Wayne Hogg knocks out Mervyn King in first round of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines world indoor bowls singles championship
Mervyn King, the darling of the International Arena at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea, looked all at sea on the portable rink yesterday, and fell at the first hurdle in the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines world indoor singles championship.
His opponent, from Fife, Wayne Hogg, who holds a tour card enabling him to play in all World Bowls Tour ranking events, turned on an irresistible display of drawing to dispatch the local hero 10-4 8-3.
Scoring four shots on the very first end, Hogg struck with another full house on the fourth end of the second set and played well enough in between to keep a below-par King in check.
'I've played better, but I didn't think I was that bad,' said King, who also crashed out in the first round of the pairs on Friday. 'But my preparation for the tournament has been awful, because I've had so much work on my hands.'
King, an estate manager, believes that, for some reason he can't explain, he keeps his best performances for when he is playing outside Norfolk.
'Tonight, I would have been at the very top of my form to get the better of Wayne, who is a class act,' King said. 'As it was, nothing that I tried came off – it was just one of those nights!'
Hogg, who has been omitted from the Scottish elite squad, said: 'I would very much like to be recalled.' Scotland's new head coach, David Gourlay, watching from the Players' Gallery, must have been impressed.
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Earlier, there were first round victories for veteran Welshman John Price, Irish-born Scots hope Jonathan Ross and the legendary Gourlay.
Price, now 51, punched the air in delight when he delivered the killer blow to break a 6-6 deadlock, and take the second set against England qualifier Brett Arkley, from Stanley in County Durham.
Ross allowed his opponent – 'Devon Destroyer' Ian Bond – only two shots, as he himself piled up 17 in a 7-2, 10-0 straight sets victory that was not as one-sided as the scoreline might suggest.
Gourlay, the 1996 world champion, showed his class, delivering a couple of cracking drives on the last end of the second set to beat his talented fellow Scot Colin Walker, 6-6, 8-5.
And there were a couple of examples of outstanding sportsmanship that mark out Drake's ancient sport as one in which common-sense is thought to be more important than the letter of the law.
A loud sneeze from the spectators' gallery disturbed Ross, who sent his bowl trundling drunkenly down the rink, whereupon Bond had no hesitation in having the bowls returned, so that Ross could roll it again.
It was the raucous sound of a mobile phone blasting out Eddie Calvert's 'Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White' that caused Gourlay to mis-fire, and drop his bowl while preparing to deliver.
Walker immediately insisted that Gourlay should be allowed to replay the bowl, and his generous action was warmly praised by Gourlay afterwards.
Today sees the arrival of Norwich book buyer Tim Stone, who plays for the Acle club, just fifteen miles from Potters, and who will be challenging world number three Darren Burnett, from Scotland, tonight.
This afternoon, it is the turn of Stowmarket's Mark Royal to face the Scottish qualifier Paul Boyd for a place in the second round.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines world indoor bowls championships: Singles, 1st round: J Price (Wales) bt B Arkley (England) 9-0, 9-6; J Ross (Scotland) bt I Bond (England) 7-2, 10-0; D Gourlay (Scotland) bt C Walker (Scotland) 6-6, 8-5; W Hogg (Scotland) bt M King (England) 10-4, 8-3.
• TODAY'S POTTERS ACTION
10am: Stewart Anderson (Scot) v Tony Wood (Australia).
2pm: Jason Greenslade (Wales) v Neil Smith (Eng) followed by Mark Royal (Eng) v Paul Boyd (Scot)
7.30pm: Darren Burnett (Scot) v Tim Stone (Eng).
10am: Billy Jackson (Eng) v Robert Paxton (Eng).
2pm: Robert Weale (Wales) v Cy Wong (Hong Kong) followed by Simon Skelton (Eng) v Phillip Last (Eng).
7.30pm: Alex Marshall (Scot) v Craig Rimmington (Sth Africa)