Fakenham bowler Mervyn King bows out of Welsh Grand Prix
Mervyn King, the world number five, from Fakenham, hit top form at Llanelli on Friday, but was cruelly denied a place in the final of the Co-operative Funeralcare WBT Welsh Grand Prix by Scottish legend David Gourlay, who won a thrilling contest, 9-3, 3-7, 2-0.
Spectators were agog at the standard of play produced by both players, and King admitted that he has never played as well and lost.
Although Gourlay clearly had the better of the first set, King got his head down and drew unerringly to the jack in the second set, forcing the Scot to attack in his customary manner.
'When Mervyn upped his game, he produced some incredible bowls,' said Gourlay, who was back to the form that established him as world number one in the 1990's.
King said: 'It was a great game to play in, and I think it must have made good television. I can't be too disappointed, because I don't think I could have played any better.'
Gourlay took a 4-0 lead after two ends, but King was only one shot adrift at 4-5 after six, when the Scot powered home with a brace of doubles.
Shots were hard to come by in the second set, because both players were drawing to the proverbial sixpence, but, from 3-3 after five ends, King got home with four successive singles.
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Earning the right to contest a tiebreak, King continued to play well, but Gourlay managed to win two ends on the trot to secure his place in the final, where he met Greg Harlow, from the City of Ely.
Harlow, the world number one, beat world number one Paul Foster, 9-4, 9-4, in the semi finals, but failed to repeat his good form in the final, as Gourlay swept to a 10-1, 8-4 victory.