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King of the world

PUBLISHED: 10:27 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:35 07 July 2010

Mervyn King and Kelvin Kerkow, who live almost 12,000 miles apart, combined brilliantly at Potters Leisure Resort to regain the WBT world indoor pairs title they last picked up in 2005.

Mervyn King and Kelvin Kerkow, who live almost 12,000 miles apart, combined brilliantly at Potters Leisure Resort to regain the WBT world indoor pairs title they last picked up in 2005.

In a high-quality final watched by an engrossed full house, King and Kerkow controlled the first set and tenaciously closed in on their opponents, Billy Jackson from Lincoln and Sydney-based Scot David Gourlay, in the second to return a 9-7 8-8 scorecard.

The Anglo-Aussie combination of King, a laconic individual from Fakenham, who draws to the jack with monotonous consistency, and Kerkow, a bronzed Queenslander with a cheeky grin and one of the fiercest drives in bowls, does not seem an obvious one.

But since the two were thrust together four years ago, they have won the title twice, were runners-up in 2006 and lost in the quarter-finals in 2007 and 2008.

Both players had previously won the title with different partners - Kerkow with charismatic Aussie Ian Schuback in 1996, King with the legendary Tony Allcock in 1997 - so they were both celebrating their third triumph.

While King was quick to pay tribute to his skip's talents and all-round game, Kerkow put it all down to the support he has received from King, one of the best drawing bowlers in the world.

“I've been privileged to play with a lot of the world's best bowlers, but I can tell you that Mervyn is the best lead I've ever had,” said Kerkow.

King also thanked the supporters who turn up to cheer him on at Potters.

“It makes a huge difference to know there are people out there who care,” he said. “To have your supporters in the gallery is fantastic - especially when you are playing well.”

Admitting that he had been a slow starter this year, Kerkow, who came into his own in the final, said: “Jet-lag affects your sleep patterns, and it's difficult to adjust from grass greens to carpet after flying around the world. But Mervyn carried me through the first couple of matches and I felt I improved with every game.”

King and Jackson had been the most consistent leads in the tournament and a classic match was in prospect as they set up good positions for their skips, but it was King and Kerkow who took a firm grip from the start, opening up a

5-0 lead after three ends.

Four ends later, they were 8-2 in front and they held on as Jackson and Gourlay rallied over the last few ends, before winning the 11-ends set 9-7.

The boot was on the other foot in the second set, as their opponents established an 8-5 lead after nine ends and a tie-break loomed, before King and Kerkow reduced the deficit to one with a double on the penultimate end.

“We played the last end like a game of chess,” said King. “And we couldn't have placed the bowls better. By the time David stood on the mat to play the last bowl, he had nowhere to go and we were confident.”

Gourlay's despairing effort sailed past the head, King and Kerkow embraced, and the spectators went wild.


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