Bowls best friends claim Commonwealth Games gold

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Bowls best friends claim Commonwealth Games gold
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Best pals Natalie Chestney, Sian Honnor and Jamie-Lea Winch are England's latest golden girls after claiming the Commonwealth Games women's triples bowls title.

They held their nerve in a tetchy final encounter against Malaysia to secure England's second gold at Leamington Spa, following a win for their men's triples team.

For Chestney, 33, it is a second Commonwealth gold, she also has two silvers, but a first since her victory in the singles in 2010.

Honnor, 34, also has a triples gold from Glasgow eight years ago - and two bronzes.

But Rugby bowler Winch, 31, has a silver and bronze, meaning she finally complete her set.

"It means so much more to win with my friends," she said.

"We're playing for a country but we are also really playing for each other.

"We've been together on this team since Delhi and we've come such a long way and to cap that journey off with a gold medal is fantastic.

"I've already got a silver and a bronze so this was the one that I really wanted and I couldn't ask for any more.

"This has been the moment I've been dreaming of, I always believed it would happen at some point and we've finally got over the line."

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.

England took the lead early on but were soon pegged back and needed to win five ends on the spin to secure a 17-9 win as the evening shadows fell over Victoria Park.

"That game was a hard slog, the bowls were pinging all over the place and I kept catching edges, it was close but no cigar far too often," said Honnor.

"It would have been easy to get frustrated but we just stayed with our plan and kept talking.

"It doesn't always have to be pretty, we just threw ourselves over the line. We changed our tactics, won five consecutive ends, and that finished them off."

Chestney was left downbeat four years ago on the Gold Coast after failing to progress out the group stages of the fours and losing in the quarter-finals of the pairs.

And she admitted the emotion of the moment was heightened by her daughter watching in the crowd.

"I only noticed her after 14 ends and I thought I was going to start crying," she said.

"Having our families here has just made it even more special. This just means more winning at home. We've played games all around the world with a few token family members but having the whole crowd with you, just makes such a huge difference.

“You can feel how much they want it for you."

There has never been a better time to discover bowls, truly a sport for everybody. It is all to play for – discover more at www.bowlsengland.com