Gold goes West but Dodd happy with silver outcome
NATALIE DODD still had plenty to smile about even though she could not pull off an upset in the women’s singles final on Tuesday.
Top seed Marlene West, from the Cayman Islands, has swept away all before her at the Europa Sports Complex this week and the Sarnian was unable to break that trend, falling to an 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 defeat.
However, Dodd reported that she was ‘absolutely chuffed’ with how her singles campaign had gone.
‘I did want to medal coming in, but you never really know what your draw’s going to be like or your opponents, so to get to the final I really pleased with it,’ said the silver medallist.
‘She is quite strong,’ she added with a wry grin referring to West.
‘She’s ex-professional so knows her way around a squash court. You can cope until about 5-5 in the games, then she just pulls away.
‘She’s just so much stronger and fitter.’
The highlight of Dodd's singles tournament came in the quarter-finals in which she knocked out third seed Rachel Barnes of Bermuda in straight games.
‘I played the third seed in the quarter-finals, which was the toughest match through to the final, and I was really pleased to beat her.
‘I hadn’t seen her play before, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I played a really nice game there.’
That set up a last-four clash with a familiar face – Beth Garton of Jersey.
‘I was nervous [in the semis]. I played a Jersey girl who I play all the time and have never lost to, but you never know, you can never count it out, so I was petrified.
‘I shouldn’t say this, but with the other quarter-final I was like “please let the Shetland girl win so I don’t have to play Jersey”, but anyway we got through it.’
Dodd, for whom this is a third Island Games, was talking just ahead of embarking on her doubles tournament in the impressive, brand new complex that she called incredible.
‘The courts play so nicely, they really reward a good shot, which is really nice.
‘They are also air conditioned, which Bermuda  didn’t have, and we’ve got real doubles courts, which will add a bit of spice to the doubles.’
As for the rest of the week?
‘I’m just hoping to enjoy it. I think we’ve got a strong chance in the team, with Janick winning [men’s singles] bronze and me the [women’s singles] silver, we have Henry [Birch] at number two and he’s strong. In the doubles, the ladies I just want to enjoy. In the mixed, we are seeded two,’ she added with a look of trepidation.
‘We did get bronze in Bermuda and the Jersey team are not as strong, which is why we are seeded two. Hopefully, we’ll just enjoy the doubles and in the team we’ll see.’