Published: 08:02, 19 January 2022
| Updated: 08:11, 19 January 2022
By Dominic Picksley
Dover’s Pat Briscoe was left to rue a missed opportunity as he failed to clinch a quarter-final appearance in the Open Singles at the World Indoor Bowls Championships after losing to Mervyn King on a tie-break.
After dispatching eighth seed David Gourlay in the first round, hopes were high in the Briscoe camp he could send ninth seed King packing, too.
But despite the Norfolk star not being at his best on Tuesday, the Ashford Indoor Bowls Club player couldn’t take advantage, eventually losing a nervy tie-break.
And in the best-of-three-end lottery at 1-0 up, Briscoe - playing with strapping on his right knee - had the final bowl on the second end to send him into the last-eight but he fluffed his lines, missing with a drive.
King won the end and then he rose to the occasion on the next to leave Briscoe thinking what might have been.
“I am obviously very disappointed,” he said. “I had a big chance in the tie-break, but my head was playing tricks on me by that stage.
"I lacked the killer instinct to take that chance on a day like this that may never come again.
“It is a wonderful place here and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but it’s a tough one to take for now.”
King was always in command in the first set, building up a 4-0 lead, which then became 7-2 as Briscoe struggled to find any sort of consistency on the portable blue rink.
The man in red eventually took it 10-5 to leave Briscoe with a mountain to climb. But he carved out a 6-2 advantage after six ends, but King bounced back to lead 7-6 with one end to play.
The writing looked to be on the wall for Briscoe, needing a double to prolong the tie, but he produced his best end of the match to pocket a three as King became wayward.
And then came the heart-breaking tie-break, which Briscoe will still be having sleepless nights over after throwing away the chance to book a first-ever place in the quarter-final of the grandest indoor tournament of them all.
“I struggled on the rink, unfortunately. I’m not going to blame the rink but it was just different,” added Briscoe.
“For some reason, which I cannot explain, I kept dropping short on the backhand in the first set. The lines were different even from the morning when I had a practise.
“I was very frenetic and then all that tension goes through your body and I didn’t feel my deliveries were particularly smooth.
“I said in the pre-match interview that I had to draw well and singles is all about getting your first bowl in and I didn’t do that. That’s what is so disappointing.”