England poised for gymnastics gold

England's Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Nile Wilson and Kristian Thomas wave to the crowd after scoring a total of 266.804

England's Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Nile Wilson and Kristian Thomas wave to the crowd after scoring a total of 266.804

First published in National Sport News © by

England's men have all but claimed gymnastics team gold while Scotland are poised to claim their first ever Commonwealth team medal after Tuesday's opening session at the Hydro.

The five-man team of Sam Oldham, Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Nile Wilson scored a total of 266.804 to sit in top spot ahead of the evening session, which has no real contenders to derail their medal bid, and did so after losing Oldham to an ankle injury on the first piece of apparatus on day two.

Scotland's five of Frank Baines, Adam Cox, Liam Davie, Dan Keatings and Dan Purvis are in silver medal position with a total of 257.603, with Canada sitting in bronze with 252.078.

England's men had topped the pile at the halfway stage on Monday night with 133.806 ahead of the vault, parallel bars and high bar apparatus on Tuesday, with Scotland second (127.240) and Canada third (125.380).

Wales, who started the second day in fourth place, had a shaky start on the vault and did not hit top form on the parallel bars before achieving a final total of 241.385 after the high bar to sit in fifth behind Australia (246.941).

England and Scotland both resumed in the next sub-division, with Whitlock and Thomas impressing on the vault while Purvis led Scotland's medal charge on the parallel bars with 14.733. Keatings fell on landing but scored 14.100.

However, Oldham landed awkwardly after his vault and was carried from the apparatus after clutching his left ankle before leaving the arena shortly afterwards in a wheelchair for a scan.

It meant England were left to compete on the parellel bars and high bar with a man down, with three scores needed on each to go towards the team total.

Pommel horse specialist Smith stepped up and scored 14.133 on the p-bars and was bettered by Whitlock and Wilson as England's charge continued.

Scotland's Baines impressed on the high bar with 14.633 before Keatings came back from his earlier tumble to achieve 14.566 which should secure the duo places in individual finals, with the line-ups for each apparatus and all-around final to also be decided at the end of the day.

The final rotation saw England on the high bar and Scotland on vault, with Whitlock again sticking a clean routine as he topped the all-around qualification after a score of 14.766 gave him a total of 90.365.

Wilson and Thomas finished off England's team medal bid with clean and high-scoring routines which all but secured them gold, while a strong series of vaults left Scotland in second.

England and Scotland are also both set to have representation in each apparatus final and the all-around final, where a maximum of two gymnasts per country are allowed to compete.

In the women's competition, Wales kept their medal hopes on course with a final score of 160.095 to sit top of the standings ahead of England, who will finish off their competition in the evening session with Australia and Canada.

Smith, who is competing in his first major event since winning team bronze and pommel horse silver at London 2012, said: "I think I've answered my critics - today has been a brilliant experience despite what happened to Sam.

"We had to concentrate on what we needed to do and it put a bit of pressure on a few of us with three scores to count but we did the job and we've had fun doing it.

"We love the Commonwealth Games and it has been a great experience."

Thomas, who was the last man to compete on the high bar for England and did so knowing he had to deliver a clean routine as Oldham could not compete, added: "There's always a lot of pressure going last up on the high bar - it's a high-pressure apparatus and I was so glad just to get through the routine cleanly.

"The last few months we've been training so, so hard and that was for the whole team and Sam as well.

"There's no news on Sam yet, he's just gone to be assessed so we don't know what the situation is yet but we wish him all the best - I'm pretty sure he'll be fine."

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