Red Dragon Player Launch 2021

​Red Dragon has fired the final shot in the annual ‘Launch Season’ for the major darts brands. Using the World Championships, and their ability to launch later than mainly retail brands, as a launchpad. This will enable them to take full advantage of producing a fourth World Champion in the last two years!

The Welsh company has long been an innovator within the darts industry and they have again blindsided many rivals with the short timeline for the debut of Peter Wright’s latest model (The World Champion SE tapered) which was available for pre-order within 3 days of makings its Ally Pally debut. 

Today’s fuller launch includes player and RD branded dart models and well as a range of new accessories for those hoping to get back to normal darts in 2021. Darts World asked us to react to the live launch earlier this month:

“And the New, Champion of the Wooooorld….”

Gerwyn Price – Blue Ice

A variation on Gerwen’s signature darts which might temp those who like a classic shape but feel the need for more grip.

” There is something of a classic underpinning to these. But with a seriously muscular looking exterior!”

“If you fancied @Gezzyprice‘s dart but wanted more grip these could be the one…”

Meanwhile the former champion still packs a commercial punch

Three new versions of Peter’s World Championship winning dart hit the stand today, shop here:

The Torpedo, The Diamond, and The Tapered.

These were a real surprise, there has been no great advance in this shaped dart outside of Phil Taylor’s for a long time.

“Clever use of one of the classic barrel shapes given a new lease of life. Adding @snakebitewright flair & @reddragondarts grip tech gives the best of both worlds”.

​ You have to love this idea, two of Red Dragon’s best moments of recent years combined in one set of arrows. Diamond fusion grip is outstanding.

“ Combining the outstanding Diamon Fusion grip with the original design of the World Championship SE could prove a masterstroke.” 

Again the fusion of two such popular and successful Peter Wright elements is a seriously smart move.

” These set folk talking when Peter gave it a debut at Ally Pally, it looks a great combination of his popular PL15 and the title-winning SE”

“Many will have to try this version, just so tempting……”

Red Dragon’s other Big Guns:

Johnny’s Be Good!

With Clayton winning events in each of the last four years and now claiming a huge title with Gerwyn Price it will be interesting to see if he kicks on again.


” The Clayton dart is a really effective design, this edition really improves its styling….”

” Jonny’s dart could suit a wide variety of payer, perhaps they may be tempted now?”

Wes Harms 2021

“ This is a really distinguished take on a pedigree dart. A wide range of throwers can get benefit from them……”

“The even, consistent grip offers great continuity and ease of use”

Jamie Hughes SE

“Jamie’s dart is a variation on a legendary barrel but with finer cut grip below the ID blank. But, with the SE grip, there is even less fuss than usual!”

“Simplicity can be beautiful”

Scott Baker – The Mod (Diamond)

“ Scott’s 21st-century Priestley style dart has been a long time in the making. But, with the Element 6 style diamond grip we can’t wait to get our hand on a set for test purposes”.

There was plenty more action over at Red Dragon over the course of the day. More dart models, clothing and accessories have been released over the past few hours. You can browse and buy the 2021 range here.



We will be looking, with our friends at Darts World, at the non-player and premium lines separately. Keep an eye on our social media or over at dartsworld.com

Special Weapons? Jose de Sousa’s Arrows

Jose de Sousa’s superb efforts throughout 2020 have increased interest in the equipment used by the Portuguese. Along with Devon Petersen, Jose uses a combination of Trinidad barrels and Condor AXE set-ups. Our testers have been getting to grips with the Jose (Type 2):

Product: Steel Tip Darts

Brand: Trinidad

Materials: 90% Tungsten

Dimensions: 55mm x 6.2mm

Weight: 18g

RRP: £69.99

General:

The Jose (type II) is the signature dart of the latest PDC major champion Jose De Sousa (Portugal). They are a parallel barrel with two main grip zones and a slight snub/curve at the nose. There are small centre name blanks and an even smaller one at the stem junction.

Open the Box:

The type II are supplied as three barrels etched with the Trinidad name and mounted in a branded point protector. Inside the standard retail packaging are three Trinidad phased colour poly stems and three Trinidad standard shape flights. Standard stainless steel points are fitted and are a good place to start before any personalization.
 

Tester Quotes:

“These are a very unusual dart, I love the grip contrast between the section” (Elite player)

“ I throw quite a soft dart so these seem to work nicely for me, once you get used to the length” (Serious amateur)

“You can hold them in so many different ways and places, it takes quite a while to work out what’s best” (Youth player).

Assessment:

The grip zones, on this unusual dart, are excellent. The higher zone is grippy but creates an impression smoother than reality. This allows for either firm or light holding styles. The lower section is more aggressive and is handy for light grippers or those who steady the dart with a lightly placed guide finger. Both are superbly machined and the overall impression is one of excellent manufacture and design.

Set-Ups:

The standard supplied setup works ok but the Jose seems to come to life when you start to adjust them to your style. Direct throwers used a short stem and small standard flight to great effect and the more arc style players found a molded fixed flight set up to be the best by a long way.

The Condor AXE set up that Jose puts his name to was outstanding and seemed to have been made for the light but long dart. We recommend at least trying this if possible.

Durability:

After over 100 legs the darts have very few wear marks and event the more delicate grip zone appears in perfect condition. The lower grip zone can cause flight and stem wear but only in similar ways to many other similar models.

Debbie Downers:

The length of these can be difficult for those who use a wristy technique as getting over the dart before release can be hard to master. Also, the fact that they can be used in so many different ways leaves some players struggling to pick a method and stick to it. 

Results:

Our testers were very impressed with this dart most had not used or seen Trinidad dart before and were happy to consider them in the future. The overall quality was excellent and the packaging and presentation, while simple, was professional and effective.

The grip zones were universally praised with the stem/top section being especially admired. The lower section was more individual and may suit some more than others. The blanks and grip areas were well located and suited to many types of throw.

The length and width of the dart gave it a surprisingly solid feel for such a light end dart. Players who usually use 21 and 22g models were quite happy to throw the Jose II and one or two used them in practice and match scenarios.

Value: 

At almost £70 these are toward the premium end of the market and there was some debate at whether this represented value. Much of this concerned cosmetics and was really opinion. For a specialist style, highly unusual dart, with a high design and machining spec, we feel you could not expect to pay much less.
 

Marks: 9/10

The four main testers were split between eight and the maximum ten, and thus the overall score averaged out at nine, put simply if you can find your way of throwing these you will love them. If not you may be less keen but still appreciate their quality.

SnapShot:

The testers agreed that Jose II is an impressively designed and manufactured barrel. The length to weight ratio is an unusual and welcome addition to the market. Although at the higher end the manufacture and originality of the dart and the machining and design standard justify the costs. The player who will benefit most is the lighter, more direct style with less loop in their trajectory.

———-Ends———–
Testing and report by AIM:ltd (@aim180ltd)

Appeared at dartsworld.com


Price Dominates Anderson to lift title

Gerwyn Price won the William Hill World Darts Championship and became the new world number one after defeating Gary Anderson with an electrifying display in Sunday’s final at London’s Alexandra Palace. 

Price prevailed 7-3 with a dominant performance against two-time winner Anderson to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy, claim the £500,000 winner’s cheque and become the first ever Welsh PDC World Champion.

The triumph also saw Price replace Michael van Gerwen at the top of the PDC Order of Merit, bringing an end to the Dutchman’s seven-year reign as world number one. 

The damage was done early in the final as the Welsh star won five of the first six sets thanks to some ruthless finishing, leaving Anderson unable to recover despite Price squandering several opportunities to wrap up the victory before finally claiming glory.

“This means everything to me. It means the world,” said Price, who averaged 100.08 in the superb success.

“I bombed numerous opportunities to win it towards the end but I knew that I had put myself in such a good position that I would have another chance. Gary missed to give it me and I’m glad I took it. 

“I’ve never felt pressure like that in my life. It was so tough to hit that winning double but the feeling after doing it is so difficult to explain. I’m the World Champion; it’s unbelievable. 

“I’m proud to be world number one too. It’s probably even tougher to achieve that than it is to become World Champion. To manage both is incredible for me.”

Anderson missed four darts to take the opening set 3-0 and Price punished the Scot by claiming the next three legs to snatch an early advantage. 

The Welshman took the first leg in set two, but a 180 followed by a 128 checkout sparked a three leg burst that saw Anderson level the match.

Price won the third set 3-1 with 12,13 and 14-dart legs, shrugging off a 170 checkout from Anderson, before finishes of 84 and 120 helped the former professional rugby player take set four by the same margin.

Checkouts of 83, 97 and 76 saw Price continue an incredible run of finishes to open up a three set lead.

He then produced the best set of darts in World Championship history when he took out 100 for an 11-dart leg, 161 for a 12-darter and double 12 to go out in ten darts, after missing the bed to complete a nine-darter – posting an astonishing set average of 136.64.

Back-to-back double top finishes saw Price take his success rate on that target to 13 landed from as many attempts, but when he finally missed the bed Anderson pounced to take the seventh set in a decider.

Price moved 6-2 ahead when he landed double top to win the fifth leg in set eight, before claiming the following two legs to move within a leg of glory – but he went on to miss nine match darts across two legs to allow Anderson to steal the set and stay in the contest.

The Scot punished Price for more missed doubles to make it five legs on the spin, but Price came from behind to claim the title on double five after Anderson had missed six darts to keep his hopes alive.

“Getting beat in the final is disappointing but I’ll give myself a pat on the back for getting this far,” said Anderson, who has moved up five places to eighth in the Order of Merit.

“What I’ve done over the last few weeks has been a big bonus for me. I started the final alright but I started to struggle and you can’t do that against players like Gerwyn.”

The triumph saw Price become the tenth PDC World Champion and the first to have achieved the feat as a product of Qualifying School, having earned his professional Tour Card in 2014 – just two weeks after Van Gerwen’s spell as world number one had begun.

He succeeds Peter Wright as World Champion and also leaps above the Scot and Van Gerwen to top the PDC Order of Merit.

William Hill World Darts Championship

Sunday January 3

Final

Gerwyn Price 7-3 Gary Anderson 

Set Scores: 3-2, 1-3, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 2-3, 3-2


Words: PDC

PIC: L lustig (PDC)

Wright Out to defend title – PDC World championship preview

The 2020/21 William Hill World Darts Championship begins on Tuesday at Alexandra Palace, London as 96 of the world’s best players compete for the sport’s biggest prize across 16 days of darts.

Taking place from December 15-January 3 over 28 sessions, the World Championship will once again offer the winner a life-changing £500,000 prize along with the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy.

The pre-Christmas period will see the first and second rounds played across nine days from December 15-23, with reigning champion Peter Wright to compete on the opening night against either Steve West or Amit Gilitwala.

Despite being the current title holder, Wright believes he is the player with least pressure on his shoulders at this year’s tournament.

Wright famously exorcised his final demons by defeating Michael van Gerwen in style to become World Champion for the first time almost 12 months ago, however the Scot insists he isn’t feeling any weight of expectation to defend his crown.

“I’ve already accomplished my dream. It’s the other guys who have never won it so the pressure is on them,” Wright explained.

“I’ve done it, so it doesn’t matter what happens now. That moment will never be taken away from me.

“That said, I’ll be going out all guns blazing to try and take the Sid Waddell Trophy home with me again.

“It’s every darts player’s dream to be World Champion. I achieved it last year and it made me cry like a baby on stage, but that’s just what it means to fulfil your dream.

“The other players need to watch out, because give me a chance and I’ll take it. Honestly, I think I can defend this title.”

An exciting first session will also see Steve Beaton compete in his record 30th successive World Championship as he plays Brazil’s Diogo Portela, while Canada’s Jeff Smith takes on Irish prospect Keane Barry.

World number one Van Gerwen opens his challenge to win a fourth World Championship on Saturday December 19, on a day which will also feature Women’s Series Qualifier Deta Hedman’s tie with Andy Boulton and Scott Waites’ Alexandra Palace debut.

Despite suffering a difficult year at times, the Dutchman has enjoyed a return to form of late and is rated the 5/2 favourite for glory with title sponsor William Hill.

“Of course, this year has not been an easy one for me, as it hasn’t been for a lot of people,” admitted Van Gerwen, who will face either Ryan Murray or Lourence Ilagan.

“There have been some difficult moments both on and off the oche but it’s about how you come through those moments.

“In the last few weeks I have been feeling good again and I can definitely feel the old Michael coming out on the dartboard.

“I have to thank my family, friends and management for helping me through this year, I couldn’t have done it without their support.

“Now I’m feeling ready to go at the World Championship and the other players need to watch out.”

Third seed Gerwyn Price opens his challenge to improve on his semi-final run 12 months ago on Monday December 21 against either Luke Woodhouse or Jamie Lewis.

The Welshman has enjoyed his best year in the PDC, picking up three televised titles, including winning the World Cup for the first time.

“A few months ago I thought 2020 was going to be a write-off for me, but it hasn’t turned out that way,” said Price, a first round victim in July’s World Matchplay.

“It’s turned out to be one of my best years on tour in terms of my results.

“I have found it difficult at times without a crowd, but it’s the same for all of us and we’ve just had to get on with it.

“The few weeks rest I’ve had has come at a great time for me because I was just starting to have a little lull in my performances.

“But the break has allowed me to recharge the batteries and give me my competitive edge back heading into the big one which I would love to get my hands on.”

The second round will conclude across two sessions on Wednesday December 23, when top ten stars Michael Smith, Nathan Aspinall and Dave Chisnall are amongst the players in action.

Following a three-day Christmas break, the third and fourth rounds will be held from December 27-30, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final being held from January 1-3.

In a change from previous World Championship rules, to reduce the possibility of sessions over-running, there will be no tie-break in any match. Should any deciding set reach two-all, the fifth leg would be the final leg.

Tickets for the William Hill World Darts Championship are now on General Sale from SeeTickets, with up to 1,000 fans able to attend per session under specific regulations.

Global coverage will be headlined by coverage on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel, while the PDC’s international broadcast partners will include RTL7 in the Netherlands, DAZN in various territories, Fox Sports in Australia, Sky Sport in New Zealand, PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers and at matchroom.live.

Schedule of PlayTuesday December 15 (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Steve West v Amit Gilitwala (R1)
  • Steve Beaton v Diogo Portela (R1)
  • Jeff Smith v Keane Barry (R1)
  • Peter Wright v West/Gilitwala (R2)

Wednesday December 16

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Ryan Joyce v Karel Sedlacek (R1)
  • Ross Smith v David Evans (R1)
  • William O’Connor v Niels Zonneveld (R1)
  • Chris Dobey v J Smith/Barry (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Max Hopp v Gordon Mathers (R1)
  • Callan Rydz v James Bailey (R1)
  • Adam Hunt v Lisa Ashton (R1)
  • Glen Durrant v Beaton/Portela (R2)

Thursday December 17

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Madars Razma v Toru Suzuki (R1)
  • Mike De Decker v Edward Foulkes (R1)
  • Ryan Murray v Lourence Ilagan (R1)
  • Daryl Gurney v O’Connor/Zonneveld (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Luke Woodhouse v Jamie Lewis (R1)
  • Ron Meulenkamp v Boris Krcmar (R1)
  • Ryan Searle v Danny Lauby (R1)
  • Jose de Sousa v R Smith/D Evans (R2)

Friday December 18

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Mickey Mansell v Haupai Puha (R1)
  • Darius Labanauskas v Chengan Liu (R1)
  • Wayne Jones v Ciaran Teehan (R1)
  • Jamie Hughes v Hunt/Ashton (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Dirk van Duijvenbode v Bradley Brooks (R1)
  • John Henderson v Marko Kantele (R1)
  • Luke Humphries v Paul Lim (R1)
  • James Wade v Rydz/Bailey (R2)

Saturday December 19

  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Steve Lennon v Daniel Larsson (R1)
  • Scott Waites v Matt Campbell (R1)
  • Kim Huybrechts v Di Zhuang (R1)
  • Mervyn King v Hopp/Mathers (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Andy Hamilton v Nico Kurz (R1)
  • Andy Boulton v Deta Hedman (R1)
  • Damon Heta v Danny Baggish (R1)
  • Michael van Gerwen v Murray/Ilagan (R2)

Sunday December 20

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x First Round, 1x Second Round
  • Derk Telnekes v Nick Kenny (R1)
  • Jason Lowe v Dmitriy Gorbunov (R1)
  • Maik Kuivenhoven v Matthew Edgar (R1)
  • Vincent van der Voort v Meulenkamp/Krcmar (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 2x First Round, 2x Second Round
  • Martijn Kleermaker v Cameron Carolissen (First Round)
  • Keegan Brown v Ryan Meikle (First Round)
  • Jeffrey de Zwaan v Searle/Lauby (Second Round)
  • Jonny Clayton v Henderson/Kantele (Second Round)

Monday December 21 (1800 GMT)

  • 4x Second Round
  • Krzysztof Ratajski v Joyce/Sedlacek (R2)
  • Ian White v Huybrechts/Zhuang (R2)
  • Gerwyn Price v Woodhouse/J Lewis (R2)
  • Gabriel Clemens v Hamilton/Kurz (R2)

Tuesday December 22

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 4x Second Round
  • Brendan Dolan v De Decker/Foulkes (R2)
  • Joe Cullen v Jones/Teehan (R2)
  • Simon Whitlock v Labanauskas/Liu (R2)

Adrian Lewis v Heta/Baggish (R2)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

  • 4x Second Round
  • Danny Noppert v Kleermaker/Carolissen (R2)
  • Devon Petersen v Lennon/Larsson (R2)
  • Rob Cross v Van Duijvenbode/Brooks (R2)
  • Dimitri Van den Bergh v Humphries/Lim (R2)

Wednesday December 23

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 4x Second Round
  • Ricky Evans v Mansell/Puha (Second Round)
  • Gary Anderson v Razma/Suzuki (Second Round)
  • Stephen Bunting v Boulton/Hedman (Second Round)
  • Mensur Suljovic v Kuivenhoven/Edgar (Second Round)

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

4x Second Round                        

  • Dave Chisnall v Brown/Meikle (R2)
  • Jermaine Wattimena v Telnekes/Kenny (R2)
  • Nathan Aspinall v Waites/Campbell (R2)
  • Michael Smith v Lowe/Gorbunov (R2)
  • Sunday December 27

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

  • 3x Third Round
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 3x Third Round
  • Monday December 28
  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 3x Third Round
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 3x Third Round
  • Tuesday December 29
  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 3x Third Round
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 1x Third Round, 2x Fourth Round
  • Wednesday December 30
  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 3x Fourth Round
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 3x Fourth Round
  • Friday January 1
  • Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)
  • 2x Quarter-Finals
  • Evening Session (1800 GMT)
  • 2x Quarter-Finals
  • Saturday January 2 (1800 GMT)
  • Semi-Finals
  • Sunday January 3 (1930 GMT)
  • Final

Draw Bracket – Second Round Onwards

  • (1) Michael van Gerwen v Ryan Murray/Lourence Ilagan
  • (32) Ricky Evans v Mickey Mansell/Haupai Puha
  • (16) Joe Cullen v Wayne Jones/Ciaran Teehan
  • (17) Jonny Clayton v John Henderson/Marko Kantele
  • (8) Dave Chisnall v Keegan Brown/Ryan Meikle
  • (25) Danny Noppert v Martijn Kleermaker/Cameron Carolissen
  • (9) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Luke Humphries/Paul Lim
  • (24) Jermaine Wattimena v Derk Telnekes/Nick Kenny
  • (4) Michael Smith v Jason Lowe/Dmitriy Gorbunov
  • (29) Devon Petersen v Steve Lennon/Daniel Larsson
  • (13) Gary Anderson v Madars Razma/Toru Suzuki
  • (20) Mensur Suljovic v Maik Kuivenhoven/Matthew Edgar
  • (5) Rob Cross v Dirk van Duijvenbode/Bradley Brooks
  • (28) Jamie Hughes v Adam Hunt/Lisa Ashton
  • (12) Glen Durrant v Steve Beaton/Diogo Portela
  • (21) Adrian Lewis v Damon Heta/Danny Baggish
  • (2) Peter Wright v Steve West/Amit Gilitwala
  • (31) Gabriel Clemens v Andy Hamilton/Nico Kurz
  • (15) Krzysztof Ratajski v Ryan Joyce/Karel Sedlacek
  • (18) Simon Whitlock v Darius Labanauskas/Chengan Liu
  • (7) James Wade v Callan Rydz/James Bailey
  • (26) Stephen Bunting v Andy Boulton/Deta Hedman
  • (10) Ian White v Kim Huybrechts/Di Zhuang
  • (23) Jeffrey de Zwaan v Ryan Searle/Danny Lauby
  • (3) Gerwyn Price v Luke Woodhouse/Jamie Lewis
  • (30) Brendan Dolan v Mike De Decker/Edward Foulkes
  • (14) Jose de Sousa v Ross Smith/David Evans
  • (19) Mervyn King v Max Hopp/Gordon Mathers
  • (6) Nathan Aspinall v Scott Waites/Matt Campbell
  • (27) Vincent van der Voort v Ron Meulenkamp/Boris Krcmar
  • (11) Daryl Gurney v William O’Connor/Niels Zonneveld
  • (22) Chris Dobey v Jeff Smith/Keane Barry
  • Format
  • First Round – Best of five sets
  • Second Round – Best of five sets
  • Third Round – Best of seven sets
  • Fourth Round – Best of seven sets
  • Quarter-Finals – Best of nine sets
  • Semi-Finals – Best of 11 sets
  • Final – Best of 13 sets
  • There will be no tie-break in any match. Should any deciding set reach two-all, the fifth leg would be the final leg.
  • Prize Fund
  • Winner – £500,000
  • Runner-Up – £200,000
  • Semi-Finalists – £100,000
  • Quarter-Finalists – £50,000
  • Fourth Round – £35,000
  • Third Round – £25,000
  • Second Round – £15,000
  • First Round – £7,500

William Hill Outright Winner Odds

  • 5/2 – Michael van Gerwen
  • 5/1 – Gerwyn Price
  • 6/1 – Peter Wright
  • 14/1 – Michael Smith
  • 16/1 – Jose se Sousa
  • 20/1 – Dimitri Van den Bergh, Nathan Aspinall
  • 28/1 – Glen Durrant, Devon Petersen
  • 33/1 – James Wade, Gary Anderson
  • 40/1 – Damon Heta
  • 50/1 – Krzysztof Ratajski, Dave Chisnall, Rob Cross, Simon Whitlock
  • 66/1 – Dirk van Duijvenbode
  • 80/1 – Jeffrey de Zwaan, Luke Humphries, Ian White, Daryl Gurney, Joe Cullen
  • 100/1 – Mensur Suljovic, Gabriel Clemens, Mervyn King, Jonny Clayton
  • 125/1 – Chris Dobey, Adrian Lewis
  • 150/1 – Ryan Searle
  • 200/1 – Danny Noppert, Jermaine Wattimena, Max Hopp
  • 250/1 – Keane Barry, Ross Smith, Vincent van der Voort, Callan Rydz, Ryan Joyce, Stephen Bunting
  • 300/1 – David Evans, Jeff Smith, Boris Krcmar, Darius Labanauskas, Scott Waites, William O’Connor, Kim Huybrechts, Steve Lennon, Jamie Hughes
  • 400/1 – Jason Lowe, Karel Sedlacek, Ron Meulenkamp, Brendan Dolan, Nico Kurz, Ricky Evans, John Henderson
  • 500/1 – Martijn Kleermaker, Nick Kenny, Jamie Lewis, Matt Campbell, Andy Boulton, Danny Baggish, Steve West, Keegan Brown, Lourence Ilagan, Luke Woodhouse, Niels Zonneveld, Mike De Decker, Steve Beaton
  • 750/1 – Madars Razma, Mickey Mansell, Ryan Murray, Derk Telnekes, Adam Hunt, Ryan Meikle, Andy Hamilton, Edward Shoji Foulkes, Maik Kuivenhoven, Wayne Jones, Bradley Brooks, Ciaran Teehan
  • 1000/1 – Diogo Portela, Daniel Larsson, Marko Kantele, Matthew Edgar, Haupai Puha, Toru Suzuki, Paul Lim, Lisa Ashton
  • 1500/1 – Gordon Mathers, Cameron Carolissen, Dmitriy Gorbunov, Danny Lauby, Chengan Liu, James Bailey
  • 2000/1 – Di Zhuang, Amit Gilitwala, Deta Hedman

Odds courtesy williamhill.com and correct at time of publication. Subject to fluctuation


Words: PDC

Featured Pic: L Lustig

Unsung Heroes – Kirk Shepherd

Kirk’s run in 2008 was remarkable, those who knock it are fools, yet it could have been even better! If Kirk had done nothing else he would warrant a place amongst our ‘Unsung Heroes‘.

In most any other sports Kirk Shepherd’s run to the final of the World Championship of 2008 would be fondly remembered as a beacon of possibility and a wonderful fairy tale story. Yet in darts, it’s almost a dirty little secret, whenever you hear it referred to in commentary, or amongst players, the words you will hear most include ‘lucky’, ‘good draw’ and ‘missed opportunities’.

Yet Kirk was only 21 years old and making his debut appearance, at darts’ biggest event after coming through the qualifiers. It was also the debut year of the Alexandra Palace as the venue making it even more imposing than normal. Surely, this should be regarded as almost Boris Becker like?

For a young man, Kirk had already had a decent record in competitive darts. He was twice British Teenage Champion, and a World Youth Master, between 2003 and 2006. He had not yet made much headway on the PDC Pro Tour, but his form in Open events was very good indeed and this is a better guide to current form. In addition, he had form in previous big events including smashing Gary Anderson with ease on more than one occasion. A brief look back confirms that he had previously defeated some of those who would remove from Ally Pally.

In the weeks running up to the event, Kirk determined that he was going to give a decent account of himself. He arranged for a local county player to visit him regularly and they practiced every evening for the proceeding weeks. By the time came for Shepherd to take his bow versus Terry Jenkins most of those who knew him thought he would do well. He did better than that! Kirk removed the multi-major finalist 3 sets to 2, playing superbly in patches and, piling the pressure onto Terry. It was a pattern that Sheperd was to repeat and others seemed powerless to prevent.

When you hear the traditional running down of Kirk’s effort, try switching the situation in your mind. “Everyone had darts to beat him” you will hear or “they missed a lot of doubles” or even “his averages were only in the 80’s“. These remarks totally miss the point. How on earth did a 21-year-old qualifier generate the nerves and pressure that caused highly ranked and highly senior players to allow him to be so close and to keep fluffing their lines?

It is not unusual for an unknown player to have a small run at the World Champs but it is seriously rare for them to get past the last 16 or Quarterfinals, how did Kirk do it, and especially how did he do it whilst appearing to not be performing above the expected level. This is the real key to a remarkable run and something that every new, unknown, or underdog player should think about and study.

Rob Cross’s remarkable run of 2018 can be simply explained. He outplayed and or outlasted his opponent in every round. He is a superb player, lesser-known at this level, who had been settling rapidly into PDC life. He was also 29 years old with a family and support network. In short the perfect combination of talent and timing. It is not easy for any other player to replicate such an effort.

Kirk is a very expressive man. But he held these emotions in tight check during every game. Until it was won!

However, Kirk’s run was different, from that sensible early preparation and the seriously focussed temperament, especially visible against McGowen and Mardle, any player capable of qualifying is capable of emulating Kirk.

Against Jenkins and McGowen Kirk had the advantage of knowing he had defeated them before and had to simple perform again. Thus the stage and the occasion had to be relegated to the background. This also ensured that Kirk did not feel like the underdog and, more importantly, did not act like one. Watch the games carefully, at no point does Shepherd look subservient or like the new boy in school. He knows he is playing well. He is winning legs in superb style and hitting very big shots when needed. The less good efforts are quickly dismissed and he is on to the next throw.

Belief is a major factor that cannot be overestimated. Watch closely and you will see that whenever Kirk’s opponent had darts to win an important leg/set or even the match, Kirk is right behind him with the same attitude he would have had on any other throw. He simply believes he is going to get another throw and he must be ready for it.

The final ingredient in Kirk’s superb run was a refusal to be intimidated. Watch closely, especially against Wayne Mardle, and you will see all the tactics, totally fair, used by a senior or highly successful player against one they regard as a junior. Kirk stands for none of it. Refusing to change attitude, pace, style or manner.

The end result is that senior players are changing their own games or concentrating on Kirk’s instead of their own. Mardle, for example, plays at least three different paces during the match. This plan fails completely and Kirk gets time to settle in and get his own game going. Once he is in full swing Mardle cannot find a way to both get himself up to 100% and impact Shepherd long enough to fully swing the game in his favour. He comes close but Kirks attitude and the lead he had gained ensured he had enough to get over the line. This was a semi-final of a world championship and the senior player had effectively bowed to the junior. But of course, it was “just lucky really”.

It is not fully known but the story could have been even more glorious. Kirk is not one for whining or making excuses, I suspect he has heard enough of those from others, but his performance in the final was hampered by a surprising source, SKY TV!

Kirk had been suffering from the effects of a mild cold for a couple of days around his Semi-Final. After reaching the final, however, there was much to do in terms of media and promotion for the final. This is normal and accepted by all players. However, in this case, it was above and beyond! Kirk was kept waiting around until very late at night, in a very cold venue, and with fake mist/ice to create an effect for one of the promotional trailers. A few of those closest to Kirk note that his cold deteriorated badly and he played the final in a very poor state of health.

Much of the credit for Kirk not getting going in the final must be given to John Part. He did the opposite of the others, who had fallen victim to Kirk, and imposed himself very early and treated Kirk as just another obstacle in his path to a third World title. But maybe, just maybe, a fully fit Kirk would have enjoined the battle earlier and returned the pressure we may then have been in for a real treat and a fitting finale to one of the great underdog runs!


P.s. Don’t write off the “Martial Dartist”! He is only 33 and has retained or regained his tour card three times already. In 2017 he reached the last 32 of the UK Open and had shown flashes on the Pro Tour in recent times. Perhaps a fairytale return is not out of the question.

Beaton Eases Past The Power’s Record.

Steve Beaton is preparing for his thirtieth World Championship taking the record from Phil Taylor. Both are currently sat on 29 events each. The remarkable ‘Bronzed Adonis’ made his television debut as far back as 1984 and collected his BDO World Championship title in 1996.

Beaton played ten times at The Lakeside and will soon reach twenty consecutive PDC World Darts Championships when he takes to the Alexandra Palace stage. The PDC Championships has not proven a happy hunting ground for Steve but 2020 saw him match his best ever run, reaching the last 16, at the Ally Pally.

The 56 year old Southam thrower has reached almost every peak in the game and has had the longest top flight career of any professional. He is still ranked in the World’s top 32 and has reached multiple Pro Tour Qtr Finals in 2020. He will play in the this years opening session (Dec 15th) against the talented Brazilian Diogo Portella.

The Bronzed Adonis.

Should Steve manage to lift the crown he would be the oldest player to claim the title as well as, by some distance, the longest gap between debut and title winner. It would also be his first PDC major title. Despite his storied career he is yet to lift a PDC major trophy and has had to be content with a multitude of semi final places.

During his BDO days captured many of the games most famed events. In addition to his world title he claimed the World Masters and the British Open and Pentathlon titles. In addition Steve represented England on many occasions, winning both European and World Cups!


Quantum: Aphelion 25g

Aphelion, named after the point of orbit furthest away from the sun, is a serious dart from a niche company with a devotion to design. The rapidly developing Welsh firm has a select range of which this is one of the standouts. 

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)   
  • Brand: Quantum 
  • Model: Aphelion 
  • Variation: 25g  
  • Material: 90% Tungsten  
  • RRP: £32.99+ 

General: 

This mid scalloped 50.9mm long dart is slim, at 6.9mm, for a 25g dart and has a very distinctive look about it. The smooth elliptical nose cone is a proven winner, whereas the dimpled scallop is unusual in placement and style.  

They are a beautifully designed but simple to use dart. The scallop area looks intriguing and practical with the grip choice, and natural finish, signaling a no-nonsense bit of kit.  

The grip is noticeable, impressive and well placed. Shark grip sections above and below the scallop are used to produce a dart that looks and feels grippier than most similarly shaped barrels. These sections mean that the grip is pronounced and excellent for those who like to really feel the interaction between fingers and barrels. A number of different skill level players took part and enjoyed trialing it.  

The traditional steel point is black and stands out from the board wires well. It’s a solid choice, for a solid weapon. 

No nonsense set up and packaging from Quantum Darts.

Open the Box: 

As with all Quantum darts, the pack comes with one set of (Aphelion) barrels (25g) in a point protector, together with a set of (black) nylon stems and Quantum logo (multicoloured) standard flights. The set up can be easily replicated via Quantum or almost any darts store. 

Tester Quotes:  

“…I can just rest my finger in the scallop. It feels like I can put my fingers where they fall naturally…” County Player  

” …the grip is brilliant and the balance is Perfect ” Elite PLAYER  

” these are just so much better than I thought. They can be thrown in at least three different hold styles including in a ‘Tayloresque’ manner…” Coach .  

N.B. Testers found improved performance with larger surface area flights and more tapered stems.  

Debbie Downers: 

Only minor, personal taste, issues were noted. Any scalloped dart can take a little getting used to, so give your Aphelion a little time. One tester was less happy with the taper toward the stem and one loved the shape and design but could not adapt to razor/shark grip. 

Durability: 

We suspect Aphelion are going to prove ultra-durable. After more than 60 legs from a variety of players, including tour players and a major finalist, they look almost untouched. There is no coating to wear and no vulnerable zone for damage. These may be passed down through families! 

Value: 

Just over £30 for a precision design, and highly engineered, dart is exceptional value. All AIM: testers acknowledged that they would part with such a sum.  

Marks: 

Aphelion scored well in almost every area. Indeed, a 9 and a 10/10 were awarded by totally different style testers. Not every player will be fond of a scalloped dart with an aggressive grip. Aphelion did better than almost all in its class. The average mark came in at a very solid 8.5/10.  

SnapShot:  

A very well-liked dart, popular with most testers and throw styles. Durable, original and very high quality. A superb example of how smaller, more responsive, companies can make a big impression with darts players. Surely Aphelion is worth its day in the sun. 


Review first published in Darts World Magazine (571) 2020. Order the latest issue, here.

SnapShot Review: Peter Wright World Championship Edition

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)  
  • Brand: Red Dragon 
  • Model Name: Peter Wright (World Champion Edition) 
  • Variation: 21g 
  • Material: 90% Tungsten 
  • price: RRP: £49.90+ 

General: 

This edition was commissioned to celebrate Snakebite’s victory in the World ChampionshipsIt has gone from strength to strength since and proven very popular. Despite conventional dimensions (54.6mm long x 5.9mm wide (widest)), the World Champion Edition is certainly not conventional in other ways! 

It is a superbly engineered but simple looking dart. The rainbow areas look sharp and practical with the lurid colour flashes adding a dash of flamboyance. The grip is impressive and well placed. Cuts to the barrel are used in a traditional pattern in order to produce a dart that looks and feels grippier than most similar barrels. 

These sections mean that the grip is very flexible, and suitable, it appears, so far, from testing, for almost any type of player. A very wide cross-section of players  liked this dart and enjoyed trialing it. 

The tradtional steel point is black and lends into the barrel visually. It’s a solid addition and rounds off the dart of well.

The retail set available here.

What’s in the Box? 

As with most Red Dragon darts, these days, the pack comes with one set of (Peter Wright WC) barrels (21g) together with a set of (black) Nitro-Tech stems and Snakebite coordinated (Purple, Black & White) set of Hardcore flights. The set up can be easily replicated via the Red Dragon store. 

Tester Quotes: 

“…I loved the grip on the lower half of the dart. It feels like I can put my fingers where I want and it feels the same…” County Lady Player 

” … there is a bit of my old Bob Anderson’s in them but much better…” Youth player 

” these are just so much better than I imagined. I was never keen on this style of dart but this is just totally different…” Elite player

Debbie Downers: 

They seem very few negatives here though. One player was not keen on the lurid nature of the coating that highlights the top end of the barrel. Another would have preferred the blank in the centre to either be moved or removed. In honesty these things are simply a matter of personal taste. 

Durability – So far, the Snakebite (WC) have stood up very well they have been used in close to three hundred legs by a variety of different players over quite a few weeks. 

Value – At under £50, for World Champion’s dart, these are excellent value for money. All testers agreed that they would happily purchase at this price. 

Marks – 9.0/10 – The SWC has received one of the highest marks of any dart we have tested so far. Indeed, a maximum 10/10s was awarded with nothing negative to say. One player has switched to them and we suspect another is hoping for his weight to be released! 

SnapShot: An Outstanding dart, popular with all testers and throw styles. Durable, exciting, and flexible, as well as superbly engineered and manufactured. A truly Worthy, World Champion Edition! 


Testing & words by AIM:

Review originally appeared in Darts World Magazine 570 & dartsworld.com

Check out Peter Wright’s full product range, from Red Dragon Darts, here.

Mark Webster – Winmau Originals 20g

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)
  • Model: Mark Webster (Signature) 20g
  • Material: Natural Tungsten 90%
  • Dimensions: 48.4mm x 5.9mm
  • Grip Style: Simple 14 cut Ring Grip (2/5 Aggressive)
  • Shape: Parallel (Straight)
Webster originals. A simple classic.

Mark won his World championship and many other titles with this design. As with other players/manufacturers, he has adapted it over time both in grip and cosmetically. he has also increased his weight preference.

General:

A simple dart with a very comfortable feel. The thirteen cuts are slightly narrower (1.5mm*) than on a standard ‘Bristow barrel’ but the blank toward the stem end is larger than most (15mm*).

The 5.9mm width is excellent for grouping and almost half a millimeter slimmer than most similar darts. The length is quite standard for darts of this time, 48.4mm is long enough to allow enough weight, short enough to allow some wrist control but not too long.

The Webster original has a slightly softened nose but not a cone or taper to enable the path past other darts or wires.

Set Ups:

Webby used a very conventional set up with these. A simple standard shape flight (Wales design) and a white nylon stem (medium). AIM: tested them with a very similar setup and they worked very well indeed. At the low weight (20g) they are also ideally paired with fixed flight options, such as the L Style Champagne systems, with a tweenie sized stem.

Tester Quotes:

“The are much better than I thought, simple yet very effective and reliable.”

“If you have a traditional ‘arc style’ action/throw you will love these”

“You can hold these anywhere but they are very good for mid or rear holders”

Debbie Downers:

The only real downside is the rear blank is quite large which can affect how some players would hold the dart. The grip is very simple and some players would prefer a more aggressive feel.

Value:

Image
The 2021 ‘Diamond edition’ of the Webby Dart. Available here.

In their day these were good value at the £20-30 mark. Winmau has revamped Mark’s dart a couple of times and has even added a diamond gripped version. Sadly all these are at higher weights. Second-hand sets of the originals pop up on eBay etc. for around £20.

Snapshot:

A superb and increasingly rare example of a World Championship winning dart. No-fuss, no cosmetic vanity just a simple slim tungsten barrel with a softened nose and a basic ring grip. Lovely balance and easy to use. Especially suited for wristy or whippy players and those who ‘arc’ the dart.

Marks: 8.5/10.


The latest Webster editions are available from most darts retailers and online at Red Dragon Darts.

Winmau Launch 2020/21

Being last, of the major brands, to launch their new range is a tradition at Winmau. Their retail pedigree means that they synchronise the launch in order to provide their retail channels with maximum new products for the Christmas and January peaks.

This year sees the Welsh firm lead from the front with a selection of products from their lead player Michael Van Gerwen before moving on to their other marquee names:

Vantage:

This premium model is clearly inspired by MVGs general barrel design but given the premium touches they ensure a great first impression. They have also eliminated some of the less popular features of Michael’s standard dart.

Vantage feature sections of a ‘VA’ shaped grip and gold plated highlights. The black and green styling of the Adrenalin model is adopted again for this striking variation on the MVG theme.

Assault:

This looks a more traditional dart but with MVG grip locations and branding. The onyx coating is gain present but paired with non coated bands and deep cut grooves to give an impression of a very aggressive grip.

The MVG green, black and silver styling with plenty of branding points ensures that, although a different style of dart, Assault willlook part of the family.

New weights have been added to Adrenalin, Ambition and Absolute models. All in all the MVG range goes from strength to strength.

Joe Cullen:

Joe has got to off to a nice start with Winmau and they look like a good match. His recent form is nicely timed for his signature dart launch and these are a definite forward development.

The front and rear sections are similar to his usual model but the gentle scallop in the mid section adds an element of element of exactitude not previously obvious. The Red and black colour scheme coordinates with much of Joe’s branding. Overall it’s a more subtle and less aggressive model. A sign of maturing confidence?

Mark Webster (Diamond):

These look a nice development of Webby’s second signature dart. Two new sections of Winmau’s unique diamond fusion grip have been added. This may increase the range of players willing to give this classic shaped dart a try. It’s striking looking and could suit any type of throw.

Merv King:

Even the most optimistic at Winmau would not have expected these to be launched at quite such a peak of interest in The King! Merv’s superb run to the final of the Players Championship Finals has given his profile a huge boost.

It is not shock that the shape of this new edition is the classic Bamboo pattern that has proved so successful for its most famed user. However the added grip within the curved sections looks a technical masterstroke. Taking an old tech dart and making it look both new and modern is a fine effort.

Ted Hankey:

A couple of years back Ted finally added some real grip to his signature shaped dart. The black and red styling also helped introduce the dart to a wider audience. The latest edition celebrates 20 years since The Cou ta inaugural World Championship and the gold section seems appropriate. With a fine ring grip and black onyx coated front area a very striking edition is compete.

There are new and revamped models for Scott Mitchell, Jeff Smith, Willie O Conner and Steve Brown as well as another adaptation of the evergreen Steve Beaton design.

Non Player Ranges:

The excellent Sicario range has been expanded and it is good to see the cluster grip given more opportunity. Fury, Electra and Zinati have been added to the catalogue and bring a dash of simplicity, colour and style respectively.

A select group of accessories brought the launch to a close. A funky pocket flight store and additions to the Pro Line range of premium accessories in the form of a board surround and cabinet.

This is a very strong launch for Winmau. 2020 may have been a terrible year for many but the signing of MVG and then the return to form of King have bookended an excellent performance. They have moved from a legacy brand, who looked jaded and old, to the sharpest and most focused of the leading darts brands.

——————-

Checkout Winmau.com for the full range.

« Older Entries