Former indoor world champion Mervyn King has pulled out of the Norfolk team ahead of this weekend’s vital Middleton Cup trip to Northamptonshire.

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King, 47, declared himself to be no longer available for county selection after helping them kick-start their defence of the trophy with a superb victory at Huntingdonshire two weeks ago.

That appearance came days after he had been axed from the England line-up for the forthcoming home internationals. Ironically, on his final appearance, he skipped a rink led by one of the England selectors – John Ottaway.

The man from Fakenham had also been left out of Norfolk’s team for the Balcombe Trophy – the national inter county two fours competition – which went on to reach the regional finals with a hard fought victory over Hertfordshire at the Rosedale BC in Cheshunt.

Norfolk’s Middleton Cup match at Kingsthorpe BC is virtually a do or die battle for a place in the quarter-finals because of the margin of Northamptonshire’s opening victory over Bedfordshire – although a big win for Huntingdonshire in the other group match could put them in the running.

King’s absence is one of several changes from Norfolk’s last outing with both Darren Rowsell and Philip Barr back in an increasingly youthful team.

Norfolk line-up: Mark Elliott, Justin Hudson, George Tubby & Andy Siely; John Tufts, Neil Moulton, Ian Catchpole & Wayne Willgress; Max Harrison, Roger Guy, Chris Gaul & Peter Boldero; John Ottaway, Robert Hadingham, Paul Shackcloth & Philip Barr; Sam King, Bernie Perrett, Mark Turner & Darren Rowsell; John Colcombe, Peter Wilkinson, Jake Willgress & Stephen Winter. Reserves – Tom Baker, Simon Elliott & Charlie Boon

nWith last weekend’s matches against Hertfordshire & Suffolk in the Eastern Counties Under-30 League having been cancelled, Norfolk have to wait until June 23 for their opening matches at Brampton Institute BC.

Manager Daniel Noble has selected the following for both matches against Huntingdonshire at 10am followed by Bedfordshire at 2pm

Norfolk team: Tom Baker, Matt Carter, Liam Stevenson & Marcus Colcombe; Max Harrison, Dean Rudling, Daniel Noble & Rick Summers; Jack Wells, Jack Adcock, Matt Flatman & Sam King.

Norfolk beat Hertfordshire by 48 shots to 36 in their Balcombe Trophy match in Cheshunt. Having made a good start they had to withstand a strong recovery but responded by winning the closing six ends by 18 shots against three. The same team has been selected for the regional finals that will be held at St. Neots BC on Sunday, June 23.

Rink scores: Max Harrison, Justin Hudson, Jake Willgress & Peter Boldero 18 Martin Coles 23; John Tufts, George Tubby, Stephen Winter & Wayne Willgress 30 Matt Coppen 13.

In the Eastern Counties League Norfolk secured their second successive victory by beating Essex 120-109 at County Arts, taking 17 of the 22 points at stake.

The win puts Norfolk second in the table with two wins out of two behind leaders Hertfordshire who have won all their four matches.

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