NZ team lifting its Games standard
New Zealand's Commonwealth Games campaign just keeps getting better.
The Kiwis added another six medals today - two golds, three silver and a bronze - to take the nation's tally to 27 after just five days of the 11-day event.
The team was well on track to topple the total haul of 36 from the Delhi Games four years ago.
Shooter Sally Johnston and weightlifter Richie Patterson provided the star turns with gold in the women's 50m prone rifle and 85kg weightlifting, respectively.
There were contrasting silvers at Hampden Park - Tom Walsh, 22, was disappointed to finish second in the men's shot put, but Julia Ratcliffe, 21, was "over the moon" with her silver in the women's hammer throw as the new generation of Kiwi throwers made a mark.
Lauren Boyle nabbed her first medal of the Games, with silver in the 800m freestyle, while squash ace Joelle King dominated her bronze medal playoff match against England's Alison Waters.
Patterson, the Delhi silver medallist four years ago, left it until his final lift to bank the win, but showed outstanding determination to claim the gold medal.
Ranked No 1 in the Commonwealth, Pattterson led the standings after the snatch with a lift of 151kg, courtesy of a lower body weight than Canadian champion Pascal Plamondon.
Plamondon set the running in the clean and jerk lifting 182kg on his third attempt for a combined total of 333kg.
Young Indian lifter Vikas Thakur, who lifted 150kg in the snatch, then took the lead with 333kg.
Patterson failed with his first attempt at 184kg as the last lifter to emerge from the warm up area.
He managed to get his second attempt above his head, but received red lights from two of the three judges to leave himself with one more chance.
It was all he needed, a total of 335kg earning him the victory.
Canterbury's Saxon Gregory-Hunt was ninth in the same division.
It's lucky Sally Johnston is so laid back; the drama and stress caused by crucial gear going missing would have knocked others off their stride.
But the Hutt Valley shooter, who was born and raised in Invercargill was cool, calm and collected as she won the women's 50m prone rifle gold medal in Carnoustie.
The bolt from her rifle and her ammunition went missing on her flight to Scotland and still hasn't turned up.
The bolts are matched to each gun, and so is the ammunition so it's not as simple as just getting a replacement.
Other members of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games shooting team said for most, that would be the type of blow to knock someone of even Johnston's ability out of medal contention.
"She's just so cool and laid back," team member Ryan Taylor said.
Johnston said: "There's no point getting worried about it or letting it affect you, is there?" Johnston led the 60-shot, 50-minute event early and hung on throughout recording high score after high score.
"Yeah, I shot pretty well today, but I had no idea how I was going. I was just concentrating me and my shots and I didn't know how others were affected by the wind."
Esmari Van Reenen of South Africa was second and Jen McIntosh of Scotland was third.
Southland's Jenna Mackenzie finished 14th in the 29-woman event.
Levin's Ryan Taylor was sixth in the final of the 50m men's prone rifle - Martin Hunt finished 13th - and Timaru's Natalie Rooney lost a shoot-off from bronze and finished fourth in the women's trap, the same event she finished fifth in at Delhi.
"I got fifth in Delhi and I was really hoping for a medal here, but it just didn't happen. I just wasn't quite there. I blew it really."
Ricky Zhao was 17th in the men's 50m pistol and Myles Browne-Cole was 12th in the men's trap.
ATHLETICS - FIELD
Walsh's near-best wasn't good enough for gold. The Kiwi shot put star, ranked No 1 coming into the event and the top qualifier, threw close to his personal best in today's Commonwealth Games final but was blasted out of Hampden Park by O'Dayne Richards.
The big Jamaican stunned Walsh with a career-best throw of 21.61m with his fourth attempt - exactly half a metre than his previous personal best.
Walsh was consistent throughout the final, with all throws in the late-20m, early-21m range.
His best effort, also on his fourth throw, was 21.19m, just 7cm shy of his career best.
To his credit, Walsh held his head high despite the obvious disappointment and applauded the crowd before leaving the arena.
It wasn't a good day for the Kiwi men, with Jacko Gill failing to fire in the final.
His first throw was a no-throw and he could only muster feeble attempts of 16.70m and 18.05m with his second and third attempts. The 19-year-old junior star missed the cut for the top eight and was forced to leave the arena after three throws.
Little known Ratcliffe formally announced herself to the New Zealand sporting public this morning with a silver medal in the women's hammer throw.
From the moment the 21-year-old Princeton University student, who hails from Hamilton, strode into the circle for the first time, she looked calm and composed and her early marker of 68.35m set the tone for a top evening of throwing.
She was second after the first round and she remained second throughout the final. She never looked like dropping that position; the only question was whether she could eek out an extra metre to challenge for gold.
That would be asking too much, as the No 1 ranked thrower in the Commonwealth, Canadian Sultana Frizell, stamped her mark on the final with three throws over 70m. Ratcliffe's best was her third, 69.96m, 2m shy of Frizell's 71.97m.
ATHLETICS - TRACK
Nikki Hamblin roared into contention for a third Commonwealth Games medal today when qualifying second fastest for tomorrow's women's 1500m final.
The Delhi silver medallist in the 800m and 1500m, who missed the London Olympics to undergo major surgery on both heels, clocked a season's best time of 4min 05.08sec. She finished second in heat one to fastest qualifier Hellen Obiri (Kenya) who ran a Games record 4:04.13.
London Olympian Lucy van Dalen was 14th fastest and missed qualifying for the final.
It was a disappointing opening day for New Zealand's two decathletes, with Delhi silver medallist Brent Newdick 11th at the halfway point while Scott McLaren withdrew.
McLaren was struggling with an ongoing left heel injury throughout the day, and in warmups for the 400m it didn't feel right so he pulled the pin.
Boyle claimed silver in the final of the women's 800 metres freestyle event in Glasgow this morning after one of the most dramatic races of the Commonwealth Games.
The 26-year-old went head-to-head for 650 metres of the final against eventual winner Jazmin Carlin of Wales.
Carlin's winning time of eight minutes 18.11 seconds was 2.28s quicker than Boyle, with Canada's Brittany Maclean a close-up third in 8:20.91,
It was New Zealand's second swimming medal in Glasgow, following on from Sophie Pascoe's victory in the 100m breaststroke SB9 final yestrerday.
Virtually nothing separated Carlin and Boyle for the first two-thirds of the race - Carlin was just .03 seconds ahead at the midway stage, while Boyle led by 0.01s with 300m to swim.
"I knew it was going to be a pretty tight race - she's been swimming really fast all year so I knew she'd be really strong tonight," Boyle said after her medal ceremony.
Carlin, Boyle and Maclean will meet again in the 400m tomorrow on the final day of the swimming programme, along with Australia's Bronte Barratt.
Kiwi backstroker Corey Main was fourth in the 200m backstroke final.
Main, who finished sixth in the 100m final earlier in the meet, led over the first half of the race but couldn't hold on to a podium place over the last 50 metres.
Glenn Snyders was the third Kiwi scheduled in a final on the penultimate day of swimming in Glasgow and he came agonisingly close to giving the Kiwis the third medal of the meet.
The 27-year-old was fifth in the men's 50m breaststroke in 27.53 seconds; just 0.07s off the bronze medal time of Australia's Christian Sprenger.
Joelle King completed a pleasing set of Games medals today with a bronze in the women's singles.
King dominated throughout a three-set victory over Waters in o collect her third Games medal in as many different disciplines after winning gold and silver in the women's doubles and mixed doubles respectively at Delhi four years ago.
"Obviously it would have been great to have a gold, but I'm just happy to have a medal," King said following her 11-7 11-7 11-5 win at Scotstoun.
"All week I've actually played some pretty good squash."
King will be back in action tomorrow as she still has women's and mixed doubles duties, with her and Martin Knight among the favourites in the mixed event.
The Black Sticks women's hockey team produced a gritty performance to beat South Africa 2-1 and take control of their pool.
This was a crucial top of the table match in Pool A and the performance of both teams reflected that in an end to end affair.
Both teams scored from penalty corners in the first half and New Zealand skipper Kayla Whitelock initiated the decider with a wonderful counterattack finished by Krystal Forgesson in the 17th minute of the second half.
With Australia beating England 3-nil earlier in the day to take control of Pool B, this was a vital win for New Zealand to try to avoid their trans-Tasman rivals in the looming semifinals.
New Zealand wrap up their pool play with a game against Canada on Thursday.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry arrived at the boxing just in time to see West Coaster Bowyn Morgan continue New Zealand's good run in the ring.
Morgan beat Botswana's Mmusi Tswiige in a 2-1 split decision to make it two wins from two in the welterweight division at Glasgow, joining fellow Kiwis David Nyika (light heavyweight), David Light (heavyweight), Chad Milnes (lightweight) and Leroy Hindley (light welterweight) in the quarterfinals.
Middleweight Eric Finau couldn't join the quintet, losing his round of 16 match 3-0 to South African Siphiewe Lusizi.
Men's gymnastics coach David Phillips was satisfied with his team's performance at the halfway stage of the two-day teams event, with the Kiwis lying seventh.
England were first, ahead of Scotland and Canada.
"It was a solid day, unfortunately we had to count a couple of routines that weren't strong routines, but we didn't have to count too many falls," Phillips said.
"We are in striking distance for day two. Day two is our three strongest events so I'm not disappointed at all really.''
New Zealand were also seventh after the first day of qualification in the women's artistic teams gymnastics competition.
Missing star performer Courtney McGregor, who suffered a knee injury two days ago and had to pull out of the Games, the Kiwis fell behind with England, Australia and Wales holding the top three spots midway through the competition.
The teams event finished tomorrow, with the top 24 men's and women's gymnasts advancing to the individual all-around competition, and the top eight individuals in each apparatus competing for medals.
There was more good news today for New Zealand from the leafy setting of the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre.
The women's pairs combination of Jo Edwards and Val Smith beat Kenya 21-14 to remained unbeaten in section B, while the Mandy Boyd-skipped women's triple had a 21-7 victory over the Cook Islands.
Shannon McIlroy beat Northern Ireland's M McHugh to remain at the top of section C in the men's singles, while the men's four drew 14-14 with Malaysia and the para-sport open triples team edged Australia 11-8.