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Magic Mervyn aims to defend his crown

PUBLISHED: 11:28 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 10:59 01 July 2010

Norfolk's world number eight Mervyn King heads to Sheffield next month to defend his title at the

Co-operative Funeralcare World Matchplay Bowls Championship, at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre.

Norfolk's world number eight Mervyn King heads to Sheffield next month to defend his title at the

Co-operative Funeralcare World Matchplay Bowls Championship, at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre.

The World Bowls Tour event, in its fourth year at Ponds Forge, features the top eight players in the WBT world rankings, led by top seeded Englishman King, a former world indoor champion, and Scotland's new world number one Paul Foster.

The championship, from June 17-18, is celebrating its fourth year of sponsorship by the Co-operative Funeralcare.

And for those not able to witness the exciting action on the WBT's unique portable rink at Ponds Forge, there will be live TV coverage on Sky Sports over the two days.

Mervyn King, the 44-year-old from Fakenham who was runner-up in the inaugural championship in 2007, faces fellow Englishman Ian Bond in the opening round. 'Devon Destroyer' Bond, winner of three WBT titles, is making his debut in the event.

Paul Foster is seeded to reach his first final. The 37-year-old Scot has become world number one for the first time after winning a record sixth WBT title at the Scottish International Open in Perth last year. Foster takes on sixth seed Welshman Jason Greenslade in the opening round.

Greg Harlow will relish his return to Ponds Forge - the scene of four WBT title triumphs, including the World Matchplay Championship in 2007. Now the world champion after clinching the sport's premier title at Potters Leisure Resort in January, Harlow is the third seed.

The City of Ely club player begins his 2010 campaign against fellow Englishman Simon Skelton, the seventh seed from Nottingham who is also making his debut in the event this year.

Mark Royal is fourth seed. The Suffolk left-hander missed out on being world number one last season by a single point - and faces Alex Marshall, the man who pipped him, in the opening round.

The distinguished Scot, winner of the world indoor title a record five times and now the proud holder of an MBE, is the event's fifth seed.

Tickets, at £5 per day, are available from the box office on 0114 256 5656 or 0114 2789 789.

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