With the British Isles Bowls Council Senior Internationals as his next goal, Commonwealth bronze medallist and World No. 3 Robert Paxton is hoping for more success as he looks to continue his rich vein of form.
Paxton, who made his Commonwealth debut at the Gold Coast in April, has had a successful four years since narrowly missing out on selection for the 2014 Glasgow team. Three World Championship titles and several other titles later and the 40-year-old is confident England can add a fourth consecutive BIBC title to their list of accolades, despite not winning the competition when on home soil since 2002.
“We’re obviously confident, but you can’t go in too confident. It’s going to be tough, but if we perform as a team, play well as a team and have a good atmosphere between the squad which is what every team needs – as long as we come out the blocks well, I’m confident.”
The Crediton & Illminster bowler admitted that competing on home soil hasn’t brought huge success in the competition of late, but with a new and young squad brings endless possibilities.
“It’s just down to business, really. It does add a little bit of pressure as you’re on home soil, you’re expected to win. We’re going really well at the moment, we’ve got a pretty young squad, which is great to have for now and obviously the future, too.”
Personally, Paxton has reached as high as the World No. 2 ranking in 2015 following his double gold triumph in the World Indoor Bowls Championships where he picked up wins in the men’s and mixed pairs, but he admits getting to the number one spot is definitely a realistic aim for him.
“It’s gone from strength to strength for me,” Paxton put proudly. “Three World titles, two runner-ups and a bronze – and now for us as a team, we’re looking forward to the World Outdoors Bowls Championships in 2020 in the same area, the Gold Coast.”
Australia is a familiar battling ground for the 40-year-old, having competed in Perth for seven months leading up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, an experience he recalls fondly.
“It was fantastic, to be there as Team England athletes along with the likes of the Brownlee brothers, it’s a surreal experience.”
And while a bronze medal on your Games debut is no easy feat, Paxton reveals he wanted more from the Gold Coast, a drive and competitiveness that’s seen him worthy of his recent successes.
“You’re obviously there to pick up gold, that’s why all Team England athletes go to the Games. The men’s triples was disappointing on a personal aspect, because we had a really strong team, and we just didn’t fire over those first couple of days of the competition, which at any level, can happen.”
With plenty on the horizon, and Paxton and the England squad brimming with confidence, it would be no surprise to see the Exeter-born bowler at the top of the World rankings come the end of the year.