COMMONWEALTH GAMES: It's silver joy for French

Matt French concentrates on his target

Matt French concentrates on his target

First published in Sport

Matt French admitted he had been unlucky to secure only a silver medal at Glasgow 2014.

The clay pigeon shooter from Oakley near Bicester, had to be content with second place in the double trap final at Carnoustie yesterday after England teammate Steve Scott produced a perfect performance to take gold.

Scott shot 30 out of 30 to pip the 29 scored by 33-year-old French on Sunday.

And this came after both had made the gold medal match by denying India’s Asab Mohd in a three-way semi-final shoot-out.

“That score normally wins, by quite a margin,” French shrugged. “I couldn’t do a great deal more, but you can’t beat a man who doesn’t miss. Steve shot amazingly.”

Scott, 29, said: “It was probably the most passionate shoot-off I’ve ever been involved in because if I ever wanted anyone to beat me it would be Matthew.”

Meanwhile, Zoe Shipperley reflected on a dream come true after helping England reach the women's hockey semi-finals.

The 24-year-old, from Marsh Gibbon, near Bicester, was part of a determined defensive effort that saw England hold on to beat Scotland 2-1 in their final pool match.

That victory earned her side a semi-final showdown with New Zealand tomorrow and kept alive their gold medal hopes. “I am absolutely thrilled,” said the former St Edward’s School, Oxford pupil and staff member, who only made her England debut this year.

“The opportunity to ever play for your country is an unbelievable one and to play in the semi-finals and potentially a gold is just something you always dream of.

“It’s great when it becomes a reality and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Due to their superior goal difference, England only had to avoid defeat to make the semi-finals.

England took the lead on 16 minutes with a tidy finish from Alex Danson.

Scotland missed a great chance to level when Nicola Lloyd could not slide home into an empty net.

It was 2-0 on 28 minutes when Susannah Townsend lifted home after the hosts were unable to clear a controversial penalty corner.

But with four minutes of the first half remaining, Nikki Kidd fired in from a penalty corner.

Danson shot over when well placed early in the second half, before Scotland twice went close several times themselves.

The hosts kept pressing, but Shipperley and her defensive colleagues kept them at bay.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable to reach the semis,” she said.

“It’s what we came here to do. That was our No 1 target and to have done that is such a brilliant feeling.

“Everyone is buzzing.”

Shipperley added: “It was a very tense game. There were quite a few nerves out there.

“We knew it was going to be tough against the Scots.

“We always have battles with them.

“It was just brilliant to come out on the right side of that.”

England have a rest day today, but the pressure increases tomorrow.

“Now it definitely does get serious,” added Shipperley.

“That’s what we have come here to do. We wanted a medal and hopefully that is what we are going to bring home.

“Hopefully gold, that would be ideal.”

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