Commonwealth Games: England No 1 with a bullet

ENGLAND STRUCK double gold in the shooting competition on Langwaki Island yesterday. Nigel Wallace and Chris Hector won the pairs men's air rifle and Nick Baxter and Michael Gault, who are banned from practising at home because of Britain's gun laws, claimed a second gold in the men's pairs free pistol.

Wallace and Hector won with 1,173 points and the Scottish pair David Rattray and Robin Law took the bronze medal with 1,163.

Baxter and Gault's winning total was 1093. "We have to train in Europe because the free pistol is banned in England," Baxter said. "All our hard work for the last six months has paid off today."

Wallace and Hector went one better than four years ago in Victoria, when they picked up a silver medal.

England's rugby sevens team survived a near-upset to scrape into the quarter-finals via the back door. Chris Sheasby's team knew they had a problem after a 19-12 defeat by the Western Samoans, but they rallied well, hammering Trinidad and Tobago 50-7. Wales also progressed as the other best-placed runner-up thanks to a 62-0 victory over the lowly-rated Cayman Islands. Wales had earlier lost 45-7 to Canada. England now face Australia while Wales meet the All Blacks.

In the bowls competition, the world champion, Tony Allcock of England made a winning start, easily disposing of David Marquand of Jersey 25- 15 in pool A. With Scotland's Willie Wood, the 1982 gold medallist, and Rowan Brassey of New Zealand both losing their first games, Allcock is favourite to take the title.

Wood, who lost 25-24 to the former world indoor champion John Price of Wales in a quality match on Saturday, had a bye yesterday while the Welshman made it two in a row with a 25-14 victory over Ahmad Sanip of Brunei.

David Evans, the Welsh squash No 2, pulled off the first big surprise of the tournament when he reached the quarter-finals by bringing down world No 5, Simon Parke of England.

Evans had to make a remarkable recovery to achieve it, coming from within four points of defeat at 1-5 down in the fourth game before winning 9- 4, 0-9, 2-9, 9-5, 9-1. He now plays Jonathon Power, the second-seeded Canadian.

The world No 1, Peter Nicol of Scotland, came through comfortably, overcoming Canadian No 2 Graham Ryding 9-4, 9-4, 9-1.

One of the most explosive fights of the boxing tournament is likely to be played out in front of only a few dozen spectators. The first few days of action at the cavernous Shah Alam stadium, which holds 12,000 spectators, have drawn crowds of around 200, mostly supporters and family of the boxers.

England's super-heavyweight Audley Harrison, eighth in the world amateur rankings, has been drawn to fight the world No 3, Faii Falamoe of New Zealand, on Wednesday in what is expected to be an eliminator for the gold medal.

Meanwhile, Jersey's Lee Meager lost his flyweight bout without much ado, when Northern Ireland's David lowry knocked him out after eight seconds.

Northern Ireland and Scotland were on the receiving end from Barbados and New Zealand in the cricket competition. The Irish went down by 176 runs against Barbados and the Scots suffered a 177-run loss against New Zealand.

Skipper Philo Wallace (92) and Sherwin Campbell (60) put on 144 for the first wicket as Barbados posted 296 for five before restricting Northern Ireland to 120 for 7. New Zealand's victory over the Scots set up a semi- final decider from group D against Pakistan.

The Kiwis recovered from a shaky 39 for 2 to score an impressive 278 for 6 and then shot out Scotland for 101 in the 43rd over. The world champions, Sri Lanka, will meet Zimbabwe for a semi-final berth from group A, while India and Australia meet in group B.