King claims Australian pairs title

David Rhys-JonesAn ecstatic Mervyn King held the Australian Open pairs trophy aloft at Shepparton Park in Victoria last night, and said: 'I just don't believe it - it's like a dream come true, really, because we didn't expect to win it - it's truly awesome.David Rhys-Jones

An ecstatic Mervyn King held the Australian Open pairs trophy aloft at Shepparton Park in Victoria last night, and said: 'I just don't believe it - it's like a dream come true, really, because we didn't expect to win it - it's truly awesome.'

The Gallow (Fakenham) star had combined brilliantly with Cumbria's Stuart Airey to walk off with the planet's most prestigious title outside the world championships and Commonwealth Games.

The England duo started the day as outsiders for the title but didn't drop a set in the semi-final or final, and proved to be worthy winners.

King and Airey faced Aussie Jesse Norohna and Irish international Jeremy Henry, a former world outdoor singles champion who recently landed a job as bowls manager at the Warilla club in New South Wales, for a place in the final.

Backing each other up, they ground out a splendid 7-6, 7-6 victory that set them up for a crack at Victorian duo Tony Wood, who is 21, and 36-year-old Australian international Michael Wilks.

In the final, the England duo were completely dominant from start to finish, scoring 23 shots and conceding only five as dashed local hopes with an impressively one-sided 11-2, 12-3 scoreline.

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'That's not bad considering we had never played together before this event,' said King. 'To come out here, and do what we have done, is absolutely great, and will fill us with confidence for next week's Test series against the Aussies.'

With Graham Shadwell reaching the semi-finals of the singles, and Mark Bantock, Sam Tolchard and Rob Newman going great guns in the triples, England's confidence will also be boosted for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.

'Although the Games in India will be played outdoors, the greens will be synthetic, just like our indoor carpets in the UK, so, who knows, that might suit us even better,' said King.

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