King's surprise exit

FAKENHAM bowler Mervyn King, who had looked unbeatable on his way to the quarter-finals of the WBT Gravells Welsh International Open in Swansea, was last Thursday denied a place in the semi finals by Rob Chisholm, a 23-year-old PBA qualifier from Newcastle.

Fakenham's Mervyn King drops a place from seventh to eighth in the end of season World Bowls Tour world rankings after a season in which he has gone out at the quarter-final stage of every WTA tour event. Gallow clubmate Jamie Chestney drops from 27th to 30th.

By the narrowest margin ever recorded, Scotland's Alex Marshall retains his No 1 ranking - just a single point ahead of his nearest rival Mark Royal.

For the first time ever, less than 10 points separate the top five players in the list - with Scotland's Paul Foster three points behind Suffolk's Royal and a further three points ahead of fourth-placed Englishman Greg Harlow; and Australian-based Scot David Gourlay a mere two points adrift of the pack in fifth position.

The new world rankings - on which the seedings for next season's World Bowls Tour events will be based - come at the end of a historic WBT season in which qualifiers won two of the ranking tournaments.

King, who had looked unbeatable on his way to the quarter-finals of the WBT Gravells Welsh International Open in Swansea, was last Thursday denied a place in the semi-finals by Rob Chisholm, a 23-year-old PBA qualifier from Newcastle.

"I'm gutted," said King. "Perhaps I didn't play quite as well as I did in my first two games, but I still felt really good, and thought I was in control for most of the match."

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He added: "Full marks to Rob, who held his nerve, but there were two lucky strikes he got in the second set that kept him in contention - I still had my chances, and just didn't take them."

Chisholm, who returned a 3-9, 10-8, 2-1 scorecard, said: "I must be honest - I was lucky."

A new world with bowls: Page 46