Frustrated Dodd weighing up his future

GARRY DODD admits that a 10th island singles title feels ‘a million miles away’ as the UK government serve up a second national lockdown.

Nine-time island men's champion Garry Dodd is currently based in Sheffield and has hardly played this year due to the coronavirus restrictions. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28871908)
Nine-time island men's champion Garry Dodd is currently based in Sheffield and has hardly played this year due to the coronavirus restrictions. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28871908)

Although the 2020 Island Championships get under way next Friday after an eight-month delay, the Sheffield-based Guernsey star has scrapped his ambitions for this year and quite possibly the next.

This is due to England’s coronavirus restrictions leaving the nine-time Guernsey men’s singles champion out of practice and unable to travel.

Dodd has played only a dozen times since March, by his own estimation, and the situation shows no sign of improving.

‘I’m probably going to have to write off the next 12 months if I’m honest,’ he said.

‘Maybe if you asked me in January or February, I would have been raring to go, but Covid has just taken the buzz and excitement away and it’s been so long since I’ve played that I wouldn’t be in any shape to participate the way I want or am used to.

‘All venues will close from Thursday again so nothing is going to be available until January now.

‘Island Games are obviously put on hold or even cancelled, so I think I need to seriously consider what the future holds, unfortunately.

‘In regards to winning another men’s singles right now, that seems a million miles away.’

In stark contrast, Guernsey table tennis is back in full swing and 2020’s condensed four-day event will welcome increased numbers after five years of decline.

Lawrence Stacey enters as top seed and defending men’s singles champion.

Dodd was unable to compete last year – for quite another reason. An outdated residency rule, which has since been overturned, prevented him from competing after his move to Sheffield.

Otherwise, Dodd has dominated the last decade and was within reach of becoming the only male player other than Albert Brenton and Mark Pipet to reach double digits.

Dawn Morgan remains the most decorated player of all, boasting a stunning 20 women’s singles titles.

She will be looking to extend this enviable tally in this year’s event as she continues her perennial rivalry with Kay Chivers.

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