Team bronze for Sibley makes up for a series of Commonwealth near misses

Kelly Sibley on the podium with England team-mates Tin-Tin Ho, Maria Tsaptsinos and Denise Payet.
Kelly Sibley on the podium with England team-mates Tin-Tin Ho, Maria Tsaptsinos and Denise Payet.

Kelly Sibley finally got her first Commonwealth Games team medal at the fourth time of asking as she helped England win bronze in Australia.

The Leamington player featured in every match of the tournament as England got on the podium with a 3-1 victory over the hosts in the bronze medal match.

Sibley in action on the Gold Coast. Phil Walter/Getty Images

Sibley in action on the Gold Coast. Phil Walter/Getty Images

Although she was beaten 3-2 (5-11, 21-19, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7) by Jian Fang Lay in the second match, Sibley, 29, then teamed up with Maria Tsaptsinos to beat Lay and Miao Miao 3-1 (11-2, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7) in the doubles to put England 2-1 ahead.

Tin-Tin Ho, who had earlier beaten Melissa Tapper 3-2 (11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 7-11, 11-8) then sealed overall victory with a 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 14-12, 11-13, 11-6) triumph over Miao in a tense match.

It was England’s first ever Commonwealth Games women’s team medal after some near misses and Sibley said: “We just believed in ourselves and were playing really, really well. It was a bit tense at times, Australia are a really good team but I thought we all dug in and kept our heads when we needed to and showed what we can do as a team.

“I’m so proud of all the girls. It’s fantastic to come away with a team medal.

“It’s my fourth Games and the first time I’ve won a medal in team. I’ve finished fourth a couple of times which is the worst place to finish but I’ve kind of used that emotion a little bit going into this bronze medal match.

“At times it was very nerve-wracking. It’s a lot easier playing than watching, especially Tin-Tin at the end - my stomach was in knots. She was fantastic to keep her nerve.”

England had reached the semi-finals thanks to 3-0 victories over Guyana and Vanuatu in the groups and a 3-1 defeat of Canada in the quarter-finals. However, they came up against eventual gold medallists India in the semi-finals and were beaten 3-0.

The individual events begin tomorrow, with Sibley featuring in singles and doubles.