Martin Adams struck the second nine-dart finish of the Icons of Darts League completing his win over former World Youth Champion James Hubbard. Adams has performed well, in the MODUS promoted remote darts event, and at the age of sixty-three showed he can still produce outstanding darts.
Three-time Lakeside World Champion Adams, joins Arron Monk who hit ‘the niner’ early in the league’s existence. His was the third overall in the current batch streamed tournaments with Luke Woodhouse also hitting ‘a perfect leg’ from his kitchen in Bewdley!
Wolfie went the traditional route hitting scores of 180, 180 & 141 (T20, T19, D12), it appears that this may have been his first recorded 9-dart finish!
Who else would feature on day 16, of our ‘Freemium’ offer, but Nathan Aspinall? Only 14 months ago ‘The Asp’ was our cover star after claiming his maiden major. This weekend he has added the PDC Home Tour title!
With a recent change in ownership, Darts World is embarking on a new era in its history and exciting times lie ahead, including some innovative developments that are coming this summer. Make sure you keep up to date at dartsworld.com
In the meantime, enjoy our gift of free content to you by clicking here and signing up: FREEMIUM
Reigning World Matchplay champion Rob Cross has revealed his fear of being unable to defend the title he claimed so memorably in Blackpool last year.
Talking to Phil Lanning, for Darts World, the former world champion said:
“I know the PDC is making that decision by June 5. Obviously I hope it can go ahead somehow”.
Due to the Lockdown and social distancing rules caused by Covid-19 almost all live sporting events have been postponed or cancelled for the forseeable future. However the sport of darts has been at the forefront in attempting to keep its fans entertained during these troubled times.
The PDC have initiated the Home Tour and have postponed, rather than cancel, their major events in the hope of finding workable solutions later in the year.
Cross known as ‘Voltage’ to darts fans claimed the second biggest trophy in the PDC in 2019 adding it to his fairytale World Championship win. he added:
“It was my second favourite moment of my short career to win last year.”
Cross also commented on the rash of social media abuse suffered by players that seems to be on the increase. See the full story exclusive to Darts World here.
PAUL NICHOLSON has lashed out at social media trolls as “sick” who continually abuse top darts players. The former Players Champion was dubbed a cheat last week after losing out to Martin Adams 4-0 in the Modus online darts league.
It comes after a spate of abuse including Kyle Anderson, playing just a week after recovering from Covid-19, being called a “f*****g d***head” and Michael Smith told “cheers ya fat ugly b*****d walking heart attack”.
Former world champ Rob Cross received death threats a year ago and Nicholson is concerned about the increase of attacks.
He told Sporting Life: “It makes me sick that most players within the Modus league and the PDC Home Tour have had this social backlash after things have not gone the fan’s way.
“It worries me that there’s nothing we can do about this kind of social media activity. We feel helpless about it. It’s hurtful.
“Just to paint a picture, I’d heard about Kyle’s (Anderson) stuff on social media by actually reading his feed.
“I don’t understand how anybody can cast aspersions that someone who’s been through Covid-19 personally, who has been away from his family and still put his hand up and say I want to play on the PDC Home Tour, given his best and is then insulted. Just because somebody lost a few quid.
“They made the wrong choice on who to bet on. These people just don’t look in the mirror, they think that we should take the blame for their shortcomings.”
Nicholson was shocked at the levels of abuse he received but doesn’t believe it will stop until social media accounts are monitored with the contact details of the writers.
He added: “When it came to my situation about my last game last week. I was having a much-improved day, I’d won a few games, ultimately losing to Dave Evans and that stopped my chances of winning the day.
“At that point I thought I wonder if I can steal second spot but like the rest of the weeks, I hadn’t looked at social media. And the reason for that was because of the messages I’d received previously.
“I thought I will write my schedule on a piece of paper, I will put a nice tweet out on who i will be playing that day and then I’m not going to look at it until everything is finished.
“So when Martin Adams beat me 4-0 I was devastated because I wondered whether I’d ever been beaten 4-0 or 5-0 over the past few weeks? That really hurt. Not just to lose the match but to lose to a nil was very rare for me.
“And then I decided to put my feet up for five minutes, relax and put my darts away. Then I flicked my social media back on and I was greeted by a couple of really really nasty messages and one on Instagram as well which insinuated that I was cheating.
“I thought, ‘What have I been cheating for?’ I can’t believe that someone would have the audacity to send me a message to say that and call me the worst thing you can call any sportsperson.
“Because if you call someone a cheat, that would send any sportsperson angry. It made me very angry.
“I was spinning for the rest of the day. I chose not to tweet or interact with anyone because I felt that was the smart thing to do.
“A lot of us have been subject to this kind of behaviour. It’s horrible to receive it but unfortunately it’s pretty much part and parcel until the day that every account on social media is verified which I don’t see happening.”
The recent (virtual/remote) performances of Martin Adams, Raymond Van Barneveld, and Phil Taylor have, once again, raised the possibility of a large scale ‘Legends Event’ within darts, we suggest Founders’ Fest 2021!
The Darts World ‘Coach’ thinks that such senior stars benefit from the lack of travel, sponsors commitments, and ranking stresses. This enables them to concentrate on producing their best darts for a short period with few external distractions.
I have thought for a long time that darts is in an unusual place as a sport, its rapid expansion, together with the demands upon players, and its relatively lesser physical demands mean that the best to have played can play at a very high level for longer than in most sports.
More often than not it is the travel and other demands that mean icons such as ‘The Power’ feel that they should retire.
We are also a sport that can see new players come through, aged fifty plus, after many years of playing high-quality darts but in different formats. You only have to look at Wayne Warren to see proof of that!
The combination of these two means that at an event such as a senior/legends festival might be both extremely popular commercially successful. Clever use of formats such as pairs or short course matches may level the playing field and perhaps two classifications or age ranges might add to the entertainment.
An annual competitive screened tournament including Barney, Phil, Adams, Colin Lloyd, Ted Hankey in one section. John Lowe, Denis Priestley, Bobby George, and Bob Anderson in another. Others such as Chris Mason and Alan Warriner-Little might join to mix it up. Over time more players will ‘qualify’.
A well organised and professional founders and legends festival could be a lovely addition to our sports calendar whilst reminding us ‘from where we came!’
A new Drill from ‘Coach’ and our friends at A.I.M: This time we’re looking to improve your BullShifting.
By now you should have got stuck into the selection of tips, drills and games that Darts World, and friends, have served up So its time for a few more. Today’s offering is BullShift, (Careful! We know what your thinking) we’ll let ‘Coach’ tell you more:
There are several situations during a leg where a dart at the bullseye can be very useful indeed. Whether its ensuring your end up on a two darter, instead of a three, or to ensure you have a finish at all, its basically a cover shot with two possible outcomes, this is BullShifting.
If you are on 201 and your opponent is not on a score where adding pressure might be relevant and you hit t20 s20, with darts one and two, this leaves you with 121 remaining and a single dart. A dart in either the 25 or Bullseye ,(a BullShift) will leave you with a handy two darter (either 96 or 71) whereas a single twenty or a stray (caused by a deflection, obviously!) will likely leave you with a tricky three darter including more complex treble possibilities.
In addition there are many other situation where two at the twenties and one at the bull/outer will be required. These may include shots at 170, 130 to finish or 90, 105, 130, 145 or even 170 to set up a finish.
So its important to be be a bit of a BullShifter with your last dart!
Although I like most drills to be based around five turns this one has to involve at least 6.
For each turn you will take two darts at the twenties and one dart at the Bullseye ring.
There are six possible outcomes if you hit the twenty bed twice & BullShift: 170, 145, 130, 105, 90 and 65. Each time you hit a score it is removed from scoring. As an incentive, and to give every throw mean, the Bullseye counts as 50, if hit with the last dart (LDB), even if you have repeated a score or not hit two in the twenty bed.
Turn 1: T20 T20 Bull – 170
Turn 2: T20 T20 25 – 145
Turn 3: T20 s20 Bull – 130
Turn 4: T20 s20 25 – 105
Turn: s20 s20 Bull – 90
Turn 6: s20 s20 25 – 65
Total – 705!
Realistic Run Through:
Turn 1: s5 T20 25 – 0
Turn 2: s20 s20 25 – 65
Turn 3: t20 s20 25 – 105
Turn 4: s20 t5 Bull – 50
Turn 5: s20 t20 Bull – 50 (repeat score)
Turn 6: s20 s20 Bull – 90
You can vary this drill a number of ways. But beware of driving yourself into a fit of frustration.
A tough variation is to list the possible numbers on the marking board, 65-170 inc and then give yourself a set number of throws to knock them all out. Example: use 10 turns and mark how many 65’s, 90’s etc that you clock. But also mark how many times you miss the twenty bed with either of your first two and how many last dart bulls (LDBs) you manage!
As you can see from the variations you can set your own level and then simply try to better your best. Total score after 6 turns, number of finishes hit after 10 turns etc. But here is a guide:
Amateur: 1 lower BullShift (65 or 90) and an LDB. 115 to 140
Pub Team: 1or 2 BullShifts and an LDB. 115 to 220
Higher: 2 or more BullShifts and an LDB. 250 or more
Elite: 3 or more Bullshifts and a LDB. 400+ (often!)
Who is the biggest BullShifter?
Top Score: 665 (145,130,65,170,0,50,105)
Fewest Turns: All six BullShifts were taken out in only 11 turns by a player who has flirted with the PDC top 32 but flew a little too close to the sun.
Enjoy Bullshift and let us know how you get on below or via @Darts_World
In response to a Darts World article, and player demand, Go Darts Pro have turned SwitchBlade into a fully fledged part of their training program:
Just because Darts World has been going for almost 48 years does not mean were not bang up to date with what dart players need and want! As soon as Isolation, and LockDown, started to hit home, we asked our resident ‘Coach’ and our friends at A.I.M: to help us with practise tips, structure and some fresh thoughts to keep you all entertained.
Coach has been using a drill, with elite players, for several years but he freshened it up and it seems to have caught on! Players then began to petition Anders. a founder of GDP, to include the game. The Go darts pro guys developed the new game speedily and its now ready to go!
Coach is particularly pleased that the drill proved popular at the current times and that its was GDP who took it on:
Mikko was Unique wonderfully intelligent & passionate, about all things darts, we agreed on almost everything. To have one of Our drills included in Go Darts Pro is extremely rewarding.
Mikko Laiho was the co founder of GDP and one of the best darts practise experts we have known. ‘Coach’ added:
That it was players, and readers of Darts World, who flagged it to Anders is the icing on the cake.
So check out the article that started it all here and then head on over to GoDartsPro.com and play the challenge version. Either way your sure to find your switching fluidity improves and you can add a new drill to your daily routine!
Andy Murray, Stephen Hendry, Kenny Dalglish and Chris Hoy are all Scots who conquered their respective fields, but there has certainly been no absence of Scottish influence in darts either.
Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright recently became Scotland’s fourth darts World Champion when he overcame Michael Van Gerwen at the Alexandra Palace and it reminded us of the huge influence that the nation has had on our sport. Here we take a look at six of the best to come out of the Land of Cakes.
6. Rab Smith
Sometimes in sport, titles don’t tell the full story about a player and that is definitely the case with ‘Mr. Golden Darts’. A fluid player with a clean-cut image, Rab Smith (above) claimed his fair share of trophies throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s. He was Scottish Champion, British Matchplay Champion and famously won the Golden Darts Championship in 1977, winning a prize of £1,000 and a set of 18 carat gold darts. However, he was never to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the World Championship, a statistic that betrays his talents.
Smith, a patriotic Scotsman, did captain his country to win the 1981 Nations Cup however, defeating Eric Bristow and his England team in the final, no mean feat in those days. In all, Rab Smith represented his home nation for more than a decade whilst he also has a rare claim to fame in that he is the player throwing darts on a television in a scene from the Academy Award winning horror film ‘An American Werewolf in London’.
5. Robert Thornton
‘The Thorn’ has never quite achieved household name status, but he is undeniably one of Scotland’s most successful darts players.
Winner of the BDO World Masters in 2007, Ayrshire’s Robert Thornton made the switch to the PDC in 2008. Through some admirably consistent performances, he was in the top 16 players in the world in just two years. Thornton’s television breakthrough came in 2009 when reaching the final of the Players Championship, where he went down fighting against Phil Taylor. Away from the television cameras, he became only the third player to win back-to-back Pro Tour events over the same weekend.
A bout of ill-health was to halt Thornton’s progress but he came back in 2012 to land his first PDC major title at the UK Open in Bolton. Battling through a terrible draw that included Gary Anderson and Dave Chisnall, Thornton took the ultimate scalp when beating Phil Taylor 11-5 in the final, earning £40,000 for his troubles. A place in the lucrative Premier League followed in 2013 and 2014, as did a remarkable nine-dart-finish in the double-start World Grand Prix in Dublin.
Thornton’s biggest triumph, however, came in 2015 where, following a career-best quarter-final run at the World Championship, he returned to Dublin to win the World Grand Prix. He defeated world number one Michael Van Gerwen 5-4 in the final, sealing the £100,000 first prize and a rise to number five in the PDC Order of Merit.
Since 2015 struggles with form and personal problems have seen ‘The Thorn’ slip down the rankings, but recent signs of a resurgence suggest there may yet be another chapter in his rousing story.
4. Les Wallace
Scotland has often been the source of colourful, entertaining and unpredictable characters in darts and ‘McDanger’ certainly fits in to that category.
Known for playing many of his matches in a traditional Scottish kilt, the popular Les Wallace first appeared on television in 1984 when, at the age of just 22, he competed in the Dry Blackthorn Masters. It was not until 11 years later, however, that he made his debut at the BDO World Championship when losing in the first round to Raymond van Barneveld at the Lakeside.
He was to improve on that the following year by reaching the semi-final, but in 1997 he gained revenge on van Barneveld en route to a thrilling World Championship victory where he defeated Welshman Marshall James 6-3 in the final, becoming the first left-handed player to win a world championship (BDO or PDC) and only the second Scot.
Wallace’s success continued the following year when he defeated a stellar field to win the BDO World Masters, his victims including Alan Warriner-Little, Martin Adams and Ted Hankey, no less.
Sadly, that was to be as good as it got for Wallace as personal problems, including brushes with the law and personal tragedy led to a prolonged loss of form and regular absences from the tour. However, the World Championship/World Masters double is a feat achieved by very few and ensures the talented ‘McDanger’s’ place in darts folklore.
3. Peter Wright
Despite being based in England since the age of five, ‘Snakebite’ is proud of his Scottish roots, having been born in West Lothian.
Peter Wright’s story is a truly inspirational one. Having taken up darts at a young age, he had a promising junior career and qualified for the BDO World Championship in 1995 where Richie Burnett knocked him out in the first round. This was the first and last time he would play darts on television for over a decade.
Wright spent the next 10 years playing darts in local leagues, moving around from town to town, seeking employment where he could get it. Then one evening in
2007, at the age of 37 and unemployed, Wright declared he had unfinished business with darts and joined the PDC circuit. A naturally shy man with a history of self-doubt, he reinvented himself as ‘Snakebite’, adopting a Mohican haircut styled by his wife Jo and dyed various bright colours, matched by equally flamboyant shirts and trousers. He also developed the habit of changing his darts as often as his hair colour!
After an uninspiring start in the PDC, Wright began to make notable progress from 2009 onwards. This culminated in a first PDC title in 2012. His big breakthrough, however, came in 2014 when he made the World Championship final, losing 7-4 to Michael Van Gerwen. Since then, Wright has constantly been in the top 10 of the PDC Order of Merit, becoming a Premier League regular and a genuine contender for major titles. However, before his World Championship win this year, he had won only one major final (UK Open, 2017) from 11 attempts, leading many to label him a nearly man.
That all changed in January as ‘Snakebite’ claimed the ultimate crown and £500,000 at the age of 49, thoroughly deserving of his victory over Michael Van Gerwen, and so completing the most remarkable and heartwarming journey.
2. Gary Anderson
There is simply no better sight in darts than ‘The Flying Scotsman’ in full flight on the oche. The super-talented, heavy scoring Gary Anderson is a giant of the game having captured eight major PDC titles in addition to 31 PDC Pro Tour event titles. However, at various stages of his career, one could have been forgiven for fearing the Musselburgh man may not fulfil his obvious potential.
Anderson began playing darts at the age of 24 and first rose to prominence with an excellent run to the semi-final of the BDO World Championship in 2003. Subsequently he won a number of titles, but a television major eluded him. His form in the World Championship completely deserted him, winning just one match at the Lakeside in the period 2004-2007. This led to many questioning if Anderson had the temperament for the big occasion.
That changed in 2007 when Anderson participated in and won the televised cross-code International Darts League, defeating Phil Taylor in the final. Confident he could now beat the best, Anderson switched to the PDC in 2009 after a run to the quarter-final in his final appearance at the Lakeside.
Within six months of being on the PDC tour, Anderson had won his first Pro Tour event and hit a nine-dart-finish. The following year he reached his first major final at the UK Open, followed by a breakthrough run to the final of the World Championship where he lost 7-5 to Adrian Lewis. Despite a major title eluding him, Anderson had secured a place in the Premier League and reached number 4 in the PDC Order of Merit.
Anderson enjoyed the short format of the Premier League and remarkably won it at the first attempt, beating Lewis 10-4 in the final. Personal tragedy and injury problems meant that Anderson had to wait over three years for his next major title, but the birth of his son Kai seemed to inspire him as he won, first the Players Championship, and then the World Championship where he defeated Phil Taylor 7-6 in a classic final. He went on to retain his crown the following year, defeating Adrian Lewis to become a back-to-back, two time world champion.
A popular, humble man, Anderson has crossed eras with both Phil Taylor and Michael Van Gerwen and yet has got the better of them both on many occasions; he must go down as one of the greatest darts players of all time.
1. Jocky Wilson
It’s hard to argue that Scotland has ever produced a finer player than Gary Anderson, but the legend of John Thomas (‘Jocky’) Wilson will always leave an indelible mark on the darts world. Anderson himself says he would never have picked up a dart were it not for his ‘hero’.
Raised in a children’s care home in Kirkcaldy, Wilson had a difficult upbringing but would find a way to twice become the champion of the world in an era where darts went from pub pastime to television entertainment and a working class man could become a hero to the masses.
As a young adult Wilson found it very hard to find employment and spent a lot of time in his local pub, ‘The Lister’, honing his darts skills. In 1979 he entered a tournament at Butlins, Ayrshire and won the first prize of £500. This triumph convinced Wilson he should turn professional.
Just three years later Wilson’s profile was propelled in to stardom as he won the BDO World Championship live on BBC2, defeating John Lowe 5-3 in the final at the Jollees Cabaret Club in Stoke.
Almost overnight, Wilson became a hugely popular nationwide star and appeared on a number of television shows including Terry Wogan, Russell Harty and even Top of the Pops! Meanwhile, the tabloids were always keen to run a spread on any story they could find. There were plenty of stories to be found due to Wilson’s chain-smoking, excessive drinking, brushes with authority and financial problems. Wilson was uncomfortable with the attention but a media fascination with his rags to riches story meant it was unrelenting.
Undoubtedly Wilson’s finest moment on the oche came in 1989 when he recaptured the World Championship, beating his old rival and world number one Eric Bristow 6-4 at the Lakeside. A respectful Bristow would later admit that Wilson was one of only two players (John Lowe being the other) who he could not influence with pre-match mind games.
Tragically ‘Jocky’ left darts in 1995 and was never to return. He became a recluse, unwilling to leave his home in Kirkcaldy that he shared with his wife, and sadly died of lung disease in 2012. His legend lives on in a sport that he helped revolutionise.
In many sports you may hear the refrain, from modern pundits or commentators, “the game has moved on” or ” he has raised the bar”. We all like to compare the greats, of our favoured era, with players active today. It makes for great bar-room conversation and fires up the social media ‘opinionistas’.
Our resident ‘Coach’ takes issue with the “game has moved on cry” he says:
In darts direct comparisons with previous eras can be made. Players often cross more than one “era” and with so many statistics, information and analysis tools available the archive is a virtual complete history of the modern game. Obviously factors such as opportunity to pay, competition level and equipment, must be taken into account but much can still be learned.
More important, than the booze-fuelled debates on who was the greatest, most talented, best stylist…….etc., is that almost any player can benefit from studying what has gone before. Often, especially with beginners, you will hear remarks like, “whatever feels comfortable is ok”, “don’t copy anyone else” and other similar remarks. These are meant to encourage players to develop naturally and not try, and fail, to play like someone else.
This is all well and good, as far as it goes, but to reject the information available seems wasteful at best and arrogant at worst. Bearing in mind that everyone, especially the young, will try to emulate those that they admire, or who are in the public eye, it seems questionable if they are all trying to play like MVG or Gary Anderson.
Players of almost any style and stage of development could learn a thing or two from some YouTube and or dartsdatabase.co.uk research. Some myths may be dispelled, and more confidence be found in your own method, if you seek common cause with the greats of the game.
Coach Takes a Stance!
An excellent example is in terms of stance. If you were guided by current players you might think that standing in a side on position was almost compulsory. Taylor, MVG, Cross and many other adopt versions of this position. The more face on stance could look awkward or old fashioned. In addition, you may think the short, wristy throw is a thing of the past. Yet a quick look at the most successful players, with very long careers, over many years, offers a different story.
Bob Anderson made his TV debut in 1979 and still featured in the International Darts League in 2007. Along the way, he claimed the World Championship and three consecutive World Master’s titles. Bob was unfortunate enough to have to compete with Eric, John, Jockey and then Phil all in their prime. But despite his individual style few would question his place in the elite of the game.
Overlapping, with Bob, is the career of another face on, whristy short throw, tall player. Simon Whitlock first competed in the PDC in 2004. In 2018 he was ranked back in the top ten and featured in the Premier League. Whitlock is one of the few still active, to have played in both BDO & PDC World Finals and was a major finalist as recently as 2017.
A close look at footage of both players reveals many similarities. They are tall upright men in their normal posture. Both lean in with the majority of their weight on the front foot. Both get the best results when they level the dart before release. Both are very still and deliberate in their stance but once the throw begins they are very fluid and rat-tat-tat with the three darts. Both are good at moving on the oche and their finishing can be unstoppable.
In terms of equipment both use mid length barrels, 50.8mm, medium stems and a standard shape flight. Both seem to prefer the larger surface areato the flight to get their dart to stand up in the bed.
Simon has seen the light, and now uses the tapered dart, thus both use slim fronted darts to allow superb grouping. Simon has been experimenting recently with equipment and accessories. Bob was also keen to adapt to the times and switched to aluminium stems quite early and later adapted the grip on his signature darts due to a lessening of sensation with age. Simon has not yet turned fifty so could emulate Bob’s longevity. It may be that there is something to be said for this style even today!
So if you have a wristy throw, or face on stance, take heed of these great players. Maybe look at your darts, set up or both. Make one small change at a time, to ensure that you can tell what is helpful and what is not, and give each one a decent chance to work in all conditions.
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