Purple Patches – When Darters Get ‘In The Zone’.
2019’s German Darts Open produced several superb performances, Nathan Aspinall improved his onstage average personal best by over three and a half points. RVB went back to basics with his darts and recaptured some stage form, whilst Steve Beaton, with as smooth a 9 darter as you will ever see, reminded everyone that his remarkable career was far from over.
Much of the social media and commentary chatter centred around the latest set of unreal statistics from MVG. Official PDC statistician and DartsWorld contributor Christopher Kemph (@ochepedia) summed it up simply:
“23 consecutive wins in Euro Tour last-leg deciders, 24 consecutive wins in Pro Tour finals and 26 consecutive wins in Pro Tour best-of-13 and best-of 15 matches. It just goes on and on…”
In all professional sports, the greatest players seem to hit purple patches. This can be due to their own standards increasing, the opposition becoming intimidated or a little of both. Think Rafa Nadal at the French Open, Ed Moses over the 400m hurdles or Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’. We tried to recall some other tremendous winning streaks witnessed in darts?
In PDC ranking events both MVG & Phil Taylor have recorded 8 consecutive tournament wins. In 2016 Micheal claimed The World Matchplay, 3 Euro Tour events and then 4 Pro Tours, hitting two 9 darters along the way! During a phenomenal run in 2009, ‘The Power’ also claimed 8 back-to-back ranking titles. After winning that years’ World Championship Taylor won 6 Pro Tour events in a row, during that run he added the Players Championship Finals. Incredibly this winning streak came in the middle of a run of 20 consecutive appearances in ranking finals!
Richard Ashdown dropped us a reminder of the efforts of John Walton. John’s 2001 run to the BDO World Title included defeats of Merv King in the last 16 and Mark Puso. The final two legs of the former and the first 14 vs Pusa ensured a consecutive run of 16 legs in-a-row, surely difficult to improve on given the formats available.
On the floor, or non-televised, the best AIM: can recall is a run of 21 consecutive legs over 4 matches. Mark Hylton came from 0-2 down to defeat Dylan Duo 6-2 before defeating MVG and Ronnie Baxter 6-0. In his fourth match, he took a 3-0 lead vs Dennis Ovens before ‘The Heat’ got his name on the scoreboard.
Hylton went on to reach the semi-final that day but also produced a similar performance at the UK Open of 2011. In his last 96 tie Mark lost the first leg to Geoff Whitworth before dealing off the next 4 to move into the L64. Owing to an unusual mix of circumstances he managed to produce a whitewash victory over Andy Jenkins 9-0 and in his last 32 match his was 6-0 ahead before Andy Gilding prevented another bagel from being presented. Thus Mile High recorded a total of 19 consecutive legs without reply during the later stages of a PDC major!
I am sure must be many examples of such runs being put together, but they fail to get noticed. A Midlands / Staffs league player reported that one player had gone almost two complete seasons unbeaten, only being, finally, defeated by hospitalisation!
Drop us a line if you have any notable examples of outstanding runs of performance.
A version of the above article appeared at Darts World during 2019. (http://dartsworld.com)