Elusive Exclusive: Superchin Rested & Ready!

You could be forgiven for thinking that Daryl Gurney had vanished into thin air over recent weeks. Unlike many darts stars, Superchin has been barely visible recently. After poor facilities meant he missed the Home Tour and has hardly appeared in the media. Darts World’s reader contributor Elias Wilhelm was keen to track down the elusive two-time major winner:

DARYL GURNEY was a whisker away from the final of the World Matchplay last year, but he lost out after an incredible chase by Rob Cross. It was one of his most painful defeats. He wants to do better this year.


In a short conversation Elias the World Grand Prix Champion admits that he enjoyed the time-out a lot. He was able to “spend more time with his son after the three and a half years of non-stop playing”.


The Northern Irishman added that he hadn’t had a dart in his hand for a long time. It is only very recently that he started his preparations for the continuation of the Pro Tour, which begins with the Summer Series on July 8.


“To be honest, I enjoyed the time not playing. […] I didn’t
touch a dart for 12 weeks. I’ve just started playing again.”


Daryl did not participate in the Home Tour due to his bad internet. In addition, his set-up has been temporarily hanging on his father’s bathroom door. Laughing, he said that there would be problems if someone needed the bathroom.


In addition to the Summer Series, the World Matchplay will also take place in mid July. Whether spectators are admitted will only be announced at short notice. In this respect, ‘Superchin’ agrees completely with the decisions taken by the PDC.

He has no doubt about what Barry Hearn and Matthew Porter determine:


“I think, Barry [Hearn] and Matthew [Porter] know what They are doing.

I trust them.”


Although it will be hard for the Players Championship winner to “get used to strict conditions”, he said that he has no other choice if he wants to play again.

Above all, Daryl is looking forward to the World Matchplay, which will start on July 18. Last he lost to Rob Cross in the semifinals despite an interim 7-leg lead. Now he is more hungry than ever for the Phil Taylor-Trophy.

“Yes, I’m very hungry. Especially after what happened last
year.”

Despite this, he yearns most for winning the World Championships. He never made it there further than the quarterfinals. He often lost in the first rounds of the tournament. He’d give anything to call himself a world champion:

“I would swap everything I’ve won to be called World Champion. I yearn for it more than any other title.”


Daryl will try to return to ‘fitness’ upcoming in the Summer Series. Afterward, it will be very exciting to see if the Winmau thrower can do better at the World Matchplay than last year if he can count himself among the glorious winners of the Phil Taylor Trophy.


Pix: Taylor Lanning.

Young Guns Forcing Generational Change? Or The Old Guard Failing To Keep Up?

Darts World lets our readers have their voice heard and, it’s fair to say, our reader *Elias Wilhelm has gone from gentle homage to the Winter Gardens, to a full blast at some of our senior Pro’s:

In recent years, many young players, such as Aspinall, Dobey or De Zwaan, have attracted a lot of attention. Slowly, but surely they supplant themselves into the world’s elite. Slightly older players just can’t seem to keep up.

The Asp, Nathan Aspinall, has been amongst a group of younger players nipping at the heels of those who have been at the top for many years.(pic: Taylor Lanning)

How can it be that these are being harassed by young players from their place at the top of the world? Terry Jenkins, Ronnie Baxter, Mervyn King, Kevin Painter, Andy Hamilton, Robert Thorton. These were all players who have played in the Premier League in the last ten years. Now some have almost completely disappeared, while some have to fight to keep their spot on the tour.

Raymond van Barneveld ended his career simply because he no longer had the ability to win. He was in pain. It was too hard for him to endure, to go to tournaments, and hardly ever to win.

In addition, many trips were a problem for him. His departure was then at the end of last year full of disgrace. That’s exactly how many older players feel. The whole trips back and forth is much too exhausting. The tournament calendar is getting more and more crowded.

RVB’s career petered out over the last few years (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG).

The tournaments are indispensable for them because otherwise, they would drop in the rankings. That’s why they have no choice if they want to stay successful, they have to play and play and play. On top of that, strong young players join in. Especially the players, like Nathan Aspinall, who are almost unstoppable. Full of energy, they’re pushing up the rankings. Also players, like Humphries or Van Den Bergh, who beat big players every now and then and score good results.


All this makes it difficult for the older players, which is why it is no wonder that they are slowly being ousted from the world elite. Experience no longer plays such a big role and young players have a lot of self-confidence and no respect for,(or perhaps, fear of) the older players.

Everbronze? The Adonis does not conform to the conventions in any way!

Many are happy when players like Steve Beaton or Mervyn King can still keep up. But it is obvious that time is running out for the veterans.


Elias Wilhelm (@ewh27) is a Darts World reader and budding darts writer who appears to be getting the hang of our ‘Talking Points’!

*Reader’s writes is Darts World’s area for our reader’s voices to be heard. Their views are their own and do not represent the opinions of the magazine or its staff.

World Matchplay Without A Crowd. Could Blackpool Be Silenced?


A few days ago, the PDC announced that the World Matchplay will take place on the planned dates. With or without a crowd. At the beginning of July, the PDC will make a decision on the venue presence of spectators.

BETFRED WORLD MATCHPLAY 2019 WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG)

If no crowd is allowed, the prestigious tournament will be held behind closed doors. Hardly imaginable, but then Blackpool may be silent this year. The 27th edition of the World Matchplay will start on 18 July.

The second most important tournament, after the World Championships, in the PDC calendar is also known for the fantastic atmosphere in the Winter Gardens. The World Matchplay has been played in Blackpool since its inception in 1994, but this year it might be different.

There is still no end to the strict conditions resulting from the spread of the coronavirus. The PDC has
no choice but to decide on the admission of spectators in the short term. If the decision is to play the
World Matchplay behind closed doors, many fans will have to do without Blackpool this year.

It is unclear whether the tournament will be held in the same way as the Superleague in Germany or
whether it will be similar to a Pro Tour event or completely different. What is certain, however, is
that the PDC will try to make the World Matchplay as special and entertaining as possible.

We’ve already seen how much effort some of the PDC staff put into the Home Tour to offer the fans live
darts. So if it turns out that the trip to Blackpool is cancelled for many, we can still look forward to a unique World Matchplay.

One thing’s for sure, if next year’s World Matchplay comes returns to normal, there will be an even more raucous atmosphere in Winter Gardens after a two-year silence.


Our thanks to Elias Wilhelm (@ewh27) for this affectionate contribution. Many in darts feel similarly about the Winter Gardens, including the man whom the trophy is named after!

Chilton & Gillan win World ParaDarts United Lockdown Titles.

World ParaDarts’ maiden tournament, the World ParaDarts United Lockdown tournament, was played to a fantastic conclusion last Sunday evening, with Winmau duo Ricky Chilton and Rob Gillan taking the Stand and Wheelchair titles respectively.

The whole tournament was played remotely from each player’s home around the World and streamed live via the World Paradarts Facebook group here.

In the standing category Ricky Chilton defeated Jon Hirst 4-1 in what was a tighter final than the scoreline suggests. The Welshman also defeated David Johnson en route to the final, coming out the 4-2 victor at that stage.

New Zealander Rob Gillan was crowned the Wheelchair classification champion with a 4-1 win over Dutchman Arie van de Rassel. Gillan also defeated Darren Kennish by the same scoreline in his semi-final, whilst Arie defeated Patrick Morrison 4-0 in their semi-final.

Full results


Full results and original article at winmau.com

De Dekker Aims To Repeat Home Tour Efforts!

MIKE DE DECKER reached the semi-finals of the new Home Tour last week and was able to beat two world champions on the way there, but the Belgian would rather add some ranking points to his current tally.

Chatting with Darts World reader, and contributor, Elias Wilhelm, the multiple Development Tour winner was keen to reassure his many fans that he is in good health and is not suffering too badly during these Covid-19 hit times.

Mike stated that he was “proud and happy to have reached the semi-finals” of the Low6 sponsored event, but that this was not so important to him. He would prefer to reach a few semi-finals on the Pro Tour when it starts again.

The Belgian was able to earn a Tour Card for the first time in 2015 with the Development
Tour, but lost it after two years. Then, earlier this year, ‘The Real Deal’ reclaimed his place in the PDC elite via the Q-School.

During the early part of 2020 he often played very well, with mixed results, but he still thinks that he deserved more.

“I’m happy with how I played, not with the results I got. With
the way I played at the beginning of the year, I deserved more.”

In order to improve his results, he is preparing himself, in the best way possible, to attack fully
when the season starts again.

The former Belgian national champion has changed his overall approach recently. He no longer sets himself precise goals for this year, but instead has more general aims but plans to give his best and looks towards what is coming up.

De Dekker stated:

“I had a main goal this year and that was to qualify for the worlds. Well, with everything that happened in the last few months,

I’m just gonna let it come to me. I’ll do my best, as I always do, but I’ll not look towards the end of the year.”

In order to stay ‘match sharp’ De Dekker has been playing quite a bit of virtual darts and seems to be well prepared for a restart, to the PDC Pro Tour, even at short notice.

De Dekker at the UK Open (L Lustig/PDC).

“I play various online tournaments and I try to practice online with other players. It’s good to
still have some competitive games running.”

The 25-year-old understands the difficulties faced by the professional organisations and does not want to criticize anything about the decisions that the PDC has to make at the moment.

“I’m a player. It is not my job to criticize them on things they know best.

De Dekker’s fluent style, and his floor event experience, indicate that he has his doubts about applying the ‘traffic light’ model that we have recently seen at the Super League event in Germany.

He added:

“I could play as they do in Germany. I don’t mind waiting to throw until the opponent is off the oche.

I just don’t think this is really suitable for the Pro Tour. “

Mike will be aiming for Pro Tour semi-finals and more major qualifications to show that he is, truly, ‘The Real Deal‘.


Mike was chatting with our reader/contributor Elias Wilhelm (@ewhh27)

O’Shea Tops Remote Darts League Table.


The Reigning World Masters Champion John O’Shea moved top of the league on Monday Night as he secured 3 wins from three over Tony O’Shea, Larry Butler and Laura Turner.

John O'Shea wins Round 2 IMC - Sports Matters TV
John O’Shea (BDO)

The opening game of the night saw the 1994 World Matchplay Champion Larry Butler take on 2020 BDO Women’s World Championship Quarter-Finalist and Sky Sports Darts Pundit Laura Turner.

The match kicked off with Butler firing in a first 180 in just his 2nd visit to the board before squandering 3 darts for the leg which allowed Turner to snatch it in 17 darts and break Butler’s throw.

The American then broke backfiring in a 2nd 180 and winning the leg in 25 darts. Butler then commanded the match from there on in, winning 5 straight legs which included a further 2 180’s and the winning legs in 15, 18, 17, 24 and 20 darts respectively and allowing Turner just 8 darts at the outer ring during that period to win the game 6-1and pick up a 5th win from 10 outings in the Remote Darts League.

The second game of the night saw the battle of the O’Shea’s as Englishman Tony O’Shea took on
Irishman John O’Shea. The match kicked off with Tony firing in a 1st 180 but squandering 4 darts at the
outer ring which allowed John to step in and take the leg in 16 darts to break the throw, which he then
backed it up with a 20 dart leg to move 2-0 ahead. Tony then picked up his 1st leg of the match in 19
darts, which ended up being his only leg won as John then rattled off 4 consecutive legs which included
2 180’s and winning legs in 16, 11, 20 and 14 darts respectively to take the match 6-1 and move 3 points
ahead of Tony in the league phase going into game 3 of the evening.

The third game of the night saw Tony O’Shea up against Larry Butler, with O’Shea looking to pick up his
first points of the evening and Butler hoping for back to back wins.

The match began with O’Shea pinninga 1st 180 and a 16-dart leg before back to back 18 darts legs from Butler including a 1st 180 saw him move 2-1 ahead. O’Shea then completed the same fate in winning back to back legs in 18 and 15 darts
respectively and a 180 in both of them.

Three consecutive holds of throw in legs 6,7 and 8 with Butler pinning a 19 dart leg to square the match at 3 apiece before both pinning 14 dart legs, firstly Tony then Larry to ensure the match will go all the way to a 10th and deciding leg. In the 9th leg, Butler broke with a 19-dart leg to go within one from back to back wins in the evening’s action thus far. Butler kicked off the deciding leg with a 3rd 180, which put O’Shea under slight pressure as he needed to fire back. A missed dart at tops for a 73 checkout and a 15-dart leg from Butler, allowed O’Shea back to the board on 116, which he took out brilliantly to earn his 1st point of the evening.

Game four pitted John O’Shea up against Laura Turner and at least a 6-2 win would see O’Shea move into the top 4 of the league phase for the time being. It is fair to say the match was onesided as O’Shea stormed into a 3-0 lead, winning legs in 17, 16 and 23 darts respectively as well as a 1st 180.

The match had a small interruption as O’Shea had some slight technical issues, but the match
resumed within 5 minutes. The interruption did not affect O’Shea though as he won 3 legs on the spin in
18, 16 and 17 darts respectively which included a 2nd 180 and a brilliant 140 checkout. The win meant
that O’Shea would only need a point in the last match of the night to ensure that he will end in the
evening in the top 4 of the league phase but a win would see him move top of the table.

The fifth featured John O’Shea and US veteran Larry Butler, with a point needed for O’Shea to
move into top 4 or a win to move top of the table and at least a 6-1 win or better from Butler to see him
move into top 4. The match began with an 18-dart break of throw from Butler before O’Shea rattled off 3
consecutive legs in 15, 20, and 14 darts respectively including 2 180s. Butler then won back to back legs
in 13 and 14 darts respectively and in both legs, fired in a 180. O’Shea then moved 4-3 ahead with a 15-
dart leg before missing 1 dart for a point in 8th leg of the match with Butler winning it in 17 darts to
ensure that the match will go all the way.

Back to back legs from O’Shea in 19 and 15 darts respectively gave him his 3rd win of the night and ensure that he will end Night 14 of the Remote Darts League, Top of the table following wins over Tony O’Shea, Laura Turner and now Larry Butler 6-4.

The evening’s finale saw Laura Turner take on Tony O’Shea, with both looking to pick up their
1st win of the evening. It’s fair to say the match was quite one-sided with O’Shea inflicting Turner to a
2nd whitewash defeat of the night in winning his 6 legs in 18, 14, 19, 17, 15 and 13 darts respectively
including 2 180’s. The win meant O’Shea finished the evening 8th in the league phase having picked up
13 points from his 12 encounters meaning he’ll need a strong night when he plays his 3 final group
games in the hope of finishing in the top 4 and qualifying for the Semi-Finals.


The Remote Darts League continues on Tuesday with England’s Paul Hogan being the headline act and
he is joined by Dutchman Richard Veenstra, Canada’s David Cameron and England’s Lorraine
Winstanley. The action begins at 9pm BST and the action will be streamed on Facebook and You Tube
on the Remote Darts League site/channel.


Words: Joe Williams (@joewillo180)

Pics – Tip Top (BDO) & PDC/WDC

Lorraine Winstanley interview.

Pioneering Darts Online – How Far We’ve Come and How To Get Started!

The explosion of virtual, or online darts as it has become known in recent times, has reminded one of our readers, Shaun Rodgers, of the early days of such events. In addition, he thought you might like some handy tips on getting started!

The year is 2008 and, on an online darts forum (yes, forums were big at the time!) called Double16, myself and a group of friends decided we would run a darts league online, using webcams and darts software.

An early pioneer of online darts? Mark ‘Mile High’ Hylton (Pic; L Lustig / PDC)

This was quite a bold move at the time and the league received mixed reviews. Excellent players including Lorraine Winstanley (then’ Farlam) known as Dartchick and Mark ‘Mile High’ Hylton (above) took part, but issues soon cropped up. Webcams were not of as good a quality as they are today and sadly this led to cheating being widespread. The software was adequate but fairly limited in terms of capability, and the whole idea of online darts was generally ridiculed.

Fast forward 12 years and the world has changed. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in online darts drastically taking off with leagues, tournaments and general recreational play taking place all over the world. I was recently shown a Facebook group that has over 1,000 players taking part in a knockout tournament which runs for seven days. In addition, numerous leagues have popped up offering monetary prizes for the winner, funded by entry fees. Online darts has come a long way since the days of our small webcam league in 2008.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is blog%2Bbanner.jpg

Software has advanced significantly since 2008 and there are now a number of websites and applications that provide dart players with the ability to play against another opponent online from anywhere in the world with minimal technical intervention. Players can now, not only see their opponent’s board with a 1080hp quality camera, but they can also see them throwing the darts and chat with them using Facebook Live or Google Hangouts. We never dreamed that software like this would be available so soon. This doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility of cheating however, and this was confirmed to me just a few days ago when a player who typically has a 3-dart average in the late 50s hit a 9-dart finish against me and finished with a 87 average!

Anyway, enough of the cheats, let’s move on to how you can start playing online darts!

Set-up: The most important part of the set-up is the board; it needs to be as well lit as possible. Advancement in dart board lighting is now at its peak with the fantastic Target Corona Vision Lighting System leading the way, whilst the XQ Max lighting board surround has never looked brighter. Conventional ceiling lights can work reasonably, but the important point is your opponent should be able to see your board clearly.

Camera Location: There are two potential options for your camera. Firstly, and most recommended, you could adopt the normal left-hand-side view that is used with televised darts. For this approach, the camera needs to be level with the board and be in such a position where it is easy to see where your darts have entered the board. The other option is to place the camera in a front-on position. There is a notable trend that this position, whilst satisfactory, does tend to lead to more questions about where your darts have landed.

Throwing the Darts: You don’t have to position the camera to show you actually throwing the darts. You can if you wish, but this is down to personal preference. Some people use the split-screen system on streams to show both the board and them throwing the darts, but what’s most important is the ability for your opponent to see where your darts enter the board.

The Russ Bray App has been updated during Covid and has millions of downloads.

Application/Website: There are a multitude of options available, but we at DartsInStoke would recommend godartspro.com. This is a brilliant product, both for matches and practice sessions. However, to experience the full benefits and be able to play against an opponent you will need a premium account (DW Note: This feature and more is available on the improved from our own Russ Bray!).

It is often worth purchasing an upgrade as you can access valuable practice sessions and track your statistics. If you don’t want to spend much money then Nakka n01 is our first choice. This used to be a downloadable software but is now available online and you can play anyone across the globe with a capacity of over 3,000 players playing at the same time. Unfortunately, Nakka n01 does not show webcams, but if you make arrangements with an opponent to play, you can set a chatroom for them to be in and add a password so that only they can join you. Also on the market is Pro-Darter which is quickly growing in popularity. One key benefit of this product is that you can assign a Google Hangouts account, which means when you play your opponent you can see their board and chat with them at the same time, a website that offers all in one package and it is entirely free to use with no subscription fee.

In summary, online darts is here to stay and will continue to grow. There are some great products on the market. Remember to maintain darts etiquette when you’re playing online and no cheating!

Good luck and enjoy your darts!


Featured Pic: BDO / Tip Top pics

Light Editing: James Lincoln (for DW)

DW: Thanks Shaun for your informative and fun piece. We should have known that it would be so, hailing from the capital of darts, Stoke-on-Trent, you have to know your stuff up there!

O’Shea Claims Night 10 as ‘Remote Darts League’ Continues.

Stockport’s Tom O’Shea was the winner on Night 10 of the Remote Darts League as he picked up five
points from three games as he took on fellow pros David Cameron, Joe Charney and Tina Osborne.

Darryl Fitton - Latest breaking news, rumours and gossip - Sports Mole
O Shea came through a tough night to claim his win. (PDC)


So, Night 10 began with America’s Joe Chaney and England’s Tony O’Shea starting proceedings.

It was a game of two halves really as Chaney stormed into a 5-0 lead including a first 180 pinned and a 158 checkout to secure a 12 darter to move 4-0 ahead. In the opening 5 legs, O’Shea was only allowed 4
darts at the outer ring with Chaney’s scoring providing too strong for the Stockport Thrower. In the 6th
leg, O’Shea picked up his first leg on Double 16 for a 17 darter then backed it up with two legs in 15 and
14 darts which included a first maximum and a 146 checkout. O’Shea sent the match to a last-leg
decider with a 17 darter with Chaney sat on tops.

The last leg began sluggish for O’Shea as he failed to land a score over a ton in his opening 4 visits to the board leaving Chaney with an opportunity to storm ahead which he did in kicking off with a maximum and leaving 90 after 12. Slight pressure on Chaney with O’Shea bagging in a crucial 140 and the pressure took its toll as Chaney squandered 5 missed match darts with O’Shea pinning 41 in 2 to pick up a very valuable point in the opening game of the night.

The second match of the evening saw two players competing with a time zone difference of 15 hours.
Canada’s David Cameron and New Zealand’s Tina Osborne with Osborne hoping to pick up her first set
of points in the league phase having suffered 6 defeats from her opening 6 encounters. The match
began with the Canadian Cameron storming into a 5-0 lead in double quick time pinning the 5 legs in
18,15,21,15 and 14 darts respectively as well as two maximums and a 126 checkout along the way. In
the 6th leg, Osborne picked up a first and solitary leg in 24 darts before Cameron closed out the match
with a 22-dart leg and condemn the New Zealander to a 7th straight defeat.

The third game of the evening saw two players from similar parts of the globe with a distance of close to
2000 miles from each other as David Cameron took on Joe Charney with Cameron looking to move into
the top 4 with at least a point but Charney needing a victory to complete the same fate. The match began
with Cameron taking the opening leg in 19 darts before the American rattled off 4 legs in a row which
included two maximums and a leg which took him 26 darts to complete. Cameron followed with back to
back legs including a 2nd 180 before a 16-dart leg from Charney took within one of a 1st victory of the
evening. A 19 dart leg from Cameron took the encounter all the way with Charney leaving 36 after 12 but
squandering 3 match darts to allow Cameron back to the board on 116 which pinned under pressure in
seal the leg in 15 darts and picking a very valuable point which saw him move into the top 4 of the
league phase for the time being.

The fourth game of the evening saw Tony O’Shea and Tina Osborne both return in their second matches
of the night with O’Shea hoping to pick up his first win of the evening where Osborne continued her quest
to pick up her first set of points in the Remote Darts League campaign. The Stockport man began the
match with back to back legs in 14 and 18 darts respectively before missing 6 darts at the outer ring to
move three ahead which allowed Osborne back to the board on 68 which she pinned in 2 to move 2-1
behind.

From then on, O’Shea coasted to victory with 4 consecutive legs in 15,16,18 and 21 darts
respectively which included a solitary 180 and a 124 checkout on the bull. The victory saw Tony move
onto 8 points from 8 matches in the league phase and a third win in total.

The penultimate game of the night saw Tina Osborne and Joe Charney take on each other in their third
and final game of the evening with Charney searching for a first win of the evening to move into the top 4
temporarily, with O’Shea v Cameron to follow. The match kicked off with Charney breaking with a 20-dart
leg which followed with a leg in 16 to move two ahead. Charney then squanded six darts at the outer ring
to move 3-0 up which saw Osborne then clinch the leg in 25 darts which was then followed by a 24 dart
leg by Charney, taking out the highest checkout of the match, 109.

Every leg for the remainder of the match went on throw, which saw Charney clinch victory with a 14-dart leg on 93 to condemn Tina Osborne to a third defeat of the evening and a ninth consecutive defeat in the league phase.

The final game of the night saw Tony O’Shea take on David Cameron, where the winner would end the
evening as the sort of ‘Night Winner’ but a draw would mean that both will end up picking up 4 points on
the night, the same total as Joe Charney.

The game began with the first three legs all going with throw as O’Shea landed two of the three legs both in 16 darts whereas Cameron won his in 20. In the fourth leg, O’Shea broke with a 17-dart leg before Cameron broke back, pinning a first 180 of the match and a 13-dart leg on Double 8.

O’Shea then broke back in 15 darts where he then won the final two legs of the match, both in 17 darts, and finishing with a 96 checkout and a 6-2 win.

The win saw him pick up five points out of a possible six on the night as Night 10 of the Remote Darts League came to a close.

NIGHT 11 WILL FEATURE 2020 WORLD FINALIST (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ) JIM WILLIAMS IN ACTION.

The Remote Darts League continues on Thursday. Night 11 sees 2020 BDO World Championship
Finalist Jim Williams as the headline act. He is joined by Dutchman Richard Veenstra, Frenchman
Thibault Tricole and England’s Laura Turner, who has featured quite regularly in the last year as a pundit
in the Sky Sports Darts Team.


Thanks to Joe Williams for submitting this great summary of the Remote Darts League Action.

Darts World look forward to more of your work.

Revisited: 2019 Premier League Play-Off Night!

Twelve months ago MVG reasserted his dominance, over the Darting World, with another Premier League triumph. Our reader James Smith gives us his revisionist view:

Today, Thursday 21st May, would have been the day of the 2020 Premier League Darts Play-Offs at the O2 Arena, London, following a rigorous 17 nights of darts which began on 6th February in Aberdeen.

Would MVG have retain his Premier League Title, would Peter Wright have added another to his growing collection or would Glen Durrant have carried through his superb start? Sadly we will never know.

Sadly, the unfortunate and tragic situation we find ourselves in, means there will be no darts tonight. To fill the void, here is a look back at the 2019 Play-Offs.

12 months ago, Michael van Gerwen, Daryl Gurney, Rob Cross, and James Wade made the trip to London for the final night of action. Gurney was the only member of the quartet to have never made it to Play-Offs night previously and was the underdog. Cross had made the semi-finals at the first attempt the year before, losing 10-6 to van Gerwen in the semi-final.

James Wade had also made the Play-Offs night on his first attempt. Way back in 2008 he lost in the final 16-8 to Phil Taylor. He went one better the year later with a 13-8 victory over Mervyn King to lift the prestigious title.

Van Gerwen’s Premier League pedigree cannot be understated. Since he first appeared in the competition in 2013, he has made the final every year. After winning at the first attempt in 2013, van Gerwen lost back-to-back finals to Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld. His subsequent three consecutive titles meant that in 2019 he was a strong favourite and brimming with confidence. Quite rightly too, as his performances in each final, even when he lost, were sublime. His lowest three-dart average in any Premier League final came in 2014 where he recorded an excellent 102.98; whereas in 2018 he had brushed aside Michael Smith with a staggering 112.37.

This did not quite translate in his 2019 semi-final performance, where an inconsistent and patchy performance led to a 96.48 average, which was only just enough to sneak past Gurney 10-7 in a below-par match.

The MACHINE HAD SURPRISED MANY BY GETTING THIS FAR. (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG) JAMES WADE IN ACTION.

Cross looked much more assured in a comprehensive 10-5 victory over Wade, where the 2018 World Champion recorded an average of 100.31.

Going in to the final, one would have been forgiven for considering van Gerwen the clear favourite. The head-to-head of the two players was very much in the Dutchman’s favour, having lost only three times to Cross in 18 previous meetings. That being said, one of those three defeats was in a World Championship semi-final, so there was little doubt that Cross could produce high-quality darts against van Gerwen on the big stage.

In the Premier League, however, Cross had enjoyed no such luck. The Englishman’s first-ever game in the competition came in 2018 and resulted in a 7-2 loss to van Gerwen in Dublin, followed by a 7-2 loss in Birmingham and then the aforementioned 10-6 loss in the semi-final. En route to Play-Offs night in 2019, Cross and van Gerwen had alternated between first and second place in the league table from week six onwards, but the results between the two players had been similarly one-sided; van Gerwen enjoying another 7-2 victory in Dublin, and an emphatic 8-2 victory in Cardiff. Despite those results, with the dominance of the two players throughout the tournament so clear for all to see, this was the final that the majority of darts fans wanted and expected.

CROSS IMPRESSED IN THE EARLY STAGES OF THE FINAL. (PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG ) ROB CROSS IN ACTION.

The final, however, went along with the form book. Van Gerwen started the final with a fifteen-dart break of throw, before moving in to a 5-1 lead; a run of six legs in which Cross only had three darts at a double. It wasn’t until leg seven where Voltage got his game together, hitting his first maximum and taking the leg on his favourite double eighteen. Cross then won the next two legs as both players pushed their average over 102.

Perhaps the turning point of the match came in the tenth leg where Cross uncharacteristically missed three darts at double eighteen to level the match, allowing van Gerwen to swoop with a crucial checkout of 74 to take a 6-4 lead at the break.

Cross never recovered and was to take only one more leg in the match, ultimately going down 11-5. Mighty Mike raced to his fifth Premier League crown in quick time, hitting a 130 checkout on double eight to guarantee the £250,000 winner’s cheque.

Despite another defeat at the hands of the world number one, Cross could be proud of his performance. Whilst he missed some key doubles and failed to pressurise van Gerwen’s throw at times, he did manage an average of 100.98. Moreover, at 5-1 down, when he looked almost out of the match at a very early stage, he managed to turn his game around and all but level. Needless to say, he showed all the class that has pushed him in to the top five of the PDC Order of Merit, but, like every other player in the world, he’ll need to show more to topple the dominant Dutchman.


Thanks to James for another excellent read.

Additional editing – James Lincoln

Betway Premier League - Night Eight Round-Up

Thornton Swaps Domestic Duties for Home Tour Arrows!

ROBERT THORNTON admits he can give up the gardening to stay sharp on the oche for his PDC Home Tour online debut.

Thorn Gives Up Gardening To Stay Sharp
The Thorn – Rob will be away from the roses!

The Ayrshire ace will have to overcome his gadget phobias to take on Keegan Brown, Reece Robinson and Jose De Sousa in the streaming event tonight (Monday).

The Thorn, 52, has been strictly staying at home to protect his vulnerable wife while his daughter Jodie is also a care worker during the Covid-19 crisis.

He revealed: “We have missed an awful lot of events in the time the game has been in shutdown.

“There would have been events every single week over the eight weeks there has been since this all started and it’s been a lot of competitions missed.

“What can you do about it? There’s plenty of other things going on and the people I take my hat off to are the ones who are going into the heart of this crisis and work in it.

“The health workers, the nurses. Our Jodie is a care worker and she’ll not let anyone go without. She has been offered to take some time as holidays, but she won’t take any.

“These are the ones who are having the most to deal with along with those who have contracted the virus and their families.

“Yes I want to get back to playing darts, but it’s not really that important just now when you compare it with other things. That’s the perspective. 

“We all feel like we’re hard done by at times, but there are people out there risking their lives.”

Thornton, a former UK Open and Grand Prix major winner, is delighted to be back on the oche to get him away from gardening!

He added: “I wasn’t really that aware of the Home Tour when it all started. It was only really decided a week or so ago that I was going to be playing in it.

“The idea of keeping people’s arms working and also helping with practice which is a good thing.

“Also, it’s nice for the people at home to have something to watch and I’ve got it all worked out how I’m going to do it. 

“It’s a case of me getting my phone onto the tripod and switching it on.

“I tried to get it to work on the laptop and it was no good. I’m not great with these things. I’m technically-challenged! But I go to the PDC website and flick it on. That’s it.

“It’s better than having nothing to do and, as I said, it keeps me sharp.

“It’s not much fun staying in all of the time and you can be climbing the walls at times.

“I suppose it gives you some time to get into some other things like you wouldn’t normally be doing.

“I’ve got into some decorating and doing a little bit in the garden.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly a gardener, but you do what you can to keep busy. Cutting hedges and that kind of thing.”

Picture by Taylor Lanning


Article originally published by Red Dragon Darts

Featured pic: L Lustig/ PDC