Dodd gets his tactics spot on
HOME COUNTRIES medal hopeful Garry Dodd credited tricky tactics for his recent Stiga Sycamore Superleague victory.
Ahead of the important upcoming competition on the Isle of Man, in which Dodd has marked a bronze medal as the major target, the Sheffield-based Guernseyman boosted his confidence with a superb showing in Nottingham.
He had entered the competition as third seed and managed to come out top after a series of positive victories.
Dodd’s campaign had been made vastly easier by the late withdrawal of England No. 5 and clear favourite Chris Doran, who is currently focusing on the World Ping Pong Championships, but he still had to get past Ismailia Akindiya, a Nigerian player of equivalent English No. 15 status.
He had earlier dispatched the Isle of Man’s Sam Bailey and England top-10 junior Max Stevens to get within reach of the title.
Akindiya proved a notable opponent, rallying back to win the third set, but Dodd’s tactical acuity allowed him to seal victory in the fourth.
‘I have practised with Ismailia a few times so I know how he plays, which gave me confidence, and the fact I beat him last time we played, so I knew I was in it,’ he said.
‘Although we practise, I don’t think he has figured my game out because I have a lot of variation. I don’t know what I’m going to do half the time, so how is my opponent?
‘I gave serves well and looked for the first attack and it worked.’
Two years ago, Dodd made the individual quarter-finals of the Home Countries International and then lost to the eventual runner-up from England, while he and Josh Stacey finished fifth in the men’s team event.
His recent run of results has led to him gaining a ranking of top-20 English equivalent status, giving him high hopes of improving upon this in the 8-10 November tournament.
‘I’m pleased my game is in a great place at the moment, as November is a big month with Home Nations and second round British League,’ he added, while also hinting at his intention in the former.
‘I’m ready to challenge for a bronze at the Home Nations.’