Elsewhere within on A.I.M: you may have come across our review for the SP03 Darts from Target. The SP Range is brand new and offers some interesting and original designs. Its most attractive feature is what those initials (SP) stand for, Swiss Point.
For many years darts players and manufacturers have sought to make the replacement, or changing, of points a simple and attractive feature. In short, they failed. It was usually a fiddly task involving quite a lot of effort and a good few minutes per point. Not exactly ideal during a game or in between rounds.
Modern point innovations have made this quest even more urgent than previously. Has the Swiss Point solved these issues and will they catch on?
As can be seen, from the shot below, the Swiss Point is an all-round system with the barrels, the points and a specific tool, all designed and made for the purpose of swift, secure and simple point change. Each point is exactly the same as a standard version until the blank near the blunt end. A unique screw-in system is incorporated to the last section.
Swiss Point barrels, regardless of model, have the reverse of the screw within them. This ensures a perfect fit and a very solid feel.
There is a slot just below the blank. This is for the SP tool to grip and to ensure that a broken point can still be swapped in and out in very quickly indeed.
The current range of SP barrels is restricted to a range of specific SP darts (01-03) and the latest Generation of Phil Taylor’s darts (Gen 6). Phil himself seems very impressed:
“Swiss point is the biggest innovation in darts since Tungsten”
16 X World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor
The retail price of around £5 per set of points and £3 for a point tool represent good value and seems to have been pitched to include all. The comparative price of player models will be interesting to note.
We subjected the SP to rigorous testing with a variety of styles and players. We have a player who wanted to change his points according to the hardness of the board. He therefore changed them twice during a practice match. It took him less than 1 minute to change all three points and he could not tell the difference between these and his normal set-up.
We then introduced an amateur, who has only played twice, to try and change the points with the minimum of instruction. They also succeeded and did so within two minutes. The SP Tool simply fits over the point and locks onto the slot end of the point. A very few turns ensure the point can be detached and then
Even world champions seem to agree;
“I use Target Firepoints; as I like that extra grip for my finger on the point. With Swiss Point I can now swap out my points in seconds.”
Rob Cross 2018 PDC World Champion
We then deliberately broke a point, by dropping on hard tiled floor, and indeed we changed the point just as easily with no problem whatsoever. Every change resulted in three perfect points, the same length and fit etc. with no variations or difficulties.
All three players reported no difficulties with the feel of the point and reported that they could not feel a difference at the point/barrel intersection.
All three of our testers gave the idea and the execution at least 8/10 and one of the 10/10. All could change the darts perfectly and in no more than two minutes. Their only question was how soon we thought they would get more models, and players darts, available.
It is always difficult to predict the success of an innovation, especially when it is only available on restricted models and from one company. Target have big plans for the SP;
“Our vision is to make Swiss Point the new standard and we see all our darts coming with Swiss Points as the new standard in the future. For me, Swiss Point is the biggest innovation Target has ever done and the one I am most excited about.” Garry Plummer MD Target Darts
A.I.Mcan see the SP being a huge success. If it is introduced to a wider range of models as quickly as possible, and not over-priced, we predict very high demand. Our only question mark is how the system/points will wear over a long period of time. Will the internal screw loosen, if changed often will the points wobble and clink. The build quality appears to be very high indeed and thus the problems are unlikely. But as with all things, the more moving parts, the more there is to go wrong.
We look forward to reporting back with a Swiss Point update in 6-12 months.
Article and testing produced for Darts World Magazine 2019.
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!
Former Pro’s and ‘Name’ Players are being given an increasingly hard time at grassroots qualifiers.
The annual scramble for the ‘amateur’ places in the is well and truly underway. For the last few years, these have been decided via several knockout events staged at Riley’s clubs across the country. During this time it has become more a more difficult to get through these events and there are fewer & fewer spots available.
Recent changes to the professional qualifying events have further restricted the spots and increased the number of current, or recent, tour/elite players having to use this route. This throws up some superb quality fields in smallish venues with few of the creature comforts they are used to. Very long days, that vary in terms of organisational skills, few practice boards and little free space, mean anyone who qualifies via this route has certainly earned it! The evidence of Rob Cross and his astounding progress proves what’s out there. So Ego beware!
Wes Newton became the latest ‘Star Name’ to reach the 2019 finals. The Warrior came through a very long and tough day in Chorlton. Kevin Thoburn triumphed, after 10pm, over a field that included Colin Osbourne, a former UK Open finalist, and current form horse Richie Edhouse. Other tour players including Scott Taylor & Mark Barrilli also qualified through quality fields. In other qualifiers, however, players such as Ian McFarlane Shaun Fox & Micheal Burgoine used their extensive open event experience to triumph on similarly difficult days.
The long and short of this is that a reputation means a lot less than it once did in such events. The fact that there are usually a few big-name players, with a good history in each event rather than one or two is a factor, but also the challenge tour, and other events, have given a wide range of payer a lot of semi-professional experience. They are therefore less intimidated, more familiar with big games and more confident than ever before. Team Riley’s should be stronger than ever for 2019.
The remaining Riley’s Qualifiers will have more and more concentrated fields with ‘Name’ players struggling to grab one shrinking numbers of places. It promises to be difficult, but an intriguing couple of weekends. With the constant evolution of the game, and players experience banks, means the breadth of quality is getting higher every year.
Former, or semi, professionals need to prepare better, adapt to the different conditions and accept the difficulties of such day, if they are to resist the hordes of quality players who in many ways have them at a disadvantage.
A brief glance at the results of events from this years Players Championship events reveals a fundamental change in the professional game. Although the games current elite players are still winning events, or at least getting into the later stages, others are finally stepping up and beginning a quiet revolution.
In the first six months of 2017 MVG and Gary Anderson have only claimed a handful of PC events between them and there have been 13 different winners from 16 events. Although the PC tour has grown and altered, in format and volume of events, this appears to be a unique season. In addition two players with little or no top flight experience, in either code, have reached the final. This is a huge achievement and not enough credit has been given, yet it is not simply the new blood that threatens a dramatic change.
For the past few years the Players Championship (PC) has been slowly changing. There are many factors contributing to this but they now seem to be combining to provide an exciting opportunity. The tour card system and restriction of PC events to 128 players every time. This provides a very strong structure to every event. Each event is now very similar in length and made up of substantially identical fields for at least 12 months often longer.
The whole PC tour is played in a very small number of venues and with a consistent team of markers, officials and support staff. There are no random events held all over the world with different field size, organisation, set ups, logistics, facilities etc. This enables players to become accustomed to every aspect and more relaxed.
The increased prize money, especially in the early rounds, and reduced playing costs of the Pro Tour in general, even more so for the PC’s, mean that players are under less pressure to win multiple games in order to be able to continue, or encourage others to pay for, their efforts. An extreme example, from 2010, involves flying halfway across the globe to Australia and staying for only 3 nights (Cost approx £2000) and having to reach the last 32 (only 1 chance due to it being a single event) in order to win £200. In 2017 the worst possible scenario would be travelling to Dublin staying two or three nights (Cost approx £300) and having two chances to gain a place in the last 32. Should you be successful the prize money will be £1000. Previously fields could be over 258 in which case a minimum of three wins in a row was needed to reach the last 32. Now it is a maximum of two.
During the decade, or so, of its existence there have been in the region of 60 players who have won a PDC event of this standing. This would be less for specific PC events since the Pro Tour could be said to be fully established. Yet a look at the field from the most recent one tells its own story. The 128 included 36 players who have won a PC event. 9 more were finalists and at least another 10 have won events equivalent events or recorded elite achievements. In short one in three players in the draw had won or were demonstrably capable of winning the event! Thus it should come as no surprise that 4 players who had not previously won a PC event have added one this season already.
The demands of the modern PDC Pro Tour is starting to play a role in the PC changes, over ten of the events are now two/three-day events on mainland Europe and this will affect elite players in many ways. Selection of events, injury/illness ( MVG recently) and fatigue are all likely to play a role. In addition to this a wider variety of players can gain valuable experience and money by qualifying for these events and boosting their confidence as well as coffers.
The declining dominance ,and now absence, of Phil Taylor will doubtless continue to play a role. “The Power’s” dominance of the Pro Tour was immense. Often it was he who ensured that in any group of 5 events there were no more than 2 or 3 winners. The effect on other players, who shared his side of the draw or played him in repeated finals, can not be under stated. However some of this is off set by the dominance of MVG, but this is limited by the fact he, unlike Taylor previously, cannot play every event.
Players arriving on the PC tour have had to earn their place on it, via Q School, and know that they cannot get away with hoping for a softer draw. In addition they are more familiar with the nature of the events and can prepare and practise for them. The slight variations in field that take place, due to top players having to miss events, play to the strengths of those who are highly talented and either not battle-scarred or in, what could be called, the second rank. Players such as Rob Cross,Joe Cullen and Kyle Anderson demonstrate this admirably. In addition players, such as Steve Beaton and Darren Webster, with immense skill, experience and patience can also triumph.
A glance at the Players Championship order of Merit reveals the revolution that is underway. MVG is only 7th. Cross, Gurney and Cullen are in the top five despite none of them being in the top 16 overall. The effect of the PC revolution is yet to play out in full, but some of its consequences are becoming clear. The gain in confidence and cash that players can accumulate is already knocking on into major TV events. Daryl Gurney, Darren Webster and Rob Cross had significant roles in the World Matchplay and this rise of the outsider looks likely to continue. The qualifying lists for the remaining majors and the seedings for events such as the Players Championship Finals will be unrecognisable from previous years. Highly ranked players in this years world championship may face players who have won events on the tour, and played in multiple TV majors, in the first round. In many ways this will be good for the game. More new players for the TV audience to get to know and hopefully less predictable TV events.
A major upside will be the number of players who can earn a good living being a darts professional. Not so long ago it was really only the top 10 – 16 that could be sure of a decent annual income. Currently the 32nd ranked player has earned over £110,000 over the last two years, in prize money alone. With increased outside income from sponsors and exhibitions this should easily translate to around £60,000 p.a after expenses. Only two players from the BDO earned in excess of this amount over the last two years. The downside of the upheaval could be the TV folks being less happy. Major stars may not qualify or bow out early on. The next years or two may feature some tinkering with how these rankings are structured. Overall the revolution in earning potential, opportunity exposure and security is a tremendous boost to players and a remarkable achievement from those who operate the PDC.
Author note 1:I wrote the piece below in April 2017. Rob Cross was making a tremendous impact and it seemed to be a watershed moment in the development of the PDC. I may well have underestimated it! Voltage crashed into the Grand Slam and is tearing up the field, he is also likely to rise even higher in the rankings than I suggested in the conclusion to this piece and I suspect he is a game or two away from the Premier League .( CJHH: Nov 17)
Rob Cross caught my attention, as a player, a couple of years ago. During the 2016 UK Open lot of fuss was made of Barry Lynn, however, it was Cross’s talent and attitude that struck me as worth watching. His remarkable subsequent progress could prove an example for others and a validation of the PDC in their efforts to build a sustainable career path for new players.
In its early years, the PDC’s Pro Tour was quite a slow-moving and shy animal. In its original form any player could register with the PDPA and then pay to enter these events. Many hoped to gain enough points/pounds to qualify for the bigger events and kick-start a professional career. Others simply played for the challenge, and pleasure, of playing with the very best.
A Truly Professional Game?
In 2010/11 it was decided to restructure the system and build a structure, similar to that used in golf and tennis, that offered a pathway for players with talent to progress through. The rival organisation’s route, despite its flaws, can also provide players with a path. But progress has been slow, many of the same players dominated for long periods and only those who swapped from the top of the BDO system seemed to become established within the PDC. This is not to say that many other players, from various darting backgrounds, did not perform superbly for a limited period or that a small number did not break into the top rank after an extended period of trying. Justin Pipe & Peter Wright demonstrated what could be achieved.
Since 2011 the elements of the PDC Tour have grown into a cohesive professional structure that can guide players from their youth performances ( Development Tour) through to a 2nd level tour (Challenge Tour) tour and, via the Qualifying School, then the truly professional ranks of the Pro Tour, European Tour and Majors. This system offers a set of building blocks toward a top-flight career.
The costs are substantially less than the Pro Tour, the prize money, and other incentives, have been set at levels which allow any determined player to be able to take part. The facilities, venues and atmosphere are virtually identical to the highest level events (non TV) and thus genuine acclimatisation and development are both possible and rewarded. But only when a genuinely new player has demonstrated that this path and structure is viable, for high level and long-term success, can it be classed as a true pathway to professionalism.
Rob Cross may be a very important player in the progress of PDC darts. He has become the first player to take advantage of all the adult opportunities offered by the new system, winning at every level, and move to the brink of top-flight success. Along the way, he has illustrated some of the other elements available to the modern player and how to gain the maximum from them.
Path to Success
Rob broke through by winning qualification to the UK Open in 2016. The qualifying events are completely amateur in nature, taking place in Riley’s clubs across the UK, but are overseen by the PDC and abide by their basic framework. They immensely difficult to win and often have a very strong field of ex-Pro Tour players, strong BDO players and other very experienced local performers. The vast majority of qualifying players do not progress, past their first couple of games, in the TV event. Rob Cross, however, overcame serious opposition from Pro Tour players, including former Premier League players, and played matches of up to 17 legs, to reach the last 32. He then found himself up against Michael Van Gerwen. Despite the defeat (5-9), he stood up to a complete barrage of other world darts, including a 9 dart leg and a 170 finish, from MVG. He played his own game and performed superbly well. It could be argued that the relaxation of playing a lesser known player, combined with Rob’s strong performance led to MVG producing what he did.
Next stop was the PDC Challenge Tour. Carrying his momentum from the UK Open, and obvious good form, he reached a final immediately and continued in such fashion for the entire season. His three tour victories ensured that he topped the Challenge Tour Order of Merit and gained an automatic tour card for 2017. In doing so Cross proved that he could win at the next available level of PDC competition, avoided having to attend Q School in January 2017 and could look forward to the 2017 Professional UK Open Qualifiers.
Career Planning and Progression.
In the Autumn of 2016 Cross made another excellent decision, one that may have been at least partly down to the new PDC system. John Archer, a former PDC player, had moved into management and promotion of players. John is a very knowledgeable and straightforward individual who provides good support to his players. His offer to support Rob and the acceptance of that decision seems to have provided the final piece in the jigsaw for Rob’s success. Whether this was due to financial calculations or for support and assistance, with his future career, it was a very smart move. Players, such as Justin Pipe, have made huge progress after easing the burden on themselves as early career professionals. For Cross and Nevada to join hands at this stage was a very astute step.
Professional UK Open Qualifiers.
It appears that considerable thought was given to Rob’s debut season on the Pro Tour. In the early stages he took part in the UK Open qualifiers, performing superbly. Very few players, without considerable high level experience, collect £’s in every one of their first six of these events and in reaching a semi-final more great experience was gained. Thus a first TV major as a professional qualifier was secured. No European tour qualifiers were undertaken at this point. Again choosing from the available experiences and opportunities in a way which would have been scarcely possible a couple of years ago.
Players Championships & UK Open 2017
Next would come another leap in progression. Rob’s Players Championship (PC) debut, February 2017, was steady, these events are seeded, different in atmosphere and tougher in terms of ability. He then returned to the UK Open, this time as a top-ranked professional qualifier, and managed to improve on his 2016 performance reaching the last 16 stage. This was a more significant step than it may appear. When returning to the scene of previous success players are no longer surprise packages and also gain more attention. The pressures are different and not easy to adjust to.
Returning to the PC events, the following weekend, Cross produced a superb performance to triumph in only his third top-tier event. Along the way, Rob defeated former champions, new generation champions and legends of the game, including Raymond Van Barneveld in the qtr finals. He has since added another Players Championship victory to his total and many other later stage efforts. In a debut year this is simply outstanding.
During the weekend of his remarkable PC win Rob also gained his first experience of the Euro Tour qualifiers. After being unsuccessful at the first attempt he managed to qualify for the German Darts Open and has since qualified for four more events, with more qualifiers to come.
These events operate on a hybrid of UK Open and Players Championship formulae. Upon qualification, you are placed into a seeded draw featuring the top-ranked and form players. But games are played singly on stage over a three-day period. It appears that the combination worked very well. Rob has reached the Qtr Finals of three out of four events, gained stage wins over players such as Whitlock and Chisnall whilst adding more ranking £’s toward this seasons major events. This may well be the best consistent performance of any qualifier for this tour. Experience and success here are possibly the most beneficial for any new player. For many years experience, of stage games, large audiences and the single-game high-pressure atmosphere was difficult to come by. Qualifying players were at a huge disadvantage, and often did not play to their fullest potential, as a result. This has been steadily changing since the introduction and expansion of this very successful branch of the PDC structure.
Majors, Worlds and Rankings.
Following this remarkable start to his career, I can find no other who will have achieved so much from a standing start, Cross has qualified for every available event for the rest of 2017. This will include debuts at: The World Matchplay, The World Grand Prix, The European Championships, The Grand Slam, Players Championship Finals and The World Professional Championships. Only invitational events will be missing from his list from now to the end of the year, even here, however, the PDC has been known to vary this if it can be justified?
Looking at previous debut, and early career, players it is likely that those in similar formats to those regularly played will offer the best chance. Players Championship Finals and the European Championships would seem likely opportunities for Rob to do well. Yet we would be foolish to rule out another leap in achievement. The Grand Prix and then The World Champs offer great reward for fewer wins.
The rankings system will be very important to Rob. The higher he can climb, on all tables, the easier it will be to sustain the success he is achieving. Seedings in certain events and guarantees of tour card retention and a certain income relieve many pressures. His current rank of 52 is superb in such a short time but will be eclipsed at the end of this season.
Based on a simply maintaining his current standard Rob is a certainty for the top 32. The top 20 is likely and, with a strong run or two in a major event, especially the World Champs, he could even break into the top 16. For any PDC debutant these are superb achievements. For a player without significant previous experience they are outstanding and possibly even unique.
In addition to his own remarkable success Cross has demonstrated that the new structure of the PDC, together with smart career planning and a professional attitude, can provide a perfect path to the very top of the game. No need to slog around the BDO for years on end, no need to join the tour and spend years and £000’s learning to adapt to all the different formats, atmosphere, stages, formats etc. Make no mistake,it still takes a player of immense talent and a superb attitude to pull this off, but it has been shown to be possible!
All dart players, and fans. should keep an eye on Mr Rob Cross. and wish him well in progressing, and sustaining, a potentially groundbreaking career in what is fast becoming a truly professional game!
Author note 2: The rest they say is history, Cross went on to outstrip even my wild optimism for his success. World Champion in Jan 2018 and the story continues to this day……….(Jan 2020)
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!
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?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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”.