Premier League oche spot for King

Mervyn King will make his Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts debut this year after earning a place in the PDC's top six.King's run to the semi-final of the Ladbrokes.

Mervyn King will make his Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts debut this year after earning a place in the PDC's top six.

King's run to the semi-final of the World Darts Championship - at the culmination of a successful 2008 season - has seen him rise up to sixth in the PDC's order of merit.

King, from Bradwell, joined the PDC in February 2007, working his way into the top 32 inside his first year and winning two PDC Pro Tour events in 2008, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Sky Poker World Grand Prix and the non-ranked Grand Slam of Darts.

His second visit to Alexandra Palace saw him reach the World Championship semi-finals, and a loss to eventual champion Phil Taylor at that stage has been eased by confirmation of his place in the Premier League, which is screened live on Sky Sports.

He will make his debut in the tournament at the Echo Arena Liverpool on Thursday, February 5, lining up alongside defending champion Taylor, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, John Part, Terry Jenkins and two wildcards.

“It's an exciting prospect and I'm looking forward to playing in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts,” said King.

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“It's what I've been striving for over the last two years and I've finally made it. I'm looking forward to the tournament and looking forward to playing well.

“I hope I can improve as a player by playing in the tournament, and if I'm playing well then not even Phil Taylor will beat me.

“Whoever I play I want to win and my goal at this stage is to be in the top four after the 14 weeks to reach the play-offs.

“I certainly don't want to be down the field and with my game there's no reason why I can't challenge for the title.”

Taylor claimed a fourth successive Premier League victory last May, defeating Wade in the final at the CIA in Cardiff.

Wade had led the league table for much of his debut Premier League campaign, after ending Taylor's unbeaten record in the event on the opening night in Glasgow.

Van Barneveld has been a semi-finalist in all three years he has competed in the Premier League, while Part and 2007 runner-up Jenkins will be making their third appearances in the tournament next year.

King's rise has edged out Stoke's Adrian Lewis - a semi-finalist in 2008 - in the top six, leaving the youngster hoping to be one of the two wildcard selections to be announced soon.