Turner, MLF & Thompson in Great City Games victory
Wins from Andy Turner, Mark Lewis-Francis and a fine 2nd from Chris Thompson helped England defeat Australia in the Great City Games in Newcastle.
Report from www.bbc.co.uk
England captain Andy Turner won the 110m hurdles at the Great North CityGames to lead his team to a 5-4 victory against Australia in Gateshead. The European 110m champion won in 13.4 seconds in the games' final event as England retained the trophy. In what was a Commonwealth Games tune up for many competitors, there were wins for Hannah England, Mark Lewis-Francis and Australia's Sally Pearson. "We'll go to Delhi full of confidence. We've got a strong team," Turner said.
In last year's inaugural meeting, Australia put up only limited opposition in losing 10-1, however Turner insisted that this year's meeting had been far more beneficial. "I was just looking for a team victory so I'm happy with my performance," he added. "I went in knowing I had to win or the team would be let down. I am happy to have won under that pressure. "We had a strong team and there is also a lot of quality to come in. "We can win a lot of medals and I for one want to replicate what I did in Barcelona."
However, one winner who will be absent from the games is Australian Craig Mottram. The former Commonwealth silver medallist was left out because of fitness concerns, but hit out at the selectors after beating England's European silver medallist Craig Thompson in the two-mile event. "I was the only one in that race not going to the games," stated Mottram. "The win gave me a bit of satisfaction as I wanted to do well today. "A few selectors were here and maybe they were scratching their heads a bit. "I would have loved to have gone a bit better than silver last time." In the women's one mile race, England showed off her superior sprint finish to run away from team-mate Helen Clitheroe, the two having been level going into the final 100m. And there was also a surprise victory for England's Luke Cutts in the pole vault, his second time clearance of 5.20m good enough to win with Australia's Olympic champion Steve Hooker failing all three attempts at his opening 5.40m mark.
England's two other winners on the day - Lewis-Francis and Marlon Devonish - admitted they faced a tough challenge in trying to win sprint medals in Delhi. Lewis-Francis, who won the 100m in 10.12 seconds, said: "That's what I needed. I needed to get a good run in the bag. "I'm still in form, I'm staying consistent, I'm staying in shape. We'll see what surprises I can pull out of the bag. I like surprises." Devonish, triumphant in the 150m, added: "I would like to come back with some kind of medal. If I do that I'll be happy. If not I'll be slightly disappointed."
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