Men’s bowlers back themselves against the odds
Bermuda bowlers David Maycock and Damien Matthews have become accustomed to winning medals on the international stage and believe there is no reason why they cannot continue that trend at the Pan American Games.
The pair are riding the crest of a wave after claiming bronze in the men’s doubles at the NatWest International Island Games in Gibraltar this month and have backed themselves to be challenging for the podium in Lima.
Although the competition will be far tougher, Matthews and Maycock have the advantage of being familiar with the lane surface and oil pattern of the “house” where the event will be held.
It was at the Videna National Sports Complex, in San Luis, Lima, where they helped Bermuda claim overall honours at the Pan Am Championships in April to clinch one of only two qualifying spots.
“We’ve been in this house before,” Maycock, 35, said. “We know what surface it is and we know what bowling balls they use. We’re not going in blind.
“That takes some pressure off because we’re bowling on the same patterns and know the characteristics and environment of the house.”
Maycock and Matthews, along with Rickai Binns, also enjoyed success at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, last summer, securing silver in the men’s trios.
Both have high expectations for the individual event, but it is in the doubles, which starts today [Thursday], where their best hopes of a medal lie.
“Our goal is always to medal,” said Maycock, who also won silver with June Dill in the mixed doubles and was part of the men’s team, along with Matthews, who came second in Gibraltar.
“You might as well stay at home otherwise. If we can get off to a good start we’ll be all right.
“We medalled at the CAC Games, we medalled at the Island Games, but we will need to step up our game here.
“You need a strong mental game. It’s 70 per cent mental and 30 per cent physical. If you miss a spare, just leave it alone and move on from that.”
Maycock is the most experienced of Bermuda’s foursome, which also includes Dill and Patrice Tucker, having played on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour for the past seven years.
He appears to be peaking at the right time after finishing 31st at the PBA Lubbock Sports Shootout in Texas last month.
“The PBA Tour has improved my game a lot,” added Maycock, who is competing at his third Pan Am Games.
“When you’re bowling against the best in the world you have to bring your game. I finished 31st out of 118 in Lubbock, Texas, last month — that’s my best finish.”
Matthews has known Maycock since he was five years old and believes their close bond and understanding of each other’s game could separate them from their rivals in Lima.
“David and I started bowling as kids and we’ve always had that partnership,” said the 33-year-old.
“We know each other’s game and know what we can do to help each other out during the competition.
“The Pan Am Games are a very strong competition but when you’re with someone who you’re comfortable with, someone you can talk to — well, it really helps.”
For Matthews, a Pan Am Games medal is the only silverware missing from his trophy cabinet.
“A medal would be huge for bowling,” said Matthews, who won bronze in the individual event at the CAC Games in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, in 2010.
“We just need to stay confident and show the world what we can do. I need to add to my collection. The Pan Am Games is the one that’s missing.”
A total of 64 bowlers are competing in Lima, with four medal events to be contested: a singles and doubles events for men and women.
Steve Riley, the Bermuda team manager, who represented the island at the 2003 Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is adamant Maycock and Matthews can join the likes of triathlete Flora Duffy, equestrienne MJ Tumbridge, and sailors Malcolm Smith, Sara Wright, Paula Lewin and Penny Simmons by medalling at the Games.
“I’m looking for some really good results from the guys,” Riley said.
“I think they have an excellent chance of medalling in the doubles. The key in the doubles is getting two players to blend over the 12 games.
“We’ve been on a steady growth and a medal at the Pan Am Games would be the icing on the cake.”
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