Textual Therapy – Great Sporting Reads.

If you have time on your hands (and you have finished your darts practice!) you may want to occupy your mind with something a little more than the latest Wayne Rooney biography.

Grab the e book options where possible and catch the paper editions when deliveries are a bit less under strain:

Over the years there have been some sports books, by players and others, that have gone beyond the headlines, gossip and tittle-tattle and offered real insight.

Williams Hill’s innovative sponsorship of the Sportsbook of the Year, and some big hitters publishing strong titles in recent years, has meant that sporting books are no longer considered the lightweight fodder for Christmas stockings or the forwarding of personality/celebrity cults alone. Whether novels based on real people and events, such as The Damned United, or exposes of Lance Armstrong from determined sports journalists, analysis of great sportsmen and woman or coaching explorations and manuals, the sports-book is a far more complex beast than it has been given credit for.

Over the past 30 years or so I have devoured a large number of literary sports works, the writing has been mixed but a number of them have had long term influence on other sportsmen, writers and readers. The list below contains a wide range of sports, styles and era’s. I have added a few remarks as to the strengths of the book and the reasons it may appeal. Where possible I include a link, price (£) or other info.

The Subject is Winning – Skip Rozin with Daley Thompson.

This little known book, by American journalist Rozin, is a unique look behind the scenes of both an event and a remarkable individual. Daley Thompson cooperated fully with the attempt and contributed sections of his own. The book works in three very strong ways. It is a story of the most important phase in Thompson’s career, the phase from being merely one of the leaders at his event, to being a phenomenon. The background research and wide-ranging interviews, with the subject, offer a valuable incentive to those interested in what it takes to make this leap. Many secrets are hidden within, if you know how to look.

Subject is winning
Link £6+ (Amzn-Used Only)

The Art of Captaincy – Mike Brearley

Brearley is famed for having “a degree in people”, and this book gives a strong insight into why he remains a legendary captain of the English cricket team. The book is not a mere biography or an instruction manual. It uses the authors professional skills, and his personality, to enlighten the reader. All areas of the responsibility involved in captaining a sports team, in a pressured environment, are covered, but also relates them to the issues faced by anyone attempting to lead in almost any other circumstance.

This book has achieved a status similar to the author, it is said to be the bible of the recent England captains who have turned around the fortunes of the side. During the late eighties and nineties it was difficult to find but has been given a new lease of life since Nasser Hussain revealed in had aided him in his re building of the team from its lowest ebb. The modern forward to the book is by acclaimed film director Sam Mendes whose own contribution is  a very interesting read in itself.

Racing Through the Dark – David Millar

Millar’s career has reached its second conclusion. It would seem highly likely that either a new book or an updated edition of this remarkable story will be released soon. The original however remains one of the best self penned biographical sports-books of recent times. The candour of the revelations still seems raw to the reader and as the areas in which Millar concentrates are not always the obvious ones the book does not seem a pedestrian chronological account like many do.

Running Free – Sebastian Coe (with David Miller)

With sporting legends the tip is to get an early account of their success and preferably one written with a good writer or journo. Before they have sanitised themselves, and before their image manager kicks in, the wish to reveal how hard it was to get where they have. They reveal huge amounts that even their rivals could gain from.For example, I suspect the ideas in this book were assimilated by David Rudisha and or his coach.

Despite its age this account of the early life and career, of the UK’s favourite sporting Lord, offers a brilliant insight into the changing days between amateur and professional athletics as well as one of the most talented athletes to grace a track. No politics or London 2012 distractions, just running, training and coaching insights from Seb himself, all fitted into a easy structure and digestible pieces by experienced sports journalist Miller.

The section regarding the pioneering efforts of Seb’s father Peter, and others such as Dr Ghandi, reveal much that is still of use today . Some of the perspectives offered on the promotion of athletics and the perils that may face the sport offer a clue to how perceptive Seb was even at this early stage of his career and how much he would have to offer later.

Running Free
Revealing and easy to read – Amazon £

Nobody Ever Says Thankyou – Jonathan Wilson

This exceptional Brian Clough biography can make difficult reading at times. Instead of the many eulogies or tribute type works, many of which are excellent and offer wonderful views of his brighter side, this is a finely researched and crafted book that attempts a deaper analysis of Clough as a man and manager. The alchohol theme runs strongly through the pages and can re focus some of the most famous Clough moments through a different lens. Yet overall it gives a strong account of the iconic career as both player and manager as well as offering a balanced and unbiased view. It can be a hard book to read if you regard Clough with great affection, as do I, but honesty is the best policy!

Nobody ever says thankyou
Honest & Open Clough Biog – Kindle for less than £4

Open – Andre Agassi

Some say you should not meet your heroes, if that is true then maybe you should not read their books either. This is a gut wrenching account of modern sport. The dedication, the pain, the insecurities and, in many places, the damage done to an individual from an almost abusive upbringing through the sporting and commercial pressures and laterly from the fears of life. No description of this book can do it justice. If you are a sports or tennis fan it should be read. I cannot assure you that it will be enjoyed, but it will be difficult if not impossible to complete.

open andre agassi
A superb but wince inducing read – Unvarnished! Kindle

Winning Ugly – Brad Gilbert (& Steve Jamison)

This is a cross between a career autobiography, of former top ten Tennis pro Gilbert, and an out and out manual on how the less talented or “worse player” can win any individual game. Gilbert went on to putting much of it into practise as a coach and in the hands of the sublimly talented Andre Agassi many of these tactics were seen as the opposite of ugly.

For anyone with an interest in the psychology of one on one sport, mid games, gamesmanship and what could be described as the dark arts, then you should look no further.

winning ugly
A tale of two people – No just Brad Gilbert’s two halves. Amazon

Beyond A Boundary – CLR James

A remarkable combination of social history, political discourse and cricketing tales that seem to flow through the history of the Carribean and West Indies. The exploration of such deeply important matters as race and history through the influence and impact of cricket is beautifully written and demands that the reader see the entire picture, not simply the anecdotal cricketing tales that are told with warmth and passion, including the almost unbelievable attitudes displayed by almost all parties through the 1940’s 50’s and beyond.

As an enormous fan of the 1970’s and 80’s Windies teams, the background to their coming as a force is instructive and when added to our knowledge of the next chapter is even more challenging.

beyond-boundary_2818429o
A true gem, but as social
as it is sporting. £6 Kindle

So whether you are a player, coach, fan or a combination of the three, these reads will add to your knowledge bank of the sporting world.

Sometimes brutally honest and not how we picture the life of sporting legends. Sometimes simply well written, well researched and contributing to the genre whether deliberately or as a by product of writing what they wished to write.  

I hope they prove as enjoyable and informing to you as they have been to me.


Game of the Day – SwitchBlade! A Short Sharp Scoring Drill.

The Menace (above) was a SwitchBlade Master!

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

Example:

  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

Variations:

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.B: The core skills are in the template above and that’s the one we use most.

Levels:

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.

Records:

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 – @Darts_World


Drill Of The Day – The Darting DT’s!

We at Darts World realise that our fellow darters will be trying to enjoy the nice weather during this first weekend of social (we prefer physical) isolation. However, we shall keep asking ‘Coach’ for his drill of the day. If you don’t get chance to try it out, straight away, it can be added to your dart day routine!

The DT’s:

This drill is to get you more fluid when travelling big distances between segments. The percentage rate for hitting or getting a shot at these finishes is much lower than those where two of the trebles are close together. This drill is best done daily, or as often as you practise, but not repeated too many times in a row due. I do not like practising missing too much!

Game Overview:

The most regular finishes with Distant Trebles (DTs) are 167, 161, 157, 151 & 153*. The more your reaction to these numbers is automatic and drilled into your arm, the higher your performance will be. It is especially important to react (or not react!) properly to a missed dart. Getting used to missing and not letting it interrupt your flow, or mind, is vital.

So where do you throw your second dart if your first misses? What if you hit t5 first dart or t7, for example, second? These are the things that need to become automatic. They are almost as important as checking out the finish!

Take one turn (3 darts) at each of them. award yourself points as follows:

  • Checkout in 3 – 20 Points
  • Shot at a double – 10 Points
  • Leave a double (no shot) – 5 points
  • Non Treble finish left – 1 point (e.g. Turn at 161 – t20,s17,s20 & leaving 64)

* 153 is our example of a distant treble (DT) finish that does not involve Bull or Tops if you have another that comes up regularly then use that initially.

Example:

  • 167 – t20,t19,Bull – 20 Points
  • 161 – t20,T17,25 (missed bull) – 10 Points
  • 157 – t20,s19,T18 (leave d12 ) – 5 Points
  • 151 – s20, T20, s19 (leave 52) – 1 Point
  • Total – 36 Points

Between players of similar standard, keeping your focus, even after a stray dart, deflection or bounce out, and completing the set up makes all the difference!

Variations:

As noted above, the fifth shot is variable according to player preference and or stats evidence of your regular ‘leaves ‘ during games.

The other main variation is for those who choose d16, where possible. They should still work on the above five as they can, and do, come up all the time. But they can look at at five that might reflect their regular paths.

Levels:

This is a high level drill and for many player does not lead to high scores. But it should lead to improved ones!

  • Amateur/Pub: 5 Points
  • Team/League: 5-10
  • Superleague: 10-20
  • Higher Level: 25+
  • Pro: 35+

As with all our levels the points is a guide its the improvement and consistency that matters!

Records:

The record for this drill is 56 . Hit by a current elite player about 6 years ago. He checked out 161 and 153, wired Tops on 157, left 28 from 167 and 52 from his effort at 151.

It was an exceptional effort, but came from the fact that he consistently set up finishes or had shots in 4/5 of his turns.

So, there you go, a daily dose of the Darting DT’s that are not too painful or full of bad memories. Enjoy!


Darts World Logo

Drill of the Day – ‘Middle For Diddle’. New Games to Keep Your Practise Fresh.

Hopefully those of you who have been socially isolated are managing to keep up with routines and things to keep yourself busy. Here is another ‘daily drill’ to add to your list:

Middle for Diddle:

A drill that focuses on the bullseye, first dart, to ensure you need less recalculation needed during match play. Recommended to be played after your warm up and between other drills/games that are more scoring focused.

Game Overview:

There are a number of finishing points, in a leg, where the bullseye (inner or outer), is the best/only option with your first dart. If you become familiar, and automated, when you see these numbers, your success rate will go up and you will react smoothly to any variation (or cock-up!)

Take one turn (3 darts) at these five outshots using the bull:

61, 65, 82, 125 & 132

Award yourself points on the following basis:

  • 61,65 & 82
  • 2 Dart Checkout –10 Points
  • 3 Dart Checkout – 5 Points
  • Left a Double – 1 Point
  • for 125 & 132
  • Checkout – 10 Points
  • Double Left – 3 Points
  • Single – Double Finish left (not single bull!) – 1 Point

Example:

  • Turn 1 – Bull, s3, d4 – 5 Points
  • Turn 2 – 25, Tops! – 10 Points
  • Turn 3 – 25, s17, 0 – 1 Point
  • Turn 4 – 25, t20, Tops – 10 Points
  • Turn 5 – 25, 19, t20 – (28 Left) – 3 Points
  • Total Score = 29

N.B. A single point is scored when going for the 100+ finishes by leaving the double e.g. for 132 – Bull, 25, s17 would leave tops and score a consolation 1 point. The same applies if you miss the double after setting it up with darts 1 & 2.

Variations:

There are shots that can be swapped in and out depending on your personal preferences and in order to ensure that you cover the possibilities that can crop up in a game situation.

63 and 135 are the most likely where you may use the middle ring as an option in certain circumstances or even as your default.

Levels:

In this drill it’s more overall aims than levels. The first order of business is to get shots at doubles. So a good aim is to get shots at all three lower numbers. Then set up the bigger ones.

  • An amateur or pub player type should aim to get shots at the lower finishes, and hit one. Score guide – (circa) 10
  • A league player should be looking to take one of the lower ones in two darts & scoring points on the bigger shots. Score guide – 15+
  • A higher level player should be looking to take two of the lower ones in two/three darts and gaining points on the others. Score guide – 25+
  • Elite level players should be regularly hitting 33 or more. (Importantly this should be spread across all 5 finishes and be repeatable if the numbers are swapped)

Records:

Frankie Dean profile
Play Middle for Diddle in between more 20’s type drills.Photo: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

This is a tough drill at the higher end. It sucks the mind into being too deliberate so dont play it two many times. Use it as a break drill between others and do no more than two goes in a row.

The record for this drill was set a few years ago, a duel code World Championship player hit 61 in 2, 65 in 2 and 82 in three then left 40, after three, going for 125 and checked out 132 – totalling 38.

Middle for Diddle is a harder drill that requires a switch in focus and then another half way through. It puts the Bull at the heart of your efforts for a section of every practice.

Enjoy and lets us know if you can beat 38 or if it helps improve your ‘Bulling’!


Frankie Dean profile

In Darting Isolation? Here’s Coach’s Drill of the Day. ‘Half-It Pro’.

Those of you beginning to get used to the idea of the new isolation guidelines, whether self or precautionary, will hopefully be able to fit in some more darts practice. Perhaps we will see remarkable improvements in averages later in the year!

A.I.M: Are always looking to keep practise fresh. New, but useful, drills are vital.

The DW resident ‘Coach’ thinks that practise is better with a structure an an aim. So he has outlined a warm up method and a drill or two to get you going. He is his ‘Drill of the Day’.

Sprint (or Pro) Half-It!

Ok this is a variation we use to get tour players extra sharp on the segments they use most, with a little pressure added, it can be used by all as a short and sharp drill.

Game Overview:

This is version of the popular social game Half-It, but stripped down to focus on the important areas for competitive darters.

Take one turn (3 darts) at each of the following numbers/segments:

20, 19, 18, 17, Doubles, Trebles, Bull.

Note the total scored from that number only. Add the cumulative score as you go. If you miss the segment with all three darts your score is halved!

N.B. – On the doubles & trebles turns you get the score from any double or treble hit during the turn. If the score to be halved is odd round up to the nearest whole number.

Example:

  1. 20s: s20, s5, t20 – Score = 80
  2. 19s: s19, T19, s19 – (Score 95) Running Total = 175
  3. 18s: s1, T4, 13 – (Score 0) Half It! Running Total = 88
  4. 17s: s17, t17, t17 – (Score 119) Running Total = 263
  5. Doubles: s20, out, d5 – (Score 10) Running Total = 273
  6. Trebles: s20, t20, t5 – (Score 75) Running Total = 348
  7. Bullseye: 0, Bull, Outer Bull – (Score 75)= Total Score = 423

Variations:

Half-It is a game which can be varied many different ways. The two which best suit those trying to improve, at a higher level, are:

  • Adding your favourite treble that you use often. Many add t10 as they use it often to get to a double. This also gives you a personal game to improve at.
  • Making the last turn inner bullseye only. This can help to refine your ability to hit the bull under pressure, especially last dart! Imagine having a huge score dependent on hitting a, partially obscured, bull with the last dart in hand!

Levels:

A guide to some benchmark to aim for would be:

  • Level One – To complete the game without being halved – Min total = 104
  • Level Two – To complete the game and hit the eqivalent of three of each scoring segment and one of each general segment. 60,57,54,51 + 1 x double 1 x Treble and 1 x 25/Bull.
  • Level Three – The equivalent of 5 of each scoring segment and one of each of the rest.
  • Perfection – 180+171+162+153+120(3xTops)+180+150 (3 x Bull) = 1316

Extras:

If your playing with others, perhaps your children etc, then you can introduce handicaps to level the playing field a little. The better player has to hit a treble on one, or more, segments, or has to hit two doubles to prevent being halved.

Half it is one of the games in which everyone can win. I have witnessed a seventeen your old baby-sitter win ££££s by hitting at least a single every time, then getting lucky on the trebles, then the better players buckled, and her last dart 25 ensured she collected the pot!

The Wizard hit a 770 total in late 2017.

Records:

Sprint, or Pro, Half It brings out a very competitive urge if you have two similar level players! But the pressure also increases.

In a marked and witnessed game the best scores we have recorded are:

  • Solo: 900+
  • Competitive: 770 (Other player scored 550+)
  • This was set by Colin Osborne in 2019 – 120+133+90+102+80+120+125

(The Wizard would have scored higher but for a bounce-out on his third shot at t17)

Half-It Pro (or Sprint) is a great drill and should be done regularly in between other drill to re focus on the important board areas and to maintain consistency.

Enjoy and let us know how you get on – @darts_world


Feature Pic: PDC

Darting Isolation – Warming Up and Putting The Lights Out!

If, as a result of Covid-19, you are going to be able to practise more, it is important to get the most out of it. Yesterday’s article talked about the right amount of time to practise for. At dartsworld.com we asked our resident coach for more suggestions:

A.I.M: Help players to reach their potential.

Coach: The most important thing about darts practice is to treat it more like training for any other sport or physical task. If you are increasing, your practice efforts, you may well be playing at times of the day you are not used to. The bits of you that get used in playing darts usually have hours doing other daily jobs beforehand, this leads us to the (false) sense that we don’t need to warm up.

Those self isolating might be playing much earlier in the day and before you are loose and fluid. Therefor a Warm-Up is more important. Warming up has different purposes, but when at home its mainly to the loosen the limbs and tighten the mind!

A Full Warm Up:

If you are planning a decent practise session (40 mins or more) then you please take 10 mins, or so, to warm-up. Initially, just throw toward the twenties in a very relaxed way, just go through the motions, without any explosive type effort, concentrate on your action and follow through and not the result of the individual darts.

Frankie Dean profile
Start by loosening up your throw. Use the popular areas but with no pressure. Photo: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Once you feel that your your body is relaxed, and your throw is smooth and fluid, start moving to the different areas of the board. A few darts at D20, D10, D16 and the Bullseye will get your body, & eyes, coordinated with the more subtle movements which seem almost automatic normally. As long as the darts are going in the correct general area do not be too hard on yourself just yet!

Lights Out:

A good drill/game to, bring your warm-up to a close and, begin to narrow your focus is one I call Lights-Out. Simply throw three darts (1 visit) at the 20, 19, 18, 17 & Bullseye segments in turn. If you score 4* or more, of the target number, then it’s knocked out.

So a perfect drill is to take five turns to eliminate the 5 areas. To do this you must score 80+ (20’s), 76+(19s), 72+(18s), 68+(17s) for the Bullseye we half the requirement so two darts within the outer bull completes the set.

After this first go around you will, hopefully have hit the 4* and knocked out one, or more, segments. On round two you may only have 17s and Bullseye left. If you knock them out with your next turn, say 5 17s and two in the ’25’, you will have put the ‘Lights-Out’.

Lights-Out can be played in any and all circumstances, alone or even with a group on an event practice board at the PDC!

Keep a mental note of how many turns it takes to do this. If you begin to knock the ‘Lights-Out‘ in five or six turns regularly then its time to step to 5* darts in the numbered segments and a total of three in the bull ring ( 3 x 25, 2 x 25 & a Bull or better!).

If you are at a newer stage, in your development, then start with 3* in the 20-17 sections and 1 dart in the outer or inner bull.

Lastly when your using this game as a warm up to do not chase it, give your self of limit of say, ten visits. Used in this way ‘Lights-Out‘ is simply the transition between warm up and real practise!

Hopefully you are now relaxed, warmed up and enjoying throwing? Time to get stuck in!

Welsh Darting Greats: Our Six Of The Best.

Ray Reardon, JPR Williams, Lynn Davies, John Charles and, more recently, Gareth Bale. Legends of Welsh sporting prowess. But, even more have been born ‘on the oche’:

Wayne Warren the latest in a long line of Welsh Darting giants.

The triumph of yet another Welsh World Champion, Wayne Warren, together with our latest Darts World ‘Unsung Hero’ (Alan Evans) reminded us of the phenomenal sporting record of the principality. In snooker, rugby, football, and many other areas Wales punches above its weight, producing legendary players/characters. But is for the ‘darts’ floor’ that they just keep on producing.

Honorable mentions to go to Ceri Morgan, who sadly died recently, Marshall James, Johnny Clayton, Jim Williams and legendary Welsh skipper Martin Phillips. But our six Welsh giants are:

Six: Alan Evans

Evans the Arrow can rightly be classed as one of the founders of the feast. He claimed Runner-up spot in The News of The World event and lifted the World Master trophy. Alan was part of the three man team that won the first World Cup and stamped Wales on the darting map. Check out Alan’s Unsung Hero profile.

Five: Gerwyn Price

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG : GERWYN PRICE IN ACTION

The Iceman is storming through professional darts, just as he did opposition defences on the Rugby field. The Cardiff man already has two (ranking) major titles to his name and has also twice been a major runner-up. Currently ranked No 3, by the PDC, Price is strongly tipped as a future World Champion and is currently in his third season of Premier League darts.

Four: Wayne Warren

To claim a World Title is impressive at any time, to claim it as your first televised major is remarkable and to do it aged 57 is simply unique. Tynewydd’s favoured son gave the 2020 BDO World Championship the positive story it desperately needed and became the fourth Welsh man to claim the revered trophy. His 2020 form suggests he may add more titles to his collection yet.

Three: Richie Burnett

The Prince of Wales kept the Wrlsh flag flying after the early blaze had begun to fade. Winning the World Masters in 1994 and the World Championship the following year. Burnett has had ups and downs over a long career and probably waited too long before trying his luck on the PDC tours. However, his runner up effort in the 2001 World Matchplay and his comeback run, to the semi, in the World Grand Prix, a decade later demonstrate that he had the talent. Sadly, a social drugs suspension has hastened a decline in his success. Richie’s place amongst Welsh Darting royalty in nonetheless assured.

Two: Leighton Rees

Leighton Rees, father of the modern game? The Original Cobra?

The Marathon Man can lays strong claim to a place among the founding fathers of modern darts. Using self made barrels, dowling stems and paper flights Rees claimed the 1st World Professional Darts Championship in 1978. Often overlooked is that he often averaged over 90 and notched a 97+ on the way to the title. Leighton’s Welsh outfit claimed that first World Cup in ’77, & retained it in ’78. The big man had taken the Indoor League title in ’74 & ’76. Bearing in mind that Indoor League introduced darts to a mass audience, while Rees won the game many fans, by personality as well as ability, he was a strong contender for the top spot.

One: Mark Webster!

Carried the flag into the moder PDC era.

Despite Leighton’s claim, its the Denbigh player who carries the flag for the Welsh legends. Webster belongs to an exclusive club of World Champions who have also won the World Cup Singles titles. His defeat of Simon Whitlock, to win the Worlds, in 2008, restored Wales to the top of the darting tree after more than a decade. The fact he was only twenty-four ensured plenty more was to come.

Webster switched to the PDC and made sure Wales was represented, at the highest level, during a vital time for the professional game. Webby twice reached the semi finals of the (PDC) World Championship and was later the runner-up in the Players Championship finals.

Mark was the first Welshman to play in The Premier League and skippered the Welsh pairing (with Barrie Bates) on a tremendously popular run to the final of the inaugural World Cup of Darts (PDC).

Currently Mark is on a sabbatical from the Pro Tour, he can however be heard summarising major TV events. Who knows, as he is only 36, perhaps there are more chapters in the story of our top Welsh Darter!


Premier League Table – Durrant Stays Top!

After the latest round, of matches, Glen Durrant retains his position at the top of the Unibet Premier League table. MVG is second, a single point behind, while three other players are another point adrift.

Daryl Gurney continues to struggle. The Irishman is well off the pace with only two points. Superchin is turning round his season, in other arenas, but the Premier League is proving a tough challenge this year.

Thursday March 12
Liverpool, M&S Bank Arena

Michael Smith 4-7 Peter Wright
Daryl Gurney 5-7 Glen Durrant
Gerwyn Price 5-7 Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross 6-6 Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson 6-6 Nathan Aspinall

Unibet Premier League

This Week – Our Weekly Troll Through Darting History.

Early March has become busier and busier over the last decade or so. The movement of the UK Open, from June, has added importance to the first quarter of the year. The PDC Pro Tour is strongly underway and the European Tour is about to start. Historically there has been plenty to look back at:

6 Years Ago:

Jenkins and Lewis have enjoyed magical moments in their careers, including the final of the UK Open in 2014 (Photo:Lawrence Lustig)

At the UK Open, Adrian Lewis claimed the title, with a crushing 11-1 defeat of Terry Jenkins, adding it to two World Championships and a European Championship. Jackpot has suffered, following injury and loss of confidence, since but had a superb run at 2014’s event. His only close call was a 9-8 victory vs Ronnie Huybrechts. That year’s outsider ‘fairytale’, there is one almost every year, was Aiden Kirk. His back-to-back wins over Gerwyn Price, Phil Taylor and Peter Wright took him all the way through to the last sixteen where he was narrowly defeated by Brendan Dolan.

10 Years Ago:

January 2018 Front Cover
Playing fewer floor event enabled The Power to play though to 2018/9

The Power was, again, asserting dominance over the PDC Pro Tour events. Phil adopted a policy of playing fewer and fewer Players Championship (or UK Open Qualifiers) competitions, in the last decade of his career, and had skipped the first four in 2010. This served two purposes, firstly, his opponents did not become immune to him or become familiar with the experience of playing him. Secondly, it enabled him to remain fresh and responsive when he did play. Taylor’s latest appearances of the 2010 season resulted in back-to-back victories. He claimed the Player’s Championship event on the Saturday for the loss of only 14 legs across 7 matches. The Power improved again for the UK Open qualifier the next day, he managed to win the seven matches needed, dropping only 7 legs! His run included four whitewashes and wins over Micheal Smith, Jelle Klaasen, James Wade and Colin Osborne Often Phil seemed to treat the early ‘floor’ events as ‘playing himself fit’, it certainly worked in 2010 he went on to claim the Premier League, The UK Open, The World Cricket Championship, The World Matchplay and the European Championship.

16 Years Ago:

Wayne Mardle triumphed in The Vauxhall Spring Open (PDC) defeating ‘Rocket’ Ronnie Baxter in the final. 2004 proved a bountiful year for ‘Hawaii 501’ he had just reached the first of three World Championship semi-finals and claimed two Pro Tour level titles as he rose through the rankings. The previous day had seen Alex ‘Ace of Herts’ Roy claim the famed Vauxhall Pro. Alex is often undervalued, as a professional player, but he has a remarkable record. The Watford based builder reached thirteen World Championships in-a-row and was an ever present at the UK Open from it’s founding in 2003 through to 2018. Roy reached the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay and UK Open as well as winning multiple Pro Tour titles, he was also an outgoing and bubbly person liked and much admired for his quiet and reserved nature!

Birthdays:

Many Happy return to Peter Wright who turns 50 this week! That’s a Bullseye!

pic: L Lustig / PDC

MVG Adds to 9-Dart Tally – World No.1 Has Perfect Moment vs Superchin.

Micheal van Gerwen ensured that Johnny Clayton would not claim all the ‘9-Dart’ glory at this year’s UK Open. This year’s, Ladbrokes sponsored, event witnessed a second perfect leg during the Semi-Final between MVG and Daryl Gurney.

Micheal, who recently started using new darts after switching to Winmau, has seemed a little up and down so far in the 2020 season, with good averages and wins on occasion but some unexpected, and below par, defeats.

The World No.1 went on to claim the match 10-3 and move into the final where he would take on Welshman Gerwyn price.