Bullseye for love as darts champ weds

THEIR eyes met across a smoke-filled pub almost a decade ago, and it took a few years before cupid's arrow struck the bullseye.But when top Suffolk darts player Mervyn King got married at the weekend, the guest list read like a Who's Who of the sport.

THEIR eyes met across a smoke-filled pub almost a decade ago, and it took a few years before cupid's arrow struck the bullseye.

But when top Suffolk darts player Mervyn King got married at the weekend, the guest list read like a Who's Who of the sport.

On Saturday, the world number three, who comes from Ipswich but now lives in Yarmouth, married his partner Tracey Steggles.

After the service at Gorleston register office, the wedding reception was appropriately held in a Yarmouth club where guests, including about 150 close friends and relatives, could enjoy a pint while practising at the oche.

But also on hand were some of the biggest stars in darts – including world number one and Embassy champion Raymond van Barneveld, who defeated King in the semi-finals of this year's tournament, ex-Embassy champion John 'Boy' Walton and England captain Martin 'Wolfie' Adams.

A relieved King, 36, said getting married was more nerve-racking than playing the final of the Embassy World Championships last year.

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"It went very well, but I was far more nervous. At least I know what I am doing up on the stage throwing darts," he said.

The couple met at the Fisherman's Arms pub, in Yarmouth, nine years ago. They became good friends and love blossomed about a year ago for the pair who now live in York Road, Yarmouth.

However, the newlyweds will have to wait for a proper honeymoon – because the Kings are heading for the German Open tournament on Friday.

Tracey, 30, did not mind going to Germany to watch her husband play darts for their honeymoon.

"That's his job and I'm 110% behind him and he knows that. That is what he does and he is good at it," she said.

"I'm not so bothered if he is playing county matches when he is playing the Embassy or World Trophy. I get nervous as I know he can beat anyone."

King has made many friends on the world darts circuit for the last 10 years.

Dutchman Barneveld, good friend but foe on the oche, took the ferry from Holland on Saturday to attend the wedding and play an exhibition match with King at the Marina Keys club, in Caister Road, last night.

"He was single when I first met him and Tracey helped him a lot to give him confidence to play his darts.

"Last year he beat me in the Embassy quarter-finals from that time he was in love. If you are in love, you can do anything. You have a relief, you are happy when you lose or win and that is how he made the final," he said.

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