Mervyn King crashes out at World Indoor Bowls Championships

FAKENHAM bowls star Mervyn King suffered double despair in the opening week of the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines world indoor championship at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea.

King, who plays for the Gallow club in Fakenham, and his new partner Simon Skelton, from Nottingham, were unceremoniously bundled out of world indoor pairs championship on Friday, before King was beaten by Wayne Hogg in the singles on Tuesday.

The Norfolk ace now has one chance left to salvage some pride from this year’s event when he teams up with Karen Murphy in the mixed pairs tomorrow night against Paul Foster and Kerry Packwood.

After Welsh duo Daniel Salmon and Neil Collett had posted an 8-3, 8-6 straight sets victory against King and Skelton last Friday, King tried to explain the defeat: “The pace of the green changed incredibly after the trial ends,” he said.

“It was flying when we started, but it became quite slow, and that affected the lines to the jack as well.”

The Gallow star, who won the world indoor singles title in 2006, added: “But, when all’s said and done, it’s often like that, so it should not have come as a big surprise.

“I hadn’t had a chance to practise a lot this week – but the rink is always so changeable that I can’t use that as an excuse. To be honest, I was disappointed with my form in the first set, but played a lot better in the second.”

Most Read

Salmon, the Welsh lead, a left hander, who is only 17, had the edge over King in the first set, but it was Collett, a 40-year-old senior policy advisor at Companies House, who made the difference in the second.

Collett played some crucial attacking bowls, and pulled off an inch-perfect draw on the penultimate end, just when the England pair look poised to get back into contention.

Suffering from a bad back, Collett understandably played with care and concentration, and clearly enjoyed his return to the portable rink after several years’ absence.

On Tuesday, King’s opponent Wayne Hogg, from Fife, who holds a Tour Card enabling him to play in all World Bowls Tour ranking events, turned on an irresistible display of drawing to dispatch the local hero, 10-4, 8-3.

Scoring four shots on the very first end, Hogg struck with another full house on the fourth end of the second set, and played well enough in between to keep a below-par King in check.

“I’ve played better, but I didn’t think I was that bad,” said King, who works as an estate manager. “But my preparation for the tournament has been awful, because I’ve had so much work on my hands.”

King believes that, for some reason he can’t explain, he keeps his best performances for when he is playing outside Norfolk.

“Tonight, I would have been at the very top of my form to get the better of Wayne, who is a class act,” King said. “As it was, nothing that I tried came off – it was just one of those nights!”

Hogg, who has been omitted from the Scottish elite squad, said: “I would very much like to be recalled.”

Scotland’s new head coach, David Gourlay, watching from the Players Gallery, must have been impressed.