Mark Royal believes now is the time to prove to himself that he is capable of lifting an World Indoor Bowls Championship.
Mounting self doubt has crept into the Stowmarket-based Bowler’s mind ahead of the this year’s Fred Olsen World Championships, in Hopton-on-Sea, Norfolk, commencing today, after a disappointing 2012 by the Rookery club member’s standards.
A quarter-final exit at the Scottish International Open at the hands of Nicky Brett was followed by a disastrous second round defeat to Welshman Jason Greenslade at last year’s World Championships, before suffering the same fate at the Welsh Grand Prix, a competition Royal famously won back in 2008, crashing out to Wayne Hogg.
Royal starts his quest for singles glory next Thursday where he will face South African Tracy Mayeridricks, but ahead of the encounter he is well aware his fortune needs to change if he is to challenge for the most sought after prize in his sport.
“The last year has been very disappointing. I’ve not played particularly well and I’m not overly confident ahead of the World Championships,” he conceded.
“Hopefully a good start to the competition will get my confidence back and maybe this year see me challenging.
“I haven’t really got any expectations, but I’m happy with the draw I’ve got and as always I’ll be aiming to reach the final.
“I reached the semi-final of the pairs before and so it would be great to go one step further. Now is the time to prove to myself I can be a world champion.”
A dip in form has seen Royal drop three places in the world rankings to seventh, a shift that could see him suffer with a tougher route to the final.
“Dropping down in the rankings will affect the draw and give me a tougher run, but they’re all tough matches and you have to play the best players at some point if you are going to win the championship,” he added.
“It definitely isn’t too late for me to achieve that, I’ve won a few competitions, but I feel I need to do it at the Worlds.”