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Gallow duo have world at their feet

PUBLISHED: 09:06 22 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:58 07 July 2010

Norfolk duo Mervyn King and Tim Stone will have a crack at all three World Bowls Tour ranking event titles this winter, King, from Gallow, as an established seeded player, and Stone, from Acle, as a PBA qualifier.

Norfolk duo Mervyn King and Tim Stone will have a crack at all three World Bowls Tour ranking event titles this winter, King, from Gallow, as an established seeded player, and Stone, from Acle, as a PBA qualifier.

World No 8 King will also line up with Aussie Kelvin Kerkow in the world indoor pairs championship at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on Sea

And, to complete a trio of Norfolk challengers at Potters, King's young Gallow clubmate Jamie Chestney will partner Spalding's Graham Smith in the pairs.

While King is a regular at this sort of thing, Stone, who made his England debut in March, is one of those fringe players, who are threatening to climb the rankings, and cement his position at the top end of the sport.

But he has already qualified twice for WBT events in the past, and turned in some outstanding performances at Potters last year, when he beat young Aussie Andrew Howie in the first round of the world championship, then pushed King all the way in the second round. Having already booked his place in the Welsh Open and world championship, Stone was in Lincoln last weekend, attempting to earn a tour card - a new concept that gives players automatic entry to all three ranking events.

And, although he was beaten by Nick Brett in the final, he still managed to claim the place in the Scottish Open vacated by the Cambridgeshire star, who had also beaten him in the final of the Scottish play-offs.

“I'm chuffed to bits, to be quite honest,” said Stone. “When I lost to Mervyn at Potters in January, it was simply my ambition to get back there again this winter.

“So to qualify for all three ranking events really is a dream come true, and I'm naturally hoping to do well on the circuit.”

Stone, a buyer for book wholesalers Bertrams in Norwich, then revealed that his wife Rebecca is expecting their first child next January - just before the singles final.

Next month, in Perth, he has been drawn to play the world No 13 Les Gillett in the first round of the Scottish International Open, while he faces Spalding's Graham Smith in the first round of the world event in Potters in January.

A win against Smith would set up for a second round crack at the world number one Alex Marshall - but that should only serve to generate extra motivation for the Acle man.

At the end of January, when the WBT circus moves from Hopton to Swansea, Stone faces the prospect of challenging King's pairs partner, Kerkow, in the first round of the Welsh International Open.

King will start his Potters campaign against either 2004 world outdoor champion Steve Glasson, from Australia, or England international Adam Tidby.

There are only three ranking events this year because the International Open, the sport's second most prestigious event, has been cancelled due to the lack of a sponsor. The Open was staged at Potters in 1998, and there had been rumours that it might return to the venue this winter.

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