The earning power of dart players has soared in recent years. Gone are the days of the top players, or even the second rank, having to scratch around to supplement their darts earnings in order to pay the bills or even carry on playing.
Today players in the PDC top 32 are winning over £50k a year. Add in a few exhibitions, and good sponsorship deals and very healthy living can be earned without claiming multiple titles or shining on the TV.
Premium Dart Data (@premiumdartdata) recently pointed out that six players have earned over £1,000,000 from just 6 PDC major events (WC, WM, WGP, Open, GSoD & PCFs) :
Phil Taylor – £4,434,000
MVG – £3,539,500
G Anderson – £1,959,740
Adrian Lewis – £1,567,250
J Wade – £1,525,750
Raymond Van Barneveld – £1,395,750
We looked a little further and these guys are not the only ones to have claimed £million + in prize money. Counting 1975 as a decent starting point, and going right up to the present day, almost twenty players have claimed at least 1,000,000 during their career:
It is remarkable that MVG will pass Taylor’s career prize money within the next twelve months. As well as showing Micheal’s remarkable talent it also shows how the earning power has increased in the last few years.
Perhaps the most noteworthy contrast in the table is both Daryl Gurney and Rob Cross earning over £1million in a very few years. Meanwhile, Steve Beaton has just reached the million mark after a career spanning a mere 35 years!
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.
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
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.
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?
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:
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 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!
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 –
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 –
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 –
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
When A.I.M: were asked to contribute to a guide the 2020 PDC World Darts Championship an article about Raymond Van Barneveld seemed essential.
This piece has appeared, in various forms, in Darts World magazine, at dartsworld.com and on the hugely popular German website darts1.de amongst other places!
Barney Takes A Bow!
Raymond van Barneveld can claim a major role in the story of the PDC at the Palace. From his legendary win in the 2007 event, which may have prompted the move, to his superb 9 dart legs, Barney has provided some of the sports’ most iconic moments. In addition, his ‘Barny Army’ of fans bring atmosphere and colour to every event. RVB’s role in the development and advancement of darts is safe and his reputation as a dart player will only grow. As a five-time World Champion he sits in a club of only three, Bristow (5), Barney (5) and Taylor (16)
Barney, now 52, will play his last World Championship this year and is sure to receive a superb reception and send off when his tournament comes to an end. He seems entirely at peace with his decision and determined to enjoy his curtain call. Raymond will have taken part in almost thirty World Championships since making his debut at the Lakeside in 1991. His remarkable journey has seen him tackle the legends of darts’ first golden era, battle with ‘The Power’ for over a decade and then shepherd a third generation of new players to take the game forward.
RVB decided to cross codes and take his place on the PDC tour in 2006. As a four-time Lakeside champion he was the biggest fish in a middle-sized pond and could easily have remained within the BDO system and racked up titles and fees. Yet, he courted controversy, and risked failure, in order to compete at the highest level and against the very best the game had to offer.
RVB’s first PDC ranking major was the 2006 UK Open unbelievably he won the title. After what could only be described as a stellar debut he prepared for his first PDC World Championship over the festive season of 2006/7. By bludgeoning his way to the final, van Barneveld would realize the ambition that had driven him to the PDC. He was to play Phil “The Power” Taylor over the best of 13 sets. The rest as they say is history. The nip and tuck match, the swings in one direction and then the other, the sudden death bull up and then the winning dart. The sinking to the knees, and the commenators’ superlatives, all form part of the 2007 legend.
Although Raymond has not yet added another World Championship Trophy, he has enjoyed a storied career across both codes. Three World Cup Singles titles, two Winmau World Masters, The Premier League and the Grand Slam of Darts, as well as hitting the first PDC World Championship 9 Dart Leg, were amongst many, placed in the trophy cabinet, during a marvelous career.
Between this year’s first match, vs Darin Young, and an unlikely final appearance on January 1st 2020 the fans at Ally Pally and darts’ fans the world over will bid a fond farewell to a modern legend. On current form Barney may give us a grand finale, Barney’s 3-month form is 10th in the world with a running average of 96.63 for 17 events played.
Raymond van Barneveld kann eine der Hauptrollen in der Geschichte der PDC-WM für sich beanspruchen. Sein Finalsieg im „Spiel der Spiele“ bei der WM 2007, seine fantastischen 9-Darter – Barney hat dem Dartsport einige legendäre Momente beschert. Darüber hinaus verleiht seine Fan-Base, die „Barney Army“, jeder Veranstaltung eine besondere Atmosphäre. Raymonds Anteil am Aufbau und der Weiterentwicklung des Dartsports ist unbestritten und sein Ruf als Darts-Legende schon zu aktiven Zeiten gefestigt.
Er ist einer von nur drei Darts-Profis, die mindestens fünfmal eine Weltmeisterschaft gewinnen konnten. Eric Bristow (5) und Phil Taylor (16) heißen die beiden anderen Mitglieder in diesem erlauchten Club. Der mittlerweile 52-jährige Barney steht vor seiner letzten WM-Teilnahme und kann sich während des Turniers einer riesigen Aufmerksamkeit sicher sein und sich auf eine angemessene Verabschiedung freuen, wenn das Turnier für ihn zu Ende geht. Er scheint mit sich und seiner Entscheidung, die Karriere zu beenden, völlig im Reinen zu sein und will seine Abschiedsvorstellung in vollen Zügen genießen. Seit seinem Debüt in Lakeside im Jahr 1991 hat Raymond an fast 30 Weltmeisterschaften teilgenommen. Am Anfang seiner bemerkenswerten Karriere bekam er noch die erste goldene Ära des Profi-Darts mit, anschießend lieferte er sich über ein Jahrzehnt lang mit „The Power“ einen heißen Kampf, bevor er schließlich eine neue Generation auf ihrem Weg in die Weltspitze anführte, um die Qualität des Spiels auf ein höheres Level zu bringen.
2006 entschied sich RvB zu einem Verbandswechsel und nahm fortan an den Turnieren der PDC teil. Der viermalige Lakeside-Champion war der größte Hai im mittelgroßen Becken der BDO und er hätte ganz einfach dort bleiben und sich Titel und Preisgelder einheimsen können. Doch er entschied sich für das Risiko und einen Wechsel zur PDC, um auf höchstem Level spielen und gegen die Allerbesten antreten zu können, die das Spiel zu bieten hat.
Van Barneveld erstes großes Ranglistenturnier bei der PDC waren die UK Open 2006, die er auch gleich gewinnen konnte. Nach diesem Traumstart bereitete er sich auf seine erste PDC-Weltmeisterschaft vor, die Ende des Jahres 2006 begann. Auf seinem Weg ins Finale wird sich van Barneveld vor Augen geführt haben, was ihn knapp ein Jahr zuvor zu einem Wechsel zur PDC getrieben hat. Er war gekommen, um gegen Phil „The Power“ Taylor im Modus „Best of 13 sets“ zu spielen. Der Rest ging in die Geschichte ein: Das äußerst knappe Finale, bei dem mal der eine und mal der andere vorne lag, der Wurf aufs Bullseye vor dem „Sudden Death“-Leg und kurz darauf der Championship-Dart ins richtige Doppelfeld, sein Sinken auf die Knie, die Superlative der Kommentatoren – all dies trug dazu bei, dass das WM-Finale 2007 bis heute als legendär gilt.
Obwohl es Raymond danach nicht mehr gelang, den WM-Pokal zu holen, kann er auf eine sehr erfolgreiche Karriere in beiden Verbänden zurückblicken. Er holte drei „World Cup Singles“- und zwei „Winmau World Masters“-Titel bei der BDO, sowie einen Premier League- und einen Grand Slam of Darts-Titel bei der PDC. Zudem gelang ihm der erste 9-Darter bei einer PDC-Weltmeisterschaft.
Frühestens nach seinem Auftaktspiel gegen Darin Young und spätestens nach einem eher unwahrscheinlichen Auftritt im Endspiel am 1. Januar 2020 werden sich die Fans im „Ally Pally“ und die Darts-Fans an den Bildschirmen auf der ganzen Welt von einer modernen Legende verabschieden müssen. In seiner aktuellen Form ist es Barney durchaus zuzutrauen, dass er den Zuschauern ein großartiges Abschiedsspektakel bietet. Nimmt man nur die letzten drei Monate, so wäre er Zehnter der Weltrangliste mit einem 3-Dart-Average von 96,63 Punkten bei 17 gespielten Veranstaltungen.
Hut ab, Raymond van Barneveld, und alles Gute für die Zukunft!
It’s always nice to be asked to contribute to a new publishing project to promote the game of darts. Some of the people we at A.I.M: like best have produced 62 pages of news, views, player profiles, product reviews and articles that is yours in a couple clicks:
Dartconnect.com are distributing the guide, as well as RedDragon darts, Grab a copy here:
All 96 players that took part are individually profiled and there are sections for Fallon Sherrock & Mikuru Suzuki as well as feature articles on Barney, Gerwyn Price and those who have hit an Ally Pally 9 Darter.
Mile High Leaves a Vapour Trail tells the tale of how a relative unknown made a big impact, at the 2010/11 World Championship, blazing a trail for others to follow.
The Super 8’s looks at vital stats and other information that can sort out those with a chance of the title from those likely to fall short.
There is even a betting section. You Betcha! Gives a few ideas of what is available these days in the gambing sector.
All in all it is a great guide and unbeatable for free!
In February, 2010, Mark “Mile High” Hylton began what was to be a shortish, but highly significant, test flight in the world of PDC darts. A superb take off was followed by a turbulent spell ‘cruising at altitude’ before a steep decent took him away from our view.
Mark Hylton had been around amateur darts for quite some time, including a notable appearance at the the, 2007 UK Open, before he was approached to turn professional. His first few months on tour proved a steep learning curve. It seemed that ‘Mile High’, as he was known due to a previous career on the airlines, would take a while to adjust to the professional game.
However, Mark was playing superbly behind the scenes while cleaning up in non-professional events all over the country. His management/coaching team funded trips to Australia, and Canada, that summer to see if their hunch was right. Take off was managed by Hylton as he soared to the final of that years PDC Australian Open. The prize money, £3000, ensured he would qualify for the World Championships.
Success followed success, with Mark then qualifying for the Grand Slam of Darts and gaining more consistent results on the Pro Tour. Despite not progressing from the group stage, the Grand Slam provided stage darts and ensured he, and his team, were confident of success at Ally Pally.
Team Hylton prepared meticulously. Mark played in all conditions and, as often as possible, on borrowed stages with friends acting as officials. When it was known who, the legendary Steve Beaton, would be his first-round opponent, similar style and pace players were found and they played the event format time and time again. They also calculated the next two likely opponents.
The venue was scouted, the weather anticipated, which was extreme, and complications allowed for. Despite all the usual beginner’s nerves, and the skills of his opponent, Mark ran out the winner in the deciding set.
During the days between matches similar preparations were made for tackling Colin Lloyd. Again, despite all the advantages, and a few tactics, were with Jaws’. Hylton, was less nervous before and had been instructed “you are the best kept secret in world darts”, “now go and show these people why” and he did. Colin threw everything at him and never made a dent. By the end of the game Lloyd was shaking his head in disbelief, as Hylton averaged over 115 for spells and became the event’s leading 180 hitter.
Sadly, events beyond anticipation and a superb performance from, his opponent, Mark Webster halted Hylton’s run at the last 16 stage.
The two big wins at the palace, gave lift off to Mark’s career. He was awarded the PDC’s New Player of the Year award, a lucrative dart sponsorship and went on to great success in more major events. Reaching two Qtr finals during 2011, rising to number 32 in the world and frightening the life out of Phil Taylor in Blackpool.
Although Mark has slipped from view, since those halcyon days, his efforts should not be forgotten. To debut aged 44, with no top flight experience, and to hit the heights he did, was remarkable. Indeed, the vapour-trail Hylton left guided many. You don’t need to be a big name to win big!
Just ask Rob Cross!
A version of this article was first published in The Ulitimate Guide to The PDC World Championships 2020. Grab a free copy here: https://appsolutely.dev/darts/
Who builds the better team? Who makes the best signings? Who improves & develops players? Who is the best Manufacturer / Sponsor?
For 2019 A.I.M are presenting a simplified Manufacturers Championship version that should be interesting but not over techie or insider nonsense.
A.I.M use the PDC ranking events as a base. In each event, those who reach the Qtr Final or better will score points for their dart supplier/sponsor. Winner will get 10 points, runner / up 5, Semi 3 and Qtrs 1. In the case of televised major, such as the upcoming UK Open, this will be doubled. For The World Championships, the multiplier will be 2.5. As an amendment, we add the BDO majors for the overall table.
Early Season Skirmishes
The first four ranking events of the season, Pro Tours 1-4, feature the return of a classic dart brand and a rebalancing between the other big names. Another classic brand/manufacturer took a bit of a beating.
Red Dragon managed to head the table overall through scoring in every event with a mix of players. Price has moved up a level whilst Wright, Hendo and Clayton all performed well and scored for the team.
RD excelling in the constructors’ championship?
Target proved hit or miss with Dave Chisnall ensuring a highlight early on while on other days they did poorly, Ricky Evans has stormed through to provide high quality back up. XQ Max still features well with 21 points (two wins) from the four events. This excellent effort is tempered with the fact that all points were gained through a single player. MVG is clearly carrying this vehicle. Unicorn managed to spread their effort across more players including some newcomers including Harry Ward ( Gavin Carlin may well push them over the top as his darts look very like Unicorn Grippers to me!) and in every event, they will also benefit from the return of Gary Anderson.
Harrows made a welcome return to the higher ranks. Their retention of Glenn Durrant ensures they have another iconic name and their 15 points were all gained by the debut-making northeasterner. Josh Payne may also add to Harrows success and represent the younger generation. Bulls continued there recent success with James Wattinema claiming five points with a final appearance. Lees established or smaller brands have yet to make much of a dent in the 2019 table. Cosmo nicked points through Steve West’s efforts and Powercore look to have done well by snapping up Ryan Searle. Perhaps the most surprising was the paltry 10 points picked up by Winmau. Merv King gained them 3 handy points, another was gained by Matt Edgar who despite not having an official dart supplier uses a Winmau Navigator set.
Harrows returned to the PDC in style.
Transfers / Signings Activity & Gossip.
Recent gossip about Adrian Lewis leaving Target seems to have died down. His end of season rally in 2018 may well have reminded them of his value. It remains to be seen whether Harrows decide to back up their outfit with another UK / European player or two. Winmau clearly needs a shot in the arm. Their main player roster looks a little one dimensional and although none of them should be written off they do look a little vulnerable to a changing of the guard. Gurney carrying the new generation banner almost alone seems tough. Nathan Aspinall’s move to Target should not surprise anyone as they seem very keen to add proven young talent to their stable, even if it is riskier than their previous ‘darting galacticos’ strategy. Unicorn look a little vulnerable in depth terms. Their team are performing very well but Wade needs to be ber very careful, Gary Anderson seems injury prone and Jelle Klaasen is totally out of sorts. If they can find a star name to prise away from elsewhere to join them it should not be a surprise. Look out for smaller companies or those from the Far East making an impact again soon. In recent years they have been very successful it seems unlikely that this would simply stop. Powercore’s gamble on Ryan Searle, for example, looks a fine bet.
Whether the major companies attempt to poach Clemens, Searle et al may worth keeping an eye on. Do Evo, Powercore, and others, have the reach or ability to develop? Are the contracts solid enough to ensure they get the benefits of their risk/investment?