Tag Archives: Featured

Mark Webster: Diamond SE

​A new mark Webster dart always serves to remind us just how good Mark is and what he managed to contribute to the game at such an early stage. Webby was Lakeside World Champion and twice third in the PDC version and provided a welcome contrast to the perception of dart players.

Mark Webster’s weapons of choice have undergone a radical reformation over the past few years. The 2008 World Champion began his career using a very simple tungsten barrel with a snub nose and a few grooves on the lower sections. His latest weapons are about as far away as you can get. Winmau have leveraged much of their technical know-how into this elegant but unfussy dart.

General:

This latest edition has just been released, for the 2021 collection, by Marks’ longtime manufacture. Two sections of ‘black diamond’ grip have been added to the dart on either side of the lightly grooved centre section. This addition has transformed the dart.

Open the Box:

The three, 90%, tungsten barrels come tucked into a branded point protector and a colour coordinated set – up of Vectra stems (3) and Prism Alpha flights. Black steel points are supplied and fitted.

Testing feedback:

The difference, from previous Webster signature models, is remarkable. The revamp gives the appearance of real muscle while retaining their precision instrument performance. The ‘black diamond’ grip sections give almost every type of thrower a way to get the most out of them. You can even use the two sections as a guide of where not to hold them! The simple barrel design still does its no-fuss job but the new grip zones seem to add assured confidence that was not there previously.

Set-Up & Durability:

We have always found the diamond range to be exceptionally durable and, for some players, the more worn in they are the better they’re liked. With the supplied set up Mark’s dart suits most conventional throwers. Rear holders added more tapered stems and a smaller sized std flight to get a less direct flight path.

Snapshot:

The Mark Webster (2021) signature dart is a premium dart with a no-nonsense look and feel. There are no unnecessary cosmetics and, as a result, the dart is as reliable as it is impressive. They can be used to great effect by a wide cross-section of throwers although we expect that they will prove exceptionally popular with methodical players who like to power score and not mess about. At around £55 they are good value and slightly less than some premier models.

Marks: 9/10

The marks ranged from 8.5 to 9.5 for functionality, looks, performance, and value. 9/10 seems a fair result for this excellent addition to the 2021 player market.

——–ENDS——-
Originally published in Darts World Magazine (573)

Testing by: AIM:180 Ltd​

100 Pages That Sum Up An Unforgetable Year – Free 2020 E-Magazine

Our friends over at Darts World magazine have covered almost significant moment in our sports modern incarnation. But even in their 49 years they can not have seen anything like 2020.

So, perhaps, to draw a line under the events during the twelve months from January 2020 they, with the help of Red Dragon darts, have produced a superb scrapbook style e-magazine. Even better its downloadable FREE of charge to all darts fans.

Simply click below the image to read or download your own FREE copy:

Download or Read

RAZR’s Edge Review

​NON-player darts are often the hidden gems of major manufacturer launches. Attention is focused on the latest Peter Wright (or other star players) dart or the most recent generation of a legendary design. The 2021 Red Dragon launch proved no exception.

  • Product: Steel Tip Darts
  • Brand: Red Dragon
  • Materials: 95% Tungsten
  • Dimensions: 50.8mm x 6.25mm
  • Weight: 22g RRP: £42.90


The Welsh brand has invested a great deal of their innovative player-generated know-how (and some style) into darts that are technically excellent, but that otherwise may have been ignored. The Razor Edge ZX-95 is one such model:

General:

The ZX-95 edition has been released to top the popular Razor Edge range. The 95 refers to the tungsten level which is markedly higher than the other Razor options. This variation provides a dense feel for those who like to go straight for the target.

Open the Box:

The three, 95% tungsten barrels come tucked into a point protector and with a colour coordinated setup of Nitro-Tech stems (3) and Hardcore standard-shaped flights (3). Black steel points are supplied and fitted.

Testing feedback:

The difference in these darts from previous editions is easily noticeable. The revamp gives them a feeling of precision and directness while retaining the feeling that they will never move in the action of throwing. The ‘Razor Edge’ grip sections give an aggressive 4/5 level grip which every who is light in the hold will get plenty out of them. The simple, slim, barrel design still does its no-fuss job but the higher tungsten content changes the angle of flight for some throw styles.

Set-Up & Durability:

High tungsten content darts are always highly durable and with such a distinct grip it is unlikely that you will wear these out. The coating also seems resilient in comparison with some. The supplied setups suit direct throwers very well indeed. Some players may prefer a less stiff flight and stem combo. The grip being tilted away from the point means they are not as taxing on flights as we imagined.

Snapshot:

This Razor Edge ZX-95 dart is a perfect example of the non-payer dart. All the tech and all the styling, but not the premium price tag. There are plenty of useful features as well as simple, classy cosmetics. ZX-95s can be used by a variety of throwers although we expect that they will be most popular with a dart by dart (Peter Wright style) player, who holds the barrel very lightly indeed. At under £40 they are superb value for a highly-styled 95% tungsten dart with multi-grip zones.

Marks: 8.5/10

Aggressive grip and 95% tungsten are polarising features on a dart. So to average out at 8.5/10 over functionality, looks, performance, and value is very impressive indeed. Yet again there’s a hidden gem with no player name on the barrel. Look out for others in every launch.

——ENDS——

Original review appeared at dartsworld.com
http://www.aim180.org

Red Dragon Player Launch 2021

​Red Dragon has fired the final shot in the annual ‘Launch Season’ for the major darts brands. Using the World Championships, and their ability to launch later than mainly retail brands, as a launchpad. This will enable them to take full advantage of producing a fourth World Champion in the last two years!

The Welsh company has long been an innovator within the darts industry and they have again blindsided many rivals with the short timeline for the debut of Peter Wright’s latest model (The World Champion SE tapered) which was available for pre-order within 3 days of makings its Ally Pally debut. 

Today’s fuller launch includes player and RD branded dart models and well as a range of new accessories for those hoping to get back to normal darts in 2021. Darts World asked us to react to the live launch earlier this month:

“And the New, Champion of the Wooooorld….”

Gerwyn Price – Blue Ice

A variation on Gerwen’s signature darts which might temp those who like a classic shape but feel the need for more grip.

” There is something of a classic underpinning to these. But with a seriously muscular looking exterior!”

“If you fancied @Gezzyprice‘s dart but wanted more grip these could be the one…”

Meanwhile the former champion still packs a commercial punch

Three new versions of Peter’s World Championship winning dart hit the stand today, shop here:

The Torpedo, The Diamond, and The Tapered.

These were a real surprise, there has been no great advance in this shaped dart outside of Phil Taylor’s for a long time.

“Clever use of one of the classic barrel shapes given a new lease of life. Adding @snakebitewright flair & @reddragondarts grip tech gives the best of both worlds”.

​ You have to love this idea, two of Red Dragon’s best moments of recent years combined in one set of arrows. Diamond fusion grip is outstanding.

“ Combining the outstanding Diamon Fusion grip with the original design of the World Championship SE could prove a masterstroke.” 

Again the fusion of two such popular and successful Peter Wright elements is a seriously smart move.

” These set folk talking when Peter gave it a debut at Ally Pally, it looks a great combination of his popular PL15 and the title-winning SE”

“Many will have to try this version, just so tempting……”

Red Dragon’s other Big Guns:

Johnny’s Be Good!

With Clayton winning events in each of the last four years and now claiming a huge title with Gerwyn Price it will be interesting to see if he kicks on again.


” The Clayton dart is a really effective design, this edition really improves its styling….”

” Jonny’s dart could suit a wide variety of payer, perhaps they may be tempted now?”

Wes Harms 2021

“ This is a really distinguished take on a pedigree dart. A wide range of throwers can get benefit from them……”

“The even, consistent grip offers great continuity and ease of use”

Jamie Hughes SE

“Jamie’s dart is a variation on a legendary barrel but with finer cut grip below the ID blank. But, with the SE grip, there is even less fuss than usual!”

“Simplicity can be beautiful”

Scott Baker – The Mod (Diamond)

“ Scott’s 21st-century Priestley style dart has been a long time in the making. But, with the Element 6 style diamond grip we can’t wait to get our hand on a set for test purposes”.

There was plenty more action over at Red Dragon over the course of the day. More dart models, clothing and accessories have been released over the past few hours. You can browse and buy the 2021 range here.



We will be looking, with our friends at Darts World, at the non-player and premium lines separately. Keep an eye on our social media or over at dartsworld.com

Special Weapons? Jose de Sousa’s Arrows

Jose de Sousa’s superb efforts throughout 2020 have increased interest in the equipment used by the Portuguese. Along with Devon Petersen, Jose uses a combination of Trinidad barrels and Condor AXE set-ups. Our testers have been getting to grips with the Jose (Type 2):

Product: Steel Tip Darts

Brand: Trinidad

Materials: 90% Tungsten

Dimensions: 55mm x 6.2mm

Weight: 18g

RRP: £69.99

General:

The Jose (type II) is the signature dart of the latest PDC major champion Jose De Sousa (Portugal). They are a parallel barrel with two main grip zones and a slight snub/curve at the nose. There are small centre name blanks and an even smaller one at the stem junction.

Open the Box:

The type II are supplied as three barrels etched with the Trinidad name and mounted in a branded point protector. Inside the standard retail packaging are three Trinidad phased colour poly stems and three Trinidad standard shape flights. Standard stainless steel points are fitted and are a good place to start before any personalization.
 

Tester Quotes:

“These are a very unusual dart, I love the grip contrast between the section” (Elite player)

“ I throw quite a soft dart so these seem to work nicely for me, once you get used to the length” (Serious amateur)

“You can hold them in so many different ways and places, it takes quite a while to work out what’s best” (Youth player).

Assessment:

The grip zones, on this unusual dart, are excellent. The higher zone is grippy but creates an impression smoother than reality. This allows for either firm or light holding styles. The lower section is more aggressive and is handy for light grippers or those who steady the dart with a lightly placed guide finger. Both are superbly machined and the overall impression is one of excellent manufacture and design.

Set-Ups:

The standard supplied setup works ok but the Jose seems to come to life when you start to adjust them to your style. Direct throwers used a short stem and small standard flight to great effect and the more arc style players found a molded fixed flight set up to be the best by a long way.

The Condor AXE set up that Jose puts his name to was outstanding and seemed to have been made for the light but long dart. We recommend at least trying this if possible.

Durability:

After over 100 legs the darts have very few wear marks and event the more delicate grip zone appears in perfect condition. The lower grip zone can cause flight and stem wear but only in similar ways to many other similar models.

Debbie Downers:

The length of these can be difficult for those who use a wristy technique as getting over the dart before release can be hard to master. Also, the fact that they can be used in so many different ways leaves some players struggling to pick a method and stick to it. 

Results:

Our testers were very impressed with this dart most had not used or seen Trinidad dart before and were happy to consider them in the future. The overall quality was excellent and the packaging and presentation, while simple, was professional and effective.

The grip zones were universally praised with the stem/top section being especially admired. The lower section was more individual and may suit some more than others. The blanks and grip areas were well located and suited to many types of throw.

The length and width of the dart gave it a surprisingly solid feel for such a light end dart. Players who usually use 21 and 22g models were quite happy to throw the Jose II and one or two used them in practice and match scenarios.

Value: 

At almost £70 these are toward the premium end of the market and there was some debate at whether this represented value. Much of this concerned cosmetics and was really opinion. For a specialist style, highly unusual dart, with a high design and machining spec, we feel you could not expect to pay much less.
 

Marks: 9/10

The four main testers were split between eight and the maximum ten, and thus the overall score averaged out at nine, put simply if you can find your way of throwing these you will love them. If not you may be less keen but still appreciate their quality.

SnapShot:

The testers agreed that Jose II is an impressively designed and manufactured barrel. The length to weight ratio is an unusual and welcome addition to the market. Although at the higher end the manufacture and originality of the dart and the machining and design standard justify the costs. The player who will benefit most is the lighter, more direct style with less loop in their trajectory.

———-Ends———–
Testing and report by AIM:ltd (@aim180ltd)

Appeared at dartsworld.com


Price Dominates Anderson to lift title

Gerwyn Price won the William Hill World Darts Championship and became the new world number one after defeating Gary Anderson with an electrifying display in Sunday’s final at London’s Alexandra Palace. 

Price prevailed 7-3 with a dominant performance against two-time winner Anderson to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy, claim the £500,000 winner’s cheque and become the first ever Welsh PDC World Champion.

The triumph also saw Price replace Michael van Gerwen at the top of the PDC Order of Merit, bringing an end to the Dutchman’s seven-year reign as world number one. 

The damage was done early in the final as the Welsh star won five of the first six sets thanks to some ruthless finishing, leaving Anderson unable to recover despite Price squandering several opportunities to wrap up the victory before finally claiming glory.

“This means everything to me. It means the world,” said Price, who averaged 100.08 in the superb success.

“I bombed numerous opportunities to win it towards the end but I knew that I had put myself in such a good position that I would have another chance. Gary missed to give it me and I’m glad I took it. 

“I’ve never felt pressure like that in my life. It was so tough to hit that winning double but the feeling after doing it is so difficult to explain. I’m the World Champion; it’s unbelievable. 

“I’m proud to be world number one too. It’s probably even tougher to achieve that than it is to become World Champion. To manage both is incredible for me.”

Anderson missed four darts to take the opening set 3-0 and Price punished the Scot by claiming the next three legs to snatch an early advantage. 

The Welshman took the first leg in set two, but a 180 followed by a 128 checkout sparked a three leg burst that saw Anderson level the match.

Price won the third set 3-1 with 12,13 and 14-dart legs, shrugging off a 170 checkout from Anderson, before finishes of 84 and 120 helped the former professional rugby player take set four by the same margin.

Checkouts of 83, 97 and 76 saw Price continue an incredible run of finishes to open up a three set lead.

He then produced the best set of darts in World Championship history when he took out 100 for an 11-dart leg, 161 for a 12-darter and double 12 to go out in ten darts, after missing the bed to complete a nine-darter – posting an astonishing set average of 136.64.

Back-to-back double top finishes saw Price take his success rate on that target to 13 landed from as many attempts, but when he finally missed the bed Anderson pounced to take the seventh set in a decider.

Price moved 6-2 ahead when he landed double top to win the fifth leg in set eight, before claiming the following two legs to move within a leg of glory – but he went on to miss nine match darts across two legs to allow Anderson to steal the set and stay in the contest.

The Scot punished Price for more missed doubles to make it five legs on the spin, but Price came from behind to claim the title on double five after Anderson had missed six darts to keep his hopes alive.

“Getting beat in the final is disappointing but I’ll give myself a pat on the back for getting this far,” said Anderson, who has moved up five places to eighth in the Order of Merit.

“What I’ve done over the last few weeks has been a big bonus for me. I started the final alright but I started to struggle and you can’t do that against players like Gerwyn.”

The triumph saw Price become the tenth PDC World Champion and the first to have achieved the feat as a product of Qualifying School, having earned his professional Tour Card in 2014 – just two weeks after Van Gerwen’s spell as world number one had begun.

He succeeds Peter Wright as World Champion and also leaps above the Scot and Van Gerwen to top the PDC Order of Merit.

William Hill World Darts Championship

Sunday January 3

Final

Gerwyn Price 7-3 Gary Anderson 

Set Scores: 3-2, 1-3, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 2-3, 3-2


Words: PDC

PIC: L lustig (PDC)

Quantum: Aphelion 25g

Aphelion, named after the point of orbit furthest away from the sun, is a serious dart from a niche company with a devotion to design. The rapidly developing Welsh firm has a select range of which this is one of the standouts. 

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)   
  • Brand: Quantum 
  • Model: Aphelion 
  • Variation: 25g  
  • Material: 90% Tungsten  
  • RRP: £32.99+ 

General: 

This mid scalloped 50.9mm long dart is slim, at 6.9mm, for a 25g dart and has a very distinctive look about it. The smooth elliptical nose cone is a proven winner, whereas the dimpled scallop is unusual in placement and style.  

They are a beautifully designed but simple to use dart. The scallop area looks intriguing and practical with the grip choice, and natural finish, signaling a no-nonsense bit of kit.  

The grip is noticeable, impressive and well placed. Shark grip sections above and below the scallop are used to produce a dart that looks and feels grippier than most similarly shaped barrels. These sections mean that the grip is pronounced and excellent for those who like to really feel the interaction between fingers and barrels. A number of different skill level players took part and enjoyed trialing it.  

The traditional steel point is black and stands out from the board wires well. It’s a solid choice, for a solid weapon. 

No nonsense set up and packaging from Quantum Darts.

Open the Box: 

As with all Quantum darts, the pack comes with one set of (Aphelion) barrels (25g) in a point protector, together with a set of (black) nylon stems and Quantum logo (multicoloured) standard flights. The set up can be easily replicated via Quantum or almost any darts store. 

Tester Quotes:  

“…I can just rest my finger in the scallop. It feels like I can put my fingers where they fall naturally…” County Player  

” …the grip is brilliant and the balance is Perfect ” Elite PLAYER  

” these are just so much better than I thought. They can be thrown in at least three different hold styles including in a ‘Tayloresque’ manner…” Coach .  

N.B. Testers found improved performance with larger surface area flights and more tapered stems.  

Debbie Downers: 

Only minor, personal taste, issues were noted. Any scalloped dart can take a little getting used to, so give your Aphelion a little time. One tester was less happy with the taper toward the stem and one loved the shape and design but could not adapt to razor/shark grip. 

Durability: 

We suspect Aphelion are going to prove ultra-durable. After more than 60 legs from a variety of players, including tour players and a major finalist, they look almost untouched. There is no coating to wear and no vulnerable zone for damage. These may be passed down through families! 

Value: 

Just over £30 for a precision design, and highly engineered, dart is exceptional value. All AIM: testers acknowledged that they would part with such a sum.  

Marks: 

Aphelion scored well in almost every area. Indeed, a 9 and a 10/10 were awarded by totally different style testers. Not every player will be fond of a scalloped dart with an aggressive grip. Aphelion did better than almost all in its class. The average mark came in at a very solid 8.5/10.  

SnapShot:  

A very well-liked dart, popular with most testers and throw styles. Durable, original and very high quality. A superb example of how smaller, more responsive, companies can make a big impression with darts players. Surely Aphelion is worth its day in the sun. 


Review first published in Darts World Magazine (571) 2020. Order the latest issue, here.

SnapShot Review: Peter Wright World Championship Edition

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)  
  • Brand: Red Dragon 
  • Model Name: Peter Wright (World Champion Edition) 
  • Variation: 21g 
  • Material: 90% Tungsten 
  • price: RRP: £49.90+ 

General: 

This edition was commissioned to celebrate Snakebite’s victory in the World ChampionshipsIt has gone from strength to strength since and proven very popular. Despite conventional dimensions (54.6mm long x 5.9mm wide (widest)), the World Champion Edition is certainly not conventional in other ways! 

It is a superbly engineered but simple looking dart. The rainbow areas look sharp and practical with the lurid colour flashes adding a dash of flamboyance. The grip is impressive and well placed. Cuts to the barrel are used in a traditional pattern in order to produce a dart that looks and feels grippier than most similar barrels. 

These sections mean that the grip is very flexible, and suitable, it appears, so far, from testing, for almost any type of player. A very wide cross-section of players  liked this dart and enjoyed trialing it. 

The tradtional steel point is black and lends into the barrel visually. It’s a solid addition and rounds off the dart of well.

The retail set available here.

What’s in the Box? 

As with most Red Dragon darts, these days, the pack comes with one set of (Peter Wright WC) barrels (21g) together with a set of (black) Nitro-Tech stems and Snakebite coordinated (Purple, Black & White) set of Hardcore flights. The set up can be easily replicated via the Red Dragon store. 

Tester Quotes: 

“…I loved the grip on the lower half of the dart. It feels like I can put my fingers where I want and it feels the same…” County Lady Player 

” … there is a bit of my old Bob Anderson’s in them but much better…” Youth player 

” these are just so much better than I imagined. I was never keen on this style of dart but this is just totally different…” Elite player

Debbie Downers: 

They seem very few negatives here though. One player was not keen on the lurid nature of the coating that highlights the top end of the barrel. Another would have preferred the blank in the centre to either be moved or removed. In honesty these things are simply a matter of personal taste. 

Durability – So far, the Snakebite (WC) have stood up very well they have been used in close to three hundred legs by a variety of different players over quite a few weeks. 

Value – At under £50, for World Champion’s dart, these are excellent value for money. All testers agreed that they would happily purchase at this price. 

Marks – 9.0/10 – The SWC has received one of the highest marks of any dart we have tested so far. Indeed, a maximum 10/10s was awarded with nothing negative to say. One player has switched to them and we suspect another is hoping for his weight to be released! 

SnapShot: An Outstanding dart, popular with all testers and throw styles. Durable, exciting, and flexible, as well as superbly engineered and manufactured. A truly Worthy, World Champion Edition! 


Testing & words by AIM:

Review originally appeared in Darts World Magazine 570 & dartsworld.com

Check out Peter Wright’s full product range, from Red Dragon Darts, here.

Winmau Launch 2020/21

Being last, of the major brands, to launch their new range is a tradition at Winmau. Their retail pedigree means that they synchronise the launch in order to provide their retail channels with maximum new products for the Christmas and January peaks.

This year sees the Welsh firm lead from the front with a selection of products from their lead player Michael Van Gerwen before moving on to their other marquee names:

Vantage:

This premium model is clearly inspired by MVGs general barrel design but given the premium touches they ensure a great first impression. They have also eliminated some of the less popular features of Michael’s standard dart.

Vantage feature sections of a ‘VA’ shaped grip and gold plated highlights. The black and green styling of the Adrenalin model is adopted again for this striking variation on the MVG theme.

Assault:

This looks a more traditional dart but with MVG grip locations and branding. The onyx coating is gain present but paired with non coated bands and deep cut grooves to give an impression of a very aggressive grip.

The MVG green, black and silver styling with plenty of branding points ensures that, although a different style of dart, Assault willlook part of the family.

New weights have been added to Adrenalin, Ambition and Absolute models. All in all the MVG range goes from strength to strength.

Joe Cullen:

Joe has got to off to a nice start with Winmau and they look like a good match. His recent form is nicely timed for his signature dart launch and these are a definite forward development.

The front and rear sections are similar to his usual model but the gentle scallop in the mid section adds an element of element of exactitude not previously obvious. The Red and black colour scheme coordinates with much of Joe’s branding. Overall it’s a more subtle and less aggressive model. A sign of maturing confidence?

Mark Webster (Diamond):

These look a nice development of Webby’s second signature dart. Two new sections of Winmau’s unique diamond fusion grip have been added. This may increase the range of players willing to give this classic shaped dart a try. It’s striking looking and could suit any type of throw.

Merv King:

Even the most optimistic at Winmau would not have expected these to be launched at quite such a peak of interest in The King! Merv’s superb run to the final of the Players Championship Finals has given his profile a huge boost.

It is not shock that the shape of this new edition is the classic Bamboo pattern that has proved so successful for its most famed user. However the added grip within the curved sections looks a technical masterstroke. Taking an old tech dart and making it look both new and modern is a fine effort.

Ted Hankey:

A couple of years back Ted finally added some real grip to his signature shaped dart. The black and red styling also helped introduce the dart to a wider audience. The latest edition celebrates 20 years since The Cou ta inaugural World Championship and the gold section seems appropriate. With a fine ring grip and black onyx coated front area a very striking edition is compete.

There are new and revamped models for Scott Mitchell, Jeff Smith, Willie O Conner and Steve Brown as well as another adaptation of the evergreen Steve Beaton design.

Non Player Ranges:

The excellent Sicario range has been expanded and it is good to see the cluster grip given more opportunity. Fury, Electra and Zinati have been added to the catalogue and bring a dash of simplicity, colour and style respectively.

A select group of accessories brought the launch to a close. A funky pocket flight store and additions to the Pro Line range of premium accessories in the form of a board surround and cabinet.

This is a very strong launch for Winmau. 2020 may have been a terrible year for many but the signing of MVG and then the return to form of King have bookended an excellent performance. They have moved from a legacy brand, who looked jaded and old, to the sharpest and most focused of the leading darts brands.

——————-

Checkout Winmau.com for the full range.

The Return of The King

The sight of once-great players slipping down the rankings, toward an inevitable spell on the ‘Legends’ circuit, is one of the sadder sights in professional sport and has been becoming more common in darts. Merv King is one of the few to arrest that decline and, last weekend, put it into full reverse.

The King, as he is known, has been in the news more for taking on delivery work for Amazon, during the Covid-19 pandemic, than tackling darts elite in recent times. Merv slipped out of the world’s top sixteen during 2016 and has battled ever since to retain a place in the higher reaches of the PDC rankings. But King has refused to follow others, including Colin Lloyd and Mark Webster, down the path into retirement.

Instead, he has battled all comers and worked hard to regain his best form. In addition, the plateau in the performance of the elite seems to have allowed King to close the gap to the leading pack at the age of 54. This weekend saw him reach a major TV final for the first time since 2014. His nail biting defeat to Michael Van Gerwen) was his first ranking TV final since the World Grand Prix of 2012 (coincidentally marking the rise of MVG).

Happy days: King in action at the Players Championship Finals (Pic: L Lustig)

Between the two bookends was firstly a steady decline followed by a determined rearguard action. King is one of the game’s hardest workers, willing to spend hours “pounding the board”, both in non-event practice and while prepping for a match. Indeed, it was not rare to arrive at major venue hours early only to find a selection of Kings flights scattered around the practice room from his earlier session.

In addition, to old fashioned hard work, King has worked with his manufacturer to improve his distinctive signature dart. The current iteration looks almost identical to his old design except they appear to have a new grip between the curved sections. Quite a few older players claim a desensitizing of the fingers requires more grip as they reach the later stage of their career. King’s unique style of dart makes this very difficult to add so credit should go to Winmau for resolving this. Merv also has a strong understanding of the game and his own throw-in particular he is especially keen on the ‘pick up’ of each dart being easily and exactly replicable.

During a career spanning a quarter of a century, King has reached world finals and claimed victory in the World Masters as well as multiple semi and final appearances in the PDC, he has also endured a spell as the pantomime villain of the game. His efforts at the Players Championship Finals give him a chance of an Indian summer at the highest level, back in the top 20 and with a good chance of returning to the elite top 16 could The King reign again with a first PDC major title?


« Older Entries