Kelsey Cottrell and Julie Keegan
Kelsey Cottrell and Julie Keegan

Cottrell and Keegan win classic

SOUTH Tweed’s Kelsey Cottrell and Coolum Beach’s Julie Keegan capped off the year in style with a storming victory in the Hong Kong International Classic on Sunday.

In her final international appearance under the South Tweed banner, Cottrell teamed with Keegan to go 14 matches unbeaten and comprehensively win the final 22-12 against previously undefeated Malaysian opponents Nor Hashima Ismail and Siti Lazina Ahmad.

Ahmad and Ismail are both tough opponents – Ahmad has won the past two Commonwealth Games gold medals while Ismail won at the recent Asia Pacific Championships.

“It would have been really disappointing to have come through the tournament undefeated and lost the final,” Keegan said.

With World No.3 Cottrell laying the perfect platform and Australian pairs No.3 Keegan executing skilfully, they raced to a 12-2 lead in the final and held their nerve to clinch it.

Both were able to adapt to the greens, which picked up speed over the weekend, to put the finishing touches on their win.

“I guess it’s nice to get one back on the Malaysians who have beaten us a couple of times of late,” Keegan said. “It’s really satisfying.”

The pair had combined previously for the triples silver at the Asia Pacific Championships in August.

The pair’s victory was Australia’s second success of the tournament after world No.2 Leif Selby won the men’s singles final.

However in the men’s pairs, the Australian superstar was a surprise quarter-final casualty alongside Michael Cronin as New Zealand’s Andrew Kelly and Richard Collett claimed an upset 14-12 win.

The Kiwis went on to win the men’s final 22-16 against Malaysia.

Unfortunately for South Tweed and Queensland bowls alike, the whiz-kid of Australian bowls, Cottrell has been signed by St John’s Park for two years, along with Keegan.

They join Tweed Heads’ Carmen Anderson on the transfer list, after the local crowd favourite was snapped up by Cabramatta following a Bowls Queensland ruling that prevents her from skipping for the state because she represented Norfolk Island at the recent Asia Pacific titles.

Cottrell and Keegan have already trialled for NSW and are likely to wearing the sky blue at the national sides in April.

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