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Kent athletes at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games - Day 11 - Sunday, August 3

By Alex Hoad

Kent's hockey players aimed to help England finish Glasgow 2014 on a high with victory in the bronze play-off against New Zealand on Sunday morning.

After losing in Saturday's semi-final against Australia - who face India for gold at lunchtime - England's men, who feature Chatham-born former Sutton Valence School pupil Ashley Jackson in their side, along with Holcombe HC contingent Barry Middleton, George Pinner, Iain Lewers, Dan Fox and Nick Catlin, faced the Black Sticks in the 3rd/4th play-off at Glasgow Green.

In a dramatic game England were twice indebted to Jackson for stunning penalty corner conversions, from injections from Lewers, however with England leading 3-2 with eight minutes remaining, the Black Sticks drew level forcing a penalty shootout.

Holcs stopper Pinner was the hero with one save and forced another shooter to drill wide, while Jackson, Catlin and Middleton converted their shuffles with aplomb.

With England 3-2 ahead, Simon Mantell stepped up to try and win it, though he was fouled by the NZ keeper, receiving a penalty stroke which hit-man Jackson dispatched into the top corner to spark joyous scenes for a side who have finished fourth on the international stage on many previous occasions.

Middleton said: "I'm not going to wipe the smile off my face for a little while. We wanted to be in the final but it doesn't take anything away from leaving here with a Commonwealth medal.

"After the semi-final we said no-one in the room had a Commonwealth bronze medal so we shouldn't demean the bronze medal game. I was actually wrong because Bobby Crutchley has got one and now we've got one to match.

"It's a big moment for me and the guys who are just starting. This sets you off on a path where you want to win more and go further. We've won a bronze now and we want to take a step forward.

"Hopefully this takes on us. We're going to enjoy this now but then we need to remember what got us there, we must go further. This is a very good group of players and since London we've improved at every tournament we've played. These guys just want to get better every day.

"This will keep me playing for a long time because I believe in this group and I think we can go and win things."

It was the final action of the 20th Commonwealth Games for Kent athletes, with the closing ceremony due to follow this evening after 11 days of action in Scotland's second city.

Dartford sprint star Adam Gemili began the day by tweeting a picture of him with his two silver medals after laying the foundations for England's second-place in the 4x100m relay at Hampden Park on Saturday night.

The men's bronze, Gemili's second medal, and the silver claimed by England's hockey women in excruciating circumstances on Saturday night following a shootout defeat by Australia, took the Kent haul at Glasgow 2014 to five, with Sian Gordon's bowls gold and Jemima Yeats-Brown claiming judo bronze.

For live updates throughout the day follow @AlexHoadKOL on twitter.

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