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Dowell starts title defence


by Philip Hackett

Dowell starts title defence

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MARK DOWELL will start the defence of his Men’s Islandwide Open table tennis title with matches against Liam Wilkinson and Akeel Lovell when the National Table Tennis Championships resume at the Table Tennis Centre, Nursery Drive, St Michael, tonight at 7.
Dowell is scheduled to play Wilkinson on table one at 7:40 p.m. and will take on Lovell 20 minutes later on the same table. Lovell and Wilkinson are unlikely to be intimidating opponents for Dowell, who captured the title last year with victory over Clifton Mark in the final.
A consistent performer at local and regional level for several years, Dowell has often been overshadowed by more high profile players like the Farley brothers – Trevor and Kevin – but the solid right-hander is determined to create a big impact in this year’s national championships.
“I am looking to defend my title this year,” Dowell told NATIONSPORT on the eve of the opening Islandwide rallies.
“With the knowledge and experience gained from CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games) and the Commonwealth Games I have a good chance. I am playing well. I have learned a lot. I am also looking to improve on my semi-final finish in last year’s ‘A’ Class,” said Dowell who has already booked a meeting with Trevor Farley in this year’s
But it will be the Islandwide title that will occupy his immediate thoughts as the players get into action tonight. The winner of the Islandwide is unofficially considered to be the No.1 player on the island and Dowell is well aware that back-to-back titles will go a long way towards earning him the respect that has eluded him so far.
“Lots of focus tends to be on the Farley brothers but I am looking to close that out this year. Lots of respect to Trevor, he really is a good player,” said Dowell who admitted that Kevin too has much potential and is naturally gifted, but of the two he considers Trevor mentally stronger.
Trevor and Kevin, both former Caribbean men’s singles champions, will be the biggest obstacles in the way of the defending champion. Kevin is especially determined after the disappointment of losing by default in the semi-final when work commitments kept him away.
“It was bad, I felt bad,” Kevin told NATIONSPORT of his loss by default in the semis last year as he prepared to achieve a more satisfying result in 2010.
“I can win once I apply myself,” the confident left-hander said.
Kevin’s appearances in local competition have been restricted by his work commitments, but like Dowell, he believes that his exposure at the Commonwealth Games will prove valuable in the Islandwide tournament.
Kevin will open his campaign against Russell Maxwell on table four at 7:40 p.m. followed by a duel with Nicholas DeGarnes at 8 p.m. Trevor will do battle with Shawn Carter on table three in his opening game and will then play Stephen Payne.
Both matches are scheduled for the identical times to those of Dowell and Trevor Farley.
Other key players in action on opening night include Bryan Matthews, Dale Rudder, Aaron Barker, Clifton Mark and Abbie “‘Playboy” Clarke.
 

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