The Dutch star suffered a 3-1 loss to King, but was visibly showing the pain of a back problem during the game’s later stages – despite winning the third set to threaten a similar comeback to the one he produced in his first round defeat of Dave Chisnall.
However, van Barneveld missed 30 starting doubles in the fourth set – including being whitewashed in the opening leg – as King eased into the quarter-finals at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel.
Premier League Darts champion van Barneveld is currently one of a group of players battling to stay inside the world’s top 16, while he has also yet to secure his place in November’s Cash Converters Players Championship Finals, which are based on ProTour prize money.
In response to Thursday’s defeat, van Barneveld has released the following statement:
“I had been really looking forward to the game before the match, but during the first set I felt a strain or pulled muscle in my back. My back had been a little bit uncomfortable earlier in the week but hadn’t been a problem until this point.
“As the game wore on I found it harder to stand at the oche or to bend in when I was throwing, especially switching down to the lower part of the board.
“I wanted to complete the game and when I won the third set I thought I might have a chance to win, but in the last set the frustration got to me.
“Mervyn was starting well and I couldn’t find the opening doubles, but it was not right for me to give up and I want to apologise to Mervyn, to the great fans, to the PDC, Sky Sports, RTL7 and the viewers at home.
“I’ve been working very hard to prepare for this tournament and it’s very disappointing for me to be knocked out in this way.
“I’m comfortable with my new darts and I’m working hard to stay in the top 16 and to qualify for all the TV events that are coming up.
“My first intention when I get back home will be to see a doctor to assess my back injury and get the right treatment, and I hope that I can be back playing in the Players Championships next weekend in Crawley, because every event is important to me at the moment.
“Winning the Premier League this year was one of the greatest moments of my career and those are the memories that I want, not just for me but for the Barney Army who give me such great support.”