Cottrell overcomes close battle with Coast's Maltese sisters
SUNSHINE Coast sisters Connie-Leigh and Rebecca Rixon's went within two ends of producing a moment to remember forever for more Commonwealth Games glory took a fatal blow.
A day after they won a bronze medal alongside mum Rosemaree and Victorian Sharon Callus, Malta's first medal at the Gold Coast Games and their first lawn bowls medal in history, the Rixon sisters almost created another unforgettable moment at Broadbeach Bowls Club.
The Buderim sisters, who bowl at Club Kawana, led gold medal-winning Sunshine Coaster Kelsey Cottrell and bowls legend Karen Murphy for 15 ends of their women's pairs match.
The Maltese were not headed in the first 15 ends, and twice held a four-point advantage.
The Australians' immense experience - Murphy is a four-time Commonwealth Games medallist while Cottrell won silver at Glasgow in 2014 and bronze at Delhi in 2010 - shone through as they fought back to break the Rixons' hearts.
Cottrell and Murphy scored six points in the last three ends to win 18-14, enough to sit atop Section D with two games to play.
"We knew they were going to come and play well, those girls,” Murphy said.
"There was a bit of home crowd support for them too.
"That's probably the way we expected them to play, to be honest. So, we weren't surprised in any way.
"They are a good little team. It's good to win those games, when you've got to scramble to win it and find a way to win, and we managed to do that.”
It was a superb return to form for Rixons, who fell 23-10 to England pair Natalie Chestney and Sophie Tolchard in their Tuesday morning match.
"You just have to focus ... we're so proud to be amongst players like the South Africans and Australians and to be on the podium with bowlers of that calibre is just amazing,” Connie-Leigh, Malta's first bowls world champion, said after the loss to England.
The Rixons will play Zambia and Papua New Guinea in their two pairs games tomorrow, while Australia will face PNG then England, who is also undefeated after three games.