Tag Archives: Adrian Lewis

World ChampionShips 2020: Draw Highlights.

In this bizarre year, the highlights of the darting calendar seem to come thick and fast. The latest is today’s draw for the William Hill World Championships. With the reduced crowd and a qualification process severely affected by Covid-19, this could be one of the most unpredictable events for many years.

Many of the seeds could be in for a tough time right from their first round. They will meet experienced players, from all systems, many of whom will find they have fewer disadvantages than usual. In addition, they will have already ‘played themselves in’ in what looks to be one of the best first rounds the championship has seen.

Ally Pally is a difficult place to play and it’s especially hard for the lesser experienced or those not used to the biggest events. The stage is huge, the crowd is normally raucous and bigger than most will have played in front of. In addition, the processes behind the scenes, the TV and media requirements mean that often qualifiers or lower-ranked players are overwhelmed or slow to start.

2020 is going to be different. There will be only a small crowd and their merriment will be heavily restricted. Although this may make the place feel even more cavernous. The fact that they will have already had a chance to get used to this may prove very valuable. Another factor is the sheer talent, quality, and experience of those who will play in round one.

Here are a few highlights that could lead to bigger tests for the biggest names:

Could Scott dominate another stage? (image: Winmau)

Perhaps the most intriguing draws, of the big names, is the challenge that may face Nathan Aspinall. Aspinall will play either Canadian Matt Campbell or double World champion Scott Waites. Campbell is lesser-known but is seriously capable and has recorded impressive averages while being difficult to shake off. Matt slightly underperformed last year making his debut but that experience may help. Waites could be a serious dark horse at the Ally Pally. Although it’s taken ‘Too Hotty‘ a little while to adapt, to the rigors of the PDC, he is a big stage and big-game player. The small, but no doubt excited, crowd will suit him and he has begun to find his feet after some decent Pro Tour efforts. This could be a cruncher of a first-round and The Asp will have to be very prepared for a tough opener.

Chris Dobey will face the winner of Jeff Smith vs Keane Barry. Smith is a former World Cup Singles Champion and Lakeside finalist. ‘The Silencer‘ has had an excellent 2020, especially considering he has often had a tougher time than most traveling back and forth to Canada. But Jeff will first have to deal with one of the games hottest prospects. Barry, a former World youth champ, has begun to adapt to the senior game and is tipped for major success in the coming years. Dobey is going to have a tough time will either player.

The ‘German Giant‘ is due to meet either ‘The Hammer‘ or the ‘Man with No Name‘. Andy Hamilton returns to Ally Pally after a spell with the BDO and conquering his demons over the past couple of years. But he is hugely experienced, exerts a lot of pressure, and will not fold regardless of his opponent. Sebastien Kurz has the technical and temperamental potential to have a superb career. He has a certain style and likability that may endear him to the crowd/viewers if he can relax and play his own game then perhaps he can set up a huge all-German clash with Gabriel Clemens in round 2. Either way, keep an eye hear for a truly titanic pair of matches.

Big names could be in for a tough start at Ally Pally 2020 (PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG)

Jamie Hughes could also be in for a tough encounter. Either Lisa Ashton or Adam Hunt will be relieved to progress and may relax and play to their full potential in their second game. Hunt is a fine player who is yet to really show what he can do. Part of a group of Northeast players to have come through over recent years Hunt is currently in the shadow of Ryan Joyce, Chris Dobey, and, of course, Glen Durrant, but that may well play to his advantage. Ashton has had a remarkable year.’The Lancashire Rose‘ gained her tour card through Q School, becoming the first female player to do so, and has gained regular wins on the Pro Tour. Lisa is yet to really demonstrate her talent on TV, but she has had some experience on the Ally Pally stage and may well feel more at home. Jamie will be coming from a cold start whereas his opponent will be confident and familiar.

Another big name with a tough start is likely to be Adrian Lewis. ‘Jackpot‘ will play the winner of Damon Heta and Danny Baggish. Both of these guys could trouble Ade if they play close to their potential. Heta is the breakthrough player of the last couple of years. Damon has totally committed to a career in pro darts. He moved to the UK with his family and even with no experience and the Covid-19 issues, he has managed to claim a Pro Tour event and is beginning to find his feet in the majors. Baggish however will be no walkover, he debuted well at Ally Pally this year and seems to have kept busy during a virtual US shutdown of live darts. Lewis seems also to be through the worst of his slump and is heading in the right direction. This section of the draw should be thoroughly enjoyable.

So, as always Ally Pally is looking like a seriously competitive and entertaining couple of weeks. That’s without mentioning many of the biggest names. Players like Paul Lim, Nick Kenny, and Jason Lowe could also make waves before we even reach the entry of the world top 32!

2020/21 William Hill World Darts Championship
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

Game of the Day – SwitchBlade.

Today’s, darting isolation, drill/game of the day is called SwitchBlade. It’s a very simply way to get your eyes, & body, used to switching away from its main target. The art of ‘positive switching‘, to hit higher scores rather than from a maths views, was mastered and illustrated by Dennis Priestley, in his first World title run he amazed viewers with his habitual clocking of treble 18. This ensured he was swiftly ‘on a finish’ in minimum darts.

Players in the modern era (PDC and Sky TV), have developed switching to a fine art. Some such as Adrian Lewis and Micheal Smith almost seem to prefer it. Let’s get you more proficient, and automated, at this:

Game Overview:

SwitchBlade aims to improve your accuracy and fluidity when switching from one treble bed to another. This applies equally to switching due to vision blockage or to ensure leaving a finish.

Ideal Start?

As with many of our drills it is based around five turns at the board:

  • Turn 1 : Aim for Treble 20 with all three darts.
  • Turn 2: Aim your first two darts at t20 then your third at t19
  • Turn 3: Aim your first two at t20 then the third at t18
  • Turn 4: Aim your first two at t20 and the third at t17
  • Turn 5: Aim your first two at t20 and third at the Bullseye


  1. t20,s20,t20 = 140
  2. s20,t20,s19 = 99
  3. t20,t20,t18 = 174
  4. s20,s20,t3 = 49
  5. t20,t5,Bull = 125
  6. Total = 587


You can vary this drill in many ways, you can use 1 dart at the treble 20 and two at the others or insert a treble you use often from scores such as 180 or 191. Most often used are t13 or t14.

N.BThe core skills are in the template above and that’s the one we use most.


SwitchBlade can be played by any player and doing it regularly will improve your overall play. Higher level players should really push themselves to get this to be second nature.

Level One – For those starting from a lower bar the first order of business is to hit the target aimed for so the 2 in the 20 segment and then one in the aimed for switch. If you manage this for each segment you will gain a score around 299.

Level Two – You should be aiming to hit one treble 20 or one on the switch. Scoring visits should total around 100 (+/- 10). Thus the total will be 450+

Level Three – You should now be looking to hit two trebles quite often. When you don’t hit two you should still be hitting one. Scoring visits will be regularly 131+ and predominantly 91+. Scoring regularly over 550 will put you on a level with our best players.


SwitchBlade requires rhythm and calm, a competitive streak also helps! The highest score, hit with marker/witnessed, is 659. On this one, we shall keep the record hitter to ourselves. It was struck during a private prep session for a very big name a few years ago!

Enjoy SwitchBlade and drop us a line to tell us how you’re doing. Comment below or tweet us

 Published previously in abridged form on dartsworld.com (@Darts_World)

Pix credit – Winmau design.

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/

The Iceman Joins The Weekenders Club! Price Claims Back to Back Pro Tours.

Winning a PDC Pro Tour event is seriously tough. Players who win back to back Pro Tours over the same weekend are, almost without exception, or soon will be dominant champions of the game. This weekend Gerwen Price added his name to a very elite club.

Latest member of ‘The Weekenders’ club. Price claimed two title from two events.
Pic: PDC

The “Weekenders Club” now has a dozen members and requires its members to win back to back events during the same Pro Tour weekend (or equivalent).

Adrian Lewis (1) founded the club in 2005. At 20 years of age, he won back to back Scottish Pro Tours over one weekend. Phil Taylor (2) unusually not the first, joined soon after claiming both titles in a Dutch doubleheader. Typically of “The Power”, he went on to repeat the feat at least once in each of the next eight years. In 2008 Taylor did the double 3 times and in 2009 he went better with four back to back weekends. Finally, in 2009, a third member joined! Robert Thornton (3) claimed a couple of Scottish Pro Tours over the same weekend. Just to prove it was not a fluke Thornton repeated the trick but it took him till 2014!

In 2010 Wez Newton (5) claimed a unique treble. In addition to back to back Pro Tours in Barnsley, Newton had also claimed his place in the Grand Slam of Darts by winning through the 250+ field on Friday night. This three-hander is unlikely to be repeated. Mervyn King (4) had joined the club earlier in the year by claiming two PLayer Champs. King often starts the Pro Tour well but this may have been his best effort. 2011 featured Gary Anderson (6) claiming his right to join the “Weekenders Club”. His dominant spell over Pro Tour events during this time meant the only surprise was it had taken so long.

“The Power” Completed “The Weekender” 8 years in a row including four times in 2009

Two new members joined in 2012 with Dave Chisnall (7) & Barney (8) getting in on the act. It is surprising that it had taken RVB more than five years to claim two in a row over a weekend. He had had seriously good spells before. Chizzy was simply expanding on a superb first year on the PDC Tour.

2013 featured an anomaly, Jamie Caven (9) claimed players champs 3 & 4. “Jabba” has a huge talent but had not previously threatened elite clubs such as this. He is the only member not to have featured in at least one major final and or be ranked in the top ten. It is, therefore, a remarkable effort. This year also marked MVG (10) crashing through the door. It seems no coincidence that this was also the first year since 2005 that Phil Taylor did not record the weekend double. In 2014 Robert Thornton showed his return was complete by repeating his 2009 effort.

MVG Gurn Away
The Green Machine. MVG alone
has completed a 3- event
Pro Tour “Weekender”.

Three events weekends were now part of the regular calendar and, after missing out the previous year, MVG quickly claimed UK Qualifiers 2 & 3 over a three-event weekend. Lewis also claimed two from three in a throwback to his 2005 efforts. Two from three is not the same however as two back to back and should not gain membership to the club! Typically, MVG soon claimed a record of his own. He cleared up on a three-event stint in 2016. Three Pro Tours in three back to back days (although they were midweek) puts MVG  in a class of his own. 

Snakebite claimed 2 out of 3 on a Pro Tour weekend but no back to back. “Weekender Club” Access denied! Pic: L Lustig / PDC

No new member joined in 2017, in fact, no one claimed back to back Pro Tours at all. Peter Wright claimed two from three, over one weekend, early in the season getting close. 2018 proved more welcoming MVG repeated the effort twice,  Gary Anderson reminded everyone he could still do it and the superb Krysztof Rajatski (11) claimed back to back titles without even possessing a Tour Card. The BDO World Master had slipped up at Q School and was reliant on other performances and missing tour card holders to even get in the draw. Thus, as a non-seed, he could claim an unprecedented triumph.

Gerwyn Price (12) now completes the twelve players who have pulled off this difficulty feat. With the ever increasing depth of ability, within the PDC, the club is likely to remain exclusive!

Who will join next and complete the Bakers Dozen?

Coral UK Open – Day 2 and Qtr Final Preview

Matters moved up a gear, or three, on day two of the FA Cup of Darts. The Green Machine added his latest piece of darting history. Amateur qualifiers made names for themselves and created unforgettable moments, a couple of old favorites threaten to stage remarkable returns and another Aussie looks to stake his claim.

In the meantime “The Power” simply kept on winning, quietly, almost without anyone noticing.

MVG Runs Wild.

Robert Cross, pulled a tiger by the tail!

Robert Cross, pulled a tiger by the tail!

In his first game MVG had looked at little out of sorts, almost as if he was struggling to produce his best form, His recent epic efforts mean expectations have risen, but MVG seemed to find it hard when his young opponent was not quite up to it. Many feared the same again, when The Green Machine drew another qualifier, in the person of electrician, Robert Cross.

Cross though was to confound this view. His quality play and positive attitude could teach many his professional counterparts a thing or two. He hit seven maximum 180’s and was certainly up with MVG early on. Cross gave the big celebrations and generally refused to be cowed despite what MVG was building up to.

Next though showed what happens when you pull a tiger by the tail! Suddenly MVG responded to Cross and the crowd. Toward the end of the next leg he set up a 170 finish with a 130+ score, then the 170 was duly taken out. This was followed by 180, 180 and 141 for a perfect 9 dart leg. Not content with this, and with the crowd going mental, he opened the next leg with another 180! This could be described as 18 perfect darts and is unprecedented.

MVG returned to the stage later in the evening to dispatch Kim Huybrechts with relative ease. No need for history, unlike Cross Kim did not rise to the occasion this time.

Biggest Darts Shock Ever?

Lynn defeats World Champion, easily?

Lynn defeats World Champion, easily?

While this was happening on the main stage, an even bigger drama was unfolding on stage two. Qualifier Barry Lynn had threatened to smash reigning World Champion Gary Anderson, all over the board, when surprised with his draw by the TV presenter the previous night. Many thought he must be joking, some even though him arrogant and too cocky.

A more careful look however shows a player who has totally committed to the event and where darts may take him. The binman from Essex was completely focused and had a solid belief in what he was about to do. Leading from early on in the game Lynn never held back, never wobbled and finally checked out to complete the most shocking, and comprehensive, defeat of a reigning world champion you are likely to see. This from a player who, despite a few notable results, does not regularly play at any official high level.

Continuing his exploits, Lynn then returned to the lesser boards to take on and defeat Stuart Kellet in the last 16. Again, despite what is an exhausting event for those not used to the nerves, adrenaline surges and the concentration needed for multiple long games in a single day, Barry outlasted his opponent. Coming through strongly in the later part of the game and producing a fine 9-5 win capped off with a Bull, 25, Bull finish.

In another revealing but rash interview Lynn revealed he was happy to take on anyone except MVG, who he said would smash him up! The draw, for the first qualifier ever to reach this stage, was listening. Lynn will take on Mighty Mike later today!

The Lakesiders return!

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider?

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider?

Both Mark Webster & Jelle Klassen have won the Lakeside/BDO, World Championship. Both had good spells in the PDC after making the switch. Then they hit the buffers. Klaasen lost form and was involved with scandal, Webster meanwhile simply seemed to fade away. Both dropped to the edges of the elite group and looked desperate. Yet over the last year each has completely reemerged. Klassen has been in Qtr Final after Qtr Final and Webster has rolled back the years looking almost back to his very best.  Could they maintain this resurgence over the weekend?

The answer appears to be a resounding yes. Webster made the Qtr’s again here with a superb win over the very in form Mensur Suliavic. Meanwhile “The Cobra” looked as if he was going to destroy Adrian Lewis, a bit of needle crept into the game and Adrian began to stage a comeback. Jelle was not to be denied and, after a down spell, managed to stamp his authority on the last leg to win 9-7.

Snakebite’s Turn?

The best player not to have won a major? The title is bandied about in all sports, but Peter Wright would certainly be in contention in darts. Wright is a crowd favorite and the party loving Minehead supporters would love to cheer him home. Not quite pulling up trees so far, but Snakebite has had to defeat a varied batch of opponents, on all boards and with no gimme games. He has been efficient and relaxed so far. Peter defeated the tenacious Darren Webster and in the Qtrs he will meet Joe Cullen, after “The Rockstar” defeated Bullit Bunting.

Anyone noticed Phil?

Whilst all this phenomenal action has been happening the five time champion seems to be quietly carrying on regardless. After a slow but effective start, against Aaron Monk, yesterday Phil Taylor drew RVB in the last 32. The Power turned up, won the first few leg easily, RVB wilted, and Phil strolled out a comfortable winner. Although games against such rivals are never as easy as they appear.

A few hours later he was back again, this time to tackle Vincent Van de Voort. Again a solid start, picked up after the break and despite VVV’s valiant efforts, at dragging himself back in,” The Power” completed a 9-7 win with a superb bullseye out-shot.

As if by right, Phil is in the Qtrs where he will take on the aforementioned Webby! This could be the key to the event. If either player could get a good early lead and win relatively easily they could go on and win the championship. Yet the likelyhood is a tough drawn out affair decided by the odd leg or two. Thus both will then have to play two more highly ranked and in form players who may have had an easier afternoon!

Aussie Rules?

Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson is finally showing, what he do, on our screens. If you think MVG is impressive, it may interest you to know that Kyle Anderson’s record competitive average is a full 9 points higher than that set by MVG on TV a couple of weeks back. Anderson averaged over 132 in a pro tour event. Despite slipping under the radar, in this event, dart fans have been aware of “The Original” for quite some time. His gamble of leaving a young family in Australia to become a success in PDC darts may finally be about to pay off.

Finals Day

With Qtr’s, Semi and Final played almost back to back, across two sessions, winning will be at least as much about stamina as great darts. MVG could get a quick result against anyone but should Bary Lynn take any time to adapt to the big stage things could go very quickly indeed. If however Lynn can get amongst it, and drag MVG into any type of tussle then, the others should thank him for it!

Snakebite is capable of defeating anyone, but the more energy and adrenaline he retains early the better. Webster and Taylor could drain each other and take a long time doing it. Klaasen & Anderson could make a thriller of a match. The winner of it may do so in double-quick time even if the scoreline is close.

It would be predictable and safe to nominate MVG, to claim the title again, but I suspect that he may not. Klaasen has a decent record against him and its nearly always a crunching encounter. Phil had darts to win their last encounter and Wright has lost out narrowly a couple of times before. Webster is not that MVG scarred, due to his poor spell, and may be able to retain his composure.

If I were forced to nominate a winner, let’s go for “The Cobra”.

Jelle K

Darts, The Ultimate Premier League.

Premier League darts has been a huge success. The opportunity to see ten of the best players, across a single raucous night, in huge venues has proven an important driver in PDC darts being the showcase for the professional game. Crowds, in the tens of thousands, flock to buy tickets for the biggest professional exhibition/competition.

The founder of the feast. Premier League darts has proven one of Barry's smartest moves.
The founder of the feast. Premier League darts has proven one of Barry’s smartest moves.

There is a healthy debate each year regarding who should be selected to play? Fans have favourites they would love to see in the biggest show. Even supporters of darts’ other code, The BDO, can’t help but wonder how their own players would match up, adding a little spice to the debate.

Discussions regarding how players from differing eras would have done, against the players of today, are commonplace. With modern conditions and advantages would they be able to hold their own or even outdo today’s superstars?

This divides quite nicely into two golden ages. The current, Sky Sports & PDC driven, times and the original 1970/80’s golden age which proved hugely popular and provided many of the templates for the success of today. Players from both eras are held up as icons and whilst some of the debate is, understandably, generational it is not the only factor in deciding who would make an ultimate league.

The skill factor of the players, the simplicity of the game and the intimate and dramatic  nature of the competition, the characters and emotions, or lack of, of  players at any time. These factors explain the popularity of TV Professional darts. The Premier League is about showing all these assets, to the maximum degree, in a single night and over the entire league. With finals night being the ultimate showdown.

With all that in mind, who would make an all time ten man line up, how would the generations match up?  How would the league progress? Who would triumph?

The Line Up.

1 – Phil Taylor: With 16 World Titles and a huge volume of major wins across the generations there is no doubt that Taylor would be the first name on the sheet. His overall skill level is simply unsurpassed and the Premier League distance is just long enough to show it. His competitive, or matchplaying, spirit is also beyond question, winning matches and titles from almost every position and against all types of opposition. The only dip would be the entertainment level, Phil entertains through excellence and offers little more.

The Power would be very keen to prove his prowess.

Skill Factor 10, Matchplay 10, Entertainment 8. Total 28

2 – Eric Bristow: Five World Titles, a ruthless competitor and the founder of the feast in terms of entertainment. A prime Crafty Cockney would be the biggest draw of the event and many would be desperate to see him bestride the event with the cocky brilliance of his pomp.

Skill Factor 8, Matchplay 10, Entertainment 10. Total 28

3 – MVG; A career slam of major titles and one of the driving forces upping the standard in the current era. Able to destroy any opponent MVG would also provide the clearest modern versus classic era battles. Not untouchable especially if dominated.

Skill Factor 10, Matchplay 8, Entertainment 8. Total 26

4 – Jockey Wilson; Twice World Champion, the totally unpredictable Jockey, would add to the event just by being in it. Yet viewing old footage reveal that he , and other past champions, were capable of 100+ averages even using old equipment. The short format of the these games and  Jockey’s sheer determination would mean shocks, sublime spells and probably defeats as well. Adding great drama, to the proceedings, especially in the Scottish venues!

Skill Factor 8, Matchplay 8, Entertainment 10. Total 26

5 – John Lowe; World Champion in three separate decades and a multiple winner in all formats. The ultimate example of the classic stylist. Totally unflappable and the first 9 dart TV hero. Lowe would provide huge contrast to some of the modern players. His battle with Taylor would also carry great interest in a contrasting way.

Skill Factor 9, Matchplay 9, Entertainment 7. Total 25

6. John Part: Darth Maple is a three-time World Champ across both codes. In his pomp his fluent style and deadly play would have seen him compete in any era against any opponent. Articulate and interesting when discussing the game, his media savvy may also add to the proceedings.

Skill Factor 8, Matchplay 8, Entertainment 8. Total 24

7. Gary Anderson: Double World Champion in an era containing MVG, Taylor & Lewis, to name but three, Gary brings phenomenal darts and differing laid back attitude. I suspect he would relish the opportunity to match with a variety of players from across time. Can have off nights as well which adds to the unpredictability.

The Flying Scotsman - Could the reigning World Champ hold his own with the legendary names?
The Flying Scotsman – Could Gary hold his own with the legendary names?

Skill Factor -10, Matchplay – 8, Entertainment – 8. Total 26

8. Bob Anderson: World Champion and three-time World Master. The Limestone Cowboy has already shown he could compete with the best from both codes across both of darts great eras. With phenomenal professionalism, and will to win, in many ways, Bob is the perfect example of a pro dart player. Reaching the semi’s of the PDC worlds in his late 50’s and winning the League of Legends in 2008 demonstrate his often underestimated ability. The shirts, the point, and the grit would all add the entertainment as well!

Skill Factor – 8, Matchplay – 9, Entertainment 8. Total 24

9. Adrian Lewis: Jackpot is another double World Champ and just like Gary he achieved them back to back. Another in the modern style who hits big scores for fun. But how would they adapt to the matchplay skills of some of the other players in this league? Adrian has been known to go missing or suffer bouts of frustration. I am sure this would not have gone unnoticed by others in the group. When inspired, Ade is a great entertainer with flash shots and a fun, quick-fire style.

Twice World Champion already, could team Lewis pull off another win?

Skill Factor 9, Matchplay 8, Entertainment 8. Total 25

9. RVB: Despite 5 world titles I had difficulty putting Raymond into this league. The important elements of entertainment and grit have been lacking  recent times from the Dutchman. Then I remembered the very best of Barney, winning World Titles in both codes, pushing Phil to ever greater heights and the ability to defeat MVG in big games even now!

Skill Factor 9, Matchplay 8, Entertainment 7. Total 24

10: Dennis Priestley: Despite hot competition, for the final place, it must be The Menace. World Champion in both codes, gritty competitor, revolutionary in the art of switching (18’s in his case). With Phil and Part the only member of the Older guard who has Premier League experience. Loved by all fans.

Skill Factor 8, Matchplay 9, Entertainment 7. Total 24.

Special Guests:

This league would be very competitive and every great show needs interval entertainment ( think Riverdance!). Special guest would be exhibition doubles.

BDO vs PDC “The Entertainers”

Tony O Shea & Daryl Fitton vs Wayne Mardle & Peter Manley.

How Would The Ultimate PL Go?

The above all time league would provide superb nights of drama and high quality competition every week with shocks and maybe even a bit of needle! Ultimately, with every player being in their prime, the last four would be very hard to pick, as would the elimination pairing, but here goes.


The two Johns would bow out at this stage. Lowe at his best was unbelievable consistent and would have battled in every game. I am not sure he would have had quite enough of a 2nd gear when needed. Part may get off to a slow start playing many of those who he idolised. This would see Dennis Priestley survive as he would start strongly although this would fade he would have the points on the board.

Last 4.

The second section of the League would possibly be the most exciting. Most of the big rivalries and cross era clashes would be seen again, this time each would have settled and be aware that elimination was at stake. I would guess that it would come down to the last week with many outcomes still at possible.

Finally though, the combination of skill, ego and sheer determination would see a Semi Finals between Eric Bristow & Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor vs MVG.

League Table:

  • =1 Eric Bristow & Phil Taylor
  • 3rd Gary Anderson
  • 4th MVG
  • 5th Bob Anderson
  • 6th Adrian Lewis
  • 7th RVB
  • 8th Dennis Priestly

Finals Night:

Semi 1: Eric succeeds by getting away well and thoroughly enjoying the massive crowd and atmosphere. Gary would catch fire later but Eric would get home reasonably safely.

Semi 2: A belter this one, MVG would be out of the gate and into the lead early. But the chance of playing Eric on the biggest stage and in front of the biggest crowd would prove a huge inspiration to Phil. “The Power” ups the gears and produces a stunning spell mid-match. MVG can not quite match the sudden burst and Phil wins by a couple.

The Final:

Each man in his absolute pomp, Eric enjoying the benefits of what he built and Phil suffering under the huge pressure that Eric exerted. Phil settling down and out playing Eric mid match. Eric however is less easily worn down and uses every tactic and psychological ploy to knock “The Power” out of his stride.

The last leg decider is certain to be the result.  The chance to be crowned the best ever, head to head, would prove the only inspiration The Crafty Cockney needed.

Winner: Eric “The Crafty Cockney” Bristow.

Anyone but MVG.

The Flying Scotsman - Could Anderson prevent another MVG World Title?

The Flying Scotsman – Could Anderson prevent another MVG World Title?

The PDC’s annual darts festival is only a few days away, yet I cannot find the clarity of mind to select those who will win, go close or cause a shock or two on the way. The reason for this is the anyone but MVG factor.
It must be recognised that this is completely unfair on Micheal, he is a good guy who has conquered an incredibly difficult couple of years to rise and sit atop the darting world. But I cannot warm to him as a multiple winner. The gurning, the OTT jumping about and the almost Teutonic interviews leave me completely cold.

The Green Machine. Can anyone stop him.

The Green Machine. Can anyone stop him.

In addition darts does not need another era of single player dominance. The last fifteen to twenty years have belonged to “The Power”, the PDC does not need a like for like replacement.
The fans attitude to Martin Adams, during this years Grand Slam, at Wolverhampton should give us a clue. Their disgraceful efforts to prevent MVG winning the title should also provide food for thought. Darts needs characters, rivalries and fresh blood. Mere excellence is not enough.

So, bearing this in mind, who can prevent my worst nightmare and claim the World Professional Darts Championship this year.

The Reigning Champion. Gary Anderson.

Without Gary’s popular win the era of MVG would look unstoppable. Yet, Anderson demonstrated that his phenomenal talent, combined with a, carefully fostered, laissez faire attitude, could be a match for anyone. The capturing of the Premier League Title ensured that MVG has not had it all his own way in the last year.

It is very tough to defend a world title with only Taylor and Adrian Lewis having managed this it the PDC.

The Harlequin – Peter Wright

The title could of course be The Jester or The Fool. But forget the costumes and the daft dad dancing, Peter can play darts. The antics are all part of ensuring that he can simply play and ensure his own relaxed personality is deployed to good effect. His previous visit to a world final, combined with getting to the later stages of almost every major in recent times, could mean he is ready to stop knocking and just walk in!

The Comeback Kid – Mark Webster

It is superb to see Mark getting back toward the level he deserves to play at. His return to work and regaining of form and perspective is to be admired by any darts fan. Webby was always a very strong end of year player, many of his best performances have come in the autumn and winter events. The sheer consistency and determination of Webby at his best can wobble anyone. His efforts in 2010 & 2011 show what he is capable of here.

The event may have come a little soon for Mark, to expect him to go all the way may be a bit too much. However look for some superb performances and who knows……

The Rough Diamond – Ian White


Getting less rough with every passing season. Ian has superb talent, a relentless work ethic and a rare capacity to learn. His match versus MVG at the Matchplay, where he led 6-1, and against Anderson at the Grand Prix, show that he has again advanced and could be ready to take a giant leap.

The downside is that after a few years of superb success, without really gaining the credit he deserved, Ian is finally being regarded as a contender and being touted for The Premier League. This seems to have weighed on him a little in the last couple of months. Once he learns to accept this The Diamond will advance again.

The Young Gun – Keegan Brown

Although by no means the only young pretender in this year’s line up, Brown is the only one who has already seen the later stages of major events and who seems to grow on the big stage.

Reaching the Qtr Finals of last years Grand Slam and then grafting through a tough spell or two this years have provided Keegan with an insight into both the daily graft and the big moments of PDC darts. He may well be coming to terms with doing both consistently.

The clash with Peter Wright could be a very tough first rounder for Keegan but it may prove a good proving ground for this and future events.

The Team Effort – Adrian Lewis & Co.

Twice World Champion already, could team Lewis pull off another win?

Twice World Champion already, could team Lewis pull off another win?

Jackpot’s two world titles came in 2011 & 12 whilst he was working closely with former world champ Keith Deller. This partnership is again in full effect, with the recent major final proving its lost nothing. Team Lewis also involves a settled family life and long time partner in crime Craig Sharples. This outfit knows how to prepare and execute at the worlds. Could a hat-trick be on the cards?

His last Bow? – Phil Taylor.

Once more unto the breach?

Once more unto the breach?

I cant shake the feeling that the man is not finished yet. The new speeded up, throw and flippant manner, seem to me to be a tactic being worked on to aid a push for another world title. Two week events are very rare and thus every scrap of energy that can be saved in earlier rounds, both physical and mental could be priceless. With Phil getting older I suspect this is a deliberate and clever attempt to, once again, adapt to the circumstances and produce what is needed to win. I shall not fall into the trap that a number of folk have jumped headlong into in the past. I don’t believe its all over yet for the Stoke legend.

So there we have it, not just anyone but MVG, but a handful of differing players and approaches that really could prevent my worst nightmare!

Grand Slam of Darts 2015 – Part III – The Last 16

The Singha Beer Grand Slam 2015 is looking good so far!

The Singha Beer Grand Slam 2015 is looking good so far!

So, with the preliminaries and mini drams are over its time for the survivors to battle it out over a longer stretch.
This years group stages have been full of emotional value, a few controversial elements and a very high standard of darts. The sheer number of players, from both codes, averaging over 100 during the group stages gives an indication but the the number of players winning games with lower average scores also tells a tale of matchplay skills being as important, if not more so, as averages!
In Part II, we cut through the hype and suggested the likely last 16 and the likely scores between the codes, not always the obvious choices either, despite many close calls, we did pretty well.
Qualifiers: Not a bad effort here, out of the 16 to make it through we identified 12. Three more could still have qualified on their last game. Steve Beaton & Larry Butler also confirmed the suggestions that they would cause drama and defy expectation in their groups!


BDO Reps showed they can play but mainly fell short.

BDO Reps showed they can play but mainly fell short.

The BDO repesentatives had a very mixed time. Adams demonstrated what we have always known, that he can play! The rest, had very good moments, provided some great stories and drama, but could not quite live with the consistent level of those who play PDC on a professional basis. This being the first time that they have been split evenly across the groups with none of their fellow code members or other invitees to play with.

The PDC then come out of the group stage 15-1 up. The only elite level player in the 8 BDO representatives comes through comfortably and could well have made a Premier League case for 1 or more BDO members.

A special mention for, PDC qualifier, Johnny Clayton, who made a superb debut in beating Terry Jenkins and acquitted himself very well overall. It has been a while since a PDC wildcard qualifier made a dent at the GSoD but Clayton gave it a great shot, hopefully he will use it as inspiration to go further.

The BDO have provided the better stories and drama so far, Andy Fordham qualifying, and then overcoming enormous emotion to win a game, and compete in his others, will live long in the memory of anyone with a sporting soul! Gert De Vos hitting a 115 average, after being distinctly average in his early games, was a great reminder that huge talent exists in darts whatever code, age or nationality you look at.

Then, of course there is Wolfie. He seems very relaxed and non- fussed about the whole affair, the huge advantage of no ranking pressure? However the skills he honed as ambassador for BDO darts and England are being used to the max as he goes along charming folk all the way.

Do not underestimate the cunning of the Wolf! He has prepared well and is very determined!

BDO certainly provided great stories, drama and added interest.

BDO certainly provided great stories, drama and added interest.

So far then it would be fair to say that both organisations have performed  well this week and done themselves no harm at all. 

Best of 19 – A Sterner Test.

With the large averages, seen so far, it would appear that many players are in superb form. This may be a bit misleading. With PDC rankings now at stake it was clear that many players hit the gas earlier than previously in this event, they looked ready to go from the off and produced superb bursts of play. That will be more difficult for many of them to sustain over the coming rounds with longer matches in store. A look at the challenges in store should give us more insight.

Thornton v Green

The Thorn is in fine fettle, after victory in the World Grand Prix he could kick on again here and be a threat for the title. Kong has done well to recapture some form in the last couple of months, after injury, but will do well to last the pace.

(Thornton to win by 3 or more legs.)

Taylor v Jenkins

PhilTaylor Bullet dart pic

Terry has played himself back into the top ten with some solid stuff. Despite a few wobbles in the group, he seems to always do that at ‘the Slam. Taylor however is majorly motivated, or determined to create that impression. The Fordham stuff is over and it will be simply a matter of finding his long game. The extra games have given The Power more time to work out some of the recent niggles and this match should give him opportunity to kick on another level.

(Taylor to win by 3 or more legs)

Anderson v Webster

These two have had a few interesting moments at the GSoD but i think this one will be more predictable. Anderson simply needs to get off to the quicker start to put any doubts to bed here. Webby is getting back which is superb to see but this may be a bridge to far, too soon.

(Anderson to win by 3 or more legs)

Wade v RVB

Both did exactly what was required of them in the group stages. Barney flattered to deceive against Anderson but did the job in the other games, Wade controlled his group very well and eased through. This is a bit of a 50/50. Barney needs run here to assist his overall rankings and the pressure may tip the balance to Wade.

(Wade to win in a thriller)

MVG v Beaton

Will The Adonis put the cat amongst the pigeons again?

Will The Adonis put the cat amongst the pigeons again?

On a personal level Steve qualifying was one of the stories of the Grand Slam, he looks very focused and determined. His group was the toughest overall and he played it perfectly. He will again be a huge underdog but don’t forget his incredible win over Taylor here a few years back.

The Adonis has enough talent to beat anyone on a given day. MVG however has moved into the mode of Bristow & Talyor. Not happy with winning, in imperious fashion, he is starting to add the bullying mentality to his overall persona. It is an interesting development given his rivalry with Anderson who plays the opposite role, jovial and carefree, and sets up a long term rivalry very well.

Steve must start well and not let the Green Machine get away. If he does we could be in for a classic. However I suspect that MVG will not allow him in.

(MVG to win)

Adams vs Huybrechts

Beware "The Wolfie"

Beware “The Wolfie”

This one is very interesting. Lets be honest, although has has played exceptionally well Wolfie has been incredibly lucky in his opponents and has again in the last 16. He has played players with very strong BDO links who have history with or against him and who have been burdened with extra ranking pressures whereas he is free to just play. Again here he has drawn a recent BDO convert who he will be familiar with and feel he has nothing to fear from. Kim is still playing pretty well but will have to be consistent,  keep the rubbish out of his head, and play the darts Adams produces on the day, not the past or the hype. One slight bonus for Kim is that Jelle Klassen, who was in Adams group, is part of the same playing stable , thus discussions or tactical advise may have taken place. To Kim’s advantage is the legs format. If he can get a run under his belt, Adams cannot use a swift surge to peg him back.

(Adams to win 10-8)

Smith v Chizzy

Dave Chisnall

Usual, blow for blow, game here. The two St Helens men will simply try to blast each other off the stage. The rhythm of the game will be superb and may lead to more 9 dart chances. Funnily enough these two have not met on TV before. Chizzy has the better record in head to heads and has done better on TV overall.

(Chizzy to win by 3 legs or more)

Snakebite vs Jackpot

adrian lewis

The game should be much like the Chizzy – Smith match, quick fire, no messing about and some superb spells of darts. Wright seems slightly off the boil, to me at the moment, so Jackpot should take advantage, of this now being a ranking event, and go on a good run.

N.B. Jackpot may well be building for something a bit special at the Worlds, just an inkling!

Adrian to win by 3 legs or more.

The escape from the group stage may lead to a drop in intensity for this round and thus I have gone for most games being relatively comfortable for the winner. The clash between Adams and Huybrechts is the one which could ignite the round. If Kim falls for the Wolfie factor, as did Ian White, he could be swept up but if he just plays his own game the way he has been Adams will be under severe pressure in a longer format and may struggle. The rest of the event could then become a parade of the usual suspects with the main question being whether Taylor can get back and reassert himself over Anderson & MVG. Either way a promising event is at hand after a great start.

What does it take to win a Pro Tour darts event?

lewis-uk-open1 - 2015

Many amateur darts players and fans wonder what it takes to play and win at the professional level. Some wonder if they are good enough or to what standard they must get? Answers are usually vague and consist of saying that you must get a certain number of legs in less than 18 or 15 darts. Other answers centre on averages and suggest that a consistent average of say ninety five points for every three darts over the duration of the competition would be a high professional standard.
Whilst these answers are all well and good and give a general idea they do not illustrate the full requirements of winning events at the highest level.
I decided to follow the first PDC UK Open qualifier event from Wigan this weekend. These events are open to a huge number of entrants and the top players in the world have to qualify just the same as the rest. Thus the only concession to ranking is that the top 32 players on the PDC order of merit are exempt until the last 128.
In order to see what it really takes to qualify for this major TV event, and indeed to win the £10,000 prize on offer each day, I elected to follow a player from the middle of the draw who was not exempt and would start in the round of 256.

I select a match from the middle of the draw, the only factors I used were that the board looked like it would flow smoothly and that the match statistics would be available all through the draw. I then selcted the player who won the bull to be the one we follow. From here on in it will be somewhat like “the road to wembley”. We shall follow our player ( Player A) or his conqueror through the rounds and see what is required at every stage.

Round 1 (256)
Player A 6 vs 2 Player B
100+ – 14 v 13
140+ – 3 v 8
180+ – 1 v 0
Average: 83 vs 76
Darts Used (Winning Legs)- 99

Round 2 (128)
Player C 6 vs 4 Player A
100+ 10 v 16
140+ 13 v 7
180+ 2 v 1
Average 94 vs 92
Darts Used (Winning Legs) -95

Round 3 (64)
Player D 6 vs 3 Player C
100+ 11 v 16
140+ 8 v 6
180+ 1 v 2
Average 97 v 104
Darts Used (Winning Legs) 90

Round 4 (32)
Player D 6 v 3 Player E
100+ 15 v 9
140+ 8 v 5
180+ 2 v 4
Average 91 v 95
Darts Used (Winning Legs) – 91

Round 5 (16)
Player F 6 vs 2 Player D
100+ 6 v 10
140+ 7 v 5
180+ 4 v 3
Average 94.5 v 94
Darts Used (Winning Legs) – 93

Round 6 (Qtr Final)
Player G 6 vs 3 Player F
100+ 12 v 10
140+ 1 v 8
180+ 1 v 3
Average 91 v 102
Darts Used (Winning Legs) – 94

Round 7 ( Semi Final)
Player H 6 vs 5 Player G
100+ 7 v 12
140+ 6 v 4
180+ 5 v 3
Average 97 v 91
Darts Used (Winning Legs) – 91

Round 9 (Final)
Player I 6 vs 1 Player H
100+ 12 v 9
140+ 2 v 6
180+ 3 v 1
Average – 106.5 v 104.5
Darts Used Winning Legs (83)

Additional Stats:
Bull up winner wins 5 times out of 8 games.
For Player A to go all the way:
Average : N /A (would not work as a stat as the player with the higher average lost the match on 3 occasions and on 2 more it was within 1 point.)
Darts Used : 98, 94, 89, 90,92, 93, 90 and 82 (one less than the winner in every match)
Total 730 Darts for 48 legs which is a fraction over 15 darts per winning leg over 8 matches.

The imaginary Player A would therefore be best advised to win the bull more than half the time, and complete the legs in 5 / 6 visits in the early rounds. This must then be reduced to consistent 5 visits or add in some 4 visit ( 12 dart legs). This will get you to the final, once there you must win the bull and then hold in 5 visits or less. This will result in a 5-5 match and a last leg shoot out with you having the darts whilst averaging well over 100 against Adrian Lewis who will also be averaging at least the same.

Good Luck in your last leg!

Era of the Super Coach? True Beginnings.

lemdl and murray

A few years ago a top British sportsman took an innovative approach to a problem he had been experiencing in his chosen field. The results of that decision make it appear as if it was an easy one and that success would certainly follow. Yet at the time the decision, to appoint a new coach/manager, was not universally applauded and brought much doubt and some derision from those within the game.

Ranked in the world’s top five, our hero was unfortunate enough to live in a truly great era of the game. He had come through with staggering early success and bright things were predicted almost instantly. True, he had reached a couple of finals and the later stages of major events. He was making a good living and by most measures would have been considered a great player. Yet the big titles had eluded him, the runner up spots were not as frequent as previously and he seemed to have come to a halt in the progression of what had been predicted to be a glittering career.

As with many a sporting star before him he had hit a glass ceiling, natural talent had taken him so far, the encouragement of family and friends, together with their support when needed, had played a vital role. Yet the progress made, from precocious teenager to mature professional, had stuttered and as the player cast around for a way, to make the next step, a need for someone with experience of his situation, someone who had come through such an era , someone who triumphed and survived and someone for whom he had respect and would listen too.

Meanwhile a former champion was working on the margins of his sport. Having lived through a golden era he was now watching with great interest as his sport enjoyed a new lease of life, with the greatest players, huge TV coverage, bigger sponsorships and thriving in difficult financial times. He began to feel that he could play more of a role in the game again and could perhaps contribute some of his knowledge and experience.

This happy coincidence resulted, despite much cynical comment, in huge success. After a settling period, of a few months, the player reached another major final and in an event where there was huge pressure to do better than before. The next true test came at the very highest level in the sport. Sensationally he triumphed and became his sports very best. The following year more titles and runners up places were grabbed before a second highly emotional triumph, at the British home of his sport, was achieved.

Eventually, with the main aims achieved, the pair were unable to continue their unusual and remarkably successful partnership and amicably agreed to go their separate ways. The player, with a brief down spell to endure, would go on to win more titles. Meanwhile the coach/mentor/manager enjoys a substantially raised profile, greater respect in the game and more commercial opportunities than ever. He considers whether he will coach again.

Many claim this to be the start of the era of the Super Coach and this would be true if we were looking at Andy Murray & coach Ivan Lendl between December 2011 and January 2014.

But the above is actually the tale of another player and the time period between 2010 and March 2013. Perhaps the true innovators of the Super Coach era are Adrian Lewis (2011 & ’12 World Darts Champion) and Keith Deller (1983 World Darts Champion) his Super Coach/Mentor?

adrian lewis Keith Deller 1990s