The 21st Commonwealth Games are currently taking place 'down under' and there is plenty of local involvement...

THE 21st Commonwealth Games got underway on the Gold Coast in Australia earlier this week with plenty of local interest among the 394 athletes competing in the 275 events held across 19 sports.

Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, a former student at King’s College Taunton, kept a clean sheet as the England Ladies hockey team beat South Africa 2-0 in their opening group match in pool B.

Ilminster bowler Rob Paxton also got off to a winning start on his games debut as part of the England team which thrashed Papua New Guinea 24-6 in section A of the triples competition at the Broadbeach club.

Paxton’s former Ilminster team mate Louis Ridout and his King’s Club, Torquay partner Sam Tolchard also srted well beating The Cook Islands 15-13in their opener in the Pairs competition.

Meanwhile, Angie Thompson, also from the Ilminster club, is officiating at her third games as an umpire in the bowls competition.

There was a winning start for Team Bath’s Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Bournemouth-born Geva Mentor, competing in her fifth commonwealth games, and the rest of the England netball squad who put in a strong second half showing to overcome Scotland 74-28.

Over in the outdoor pool, Jacob Peters from Poole Swimming Club finished runner up in heat 7 of the Men’s 50M butterfly but Ben Proud was disqualified. Peters then squeezed a place in the final after finishing 4th in the second semi.

Proud’s Plymouth Leander team mate Laura Stephens could only finish 5th in her heat in the 100M butterfly.

England finished the opening day at the top of the medals table with four golds, one silver and one bronze.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.