Dawes faces tough task to retain Potters singles crown
- Credit: Archant
England's Mark Dawes will have his work cut out if he is to defend the Just 2019 World Indoor Bowls Championships, which is being held at Potters Resort for the 21st year this month.
The Hopton-on-Sea venue has become recognised as the Wembley of indoor bowls over the years and although the famous blue portable rink will not see action until this evening, many bowls have already been rolled in the preliminary rounds on the Bowlers' Bar rinks.
Dawes will be looking to become just the fifth player to retain the Men's/Open Singles crown, following his debut success last year.
The Lancastrian, who turned 36 earlier this week, will be vying to join legends of the sport David Bryant CBE and Tony Allcock MBE as the only men to have defended the title following their inaugural victory.
Twelve months ago, Dawes reached the final with victories over previous champions David Gourlay (1996) and Darren Burnett (2014), as well as defeating Hong Kong's Cy Wong, Stowmarket's Mark Royal and England's Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Robert Paxton on a tie-break in the final.
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In the opening round this year Dawes will face Irishman Graham McKee, who will certainly provide a stern test for the Blackpool bowler.
McKee, who will be competing at the World Indoor Championships for the third time, narrowly lost at the first stage last year to Burnett (9-9, 7-5).
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Norfolk's Wayne Willgress, who strung together a spectacular run to the semi-final last year, will face a repeat of his first round encounter against Andy Thomson MBE.
In the Women's Singles, three-time champion Katherine Rednall, who has recently made the move from Ipswich & District IBC to Norfolk IBC, will face Scotland's Melanie Darroch in the opening round.
Rednall, 23, who shares her birthday with Dawes, has reached the final on four of the five times that she has competed at the event, becoming the youngest winner in 2014.
Rednall joined the likes of Carol Ashby and Ellen Falkner with three world indoor singles titles, with Falkner repeating her 2017 semi-final clash with Janice Gower in the first round this year.
The Championships run until Sunday, January 27 and also feature Open Pairs, Mixed Pairs and Under 25 Singles competitions.