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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Table Tennis Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 19:07 GMT 20:07 UK
Classy England grab gold
England's men team take their bows
England's men team take their well-deserved bows

England put on a confident display in front of their home fans to clinch the men's team title at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday.

The English side, led by national number one Matthew Syed, took just over an hour to finish off a skilful Nigerian side 3-0.

Alex Perry's 3-1 (11-8 9-11 11-5 11-8) victory over Nosiru Kazeem sealed the gold medal for the number one seeds and consigned last year's Commonwealth champions to silver.

Beaten semi-finalists Singapore and India shared bronze as there is no play-off for third place, although Singapore can take some consolation from their triumph in the women's team event earlier in the day.

open quote
This was a great team performance
end quote
Matthew Syed
England number one
But

England team coach Soren Ahlen was delighted with the men's result.

"It feels great," the Swede said afterwards.

"It was my last team event, so I wanted to finish well."

The home nation looked a different side from the one which had slightly struggled in the opening rounds of the team event, especially in their tight, quarter-final win over Australia.

Syed got the home nation off to a impressive start with a 3-1 (11-1 7-11 11-4 11-2) win over Monday Merotohun.

Despite dropping the second game, the athletic defender soaked up Merotohun's fearsome attacks before picking off the Nigerian number two with pinpoint precision.

Gareth Herbert then widened the gap after outgunning big-hitter and African ace Segun Moses Toriola 3-1 (11-3 11-8 4-11 11-4).

It was left to 1999 England champion Perry to secure the gold medal in a hard-fought encounter with Nosiru Kazeem.

After conceding the first game, Kazeem fought back to draw level, but Perry kept on the pressure to win the first ever men's table tennis team event at the Games.

"Brilliant - I'm lost for words," said Perry, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Tuesday.

"I was fluctuating in the last game, but was trying not to think about what the last two points would mean.

"It was a crucial test, but I held it together and I'm chuffed to bits."

Elsewhere on Tuesday, the first round of the mixed and men's doubles got underway.

England's Andrew Baggaley and Georgina Walker survived an early scare before finally taking their expected place in the last 32.

The duo surprisingly lost the first game 11-9 to Pakistan's Ghazala Rohi and AsimQureshi, prior to then taking control and sweeping the next three games, 11-811-6 11-8.

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England's Gareth Herbert
"I'm really pleased with my performance"

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