Norfolk star Mervyn King beats Nick Brett in fascinating Potters battle
- Credit: Nick Butcher
All in the mind? Sports psychologists would have us believe that sport is as much a mental as a physical activity, and yesterday morning's sensational second round world indoor open singles clash between local hero Mervyn King and world number two Nick Brett was indeed a fascinating mind game.
To the delight of the home crowd at Potters, King, a 52-year-old estate manager who plays for the Gallow club in Fakenham, returned an 8-2, 6-6 scorecard, and duly qualified for the quarter-finals of an event he famously won in 2006 – but the scoreline does not tell the whole story.
'I knew I had to be on top form to beat this man,' said King.
King had played his trump card on the very first end, when, after Brett had drawn confidently to the jack with four deliveries, he calmly drew the shot, denying Brett a big count.
Psychologically, it was an early turning point.
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If you excuse the pun, the drawing of both players was out of the top drawer, but, although King deservedly won the first set by a significant margin, it was Brett who looked in charge of the second set, and a tie-break seemed inevitable - until the red-shirted Brett made a tactical error on the seventh end.
Leading 6-2, and, according to marker Allan Thornhill, holding shot, Brett was poised to go 7-2 up with only two ends left to play.
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He could have declined to play his last bowl, but opted to try to draw another shot, and touched the jack, which moved a couple of inches, giving King a double to keep the Norfolk man in touch at 6-4 – and two King singles were enough to tie the set and win the match.
In a match highly charged with an emotional sub-text – both players having recently lost their fathers – Paul Foster, the defending champion, from Scotland, was beaten 8-7, 8-4, by Welsh star and number 16 seed Jason Greenslade.
The writing was on the wall for Foster when a lucky strike from Greenslade turned three down into three up on the very first end, and the unpredictable Welshman was 6-0 up after two ends, giving the Scot a mountain to climb.
And, although he fought back manfully, Foster was unable to contain Greenslade, who played the 'big' bowls well, and qualified for tomorrow's quarter finals.