Michael van Gerwen has branded Mervyn King as ‘a disgrace to darts’ following their bizarre semi-final tussle at Players Championship 3 at Wigan’s Robin Park Tennis Centre on Saturday afternoon.
The three-time world champion cruised to a 7-3 win over King in a scrappy affair, before clinching the title with a majestic 8-5 victory over Ian White in the final, averaging 105.70 and taking out finishes of 2 x 160 and 170.
‘The Green Machine’ also landed an extraordinary nine-darter to complete a third-round victory over Jamie Hughes, but despite some incredible displays of flamboyance from the Dutchman, he was below-par for much of the day; posting four averages below 95 en route to the final.
Van Gerwen averaged a modest 91.40 in his semi-final clash against King, but he still dispatched the 52-year-old by a 7-3 scoreline, with King averaging a paltry 84.60. Speaking to the PDC’s Dan Dawson after his victory over White in the final, MvG criticised King’s apparent lack of effort in scathing terms.
“Mervyn wasn’t even trying. It was a disgrace for darts, things like that shouldn’t happen in darts,” Van Gerwen said. “I always give 100 per cent, no one can ever judge me on that. Things like that shouldn’t happen, if they want to beat me, they have to push me,” the world number one added.
King was throwing noticeably quicker throughout the contest and seemed to display a nonchalant demeanour from the outset, which was illustrated when he attempted to throw for three bullseyes whilst requiring 150. This visibly frustrated Van Gerwen, who then also began using the bullseye route on several occasions.
Nevertheless, King performed superbly earlier in the afternoon to reach his first Pro Tour semi-final of the season. He whitewashed Mickey Mansell in round-one with a majestic 110 average, before later defeating Andy Boulton with an average in excess of 101. He also claimed the scalps of Vincent van der Voort and Steve West, but his day ended in disappointing fashion.
However, ‘The King’ took to social media on Saturday evening to explain the reason behind his quicker pace. “I am going to tell you all this just once and not going to comment any more on this. I found the throw on the streaming boards long as I always do and I hold the dart lower on the barrel to try and gain a little more from it on a throw like that,” King said.
“I also have to throw quicker and more fluent on a long throw or I snatch and they go all over the place that’s how I have to throw on a long throw. I threw exactly the same when I won the Players Championship in Barnsley last year, even quicker actually! I didn’t hear complaints then but I hit a 105 average in the final to win it.
“MVG can say what he likes but he’s wrong and he will be told by myself in the morning. Just because he is world champ and world number one he does not know everything about everyone so he needs to know what’s happening before opening his mouth. Thank you,” King added.
Van Gerwen and King have contested many classic battles in the past, most noticeably in the 2012 World Grand Prix Final. King surrendered a 4-1 advantage against the Dutchman, as Van Gerwen reeled off five consecutive sets to seal his first major PDC televised title.
However, for Van Gerwen it was simply business as usual in Wigan on Saturday afternoon. He was certainly not at his vintage best, but enjoyed a relatively serene progression throughout, defeating Ryan Searle, Ross Smith, Hughes, Dimitri van den Bergh, Gavin Carlin, King and eventually White to scoop his fourth title of 2019.
“I didn’t really play well today so I was quite happy with my performance in the final. You always need to be a bit critical with yourself. I can be proud of myself even with the pressure on me and not playing my absolute best, I did it today,” Van Gerwen reflected.
It’s been a remarkable start to 2019 for the 29-year-old. Since lifting his third World Championship title on New Year’s Day, Van Gerwen has won a fifth consecutive Masters crown and claimed glory in the opening Players Championship event of 2019.
He’s also made a 100% start to his Premier League defence, as he bids to top the league phase for a seventh straight year and he’ll return to Wigan on Sunday, looking to secure his third Pro Tour title in the space of eight days.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC