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Commonwealth Games: Australia retain men's hockey title

Australia ensured their 100 percent men's hockey record at the Commonwealth Games continued as they thrashed India 4-0 to claim a fifth successive gold medal in Glasgow on Sunday (August 4).

GLASGOW: Australia ensured their 100 percent men's hockey record at the Commonwealth Games continued as they thrashed India 4-0 to claim a fifth successive gold medal in Glasgow on Sunday (August 4).

Chris Ciriello struck twice in the first-half from penalty corners to give the Aussies a commanding lead at the break. Ciriello then completed his hat-trick from another penalty corner early in the second period and Eddie Ockenden rounded off the scoring for the world champions from close range 20 minutes from time.

"They're a really good team, they have the skills and are very fast. We were working hard in that game and I was lucky enough to bag a couple from the corners," said hat-trick hero Ciriello, who insisted he could still work on his penalty corner technique. "I started when I was 11 and finally I'm 28 and feel like I'm getting it. Obviously there's still a lot I can improve and practise," he added.

Both sides, along with bronze medallists England, then received their medals in farcical circumstances amongst a wind and rain storm at the uncovered Glasgow Green Hockey Centre. However, that didn't dampen the spirits of Australia coach Graham Reid as his side backed up their World Cup win in June with another tournament victory.

"Now we understand what people were saying about the weather," he said. "We've got four or five new players since the World Cup, so it's great for them. Considering the limited preparation we had it's a very good effort from the boys and also shows the depth we have in the squad."

India coach Terry Walsh, meanwhile, had to admit that his side had simply been beaten by the better team. "We were just outplayed. As the game went on we looked drained of energy to contest the result. We have to give credit to them."

Earlier, England claimed the bronze courtesy of a 4-2 win in a penalty shootout over New Zealand after a thrilling 3-3 draw. Ashley Jackson was England's star man as he scored twice in normal time before sealing victory in the shootout from the penalty spot. It is the first time since the inaugural hockey event at the Commonwealths in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 that England have won a medal in the men's hockey.

"I'm happy the guys got rewarded with a bronze medal this time because we have finished fourth too many times," said England coach Bobby Crutchley. "It's been a fantastic experience, I'm amazed with the amount of English people who made the trip to come see us play. We play in great stadiums but here it was just amazing."