Qld trio Michaela Bailey-Nelson, Connie-Leigh Rixon & Tiffany Murray grab Maroons’ one and only gold at Australian U18 Championships It took a little longer than expected, but Queensland’s golden moment finally arrived this afternoon, with 16-year-old Burnett ace Tiffany Murray guiding her team of Michaela Bailey-Nelson and Connie-Leigh Rixon to triples glory at the 2014 Australian U18 Championships in Darwin.
Murray’s girls overcame a hot-shot side from New South Wales in the title play-off, to grab Queensland’s one and only gold on the synthetic surface at Nightcliff Bowls Club.
“It’s absolutely amazing, I can’t believe it,” Murray said of her first-ever national title win.
“It’s my first year at the championships and coming into the event my goal was just not to finish last, so to actually win gold is just unbelievable.”
A day of disappointments saw the girls go into their triples showdown determined to triumph.
“We were way more pumped for the triples final, especially after losing the fours this morning, that energy really helped us out there,” Murray said.
“But there was no real secret to the win, we just kept putting bowls in the head and making sure if we did lose an end, we didn’t drop too many shots.”
The girls got off to a good start in the final, but it was tight all the way through, with just two shots separating the sides heading into the last end.
A well-placed bowl from Rixon on the final end ensured NSW couldn’t get near the jack and Queensland savoured a hard fought victory, 16-13.
Now that she’s got a taste for winning on the big stage, Queensland’s newest super-skip has set her sights on national selection.
“I was quite nervous about skipping to be honest, but I’m really happy with the way things went.
“The girls played brilliantly and we really stuck together as a team and played for each other…it was great fun.
“My goal now is definitely to try to make the Australian junior squad, I didn’t quite get there this year, but there’s always next year.”
Murray mightn’t have made the squad, but her teammate Rixon did, getting the good news from national coach Steve Glasson at the after-championship celebrations in Darwin.
Rixon is one of two Queenslanders to receive a call-up, with singles gun Nic Gosley also getting the nod.
The duo will have three months to impress selectors and earn a place on the Aussie team for next year’s Trans-Tasman clash in Christchurch.
Young and Putney shot down in Pairs
The news wasn’t so good for Sophie Young and Taleah Putney in the pairs bronze medal match, with the duo suffering a frustrating one-shot loss at the hands of Victoria’s Tiffany Brodie and Tayla Morison, 14-13.
“The girls played well, it could have gone either way in the end, but unfortunately it just didn’t go their way,” state coach Bill Cornehls said.
“They’re obviously disappointed, but it’s much better to lose by one and know you really gave the opposition a tough fight, than to lose by ten and know you were never really in the game.
“They may not have got the bronze, but no-one in the team is going home empty-handed, every single player has won a medal, in fact most, if not all of them, have won two, and we’ve also won the overall best-performed team trophy.
“All in all it has been a good championships for Queensland, the players should be really proud of what they’ve achieved.”
Caption: Triples champs Michaela Bailey-Nelson, Connie-Leigh Rixon & Tiffany Murray. Picture courtesy of Bowls Australia