The Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games - We Are England
The Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games
Alan Wells and Mike McFarlane

The Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games

It was a case of so near yet so far for England who but for one dropped baton would have topped the medals table.

Having seen the costs of participating in the Games pass £100,000 four years earlier, England had their work cut out when it came to raising enough money to send a team to Brisbane. Clubbing together with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man a UK appeal committee was formed, chaired by England great Christopher Chataway.

A separate English fundraising venture was launched and in total more than £280,000 raised - useful, when it emerged the true costs of competing in Brisbane were revealed to be double that of Edmonton at £217,000 - in 2014 money just over £600,000.

On the field of play England won medals in every sport and the Commonwealth Games Council for England (CGCE) reflected that it was a 'most successful' Games. Athletics in particular saw the nation excel, which made it all the more painful that a dropped baton in a relay event meant the difference between achieving their first overall medals table victory in 16 years and a second place finish.

In a Games first Mike McFarlane had to share his gold medal with Scottish rival Alan Wells after the British pair could not be separated in the 200m final. It was a dead heat in a time of 20.43 that would live long in the memory (top). As a result a silver medal was not awarded with Scotsman Cameron Sharp taking bronze.

Daley Thompson retained his decathlon title with relative ease, 406 points the difference between him in first and Dave Steen of Canada in second. David Moorcroft (far right, below) too was on a mission to retain his title and did so in the 5000m with a two second victory over England's Nick Rose. The scintillating Steve Cram won the 1500m title.

Judy Oakes won the first of her three Commonwealth Games shot put titles at the second attempt. Shirley Strong went one better than her silver medal winning performance four years earlier in the 100m hurdles for the only major title of her career.

There were four standout names in the pool as Andrew Astbury, Adrian Moorhouse, Phil Hubble and June Croft contributed towards the seven gold medals that England claimed. Astbury won the 200m and 400m freestyle titles and Croft picked up the 100m and 200m freestyle titles to complete two doubles.

Six years away from making waves at the Seoul Olympics, Moorhouse claimed the 100m breastrstoke title as well as silver and bronze in the 4x100m medley and 200m breaststroke. Phil Hubble beat Australian Paul Rowe to gold by just a single second in the 200m butterfly.

1982 was a memorable Games for cyclist Malcolm Elliott as he won double gold. Finishing just 0.01 seconds ahead of Canadian Steve Bauer he won the individual road race crown and teaming up with Joseph Waugh, Bob Downs and Steven Lawrence, he was victorious in the team time trial.

It was a good year for badminton and weightlifting. Continuing their fine tradition since badminton's inclusion in 1966, England won a healthy supply of gold medals by winning the mixed team, mixed doubles and women's doubles events. It was one of weightlifting's best ever Games as far as England were concerned with four gold medals thanks to Geoff Laws, Dean Willey, Steve Pinsent and Newton Burrowes.

Mark Blenkarne marked the debut of archery at the Commonwealth Games by taking the only men's title on offer, setting a record in points scored with 2446. Leading from the very start he never let his guard down for gold and Games history. It would be a full 28 years before archery returned to the Commonwealth Games' sports programme.

On the subject of target sports, shooting yielded an impressive five titles, in no small part due to Malcolm Cooper's two gold medals.

But for that one baton drop England could have claimed the top spot in the medals table. Thoughts turned to Edinburgh with hopes of a different outcome...