Mervyn King had some words of encouragement for Kettering youngster Ricky Evans after he saw his run at the PDC’s Ladbrokes World Championship ended at the Alexandra Palace.
Having seen off Ronnie Baxter in his first-round match, Evans gave the experienced King a real run for his money before eventually losing out 4-2.
The match was finely balanced at two apiece before King moved 3-2 ahead and then he produced a timely run of form to overturn a 2-1 deficit in the sixth set to progress to the last 16 and a clash with two-time world champion Adrian Lewis.
King won the opening set by a 3-1 margin, which featured a 110 checkout in the first leg, before Evans edged the second in a tense deciding leg, after King missed two chances to double his lead.
King opened up a 2-1 lead in the third set before Evans responded with a solid 15-dart finish, only for King to hold throw in the decider on double top.
Evans, though, stormed back to win the fourth set and level at two apiece, with the run including a brilliant 125 checkout of bullseye, outer bull and bullseye in the second leg.
King responded well and stopped Evans in his tracks by taking the fifth without reply, to move ahead for the third time in the match.
Evans led the sixth set 2-1, thanks to a 120 finish in the third leg, before King found form with a 14-darter to win the fourth leg and a trio of 140 scores in the decider before hitting double 13 to win the match.
“That’s the third time I’ve played Ricky and he’s getting better and better,” said King.
“I knew I was going to be up against it and he’s a courageous young player who plays his own game.
“Ricky’s a very unpredictable player. I’ve played him three times this year and he’s improving all the time and has a very bright future ahead.
“I tried to get rid of him early doors but he wouldn’t go away and he taught me a lesson in the fourth set so I can’t complain to be coming away with a 4-2 victory.”