Bowls, boxing, basketball: Birmingham’s bonanza of sport

The start of the Commonwealth Games was blessed with warm weather, but some commuters were not impressed

“Ten, nine, eight, no wait, I’ve got ahead of myself, nine, eight, seven…” The Birmingham Commonwealth Games began with this out-of-synch countdown in (and yes I had to triple check this) Royal Leamington Spa, where, at just gone eight on Friday morning, 80 finely-honed athletes filed out of a little wooden pavilion in Victoria Park to begin the first of nine days of ruthlessly competitive lawn bowls. Friendly Games my foot. Go tell it to Wales’ five-time world champion Laura Daniels, who wiped out a 59-year-old Falkland Islander called Daphne Arthur-Almond 21-2 while you were finishing your breakfast.

God but they must have spent a lot on bunting in Leamington. They’ve put up miles of the stuff. It’s amazing they’d anything left in the budget for the 2,000 seat arena they’ve built too. Nigel Huddleston, under-suit of state at Department of Culture Media and Sport, had promised the town it was money well spent because they were going to be hosting one of the hot ticket events. And since it was 25C out, he was at least half right.

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