World Cup of Darts – Review

Adrian Lewis & Phil Taylor retained their title

England retained the World Cup after an absorbing final win over the Netherlands in Frankfurt – making it four titles which the Stoke pair have won since the inception of the tournament in 2010.

Adrian Lewis held his nerve against Michael van Gerwen in the deciding set in an extremely tense final – for long periods of the game only the sound of the thud of the tungsten against the board echoed through the Eissporthalle – and raw emotion was in no shortage as composure levels melted on stage. Neither player looked like they really settled given the enormous pressure of carrying the weight of a nation upon their shoulders. Darts anoraks would have to flick back through the record books to find a set in which van Gerwen was so inept at finishing.

This tournament is not regarded as the biggest spectacle in the PDC, but the singles/doubles format which is unique to the game always guarantees excitement and the chance of a huge upset.

Player of the tournament – Phil Taylor (England) – Never dropped a leg in the lead-up to the final, and managing to overcome his bogey run against Michael van Gerwen before defeating his old nemesis Raymond van Barneveld in both his singles matches means the England captain deservedly gets this recognition. A very solid run of form which has been typical of his performances in 2016.

Match of the tournament – Australia 1-2 Netherlands – Quarter-Finals – On a knife-edge throughout and at one stage it looked like the first ever World Cup nine-darter might be struck, Simon Whitlock accidentally hitting D10 on the eighth before the MvG/RvB duo duly hit seven perfect darts afterwards.

Overachievers – Northern Ireland – Made the last four but were soundly beaten by a vastly superior England team.

Underachievers – South Africa – A pretty embarrassing campaign for Devon Petersen and Graham Filby as they were hammered 1-5 by Singapore in the opening round, averaging a mere 75.2.

Moment of the tournament – The cheerful Chinese Wenge Xie celebrated wildly after hitting a 177 in his game with Adrian Lewis – before the two-time World Champion duly took out tops to move further ahead.


Home nations – Grading

England – A+ – Survived an early scare against Spain but otherwise very comfortable. Managed to retain their trophy even when it looked like the tide was turning against them when the Netherlands won the final doubles match to take a 2-1 lead but strong reverse singles performances ensured it was a deserved triumph.

Scotland – C – Last year’s finalists were left thinking what might have been after being turned over by the Huybrechts brothers in the quarter-finals. Double tops proved troublesome for Anderson and Thornton but they showed great mettle to avoid an early upset against a sensational Cody Harris-inspired New Zealand.

Wales – D – Were tipped by many as the dark horses but were beaten in the second round by underdogs Canada. One saving grace was the emergence of Gerwyn Price but Mark Webster simply could not get going.

Northern Ireland – B+ – Granted, England breezed by them but a semi-final appearance is no mean feat. Brendan Dolan found it difficult to get any rhythm in most of his games but his partner Daryl Gurney continues to impress and is easily one of the hottest young darts players on the circuit at the minute.

Ireland – C – On paper, the weakest side of the home nations but William O’Connor and Mick McGowan will still feel let down after being soundly beaten by close rivals Northern Ireland.


Three players who impressed us

Cody Harris – New Zealand

It is highly doubtful many would have heard of the 30-year-old Kiwi before the opening round game with Scotland. However, he left a huge impression as the minnows almost had the major-holding pair of Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton on the ropes, leading 3-1 at one stage. Checking out with a spectacular 125 in the first leg, Harris went onto record nine scores of 137+, eventually finishing with a 102.8 average which his opponents would have been proud of. A confident player and will be one to watch when the World Series visits Auckland in a fortnight.

Antonio Alcinas/Cristo Reyes – Spain

Yes, this entry may have both halves of the Iberian islander duo but it would be unjust to include one over the other after the terrific team performance which very nearly caused another upset. Alcinas clearly took inspiration from being part of the team which knocked out England in 2010. The Mallorcan and his Tenerifian partner played a blinder averaging 96.6 – remarkable considering the tournament format and the overall record of both players as individuals on the circuit. Thoroughly played their part in a gripping match.

John Part – Canada

Former two-time World Champion Part put in the showing which many neutrals longed to see after such a difficult period in his career. Failure to recapture the form of yesteryear and consistently missing out/underperforming in big tournaments had many fearing he was set for the scrapheap as far as his professional career was concerned. However, Darth Maple’s exploits this weekend will give him the impetus to kick on and not permanently swap the tungsten for the commentator’s mic any time soon as Canada had a respectable run to the quarter-finals. After winning his singles match against Mark Webster in the last 16, his stunning 161 outshot helped put the Welsh dragons to the sword before squeezing by Brendan Dolan in a tense encounter the following afternoon.

Lisa Ashton smashes world record average


2015 World Champion Lisa Ashton today broke the televised average record in a women’s match– with a sensational 98.84 in her BDO World Trophy quarter-final with Corrine Hammond.

Ashton cruised to a 5-1 victory against the Australian, hitting 14 ton-plus scores in just six legs, and checked out on 118 to secure the win.

The Bolton brunette smashed Trina Gulliver’s record which had incredibly stood for 17 years – 97.56 in the 1999 World Masters final.

Speaking to the World Trophy’s broadcaster Dave following her win, Ashton said: “I’m so happy with that game, it was brilliant. I’m over the moon.”

The 45-year-old had a look of surprise when she was informed that the world record had indeed been broken.

“I struggled a lot in my first game (vs Casey Gallagher) but today it all clicked together”, said Ashton. “If I keep up that level of performance for the rest of the tournament I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

10 reasons why the 2016 Premier League was the best yet

Michael van Gerwen won his second Premier League crown tonight
Michael van Gerwen won his second Premier League crown tonight

It may have ended as many predicted it would at the beginning – an unstoppable Michael van Gerwen coming out on top.

But reading between the lines, this Premier League threw up more excitement, more drama and more world-class performances than any other.

  1. World’s top 10 all involved

Each year, fierce debate ensues over the wildcard picks for inclusion in the tournament. It perhaps says more about the standard of modern-day darts that the likes of Jelle Klaasen or Ian White missed out despite having impressive years.

But this season, there could be no real arguments as the world’s top 10 following the culmination of the World Championships were selected. Some may argue over the inclusion of Robert Thornton – let’s not forget the guy won a major in 2015 – or Michael Smith, but at the time, these guys were the 10 best in the world at their profession. And surely for that alone, it ensures the best possible standard could be achieved.

  1. Unpredictability

Once again, the cut-throat nature of the Premier League dictated that even the thinnest of margins can make a difference, particularly in the opening weeks. There are no easy games in this competition and that was plain to see. Very few would have given Robert Thornton a chance heading into week eight. Having only mustered a solitary point from his opening six fixtures, it looked like the Judgement Night axe was about to swing down on him. However, he beat Michael Smith before remarkably nicking a draw against Michael van Gerwen to keep his dream intact, sending last year’s semi-finalist – and the man who had topped the table for much of the season – Dave Chisnall crashing out.

Then again, you should always expect the unexpected in this game.

  1. The opening weeks

It is forever mooted that the standard of the Premier League is improving year on year. But for the first month or so the quality of the tungsten bordered on ridiculous. We saw 181 maximums with a 99.01 night average overall in the first six weeks of play. Take Peter Wright’s word for it. Twice he averaged well over a ton yet was resoundingly beaten.

The only thing missing was…

  1. A first perfect leg since 2012

Remarkably, we had waited almost four years since Simon Whitlock’s nine-dart finish on D18 at the semi-final stage against Andy Hamilton – it felt like longer.

However it seemed like a mere matter of time before someone conjured up the magic and Jackpot Adrian Lewis stepped up to the mark in week 11 against James Wade to send the crowd in Belfast barmy with his 144 checkout on D12.

  1. Aberdeen

The Granite City has always been one of the most revered venues on the tour, having been a fixture since the second year of the Premier League in 2006. Although it is now one of the smaller arenas in comparison, it remains among the most atmospheric and the 4,500 who sold out the AECC in week four were in for an absolute treat.

First up was Lewis’ victory over Wade, which saw SIXTEEN missed match doubles between them – you read that right – in the final leg. Next up, Gary Anderson’s first homecoming since his World Championship win saw him produce a brilliant performance to brush aside Raymond van Barneveld.

But the show undoubtedly belonged to Michael van Gerwen, who hit the highest ever average in a televised darts match – a jaw-dropping 123.4 – and it would have been more if he didn’t make a slight hash of his final two legs in his 7-1 hammering of Michael Smith. Phil Taylor wasn’t far off either with his 115.25 in his win over Dave Chisnall, who remarkably averaged 109.6 despite going down to The Power. It was an evening of unrivalled excitement and drama where history was ultimately made.

  1. Phil Taylor’s return to form

Much had been made of the old sage of darts prior to this tournament. 2015 was the first year since the inception of the PDC in which he had failed to win a major tournament, a quite remarkable statistic going by his dominance of the game over the past two decades.

An early exit from the Worlds seemed to raise further questions over his apparent diminishing ability, but even at the age of 55, he was not ready to give up his stake to the claim.

Evening an opening night hammering  against his old nemesis Barney did not deter him, as Taylor went on to rack up maximum points from his next five fixtures, including a Robert Thornton whitewash.

He may have been soundly beaten in the final but if anything, this season proved that only time that the words ‘Phil Taylor’ and ‘finished’ should appear in the same sentence is when describing one of The Power’s checkouts.

7. MvG and Taylor’s rivalry

The archetypal Premier League rivalry had always been Barney tussling with Taylor but the emergence of Michael van Gerwen soon had The Power looking over his shoulder, and eventually dead in front of him.

Both players were hitting top form ahead of their week seven meeting in Glasgow. The mind games had already started weeks prior and the contest shaped up to be one of the most hotly-anticipated fixtures ever of the league stage.

The opening legs was a mental minefield, with both players seemingly attempting to psyche each other out on stage, and it looked as if MvG had drawn first blood before Taylor came roaring back for a point apiece. The games continued with both players enjoying a post-match joke in front of the Sky cameras, but you could tell this pair wanted nothing more than to have beaten the other man.

Their meeting in Rotterdam was one that raised the roof, and Taylor certainly knew how to wind up a partisan crowd rooting for their home favourite. It only seemed fitting that the pair met in the final showdown.

  1. Rotterdam

It is testament to the overall appeal of the Premier League across the darting spectrum that the competition has progressed so much since its inception in 2005. From being initially held in civic halls in outposts such as Widnes and Taunton, the Premier League has been played out in front of 15,000+ noisy fans in the biggest indoor arenas around the UK.

And for the first time ever, the event left British shores as the penultimate week was staged in Rotterdam.

What a night it was. The sound reverberating around the Ahoy Arena – unbelievably sold out in just 47 minutes and bedecked in a sea of orange – almost knocked the Sky microphones off air on occasion.

Oh and the darts on show wasn’t bad either. Do not be surprised if we see another Dutch venue added to the fixture list in another couple of years.

  1. A deserved winner – MvG masterclass

Can anyone really argue Michael van Gerwen didn’t deserve to win this? Only one defeat all season – incidentally coming in the opening week against James Wade – and his dominance over both Adrian Lewis in the semi-final and Phil Taylor in the final epitomised his Premier League season.

It remains to be seen whether or not the green machine can be stopped at all this year.

  1. The crowds

As colourful and boisterous as they are, the Premier League crowds exemplify exactly what the sport of darts is all about. Everywhere you look, people clad in costume with their own self-styled, football-generic chants. They get better and noisier every year – this tournament as an entertainment and sporting spectacle is growing, and in no small part down to the increasing number of fans flocking to venues each year, it is only going to get bigger and better.

Do you agree/disagree with Grant? Has this been the best Premier League season ever? Or have previous years impressed you more? Get involved via the comments section on our website (, Twitter @Darts_World, or on Facebook (


Jelle Klaasen pulls out of Dutch World Cup team

Klaasen will not be featuring at the World Cup of Darts next month
Klaasen will not be featuring at the World Cup of Darts next month

Jelle Klaasen’s management team have confirmed that The Cobra has withdrawn from the Netherlands’ World Cup team due to “personal commitments”.

The announcement comes barely a fortnight before the competition kicks off in Frankfurt on June 2.

A short statement on the Sportsman Management Company Ltd’s social media page said: “The Dutch sensation admits he is disappointed to be missing out on the 2016 tournament but would like to wish the Netherlands’ representatives the very best of luck in the competition.”

The 31-year-old was set to represent his country at the tournament for the first time due to having earned a slender £1,750 more than his compatriot Raymond van Barneveld on the PDC Order of Merit, thus making him the second highest-ranked Dutch player.

The World Cup squads are selected on the basis of the two highest ranked Order of Merit players from each participant nation at the May 23 cut-off date.

However it now looks as if van Barneveld will team up with Michael van Gerwen in the £200,000 tournament the pair last won in 2014.

The relationship between van Gerwen and Klaasen has reportedly been a frosty one, with the world number one seemingly refusing to shake Klaasen’s hand when the pair faced each other in a European Championship match three years ago.

Two-time winners Netherlands take their place as third seeds behind reigning champions England and last year’s runners-up Scotland in the 32-nation knockout tournament, having been defeated by the Scots pair of Gary Anderson and Peter Wright at the semi-final stage in 2015.

BDO World Trophy on Dave

James Wilson - the 2014 winner of the World Trophy
James Wilson – the 2014 winner of the World Trophy


The British Darts Organisation have finally revealed that the World Trophy will be broadcast live on Dave.

The announcement has ended months of speculation over the future of the tournament, with some pundits and fans believing that it might be SCRAPPED due to no broadcasting contract being finalised.

Last year’s tournament saw the men’s section prize pot shrink to just £40,000 – HALF of the figure from the inaugural tournament in 2014.

However a deal has been struck with broadcasting company UKTV barely three weeks before the competition is due to kick off on 28 May.

The BDO has come under fire in recent months following the BBC announcing that it would no longer be providing coverage of the World Championships at its spiritual Lakeside home, and the governing body have leaked very little information regarding its future plans since the turn of the year.

This this is the first year which it will be contested at Lakeside, having previously been held in Blackpool and Manchester.

Geert de Vos is the current holder of the trophy, having defeated Jeffrey de Graaf with an 86.3 average last year.

Meanwhile, Lisa Ashton will be looking to defend the women’s section title after her victory against Anastasia Dobromyslova in 2015.

Devon Petersen: African World Series on the way

Devon Petersen: African World Series on the way

Devon Petersen: African World Series on the way
Devon Petersen is targeting a World Championship return this winter

Devon Petersen has revealed that talks are well underway for the World Series to expand to South Africa.

In March, the PDC announced that Shanghai would feature as part of a revamped tour in 2016.

And in an exclusive interview with Darts World, Petersen said that the game’s top stars could flock to the Rainbow Nation in as little as two years’ time as the PDC looks to broadcast tungsten from the continent for the first time ever.

“We’ve been in discussion with my event partners in Cape Town and are looking to bring to the World Series here in 2018,” Petersen said. “We’re just in the talking phase right now and seeing what the momentum will be with ticket sales, and what else we need to do to make it profitable. But hopefully by that date we will have a World Series in South Africa.”

Recent installments to the World Series has seen the tournament flourish in the Far East and Oceania.

It could be strongly argued that Africa is somewhat of an untapped area for the PDC in their mission to turn the sport into a global sporting sensation.

As the only African on the Pro Tour, Petersen believes that it has been much more difficult for players from his home nation to make the breakthrough in the professional game due to the financial cost of playing in UK-based tournaments.

“In terms of the breakthrough, a lot of it has been down to sacrifice and leaving your family behind,” he said. “For a lot of people in South Africa, the culture is to work hard and work for your family. If you compare it with other sports, in football you still get paid a salary but darts is purely what you win and what your sponsorships are so if you are not winning it can be a very quiet six months and you need to look at going back home because you can’t work full-time in the UK.

“There are a few players who have missed that opportunity a couple of years back. There are a few youth players coming through now that could be big players with a few years Pro Tour experience. Again, it comes down to financial backing. It is hard for them to do. It’s a gamble. If you don’t get a sponsor within your first six months it can be very costly. It can cost you easily £1000 for accommodation and entry, that’s before you take transport and food into consideration. If you don’t get a sponsor it becomes an uphill battle and you have to perform as well.

“It can be hard to make the initial breakthrough and I was quite lucky in getting a sponsor.

“I don’t think the growth of darts in South Africa is down to the exposure through TV, I think it is down to the financial bearing of the sport with regards to the PDC and BDO. In South Africa, we don’t have a lot of money tournaments; it is more trophy-based in a sense. If we add more money to the tournaments itself players can make a living from it and eventually ply their trade in the UK. But if you need to work five days a week there is no way you can possibly come over to the UK and give it a go.

“The standard of darts in South Africa itself is a really good standard but we’re not exposed to as many international tournaments. If you are a normal player you need to save a lot of money before you can come in to the UK to play. It’s difficult.”

Petersen is a player who comes across as the eternal optimist. After losing a year of his career due to an arm injury, The Spartan has since battled back and maintains a positive outlook on his future in the game, with a return to the Ally Pally stage the main priority after he missed the cut last year.

“I’ve overcome the challenges that I’ve faced strongly and I’ve moved into a much better place on the Order of Merit – but I want to achieve top 50 minimum by the end of this year,” Petersen said.

“The last year has been a lot better than I expected. I am getting a lot more used to the top-quality standard. The last 12 months has been great but I think the next 12 months is going to be amazing.

“Getting back to the Alexandra Palace is definitely on course now. I’m in the running for the Matchplay as well so there’s a lot on board just now. Qualifying for the Worlds comes when you do well in the other tournaments so I’m just taking it one tournament at a time.

Business commitments and family life has meant Petersen spends much of his time making the gruelling 20-hour journey from the township of Mitchells Plain to the UK and back again.

However, the 29-year-old says that a possible permanent relocation to British shores may be in the offing in the near future:“(Commuting back and forth from Cape Town) is effectively life in a suitcase,” he said. “Last year I probably travelled 15 times through the year. This year I will be down to six trips maximum. Because I have so many exhibitions I am staying in the UK for two months at a time before travelling back. It’s still quite tiring.

“Last weekend I only arrived in the UK on Thursday and travelled to Barnsley to play on the Friday morning, it’s basically a full day of travel. It is things you need to battle with as a touring foreign player. It’s something I need to do but I’ve managed it so far and getting a lot better at it. I’m looking for a good six or seven months on tour.

“I would definitely consider moving to the UK. After this year it will be one of those questions where I am going to have to either stay over full-time or look at further movements but I definitely want to move over. The potential of my family coming here in the next year would also motivate me to stay here for the rest of the time I’m playing on tour.”

Petersen is a born entertainer, with his walk-on dance moves almost as prominent as his prowess at the oche. For him, darts should be enjoyed as a form of entertainment as the on-stage camaraderie between Peter Wright and himself as seen in Dusseldorf last year a prime example.

“It changes the dynamic, the profile and the media appeal of the game,” said Petersen. “If it is just guys playing a sport with no real hype, no real entertainment value, it will wither away. With players now changing their character and the way they are, everyone is just trying to create their own profile. It is amazing because their own character is portrayed to the darting community and the audience. The PDC enjoy it because it’s more entertaining. It can help attract sponsorship and then increases Pro Tour winnings for the players.

“There are characters in the sport. It can come across as a dull sport because watching someone throw from 501 is not really as entertaining but seeing emotion and players wearing their heart on their sleeve can be big factors in TV views as well.“

Petersen turns 30 in June – his birthday landing on the same weekend of the World Cup of darts, and reckons an ideal present would be victory for his nation in Frankfurt.

“It’s funny you mention it because I was thinking about it yesterday! Maybe making the World Cup final could be my birthday present.

“I feel that the way I am playing along with Graham (Filby) we are the dark horses to come through. I think we will give a few teams a good game and maybe surprise everybody. You never know, we might just win it.”

Chisnall: Two points will save me

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Dave Chisnall of England celebrates victory during his first round match on day two of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on December 15, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Dave Chisnall faces Gary Anderson on Premier League duty next week

Dave Chisnall hopes that two points from his remaining Premier League fixtures will ensure his survival in the competition beyond judgement night.

Chizzy suffered a fourth straight defeat in Glasgow last Thursday, going down 7-5 to Raymond van Barneveld.

The loss of form has come as a shock to the system for the Yellow Peril, who reached the semi-finals of last year’s competition after a sparkling run of form.

However he now sits alarmingly close to the drop zone, only a vastly superior leg difference separating him and 9th placed Michael Smith.

But the 35-year-old reckons a point apiece in his remaining fixtures with Gary Anderson and Peter Wright will make certain of his involvement after week nine in Cardiff, speaking exclusively to Darts World at an exhibition event in Aberdeenshire.

“I’ve only two games left to make it work, both are against top players,” said Chisnall.

“I’m in 8th just now and I think two points would make me safe. I can nick a point in both games but it all depends on how I play on the night. It’s not being going right for me this year but that’s darts. I just have to pick myself up and get on with it.

Chisnall was one of the surprise packages in 2015, finishing as runner-up in the final table before an agonising last leg defeat against Anderson in the semi-final.

And he admits that the sudden drop in fortunes is something that has puzzled him.

“Everything’s the same (from last year)”, said Chisnall. “I do everything on stage the same as I always have done. I can’t blame anyone else apart from myself.

“I’ve got two weeks left. I’m losing games at the wrong time. I’m snatching at my darts and they’re going into the ones and the fives. I don’t know what the problem is.

“I’ve got Gary Anderson on Thursday and I’ll just try and put the last seven weeks behind me. If they go, then they go. You come to exhibitions to try and get your game back on. For me, it’s all about what happens on the night. I could be special next week, you never know.”

The UK Open's greatest upsets

The UK Open’s greatest upsets

The UK Open is a tournament where players dare to dream; where the seemingly impossible can, for one weekend, become possible.

Since its inception in 2003, it has rightly earned its moniker as the ‘FA Cup of darts’ due to the competition format and nature of conjuring up the unlikeliest of scenarios.

Some of the biggest upsets of the history of the game has occurred on stages at both its inaugural home of Bolton and the current setting of Minehead.

Michael van Gerwen sealed back-to-back final triumphs over Peter Wright after an 11-4 hammering.
However the story of the weekend was undoubtedly written by Rileys qualifier Barry Lynn.

The Essex boy became the first ever amateur to reach the last eight of the tournament, enjoying an incredible victory over Gary Anderson.

Darts World accordingly takes a look back at some of the tournament’s biggest upsets.

2008 Semi-Final – GARY MAWSON v Raymond van Barneveld


Having knocked out Phil Taylor in the quarter-final, Raymond van Barneveld was odds on favourite to reach a third successive final having become the first man to successfully defend the UK Open.

On the other hand, Gary Mawson – a Canadian-born turned naturalised American player – almost never got to play in the tournament at all, having lost his Canadian passport at an airport in New York before his flight over to Manchester.

Luckily, his British passport obtained from living in Bolton as a child was in his possession which allowed him entry into the UK. Mawson was perhaps just as fortunate to have a rather straightforward passage to the semi-final, with only Mark Dudbridge and Wayne Jones the only notable players eliminated on route.

At first glance, it looked like Barney would brush aside Mawson, whose biggest achievement in the professional game was reaching the quarter-finals of the Desert Classic, yet the Dutchman was in for a big surprise.

Mawson bore a striking resemblance to the then-Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benitez, and three years on from Rafa’s own ‘miracle of Istanbul’, the man who had pre-tournament odds of 500-1 produced a minor miracle of his own by taking out D12 to sink Barney 10-8 in a pulsating last four encounter to end Barney’s 16-match unbeaten run in the tournament as a result.

However a meeting with James Wade in the final proved too much for the Mawler, going down 11-7 to the 25-year-old.

Since then: Mawson failed to recreate his form shown in Bolton in the remainder of his career. He represented the United States in the 2012 World Cup before retiring a year later.


osborne‘Ozzy’ makes the cut for a trio of upsets during the 2009 edition of the tournament.

He first shot to prominence in his last 16 tie, where Raymond van Barneveld was on the wrong end of another upset, being comfortably dispatched 9-4.

The emerging talent of Jamie Caven was next up but again Osborne demonstrated what he was capable of by trouncing his opponent 10-3.

Kevin Painter was next up in the semi-final but another scalp was claimed, this time recording a 10-7 victory over the Artist.

Phil Taylor proved a bridge too far however, with Osborne losing out 11-6 to the Power in the final despite another valiant performance.

Since then: Osborne exacted revenge on Taylor within weeks by winning the short-lived Championship League. However Ozzy disappeared from the big time as quickly as he spawned and currently sits 170th in the PDC rankings.

2010 Quarter-Finals – TONY AYRES v James Wade

ayresT-Man Tony Ayres scooped a £10,000 prize for his run to the semi-finals six years ago.

The Billinghurst boy was a virtual unknown in the run-up the tournament, with his sole TV performance occurring in a 0-9 annihilation at the hands of Raymond van Barneveld in 2008.

But he produced a massive shock in his quarter-final with James Wade.

Ayres recovered from an early deficit to take a seemingly improbable 8-6 lead.

Yet it seemed that big stage nerves and fortune would agonisingly turn against him when it mattered the most as Wade came back from the dead to go back in front at 8-9.

Lady Luck then reared her head away from Wade, who missed three match darts before Ayres produced an incredible 152 checkout to take the match to a last leg decider, finishing with D18 to complete a sensational victory.

Since then: Ayres was subsequently beaten by Gary Anderson in the semi-finals and never reached the heady heights again, dropping out of the game completely just three years after his amazing run to the last four.

2014 – ADEN KIRK v Phil Taylor & Peter Wright

aden kirkTaylor was toppled in perhaps the most unlikely of circumstances as an untapped 22-year-old talent produced a performance beyond his years as the 16-time World Champion was eliminated at the first hurdle.

Nottingham-born Kirk had never even appeared on TV prior to the tournament but was unfazed by the Butlins stage.

Taylor was already reeling having lost his opening four Premier League fixtures and TWICE bust 130 as Kirk took a 4-2 and 5-3 lead before being pegged back.

However, he held his nerve to send Taylor hurtling out on the back of a 9-7 defeat as the darting world shook to its core.

And if that was impressive, Kirk showed he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder as he duly dispatched World Championship finalist Peter Wright in the last 32 with four legs to spare.

Although he was beaten by Brendan Dolan in the next round, the factory worker earned his biggest prize to date by scooping a cool £5,000. It was the first time the event had been held in Minehead but Kirk’s name was certainly illuminated in lights in the sleepy Somerset town.

Since then: Currently ranked 155 in the world.

2016 4th round – BARRY LYNN v Gary Anderson

barry lynnIt is a darting tale which few will forget in a hurry.

Barry Lynn, a dustman from Essex, created history by becoming the first amateur to reach the quarter-finals of the UK Open – and in the most incredible fashion.
Lynn had initially made the cut for the tournament as a Riley’s qualifier. Even making the first round was an achievement in itself – however what would occur over the course of this weekend was beyond his wildest dreams.

He proceeded to the third round without mere notice after dispatching two fellow Riley’s qualifiers.

However, some eyebrows were raised after his 9-6 win over Brendan Dolan.

What would happen next would even ensure Aden Kirk was overthrown as the ‘cupset’ king.

Lynn stormed into a 4-0 lead against the reigning back-to-back World Champion Gary Anderson, and although the Scot temporarily staged a comeback at 5-2, Lynn hammered home three successive legs to give himself an unassailable lead on the way to a trouncing.

It wasn’t as if he had scraped through in a final leg decider. This was a 9-3 trouncing and Anderson could only stand in amazement as to what had just taken place.

And the party wasn’t going to cease just yet. Lynn then beat Stuart Kellett with an 88.3 average to secure a quarter-final berth.

Eventual winner Michael van Gerwen may have got the better of him, but a brave showing by Lynn saw him run the Dutchman close losing out 6-10.

Lynn may never achieve such stardom in the rest of his darting career but this was a weekend where he stole the show.

Thornton suffers early UK Open exit - Afternoon session round-up

Thornton suffers early UK Open exit – Afternoon session round-up


Thornton suffers early UK Open exit - Afternoon session round-upFormer youth world finalist Arron Monk produced the shock of the afternoon by knocking out Robert Thornton 6-4 in the second round of the UK Open.

It had already been a week to forget for Thornton after last night’s Premier League defeat to Gary Anderson.

And the Scot was left stunned by Monk, 25, who now goes on to face Phil Taylor in the next hurdle at Minehead.

There were several big names on show in the opening rounds, with 2011 finalist Wes Newton also on the end of a shock reversal, losing 6-4 to debutant Rob Cross.

Dean Winstanley squeezed by Kevin Painter in one of the hotly-anticipated ties of the second round, Winstanley defeating the Artist 6-4 despite his opponent firing home a 12-dart leg.

Andrew Gilding may have upset the odds by reaching the semi-finals of this tournament last year but suffered an upset himself after he went down 6-5 to 23-year-old Dutchman Ryan de Vreede.

Brendan Dolan set up a third round tussle with another debutant, Barry Lynn, after he brushed aside Scott Marsh in his fixture.

Jamie Caven, Darren Webster, Ronny Huybrechts all safely negotiated a passage through to tonight’s action albeit Rowby-John Rodriguez, Cristo Reyes and Andy Smith were among the players ranked in the Order of Merit top 50 to suffer a premature exit.
Third round ties take place tonight and is live on ITV 4 from 7pm.

Main Stage
First Round
Wes Newton 6-4 Mark Cox
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Mark Rice
Alex Roy 6-1 Dennis Smith
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Andy Smith
Second Round
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-5 William O’Connor
Lee Evans 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Arron Monk 6-4 Robert Thornton
Dean Winstanley 6-4 Kevin Painter

Stage Two
First Round
Andy Boulton 6-4 Lee Grimshaw
William O’Connor 6-1 Mark Jodrill
Magnus Caris 6-5 Jason Mold
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Mick McGowan
Second Round
Matt Clark 6-5 Mike De Decker
Joey Ten Berge 6-5 Mark Dudbridge
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Scott Marsh
Ryan Harrington 6-4 Darron Brown

Stage Three
First Round
Kevin Dowling 6-2 Dick van Dijk
Jonathan Worsley 6-1 Curtis Turner
Arron Monk 6-3 Stewart Rattray
Barry Lynn 6-4 Dean Stewart
Second Round
Jamie Caven 6-2 Gary Stone
Mark Frost 6-4 Mark Barilli
Robbie Green 6-3 Yordi Meeuwisse
Ronny Huybrechts 6-4 Jay Foreman

Stage Four
First Round
Ben Green Bye (Jason Hogg eliminated, did not register in time)
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Michael McFall
Harry Ward 6-3 Alan Tabern
Paul Hogan 6-3 Daniel Day
Second Round
Andy Jenkins 6-5 Wayne Jones
Steve Maish 6-4 Paul Milford
Josh Payne 6-1 Harry Ward
Darren Webster 6-2 Scott Dale

Stage Five
First Round
Mark Barilli 6-1 Darren Layden
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Ian McFarlane
Ryan De Vreede 6-3 Nathan Derry
Darren Webster 6-0 Lee Morris
Second Round
Richie Corner 6-5 Berry van Peer
Alex Roy 6-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Barry Lynn 6-4 Brett Claydon
Andrew Davidson 6-4 Cristo Reyes

Stage Six
First Round
Mark Frost 6-0 Andy Brown
Joe Murnan 6-2 Paul Whitworth
Andrew Davidson 6-5 Jan Dekker
Steve Maish 6-5 Jason Heaver
Second Round
Matthew Edgar 6-4 Mark Wilson
David Pallett 6-1 Jason Marriott
James Wilson 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross 6-4 Wes Newton

Stage Seven
First Round
Mark Wilson Bye (Les Delderfield eliminated, did not register in time)
Dean Winstanley 6-5 John Scott
Paul Milford 6-1 Chris Jones
Scott Marsh 6-1 Steven Rose
Second Round
Joe Murnan 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 Peter Hudson
Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Kevin Dowling
Magnus Caris 6-3 Ben Green

Stage Eight
First Round
Gary Stone 6-5 Johnny Haines
Rob Cross 6-3 Ken MacNeil
Ryan Harrington 6-1 Glen McGrandle
Josh Payne 6-2 Dave Parletti
Second Round
Andy Boulton 6-2 Jonathan Worsley
Ryan De Vreede 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Tony Newell 6-1 Paul Hogan
Stuart Kellett 6-5 Nathan Aspinall

Raymond Van Barneveld

Raymond van Barneveld – Top 5 PDC Moments

Raymond Van BarneveldThis week sees Raymond van Barneveld celebrate his tenth anniversary since joining the PDC.

In that time, Barney has become a legend of the professional game, with numerous major titles stacking up alongside his four world championships won whilst playing in the BDO.

The ‘Barney Army’, the colourful following of fans which accompanies the 48-year-old at every tournament, is now almost synonymous with the sport of darts.

To celebrate a decade at the top table, Darts World takes a nostalgic look back at Raymond’s top five PDC moments ahead of his trip to Dublin for week 3 of the premier league

5 – 2006 – First ever Premier League nine-darter

Only one day after announcing his switch from the BDO to the PDC, a then 39-year-old Raymond took to the Premier League stage for the first time against Ronnie Baxter in Blackburn. The Dutchman’s career had already been well-documented given he was the holder of FOUR world titles during his time in the BDO, only one short of Eric Bristow’s record.

Barney had been instated to the seven-man division as a wildcard pick and a sensational debut in the big time saw him hammer Baxter 8-1.

The step-up from the BDO had come like water off a duck’s back and had already shown signs that he was a force to be reckoned with a 100% win record in the opening weeks.

Less than a month after his debut, he made history by becoming the first man to ever hit a perfect leg in the competition, a year after its inception. Peter Manley was to fall victim of
Barney’s proficiency in Bournemouth, scoring out at D12.

It was an incredible feat given Barney was a novice to the PDC stage but nothing seemed to faze him as he eventually made the semi-finals of the tournament.

4 – 2007 & 2008 – Back-to-back UK Open titles

Following that World Championship win, the rise and rise of Barney as a juggernaut on the circuit continued. Welshman Barrie Bates was swept aside 13-7 in the final at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium with Barney recording a 91.5 average to boot but the best was still yet to come for 2007 as far as he was concerned.

A year later, he became the first man to ever record back-to-back UK Open titles. Phil Taylor and Colin Lloyd were brushed aside 11-4 on the way to facing fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort in the final. A 95 average was enough for Barney to triumph 16-8 in a convincing performance.

3 – 2012 Grand Slam

The year had started with arguably the most humiliating defeat of his professional career, a 0-3 hammering by bricklayer and world number 85 James Richardson at the Ally Pally. In terms of form, it had been an indifferent year but by the time Wolverhampton loomed Barney was ready to put everything behind him. He managed to scrape through the group stage by virtue of a superior leg difference but two ton-plus averages in the knockout rounds saw him set up a final showdown with his compatriot Michael van Gerwen. Barney led for the majority of the affair, but despite three missed match darts just prior, he ran out 16-13 winner with an 11-dart leg against the throw seal the £100,000 prize. A tearful Barney collected the trophy and thus his first major title in over five years after a bout that was recognised as the best televised PDC performance of the year.

2 – 2014 Premier League

Although not among the favourites for the 2014 Premier League given the emergence of Michael van Gerwen and the ever-ominous challenge of Phil Taylor amongst others, Barney defied the odds to win his first ever title, eight years after his sensational debut.

This tournament saw him produce one of his most consistent spells in many a year, going the first round of fixtures unbeaten on route to eventually finishing second after the 15 week league stage.

And after missing out on a first place berth, the Barney Army would have been feeling a tad pessimistic after finding out their favourites’ semi-final opponent. Barney had never beaten Phil Taylor in 20 previous Premier League meetings, but the hoodoo finally snapped with an extraordinary 8-4 win after trailing 1-4 at one stage.

Van Gerwen was again his counterpart in the final, and again Barney defied the odds to take home the big prize at the O2 in London. With the game evenly balanced at 5-5, the elder of the two Dutchmen managed to take control by hammering home four successive legs to all but secure victory. D10 was the magic checkout to exorcise his Premier League demons of the past and triumph 10-6.

1 – 2007 World Champion

Barney’s finest moment of his glittering career must surely go down as his World Championship crown, as he became the last man to ever win the title at the Circus Tavern before the switch to the Alexandra Palace the following year.

The feat was made even more remarkable given that less than a year earlier he had only made his PDC debut in the Premier League. Many would argue that this was the true peak of the man from The Hague’s career, and for good reason.

The final itself would go down as one of the greatest darts matches of the decade. Perhaps ever.

The rivalry between Barney and ‘The Power’ was a relatively new but yet a fiercely contested one and fireworks were to be expected when the pair took to the stage on New Year’s Day.
In a bizarre move, Taylor took to the stage sporting an orange shirt – more commonly worn by the Dutchman as the colour of his national football team – and the mind games had undoubtedly started before the first dart was even thrown in anger.

Barney looked helpless as Taylor took a commanding 0-3 lead and well on course for (what would have been) an unbelievable TWELFTH World Championship win.

However the Dutchman managed to get a foothold of what was the biggest night of his life, taking the tie back to 2-3 with a magnificent 170 and then 129 finishes.

The Tavern tension ebbed back and forth, and although Taylor then managed to pull 5-3 ahead, van Barneveld came roaring back again to level 5-5 against the throw.

If it hadn’t been crunch time already, it was now.

Barney won the eleventh seat to complete another unbelievable comeback and went in front for the first time in the evening, but The Power was not going to relinquish that unassailable world championship record without an answer back, levelling up once again after Barney had missed the chance of a 170 finish to take the match to a deciding set.

Barney drew first blood, but was soon pegged back with Taylor’s 13-dart reply. D16 saw him move to within a leg of victory and as the set moved into two clear leg territory, THREE botched attempts at tops by van Barneveld allowed Taylor a respite. Both players were averaging over a ton, and with the final set ebbing back and forth it would take a sudden death deciding leg to settle it all.

The Dutchman won the throw off the bull and proved pivotal, with one dart at tops enough for Barney to win his fifth world title.
It was one of the greatest darts finals that the world had ever seen.

But it all belonged to Raymond van Barneveld.