England’s rhythmic gymnasts secured a bronze medal in the team event this evening, banishing the heartache felt when finishing fourth in Melbourne.

Rachel Ennis, Francesca Fox and Lynne Hutchison surpassed pre-Games expectations but their second position after the rope and the hoop gave rise to hopes they may even snatch a silver. 

They pushed eventual silver medal winners Canada hard but finished on 220.475 to the Canadians’ 224.325 with Australia topping the podium with 235.735.

Ennis, the sole surviving member of the 2006 team, only came back into gymnastics this year after a two-year injury-enforced absence.

The 23-year-old, who trains at the Hendon Gym Club in north London, said: “It’s certainly an improvement. I’ve only been back in the sport since February so I was really happy to qualify for here and to get a medal makes it special.”

Eighteen-year-old Trowbridge student Fox said that despite the team’s excellent start, she did not feel any pressure as the competition progressed.

“We didn’t think about it, we just focused on what we were doing,” she said.

Hutchison, who trains at the same club as Fox, City of Bath Rhythmic GC, said the team was disappointed not to continue their form of the afternoon into the two evening disciplines.

“We wanted to do the same in the second set but it didn’t quite work out that way,” she said.

The gymnasts came to Delhi on the back of their world championships in Moscow.

“It’s been a very hard two weeks, we haven’t really had much rest,” said Hutchison, adding: “I’m still proud to get a medal. 

England had an astounding campaign in the artistic gymnastics winning 12 medals, doubling their tally from Melbourne in 2006 and the rhythmic gymnasts will be hoping to add yet in the next two days – the individual all around competition takes place tomorrow with the individual single events on the final day of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.