Mervyn King returned to winning ways on Sunday night in Benidorm, winning the 27th Players Championship of the year, and arguably the most competitive of the non-broadcasted tournaments of the season.

It is not that regularly that the world’s top eight are all out in force in the Players Championships, but with the big names all on show in sunny Spain it was the man ranked 11th who prospered on Sunday, claiming the £6,000 in prize money and moving up to seventh on the Players Championship Order of Merit.

The King has had a tough time of it over the last 18 months or so, as his performance on our television screens have proved.  Unbelievably the two-time world finalist has won just one match in the last six major tournaments, when he beat Magnus Caris in the first round of this year’s world championships.  First round exits in the last two Matchplays and Grand Prix and a third round defeat in this year’s UK Open add up to a miserable time in front of the cameras for the 45-year-old.

These troubles may have stemmed from the disgraceful treatment he received in the Premier League last year from the crowd.  I was in Newcastle for the penultimate week of the league when he faced Barney, and although he didn’t handle it brilliantly, no one deserves the kind of abuse he was getting at any time, never mind whilst trying to throw.

The death of Mervyn’s father also badly affected his form at the tail end of last year, and when you consider that he has also been struggling with an elbow injury in his throwing arm, it is no wonder that he has struggled to perform consistently.

But it seems that the King may be getting back to his best.  After an impressive run to the semi-finals of the Championship League and then Sunday’s result, his confidence must be riding high and his sights will be very much set on Terry Jenkins and getting back into the top 10 in the world as the Bull is just £800 ahead of him in the rankings.

The real test will come in two weeks’ time when the King returns to the world of the walk-on girls and sky sports cameras in the Grand Slam in Wolverhampton.  If he can carry his good form from the floor on to the stage there and again in the Players Championships Finals in Doncaster next month then he will be a real force again come the World Championships.

Phil Haigh
Twitter – @philhaigh_

Image – Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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