King has to dig deep for victory

Mervyn King twice bounced off the ropes to claw his way into the second round of the Potters Holidays world Indoor Bowls Singles at Hopton-on-Sea today.

Mervyn King twice bounced off the ropes to claw his way into the second round of the Potters Holidays world Indoor Bowls Singles at Hopton-on-Sea today.

King, the World Indoor Pairs champion from the Gallow club, Fakenham, was involved in a first-round battle with Scotland's Gordon McKenzie, who scored four shots over four ends, hitting back from 3-2 down to open up a 6-4 lead in the opening set.

“It was certainly a battle. I was trailing 6-4 in that set and Gordon was playing really well,” said King.

“At the next end I lay two shots down and was in danger of trailing 8-4. However, I managed to ditch the jack and scored a single and that turned the tide in my favour. I added a double and single to take the set 8-6.”

King was soon in more trouble in the second set as McKenzie launched a powerful charge out of the blocks, pounding the Norfolk man with a single, two doubles and a single to storm 6-0 clear.

King added: “I had to fight once again and started playing more aggressively than usual, sending my woods into the head on rescue missions.”

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He faced going 8-0 behind when he lay two shots down at the next end - but he dug deep, summoning up a wonder wood, pushing out the two tartan bowls and scoring a double to haul himself back into the set.

This gave King the chance to lengthen the jack and he went on to notch a single, treble and double to lead 8-6.

King had to avoid losing a treble at the next end and he played shrewd tactical woods, restricting McKenzie to a single, edging the set 8-7 to clinch a battling victory.

King revealed later that he had been troubled by the Scot on short jacks, explaining: “I was struggling to find a line as my woods were not bending enough.

“On these short jacks I just couldn't get into the middle of the green. Now I will be heading back here around midnight on Thursday to find another set of bowls that will bend more for me.”

King is now set for a massive match against Lincoln's Billy Jackson next week for a place in the last 16. The game is worth 20 world ranking points to the winner.

King is at present joint 24th in the World Bowls Tour ranking list and needs points urgently to climb into the top 20 which would secure his place in next year's World Indoor Singles here.

He added: “This will be a massive game. Billy is number 14 in the world rankings and will also be eager for these 20 points to maintain his place in the world's top 16.

“The last time I played Billy was back in 1998 in the World Singles quarter-finals at Preston.

“That was a tremendous encounter which I managed to win and that year I got through to the final.”

Meanwhile, Scotland's World Under-25 Singles champion Wayne Hogg opened his campaign with a 10-3, 7-6 first-round victory over Sunderland's David Bolt.

Through to the quarter-finals of the world pairs are the Welsh partnership of Jason Greenslade and Robert Weale, who saw off their compatriots Les Saunders and Stephen Harris 6-5, 11-3.

Also still on track for the title are former champions welsh internationals Steve Rees and John Price, who swept home 12-4, 11-3 against New Zealand's Robbie Thomson and Andrew McCallum to book their place in the last eight.