Tag Archives: Simon Whitlock

Red Dragon Raptor (GT)- ‘The SnapShot’ Review.

  • Product – Raptor (Points)
  • Brand – RedDragon
  • RRP – £8.90
  • Dimensions – 33mm (28mm exposed)
  • Features – Collared, Grooved & Barbed

A.I.M: are strongly of the opinion that “there has been little, or no, beneficial innovation in darts since the tungsten barrel”. He does, however, allow one notable exception, points!

We have been are currently conducting extensive tests on the various types of points on the market. Collared, coloured, grooved, coated and almost every other option available are being put through their paces. Some things have become obvious early on in the testing. The first is that Raptor from RedDragon is an exceptional product.

First Impressions: These points don’t come with flash packaging or attached to their own range of dart. However, it is immediately noticeable that they are unusual. They are plain and appear very well made indeed. They are 33mm long with 28mm exposed after fitting. The point is collared in style (to eliminate join between point & barrel), there are 4 grooves, from the collar downward, that allow for exact finger placement/grip. The lower section is slim and sharply tapered, for good board penetration and there is a small (2mm) barb for both finger feeling and board retention.

Fitting: We fitted Raptor points into three different brands of darts. The fitted easily and snuggly into all three with no complications.

Grooved Section: The grooves worked excellent for those who like to feel their finger in the same place but not to slip during delivery.

Lower(Smooth) Section: Testing showed that this penetrated the board well and was a good alternative resting point for those who like their finger on a smooth area.

Point Barb: Very unusually Raptor has a small, less than 2mm bard at the very tip of the point. This proved excellent in improving board retention, even the gentlest thrower had full confidence that their dart would stay in place. In addition, it proved very useful with those who naturally rest their finger at the point, Dennis Priestley style, for control.

Durability: The Raptor seems to have overcome one of the problems of newer complex points. Despite heavy usage, and a few drops, we have not broken one yet!

Player Quotes:

  • “Brilliant, much stiffer than my current collared point” – Serious Amateur
  • “Nice and not all flashy” – Elite level player
  • “All round winner” – Coach

Downsides: The only recorded downside was that they seem to be only available in this length. At least one player would move to them if a 30mm (external) option was provided. Raptor do increase wear on your board espcially if its of the softer variety.

The SnapShot: First impressions, and initial testing, reveal raptor to be an exceptional product, that raises the bar for modern points. The problems of over flexibility, breakability and clumsiness that affect some complex, or collared, points are solved in one go. Red Dragon have produced a superb product and the fact that it can be added, at point of purchase, to a huge range of darts, is a boon.


An edition of this review first appeared at http://www.dartsworld.com in 2019.

Review – Whizlocks – Stem Cap & Flightpunch System

Occasionally a product can be initially overlooked but grow into its time. Whizlocks may be one such innovation.

We at AIM: tested and reviewed these in the days they were strongly linked to Simon Whitlock. We recently updated our review for dartsworld.com.

  • Name: WhizLocks 
  • Product: Stem Cap & Flight Punch System
  • Brand: Winmau
  • Price: £11.90  
  • (Additional Caps £1.50 set of 3) 
  • Mark: 9/10

You may have noticed the recent trends for fixed/moulded flight & Stem systems. Cosmo, L Style and many others are available and have proven very popular. However, these sets do have their own drawbacks. They are costly and are limited in shape and colour etc. In addition, weight and distribution can be difficult to adapt to. 

Tucked away within the accessories section of Winmau’s catalogue, & their website is a hidden gem of an alternative solution. Whizlocks & Flightpunch can be used on most flights and with most stem types (with a standard-sized flight zone). They are solid and metallic and fit nicely over the end of the stem. The punch puts a Whizlock shaped hole into the lower section of the flight. This makes for a very solid set up, protects the stem from collision and locks the flight into place and preventing fallouts. 

A.I.M: Instinct with Winmau Whizlocks

Testing & Results: During heavy testing A.I.M found Whizlocks to be superb for stem preservation and did not suffer a single flight fallout. If a strong flight, such as a 100+ micron, is used the effect is very similar to a fixed flight system. We used them with Kite, Standard & Oversized Pears, the Whizlocks worked well with all of them. After over 200 legs we have only used 1 set of each size stem and the Whizlocks were still in virtually perfect condition.  

Flights were preserved quite well although some wear and tear was still present. The shape of the flight was preserved very well, especially if the full set up was stored intact. 

Whizlock Flight Punch & Stem Caps

Downsides: There a couple of small issues. Firstly Whizlocks cannot be used with stems with very narrow flight zones, mainly aluminium ones. They are also a little fiddly to fit at first. Bit these are minor matters and are soon gotten over.

Overall: The cost-saving repaid the cost of the Whizlocks very quickly due to stem preservation. Choice of flight style & pattern combination is hugely increased. Whizlocks can make an excellent alternative to costly and awkward fixed/moulded systems. 

AIM is an Independent Darts Consultancy based in the UK

Premier League 2019: Opening Night. Welcome to Hollywood!

Following much debate over who should be selected, in the first place, and then again over who should replace the injured Gary Anderson, the PDC Premier League will get underway tonight in Newcastle (UK).

The first of “The Contenders” will also take a bow. Chris Dobey has been on the verge of a breakthrough for some time. Hollywood, as Dobey is known, first came to our attention in 2014, qualified for the UK Open and reached the last 32 of the World Masters.

Chris Dobey a.k.a Hollywood.
Pic: PDC

After success at Q School in 2015, Chris played the PDC Pro Tour full time. He also received the support of Gary Anderson. After a year of settling in Dobey finally began to show what he could do in 2016. Great runs on the Pro Tour, especially the Euro Tour, ensured qualification for the World Championship, he also qualified separately for the Grand Slam and reached the Qtr Final.
Dobey again plateaued, for twelve months, when many thought he was destined for greater things. After flattering to deceive again, during most of 2018, Chris finally moved up a gear during the Players Championship finals and again in the World championships. His run to the last 16 was superb, but his defeat at the hands of Gary Anderson gained him many fans and was lauded as one of the best games of the event.

Dobey earned his guest slot in the Premier League
Pic; PDC /L Lustig

The serendipitous withdrawal of his Mentor has given Dobey an unexpected opportunity to show his talent to a far wider audience.  It will be interesting to see if the Dobey of last December will be on stage, or whether it will be the intimidated Hollywood, of twelve months previously, who capitulated to The Power in 2017/8. If the 2019 Dobey appears, it will be a very tough opening night for the hugely popular Mensur Sulovic.

Mensur, Hugely popular Austrian with an infectious manner.
Pic: L Lustig / PDC

Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld will begin his long farewell to professional darts, taking on fellow former champion James Wade. It is highly debatable that RVB deserves, on form, to be in this year’s edition. However, the Barny Army will get a final chance to enjoy its hero in a regular, competitive and entertaining setting. It could inspire Barney to great things or prove too much pressure for this strangely vulnerable fella. Regardless of the outcome, surely RVB’s contribution to darts deserves a decent send-off.

RVB (could fade into the background
while Ian White needs to discover a route
to TV success. Pic : Lustig / PDC

While players such as Ian White (above), Simon Whitlock and Joe Cullen can count themselves as unlucky not to have been given a shot at the full league, it may prove a masterstroke to feature new blood almost every week.

Local stars and seriously talented newcomers are what inspire crowds and refresh the game for new generations of players and fans. Here’s hoping the idea gets off to a Hollywood start!

Coral UK Open 2016 – Days 1 & 2

The 2016 Coral UK Open is certainly living up to expectations.

The 2016 Coral UK Open is certainly living up to expectations.

The UK Open lived up to it reputation as the FA Cup of Darts again on the first two days of the 2016 edition. Riley’s qualifiers gave it their all and many Pro’s were given a tough time. Even MVG was subdued, and The Power struggled, in the early the early rounds.

The Giant Killing Starts
Robert Thornton, the 2012 champion, became the biggest casualty of Day 1. The world number seven bowing out to Aaron Monk even after starting strongly. Alex Roy, one of only eight ever presents, looked like he may be the story of the day. Roy, who had had to qualify through Riley’s, got off to a great start, defeating fellow veteran Dennis Smith on the main stage and then coming from behind to win his second round game. Sadly Roy could not make day two, running out of steam in his third game vs Justin Pipe.

Clash of the Titans.

With the initial skirmishes over the last 64 draw was made. As always, the draw provided some uncomfortable moments. Ian “Diamond” White was paired with Simon Whitlock, world ranking number 12 vs number 18. Peter Wright was paired with the evergreen Steve Beaton, Wright emerging a 9-5 winner. Even more mouth-watering, for the five thousand fans, was the clash between Gary Anderson & Dave Chisnal. Two Premier League players , ranked two & ten, who normally could not meet until at least  two rounds later in any TV event.

Old foes clash early. Whitlock defeats white in the last 64.

Old foes clash early. Whitlock defeats white in the last 64.

 

White vs Whitlock did not even rate a TV slot and saw the Aussie overcome a two – five deficit to win through. Mensur Sulivic the inform Austrian repeated his previous wins over an out of sorts James Wade. The machine was deeply unhappy with the board, although his complaints fell on deaf ears.

The main event proved to be worth the wait. Chizzy started strongly and got into a lead, both players seemed to have a little too much respect for the others, it was almost like a couple of prize-fighters waiting to let rip. Finally, despite not being in the lead throughout the match, Anderson kicked into life and produced a tremendous ‘last round’ finish to emerge a 9-7 winner.

Beware “The Spider”.

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider?

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider?

After a torrid time, Mark Webster has been cooking with gas again for a few months, better floor showings and, great runs in the last few TV events, have seen the confidence return and the old control and consistency is back. His last 64 victory over Matt Edgar was a demonstration of understated skill and control. In this shape “Webby” could be the man to watch.

Rise of the Amateurs

Altogether five “Amateur” qualifiers made it through to Round 3, a pretty good showing. Sadly the enigma that is Les Delderfield did not even appear, thus a possible fairy story petered out. Most notable were Rob Cross who defeated two very in form and experienced players handily, neither Ken McNiel nor Wes Newton would have been expecting to be so ruthlessly dispatched, and Barry Lynn who, after defeating Claydon and, UK Open veteran, Dean Stewart, would take on “The History Maker” Brendon Dolan, for a place in the last thirty-two and a chance of an even bigger draw.

Robert Cross, earned a monster draw, against MVG, with 3 superb wins on day1

Robert Cross, earned a monster draw, against MVG, with 3 superb wins on day1

Cross did a fine job in removing, the in form, Geoffry de Graff, in a last leg thriller, and moved on into the hat with the big boys, only to get the worst draw imaginable in MVG. Lynn put in another tremendous shift, at the end of a very long day and out lasted Dolan 9 -6. Indeed, it was so late, the draw, for Day Two, had already been held. It was left for the TV presenter to tell Barry that he had drawn reigning world champ Gary Anderson! His response? “good I will smash him all over the board” joking or not Lynn seems to have what many qualifiers, and lower ranked pro’s, lack, genuine confidence and belief.

Rileys Qualifier Barry Lynn wins through day one and threatens to smash Gary Anderson, on day 2. Joking or deadly serious?

Rileys Qualifier Barry Lynn wins through day one and threatens to smash Gary Anderson, on day 2. Joking or deadly serious?

Day Two would show us, and Barry, whether this was misplaced or not!