Category Archives: PDC

A Golden Matchplay: Sunshine, A Stirring defence and Peter’s New darts

The ingredients that lead to a memorable sporting event are many fold. The three mentioned in the title played their part in a tearful Peter Wright claiming the 2021 Betfred World Matchplay, on Sunday night, ending Dimitri Van den Bergh’s hopes of back-to-back titles with a sensational 18-9 triumph in Blackpool.
 
World number two Wright had lost in the Winter Gardens final four years ago, but this time lifted the trophy named in honour of his conqueror in 2017 – Phil Taylor – to cap a memorable tournament.
 
Wright had won through to the final with a stunning defeat of Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals, and treated a capacity Winter Gardens crowd to another superb performance in the final:

“That one was for Jo [Wright’s wife],”said an emotional Wright. “She’s been through a lot over the last year or so, but she insisted she would be here for the final.

“I’ve backed up what I said to everyone a month back. “A lot of players have commentated saying I should leave the talking to my darts and that’s what I’ve done.

“I used to watch the World Matchplay as a kid and now my name is on the trophy forever and that’s special.

“It was amazing to lift that trophy in front of this amazing crowd. “As soon as I walked on, the crowd were behind me and it was a real goosebumps moment, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.”
 
Wright averaged 105.90 in the final and claimed a £150,000 prize, denying Van den Bergh – who spent three months living with his opponent during lockdown in 2020 – the chance to become only the fourth player to retain the title
 
Wright was clinical in punishing early Van den Bergh misses to open up leads of 3-0 and 4-1, before reeling off four straight legs – including breaks of throw in 11 and 12 darts – to move 8-2 up.
 
Van den Bergh stepped in following five uncharacteristic misses from his rival in leg 11, and produced a 12-darter to reduce the gap to 8-4.
 
Wright, though, restored his cushion with a 13-dart leg and produced a ten-darter to move 10-4 up and close in on glory.
 
Van den Bergh rallied, finishing 87, 96 and 84 in winning four of the next six to pull back to 12-8, only for an 11-darter from Wright to halt his momentum.
 
The Scot then took out 62 to lead 14-8 and punished misses from the reigning champion in the next two legs as he edged clear.


After Wright then took out 84 on the bull to create a 17-8 cushion, Van den Bergh landed the game’s only ton-plus checkout of 105, but it proved to be only a consolation as Wright sealed the deal with a 13-dart leg on double nine.
 
Van den Bergh picked up £70,000 as runner-up following a stout defense of his title, which included a victory over World Champion Gerwyn Price and a second-round record 14 180s in his defeat of Dave Chisnall.

The popular Belgian remained upbeat despite a frustrating final, with his run on his Winter Gardens debut seeing him become just the second player in the tournament’s history to reach the final in his first two World Matchplay appearances.

“Every game I’ve played, I’ve dug deep and played my best but tonight Peter was just outstanding,” said Van den Bergh.
“Of course it was a disappointment [to lose] but I can say that I gave everything and never gave up.

“I said to Peter that I’ll be back stronger. I’m number five in the world and I’m only 27, so I’ve got time on my side.”

2021 Betfred World Matchplay Final
Sunday July 25
Peter Wright 18-9 Dimitri Van den Bergh
—–ENDS—–

Lead Image: PDC (L Lustig)

Three Degrees Of James Wade – The Machine Claims Third UK Open

In any sport to play successfully though three different eras is unusual, to play through three of the best in the history of your chosen field and still be winning major titles is quite remarkable. Yet The Machine has done just that:

JAMES WADE landed his third Ladbrokes UK Open title in Milton Keynes on Sunday, defeating Luke Humphries 11-5 in the final. Almost 13 years on from his first UK Open title, Wade’s success sees him join Phil Taylor in winning televised PDC titles across three decades.

In addition, the £100,000 winner’s prize sees him move up to fourth in the PDC Order of Merit, overtaking Rob Cross as the highest-ranked Englishman.

Now a winner of ten televised ranking titles, Wade expanded his impressive trophy haul with a first UK Open crown since 2011 thanks to a weekend of consistent performances at the Marshall Arena.

His first TV success since November 2018 was secured with a typically clinical display in the final against Humphries, who knocked out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen in the semis with a brilliant display but was unable to repeat the feat in the decider.

Experience won the day as Wade – who averaged 102.52 and was on target with 41% of his checkout attempts – made the former World Youth Champion pay for 20 missed doubles.

“To win TV titles across three decades is something I’m very proud of,” said Wade. “I’m enjoying it again, I think I’ve reinvented myself.


“I’m very happy to be in the world of darts, it’s a great place to be when you’re winning.

“I’m here to provide stability for my son and winning these allows me to do that”.

“Luke is quality, he’s a gentleman and he showed his quality in the way he dismantled Michael [van Gerwen] in the semi-finals.”


In reaching the final Wade was at his unflappable best in defeating world number one Gerwyn Price 11-6 in the semi-finals, having produced a 10-8 comeback win over Simon Whitlock in the afternoon’s quarter-finals.

Wade’s route to the title began with a scare from Ryan Joyce in round four as he came through a last-leg decider, before defeating Cross and Germany’s Gabriel Clemens in rounds five and six on Saturday.

Despite coming up short in his first televised final, two-time World Youth Champion Humphries continued his progression and produced a sensational 107.41 average in his 11-5 semi-final win over Van Gerwen.

Humphries, who edged out Dave Chisnall 10-9 in the quarter-finals, pockets the £40,000 runners-up prize moves up eight places to 33rd on the PDC Order of Merit. The 26-year-old reflected:

“It’s been an incredible weekend for me, an emotional weekend,”
“To reach a TV final is the most unbelievable feeling. I think James is the best player in the world under pressure and he showed it in that game.

“I’m here to achieve big things in darts and this run puts me in good stead going forward.

“I want to be playing the best players week-in, week-out. I know I’ve got the game to do it. Tonight it wasn’t my night, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”

The Ladbrokes UK Open reached its climax on Sunday after 151 players competed in the tournament’s opening day on Friday.

South Africa’s Devon Petersen reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2015, while Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski made it to the last eight for the first time before losing to Van Gerwen.

2021 Ladbrokes UK Open
Sunday March 7

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
James Wade 10-8 Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Devon Petersen
Luke Humphries 10-9 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Krzysztof Ratajski
Evening Session

Semi-Finals
James Wade 11-6 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 11-5 Michael van Gerwen

Final
James Wade 11-5 Luke Humphries

—–ENDS——

Picture: L Lustig (PDC)

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

World Championship ‘9 Darters’ – Palace Perfection.

As part of our contribubion to “The Darts World Championship Ultimate Guide, 2019 A.I.M: looked at those perfect palace moments:

9 Darters – Palace Perfection 

In any sport there are moments of perfection, think Torvil & Dean or Nadia Comenech, darts is no exception. Over the years improving standards, combined with near perfect playing conditions, have ensured that darting perfection, the nine dart leg, is hit with increasing regularity. Yet, hitting one on the biggest possible stage, on live TV, under the greatest of pressure is still very rare indeed. Think Cliff Thorburn at The Crucible. 

I suspect a certain Mr Taylor has never forgiven RVB for this!

Breaking the Duck 

No player had managed the perfect leg in the PDC World Championship since its beginnings in 1994. By 2010 it seemed that the incentive of a place in the history books was weighing heavily on players’ shoulders. Raymond van Barneveld had other ideas. The setting was a Qtr final vs his countryman Jelle Klaasen. RVB went the traditional route (180,180, T20, T19, D12) and appeared as relaxed as he might in a local exhibition.  

Lightning Strikes Twice 

To prove it was no fluke Barney repeated the trick in 2011. In fact, the only difference from the 2010 version, were his darts, he had switched to a golden set up, and his reactions. In scenes reminiscent of his 2007 World Championship win, Barney was as delighted, and emotional, as many could remember seeing him. 

The Final Countdown 

Perhaps the most remarkable of the perfect legs seen at The Alexandra Palace was struck in 2011. To mark the third consecutive year, that at least one perfect leg was thrown, Adrian Lewis became the first to hit one in the final. Incredibly ‘Jackpot’ hit it in only the third leg! Another of the popular 180 x 2 and 141(T20, T19, D12) route. The nonchalance with which Lewis accepted the crowd’s applause showed a player, at the very peak of his powers, for whom it was simply a matter of time. 

Winstanley Goes Wild 

Darts very own Pat Cash moment? Where did he go?

After a barren year, in 2012, darting perfection returned with a bang in 2013. ‘Over the Top’, as Dean Winstanley is known, certainly lived up to his nickname. Dean found a superb sequence of darts hitting six treble 20s without going near a wire. After completing the 141, in the usual way, he was overcome with a spirit of Pat Cash. Winstanley, like the Australian tennis champion, sprinted out of shot and, reacted with an unrestrained joy that endeared him to all watching.  

All the Right Darts, Not Necessarily in The Right Order? 

In the same 2013 tournament Micheal van Gerwen added his name to the roll of honour. In his semi-final, against James Wade, MVG became the first to hit 9 perfect darts but not going the conventional order. He still hit 7 Treble 20s, treble 19 and double 12, but hit the T19 on his second turn in order to leave 144. 

Perfection, Repetition & Despair 

In 2014 both Kyle Anderson and Terry Jenkins hit 9 darters. Both players lost the match. 2015 featured a repeat performance from Adrian Lewis. Jackpot joined Barney in the club of multiple 9 dart hitters at the World Championships. The most recent 9 example of palace perfection was Gary Anderson, Gary hit his perfect leg, in 2016, vs Jelle Klaasen. Poor Klaasen became the first to have two thrown against him! 

The Founder of the Feast. 

Legendary Lim hits the firstWorld Championship 9 darter

No discussion of World Championship 9 darters would be complete without ‘The Legend’ that is Paul Lim. Paul bridges the two golden eras of professional darts and is still going. In 1990 he hit a superb 9 dart leg vs Ireland’s Jack McKenna. Although it was hit at Lakeside there was only one world championship at that time and the feat had never been completed before. Only two years ago Lim threatened to repeat the feat almost thirty years later. After 8 perfect darts, and at the age of 63, Lim narrowly missed the double twelve. Perhaps he will get another chance at that unique fairytale during this year’s event? 


Palace perfection appears in full, with more extensive links and graphic illustration, the Ultimate Guide : https://appsolutely.dev/darts/

Ladies Night. Our Predictions for Female Success Come True!

When A.I.M: were asked to produce some original content, for The World Darts Championship Ultimate Guide, one of the things that prompted us was the surge of interest in the female competitors. You could definitely say we were ahead of the curve here:

FALLON SHERROCK
Pic: Christopher Dean
Lisa Ashton: Helped blaze a trail and is still at it!

For last years (2019) World Championship the PDC innovated once more. A direct route for female players to play in the championships was introduced for the first time. Lisa Ashton and Anastasia were the qualifiers, from very high-quality field, and both played strongly in the main event.  This year the route has been extended to include a UK and a Rest of the World style qualifying event.  

Mikuru Suzuki, 37, will debut at Ally Pally after capturing the Lakeside title in 2019. She is familiar with the PDC set up, and atmosphere, after being selected by the BDO for this year’s Grand Slam of Darts. The Japanese star made things deciding decidedly uncomfortable for Gerwyn Price in her opening match. Despite not qualifying for the knockout stage she will have gained valuable experience, and having little to lose, and could be very dangerous indeed. 

FALLON SHERROCK
Pic: Christopher Dean

Fallon Sherrock has been somewhat overshadowed in recent years. The former World Championship finalist, and twice major title winner, has outmatched by Lisa Ashton and now Suzuki. The twenty-five-year old hairdresser has, however, had a superb 2019, winning several titles all around Europe. Fallon then played superbly in the ladies qualifying event, averaging close to 100. Her debut at Alexandra Palace will introduce her to a whole new audience and may prove another boost to her career! 

The form and ability of the female representatives is getting stronger and stronger. It may not be long until darts becomes a fully integrated sport. 


During a remarkable run Sherrock defeated both Ted Evetts and, the number eleven seed, Mensur Suljovic whilst generating a huge surge of interest from the media worldwide. A couple of weeks later Lisa Ashton made her mark again gaining a PDC Tour Card, in a mixed field of over five hundred players. ‘Ladies Night’ indeed!

https://appsolutely.dev/darts/

We Are The Champions!

While A.I.M: were putting together some information for The Word Darts Championship (2019) Ultimate Guide, we could not help but notice the sheer number of players able to boast of being World Champions:

FORMER 5 TIME WORLD CHAMPION RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD’S FINAL TOURNAMENT
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

World Champions are special. Regardless of sport, code or status, those who claim a World title always stand out from the crowd. Steel tip darts has two sets of World Champions. From 1976-93 there were simply World Champions. Following the formation of the PDC (originally the WDC) from 1994 there were Lakeside (BDO) Champions and PDC World Professional Darts Champions.  

To date, twenty-nine players have lifted either of the overall titles, but only eight have lifted the PDC crown. A glance down the list reveals that these are not normal players! No player has won a senior world title without claiming other titles and reaching the top of the ranking tables. Many have won multiple titles and some have utterly dominated the game for long periods of time.  

Name World Titles 
Raymond Van Barneveld BDO x 4 PDC x 1 
MVG PDC x 3 
Glen Durrant BDO x 3  
Gary Anderson PDC x 2 
Adrian Lewis PDC x2 
Rob Cross PDC x 1 
Stephen Bunting BDO x 1 
Steve Beaton BDO x 1 
Jelle Klaasen BDO x 1 
Mikuru Suzuki BDO (W) x 1 
Paul Lim Soft Tip x 2 
Lourance Ilagan Soft Tip x 1 
Aaron Monk PDC Youth x 1 
Max Hopp  PDC Youth x 1 
Keegan Brown PDC Youth x 1 
Dimitri van den Burgh PDC Youth x 1 
 
At least 16 layers can claim around 28 World Titles before the start of this year’s event

The growth of the sport, and its inclusive nature, mean that there are also World Champions from other darting arenas. The soft tip game, for example, has produced many fine players and its codes/organisations hold their own World Championships. The ladies’ game has held World Championships for nearly forty years and has produced legendary players such as Trina Gulliver, Maureen Flowers and Linda Duffy (ne Batton). The current holder of the title, Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki, will make her debut at Ally Pally this year. 

The 2020 PDC World Championship will feature at least fifteen players who can lay claim to World Championships. Many of them can or will be able to claim multiple titles in multiple formats. To date, only John Part can claim World Champion status in the BDO, PDC and Soft Tip formats.  

Could Paul Lim add another leg of the treble? Or will Glen Durrant become the latest cross code champion? Whoever claims the 2020 crown will have triumphed in a field containing more darting world champions than ever before. 


A version of We are The Champions first appeared, with full graphics, in the guide below:

https://appsolutely.dev/darts/

Meet the Fans – Ally Pally.

One of our favorite A.I.M: contributions to The World Darts Championships Ultimate Guide ( 2019) was a centred around the unique nature of the supporters at the Alexandra Palace. We are hoping to do more of these from other seminal darting venues:

QUEEN OF THE PALACE: FALLON SHERROCK IS ACCLAIMED BY THE CROWD
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

The secret ingredient, in the successful recipe that is the PDC World Darts Championship, is not so secret. It’s on full public view every day and every session. Over 85,000 fans troop through the doors of the Alexandra Palace every December. Hen nights, stag nights, work place parties, and many other groups, join more traditional darts fans to experience the unique combination of party atmosphere and sporting drama. 

Kyle Picknell recently described a night at the darts like this:  

You remember the World Cup, don’t you? That summer-long hysteria that swept the nation away in a hot, sticky sea of pints, sweat, tears and pints. Well, the darts is a bit like that. Except with more pints” 

If you have every attended an Ally Pally session, or even caught one on TV, you will struggle to argue with that description. The mix of thousands of everyday people, sporting combat, Christmas spirit and alcohol adds an element to the event that seems very British. The fancy dress tradition, which grows every year, follows a trend from the Edgbaston test match and, has a superb comic edge. An audience member attended dressed as Jesus, on his return journey from the bar, he was captured on the big screen, within seconds the entire crowd were serenading him with Happy Birthday! 

As the event moves into its later stages there are less of the party groups and more of those who follow or play darts. This leads to a more partisan, intense atmosphere with crowd favorites cheered to the rafters and some getting a less fond reception. Over the years Mervyn King and Gerwyn Price have been on the receiving end of the crowd’s displeasure, and yet have come out the other side more fondly regarded. This year may see Gerwyn being a crowd favorite.  

Since the event moved to its current home in 2008, the crowd experience and participation level has been enhanced and now resembles a darting day-trip. There is a dedicated fan area, just outside the main arena, with activities and opportunities to enjoy the day. Legends of the game appear for Q&As / photo’s, the trophy is on display and sponsors do their upmost to promote themselves and their wares.  

Peter Wright wins the 2020 event in front of a delighted Ally Pally crowd. PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Fans of a night at the darts have changed over the years. National treasures such as Stephen Fry, sporting royalty including Freddie Fintoff and Stephen Gerrard and even actual Royalty, in the person of Prince Harry, have been spotted enjoying their arrows.  

Could it be that darts has a truly universal appeal, that is captured perfectly for two weeks every year by the PDC, Sky TV and Alexandra Palace?  


Welcome to Ally Pally -“Talking Points”.

As part of A.I.M:‘s contribution to The Ultimate Guide to the World Championships (2019), we introduced the PDC’s annual darting extravaganza via a ‘Talking Points Style’ segment:

“Talking Points” – At the Palace. 

The Venue –  

Ally Pally holds 3000 fans that regularly sell out the venue. PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

When looking for a new, and larger, venue after the huge success of the 2007 World Championships, the PDC could hardly have found a better option than “the peoples palace”.

Despite being used as a circus venue, exhibition hall and even a refugee shelter, over its 140+ year history, Alexandra Palace has a long association with darts. The hugely popular News of the World event held its finals at the London venue with the raucous, but entertaining, atmosphere from the 1960’s being preserved in YouTube clips. The Ally Pally has provided fairytales, excitement and no little drama, right from its first year as host. Rank outsider Kirk Shepherd made the final that first year only to be felled at the final hurdle by Darth Maple (John Part). Every year since, thousands of fans, often in highly original fancy dress, have flocked to witness the next chapter of this fabulous story. 

The Trophy –  

2019 WORLD CHAMPION MICHAEL VAN GERWEN BUFFS UP THE SID WADDELL TROPHY
(PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG)

Sid Waddell was known as “The Voice of Darts” and credited by many with helping to popularize the game in the 1970’s, and keep it alive during the leaner times. 

Sid combined a unique use of language with an enthusiasm, and love for the game. that can barely have been matched. Quotes such as “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer… Bristow’s only 27 “ have become legendary and Sid is remembered with affection by millions.

Sid’s death in 2012 marked a generational and style change in darts. The decision to commission a new PDC World Championship Trophy, named after Sid, was warmly welcomed by those connected to both the game and broadcasting alike. Fittingly it was Phil “The Power” Taylor who emerged triumphant in 2013 and claimed the Sid Waddell Trophy upon its debut. 

The Prize –  

The Menace (1st PDC World Champion)

Winning the PDC World Darts Championship is now a life changing matter. The first holding of the event, in 1994, earned its first champion, Dennis “The Menace” Priestly, the princely sum of £16,000.

Although this was not to be sniffed at it can hardly be compared to today’s prize. The total prize fund for that first championship was £64,000, this year’s event will offer £2,500,000. The winner’s cheque will be a cool half a million pounds (£500,000).  In many ways this is just the beginning of the rewards for the 2020 champion. Sponsorship and exhibition fees are boosted massively, by having a World Championship on your CV, and qualification for every event, for the next two years, is assured. Most players will value the place in the history books and the holding of the Sid Waddell trophy as equally important, but their families may well benefit more from the financial rewards available. 

Leighton Rees
1st World Champion.

To say the PDC World Championship is worth a million pounds, to the winner, is no exaggeration. Leighton Rees’s £3000 reward, for the first ever darts World Championship, suddenly seems a long time ago. However, money is not everything and the fact that, Welshman, Rees is fondly remembered as, both a fine player and, a lovely individual, should remind us that the place in the history book of darts, and on the list of World Champions , is priceless.


A version of this feature first appeared in The Ultimate Guide to the World Darts Championship in December 2019.

View or download (Free) here: https://appsolutely.dev/darts/

Gerwyn Price: Pantomime Villain or New Model Darter?

If you’re a darts fan or just a twitter devotee, you may believe that a thirty-four-year-old Welshman is the devil in a dart shirt. However, if you know anything of the history of sport you may see a character familiar to the development of most highly popular professional games. That of the marmite competitor or perhaps pantomime villain? 

Price Claims a 2nd Grand Slam
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Six years ago, Gerwyn Price was a Rugby player coming toward the end of an up and down career that had many highlights but had not quite reached the elite levels he may have wished. However, he had discovered a talent for darts and determined that he would make it in a second professional game. By 2014 he had gained a professional tour card, at his first attempt, at PDC Qualifying School.  

Price’s first year on the tour resulted in moderate success, reaching semifinals of Pro Tour events and qualifying for several European Tours. Reaching that year’s World Championships, at the first time of asking, was another landmark. During this time many, including the author, noted the impressive way Gezzy had adapted to pro darts, and how he did not seem to be bound by previous conventions, we put this down to the professional attitude, and strong mentality, that he had developed playing a physically dangerous sport that involved serious risk if not properly respected.  

 Now known as “The Ice Man” Price was starting to provoke grumblings. “Too aggressive”, “Over the Top”, “Bolshie” and other slightly surprising remarks were heard around venues. Many viewed this as a positive. Shaking up the status quo, not letting established stars intimidate you, trying to get the game onto your terms and other such counter remarks were offered by some. 

Gerwyn Price
‘Making a Name’ for himself. Even Prices choice
of nickname was controversial.

2016 marked a real gear change for “The Ice Man” (even the choice of nickname was not without controversy!).  Gerwyn claimed two Pro Tour titles and reached the later stages of European Tour events. He also made good progress at The World Matchplay, European Championship and Players Championship Finals. More bridges were to be crossed the next season.  

Price reached the final of the 2017 UK Open, including a superb comeback and 160 outshot to defeat Ian White, and lead Wales to the Final of the World Cup of Darts. A combination of these successes and his strong image, as a battler with a totally different style of play, gained him a place in the 2018 Premier League. 

This was a remarkable story, a player with no experience whatsoever goes from unknown to the Premier League in four years! It is also highly unlikely Price would have gotten as far or been selected, for the PDC’s premium showcase, had he have been a run-of-the-mill character. Other players have had superb spells of form and achieved similar results to Price. None of them had the back story or the onstage attitude of the fighting Welshman. These last two qualities propelled him from outside the top ten into the Premier League. In short, the PDC had a strong hand in making, and encouraging, Price.  

 The Premier League is hugely demanding and requires yet another stage of adjustment. It may well have been a bridge too far. In reaction to this, Price made a few poor choices. Social media proved to be a pitfall, not exactly unusual, as comments made in frustration and disappointment caused a fan backlash and sanctions from the games disciplinary body.  Safe to say the Premier League had not gone well for ‘Iceman’. 

Showing huge mental strength, perhaps learned through rugby, Price finished the main tour season like a train. He claimed victory in the European Open as well as reaching the Qtr-Finals of both the World Grand Prix & The European Championship. His form was superb and his competitive juices seemed seriously fired up. These factors, both positive and negative, all came to a head in the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts! 

BWIN GRAND SLAM OF DARTS: Price Takes the Trophy!
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Price started the event playing well, but clearly keyed up, possibly in reaction to the Premier, or just another illustration of Price’s highly developed desire to win. Playing a sport in which physical harm is a daily risk gives a different perspective to ‘throwing sharp things at a round thing’.  

By the Qtr-final stage matters were coming to the boil. In a tough encounter, with Simon Whitlock, Price was cautioned by the referee. It appeared to be for ‘over celebrating’ and or failure to keep within the designated playing bounds. A superb and dramatic match finished was settled by a deciding leg and, a hot under the collar, Iceman continued on. A relatively straight forward win over Mensur Sulijavic saw Price reach his first major final. Normally, this would be a completely positive story, but the encounter with Whitlock had seen the Wolverhampton crowd turn against Price, adding fuel to an already smoldering fire. 

The long and short of the 2018 Grand Slam final is that Price won, from well behind, Gary was upset, the crowd booed and the PDC reacted by fining him most of his winnings as well as issuing various statements and warnings.  

In years to come however, the trophy will simply read 2018 – Gerwyn Price. He appealed the judgements, the fines were substantially reduced, and simply continued on. That years’ World Championship proved tough, with the crowd being especially ruthless. Yet, the PDC decided to include him in the 2019 Premier League, you do the math? 

 Price’s response to this chain of events has been exemplary and very impressive. He put up a far stronger showing in the Premier League whilst kicking his Pro Tour up another gear. He is now one of a select band to claim back to back events on what is an incredibly high-quality tour. His consistency improved, during the middle season, before he again seeming to hit the accelerator near year’s end.  

During September he put together a superb run to claim another European Tour title, before claiming a third Pro Tour title for 2019. Price then excelled at the European Championship. He reached another final and was looking even better than twelve months previous. 

The circle of sport was completed with Price returning to Wolverhampton as the reigning Grand Slam of Darts champion. Determined to show he was not a fluke, or had only won due to underhand tactics, he blasted through the event to reach the semi-final stage, defeating Anderson along the way, and an encounter with MVG.  

Despite all his improvement Price had yet to beat the game’s standard bearer, and world number one, in seventeen attempts. If Price was to again progress, he would have to get over this (psychological?) block. Get over it was exactly what Price did. Not some nervy last gasp win, but a sixteen – twelve decisive victory. 

All that was left was to win the title and win over the crowd. Gezzy, obliged with a demolition of Peter Wright in the final. The presentation could not have been different to 2018. The back to back champion was joined on stage by his family and cheered by thousands. 

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
FINAL PETER WRIGHT V GERWYN PRICE GERWYN PRICE WINS

Price swiftly followed up with a final spot at The Players Championship finals soon after, this time losing out, to Micheal van Gerwen, in a nail-biter that deserved a final leg. His results in the last few months have elevated him to No.3 in the World and second favorite in for this year’s William Hill, PDC World Darts Championships. 

At the same time he is now cheered by far more than those who boo. It seems that Price has shown the benefit of bringing the tough attitude of the rugby field to the darting arena.

Bearing in mind that no Grand Slam Champion has failed to win a World Championship, perhaps all of us should keep an eye out. The Iceman Cometh! 


A version of this article originally appeared in The Ultimate Guide to the World Championships :https://appsolutely.dev/darts/

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