Merv is King as Fakenham star leads England to thrilling bowls victory

Mervyn King, back row, fourth from left.

Mervyn King, back row, fourth from left. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk’s world number eight Mervyn King was England’s hero in a tense indoor bowls Test Match at Stanley, in County Durham, where the host country pipped a star-studded Scottish team, 6-5, writes David Rhys-Jones.

After winning his triples and pairs encounters, King was nominated to play in the very last singles session, and, with the scores tantalisingly tied at 5-5, needed to topple six times world indoor singles champion Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall to win the series for England.

In typically unhurried style, the 49-year-old estate manager from Fakenham set the Scot back on his heels, and pocketed the first set, 10-1.

Things began to look less rosy for the Norfolk man when Marshall scored three successive singles at the start of the second set, and a tie-break seemed to be looming – but King hit top form to score five unanswered shots over the next four ends to record a memorable 10-1, 5-3 victory, and was carried shoulder-high from the green.

“That’s the third year we’ve played Scotland here in a Test Match, but the first year we’ve won,” said King.

“Ironically, I lost to Tattie in 2013 and 2014, so it was fantastic to turn the tables and beat him this year, especially with so much at stake.”

In the opening match of the series, King combined well with Rob Paxton and Nick Brett to beat Scots trio Mike Stepney, Iain McLean and Colin Walker, 9-4, 7-10, 2-1, then struck a huge blow for the home side, leading superbly for Wellingborough’s Jamie Walker in the pairs.

Most Read

Facing world and Commonwealth Games pairs champions Paul Foster and Marshall, King and Walker came out on top, 7-2, 6-9, 2-1.