Tag Archives: Merv King

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.

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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?