact other members of the team, including telling them to stay away from her after she took a catch to dismiss Shafali Verma.

Beth Mooney starred with the bat with 61 runs off 41 balls as Australia reached 8-161.

India appeared ready to launch an assault on the run chase when Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues put on 96 runs for the third wicket, but India lost 8-34 to go from 2-118 to all out for 152 at Edgbaston.

The Hockeyroos did not have quite as good a time in their final against England, going down 2-1 to claim silver.

Cyclist Georgia Baker kickstarted the day’s gold rush with her win in the women’s road race, with Sarah Roy joining her on the podium in third.

There was double gold in the diving, with Cassiel Rousseau and Maddison Keeney winning the men’s 10m platform and women’s 3m springboard titles respectively.

The final day of the athletics program was also fruitful for Australia, with Kelsey-Lee Barber leading an Aussie 1-2 in the women’s javelin with Mackenzie Little, who was one of four Australia silver medallists in track and field — alongside Brooke Buschkuehl (long jump), Peter Bol (800m) and Declan Tingay (10,000m walk) — while Abbey Caldwell got bronze in the women’s 1,500m.

Both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams played exciting gold medal matches against Canada, with Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett winning the men’s final, and Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar forced to settle for women’s silver.

There were two silvers in boxing, with Kaye Scott (women’s light middleweight) and Callum Peters (men’s middleweight) going down in their gold medal bouts.

In table tennis, Lin Ma got silver in the men’s singles classes 8-10, and Yangzi Liu won bronze in the women’s singles.