Darts Slovak Open - x-bionic® sphere

Darts expands to Slovakia and Czech Republic in 2018

Darts Slovak Open - x-bionic® sphere
Fans and players will be treated to the state-of-the-art x-bionic® sphere as the venue for the inaugural Darts Slovak Open.
Photo: Martina Tomanova

The inaugural Darts Slovak Open will take place from February 23-25 this year, the first ever BDO tournament staged in Slovakia, and registration to both men and women in the senior, pairs and junior draws is still open for players to enter.

Further info is available on the event’s official website dartsslovakopen.sk.

Darts may new to the scene in the Central European nation, but there is certainly a rapidly growing interest in the country as well as neighbouring Czech Republic, which is evident by the vast amount of entries already.

Players from Slovakia, Czech Republic, as well as the UK, Ireland, Austria, Spain and Hungary have put their names down for the tournament in the hope of making history to become the first Darts Slovak Open champions.

It comes after the 2017 Czech Open – one of the BDO’s biggest events – saw over 1000 players register, including the likes of Scott Mitchell, Darryl Fitton, Corrinne Hammond, Trina Gulliver and Tony O’Shea. One of the stories of the 2018 BDO World Championship, German Michael Unterbuchner, even threw the competition’s first-ever nine-darter back in November!

Such is the growth in popularity for darts in the region too, that the 2018 Darts Slovak Open will be held at one of the newest and biggest multifunctional sports complexes in Europe – the x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, which is a short 30 minute drive away from Slovakia’s capital city Bratislava.

Czech Darts Organisation chairman Jan Prikryl (left) and popular commentator from the region Pavel Korda (right) pose with the all-star 2017 Czech Open champions.
Photo: Radek Benes

The state-of-the-art complex (which was Slovakia’s official 2016 Olympics training centre) would certainly appeal to players and fans, as would the accessibility to Bratislava’s airport – flights are currently available from London Stansted, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Vienna in Austria is the next nearest airport, and is an hour’s drive away, while it is two hours from Budapest, Hungary.

You can view the x-bionic® sphere on their website www.x-bionicsphere.com/en/home.

It’s no secret that darts is expanding rapidly across the globe in both the BDO and PDC, with new players all over the world becoming more and more prominent in the sport.

Krzysztof Ratajski of Poland (which is directly above Slovakia) is a recent prime example, after he claimed the 2017 BDO World Masters trophy.

Other stars in the region – Darius Labanauskas of Lithuania and Latvia’s Madars Razma – have also made a name for themselves, while darts has now even reached South America with Brazilian Diogo Portela proving to be a great potential.

Slovakia and Czech Republic look set to be the next nations to unearth a talent to challenge the best in the game.

The latter country, as it happens, is also going to host the all-star Prague Darts Masters 2018 exhibition event on February 23, and will feature some of the PDC’s top names such as Dutch giants Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, Australia number one Simon Whitlock and even blast from the past and fan favourite Wayne Mardle – together with some of the Czech Republic’s finest players.

Incredibly, the event at the Kralovka Hall is already sold out to fans, with 2500 tickets bought in just a few days. But, that same week, Prague will be hosting East Europe qualifiers for four European Tour tournaments too.

Further info is available on the event’s official website praguedartsmasters.cz.

With such events in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and other surrounding nations, darts can only get more and more popular in Central and Eastern Europe.

Czech star Karel Sedlacek in action against the Netherlands at the 2017 World Cup of Darts.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

TV broadcaster Nova Sport – who are partnered with darts website www.iam180.sk which is run by Michal Brestovansky – has played a big part in that too, as it has rights to show most Major PDC tournaments, allowing fans to view all of their darting heroes live on a regular basis.

Further work in the region to promote the game is being achieved by popular darts commentator Pavel Korda, who among many things is currently working on the translation and publication of Matt Bozeat’s book ‘Darts Greatest Games: Fifty Finest Matches from the World of Darts’.

While, Czech Darts Organisation chairman Jan Prikryl has done wonders for the sport in his country as well.

Be sure to look out for Slovakian players such as Peter Martin, who’ll be taking part in European Q-School, in future. Frantisek Sulc is another, and perhaps more familiar to handball fans being a former Slovakia international. Sulc, known as the ‘Slovak Gerwyn Price’ thanks to his switch to darts from another sport too, is also involved in the organisation of the Darts Slovak Open.

As for Czech stars, Karel Sedlacek, Frantisek Humpula and David Rosi will join Martin at European Q-School. Sedlacek has played at Lakeside twice, while he partnered Humpula at the 2017 PDC World Cup of Darts, where they managed to take a leg off eventual champions the Netherlands in the first round.

Many thanks to iam180’s Michal Brestovansky for his huge help, research and knowledge.

Exclusive Umit Uygunsozlu interview.

Umit Uygunsozlu exclusive thoughts: BDO Worlds player interview series part 7

Angry Turk’s views on BDO Worlds, getting into darts, future aims and more

We are delighted to be joined by Turkey’s leading name in darts Umit Uygunsozlu, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his maiden Lakeside appearance, in Part 7 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.

Exclusive Umit Uygunsozlu interview.
Exclusive Umit Uygunsozlu interview: Read the thoughts of the Turkish ace ahead of his first Lakeside appearance.
Photo: BDO

Umit, affectionately nicknamed Angry Turk, is really starting to make a name for himself after trying his hand on the BDO circuit, having put in some standout performances against top names in the organisation.

Notable achievements so far for him have been winning the 2015 Malta Open and Turkish Classic, while in 2017 he qualified for the World Trophy for the first time and took former world champion Scott Mitchell the distance in a close 6-5 defeat.

Now having qualified for Lakeside – the first person from Turkey to have done so in either darts World Championship – his stock has risen even further, and takes on Welshman Chris Harris in the preliminary round for a first round meeting with 12th seed Dean Reynolds.

Umit talks to us about much of the above and more, including how he first got into the sport, his nickname, darts in Turkey and his future aims.

So, read on for our exclusive Umit Uygunsozlu interview and profile, the seventh in our series, ahead of the 2018 BDO World Championship from January 6-14…

If you missed the first six parts of our interview series with Cameron Menzies, Glen Durrant, Lorraine Winstanley, Deta Hedman, Scott Mitchell and Darius Labanauskas, click on this link.

Check out our PDC Worlds interview series too.

Umit Uygunsozlu profile

Age: 31
Place of birth: Adana
Nation: Turkey
Based: Ankara
Nickname: Angry Turk
Walk-on song: Suspus by Ceza
Darts used: Winmau 21g
Sponsors: Kronos Company, Winmau, Tomer
Twitter handle: @UmitUygunsozlu

Favourite double: 16
Favourite checkout: 108, 132
Favourite tournament: Turkish Open
Favourite country/city played in: Germany, Berlin
Toughest players faced: I am afraid of no one
Turkish players to watch in future: Cagri Turgut, Mursel Yavuz, Cem Kireker
Darts heroes: Darryl Fitton, Gary Anderson
Best mates in darts: Mursel Yavuz, Cagri Turgut
Favourite food: Adana kebab
Favourite film/TV show: Cinderella Man
Favourite band/musicians: Muslum Gurses by Ceza, Manus Baba
Hobbies outside of darts: Listening to music
Current day job: Sports teacher
Ultimate darting ambition: To be in the PDC

Umit Uygunsozlu interview

To begin with, for your fans that may not know, can you say a bit about yourself and how you got into darts, when you first realised you were good enough for the BDO?

My childhood passed by playing soccer, [and] I met darts aged 25. I actually started by chance in 2010. Of course, the darts players I compete against in Europe have been playing for at least 15 years.

I realised that I was good enough for the BDO after the 2013 Turkish Open. I reached the semi-finals for the first time in that tournament.

Here is what I can say about myself; being a Turk really makes it hard to compete in tournaments. We struggle too much. It is difficult for us to participate in tournaments and to be a Turk in Europe.

But the fight is in our blood!

How did your nickname Angry Turk come about? Are you happy with the name?

I got the Angry Turk nickname thanks to my friends. They thought that because of my behaviours.

Some of my BDO tournaments were tense. I was constantly arguing with somebody. Especially my face is not very cute.

Am I satisfied with this name? I don’t know.

How excited are you ahead of your first World Championship? Have you watched the tournament before, and how special is it to you being the first Turkish player to ever qualify for it?

I’m so excited about the World Championship. I am the first Turk to join the platform and it is a great responsibility for me.

I follow it often on TV. I will represent my country in the best way.

What are your aims at the 2018 BDO World Championship?

It’s my greatest goal to make it all the way to the end to play better darts.

I want to leave a mark.

How did it feel to qualify for the 2017 World Trophy in the summer too, and coming so close to beating former world champion Scott Mitchell?

The World Trophy was very exciting for me. Because it was the first experience for me.

Scott Mitchell is a very good player. But I could’ve beat him in the tournament. Nevertheless, it was a good experience for me.

Umit Uygunsozlu interview: Get to know Turkey’s biggest name in darts, who discusses with us a number of topics about himself and his career.
Photo: BDO

What are your aims for the 2018 season? Would you consider moving to the UK to compete in more tournaments?

I want to be in more tournaments and get better results. I want to be in Lakeside again in 2019.

If you can help me move to England, why not!

Which players have helped make you feel welcome in the BDO? Who are the darts players you look up to?

I think I have nice friends in the BDO. Willem Mandigers is a good darts player and a very good person.

Darryl Fitton is a good friend, who helped me out on tournaments I went to.

I also respect Gary Anderson and Yasar Aydin.

Being Turkey’s biggest name in darts, are you looking to inspire more Turkish players to make it in the BDO or PDC in future too?

There are a lot of good players in Turkey, and I am sure you will see them in the BDO and PDC in the future.

I don’t know if I’ve inspired somebody. Time will tell.

How is the darts scene in Turkey? Is there much popularity or TV coverage of darts in your country?

Darts is a new sport in my country. Not very popular.

Especially as darts is not found on TV channels or the news.

How do you balance playing darts, travelling to tournaments and your day job?

Actually, I do not have much balance. I have to sacrifice a lot to play darts.

Most of my needs are sponsored by Kronos. If not, I would not be playing darts in Europe.

You mentioned earlier about football. Do you follow a team in Turkey, and if so, what do you think of their season so far?

I like football. I’m a fan of Adana DemirSpor (who currently play in Turkey’s second-tier).

This season and the last 10 seasons have gone badly, but it doesn’t matter.

And finally, what are your ultimate goals in darts?

My biggest goal is to throw better darts, [and] of course to be in the PDC.

Many thanks to Umit for speaking to us this week, and all the best at Lakeside!

Exclusive Darius Labanauskas interview.

Darius Labanauskas exclusive thoughts: BDO Worlds player interview series part 6

Lucky D’s views on BDO Worlds, darts in Lithuania, future aims and more

We are delighted to be joined by Lithuanian darts ace Darius Labanauskas, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his fourth Lakeside appearance, in Part 6 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.

Exclusive Darius Labanauskas interview.
Exclusive Darius Labanauskas interview: Read the thoughts of the Lithuanian arrow ace ahead of his 4th BDO World Championship appearance.
Photo: BDO

Lucky D has become one of the BDO’s most feared players in the past few years, having reached the quarter-finals of three Major tournaments since last year – the 2016 World Trophy, 2017 BDO Worlds and most recently the Finder Masters this December.

On top of that, he claimed the Latvian Open and Estonian Open titles this year too, while made it to the latter stages in many other events.

With winning records against the likes of Scott Waites, Wesley Harms, Ross Montgomery and darting friends Krzysztof Ratajski and Madars Razma in his career to date, as well as being renowned for his big checkouts, it is no wonder that Darius is one of the favourites at any tournament he enters these days.

Lithuania’s finest arrowsmith Labanauskas has a tricky opponent in Scott Mitchell in the first round at Lakeside this year, but will be keen to avenge his loss against him at the recent Finder Masters.

Darius talks to us about much of the above and more, including how he got into the sport, balancing life between living and working in Lithuania and travelling to play in tournaments, and darts in his homeland Lithuania.

So, read on for our exclusive Darius Labanauskas interview and profile, the sixth in our series, ahead of the 2018 BDO World Championship from January 6-14…

If you missed the first five parts of our interview series with Cameron Menzies, Glen Durrant, Lorraine Winstanley, Deta Hedman and Scott Mitchell, click on this link.

Check out our PDC Worlds interview series too.

Darius Labanauskas profile

Date of birth: 26/07/1976 (age 41)
Place of birth: Kaunas, Lithuania
Nation: Lithuania
Based: Garliava
Nickname: Lucky D
Walk-on song: Infinity 2018 by Guru Josh Project
Darts used: Cosmo signature darts 24g
Sponsors: Cosmo, Fit Flight

Favourite double: Bullseye
Favourite checkout: 167 – the tournament biggest checkout on my Lakeside debut in 2015
Favourite tournament: BDO World Championship, Lakeside
Favourite country played in: The Netherlands
Toughest players faced: If I play well, no opponent is scary. Playing bad, I’m scared of all
Player to watch in future: Justin van Tergouw
Sports/darts hero growing up: Zydrunas Savickas, 4-time World’s Strongest Man from Lithuania
Best mate in darts: Madars Razma
Favourite food: Pica
Favourite film/TV show: Kingdom of Heaven, documentary films
Favourite band/music: Prodigy, pop music
Hobbies outside of darts: Driving a car and travelling with family
Ultimate darting ambition: To win every tournament I enter

Darius Labanauskas interview

Firstly, how excited are you ahead of your fourth successive BDO Worlds? What are your memories of last year, and do you believe you can equal or even better that quarter-final performance?

I hope to play the same as last year in the 2018 BDO World Championship or to go one step forward.

Memories from last year’s championship are very good, I got 5th place and I closed 10 legs [with checkouts of] 100 or more. That was the best result of all participants.

What is your assessment of your game at the moment? And how do you feel going into the Worlds?

After the summer I started to use longer shafts, and my average improved.

I am pleased with the way I feel inside on stage, I am getting more and more playing experience.

It is very important for me because I’ve played only four years in tournaments outside of the Baltic countries.

How is the popularity of darts back in Lithuania and the surrounding nations? Are there any rising players that can challenge for tournaments on tour like yourself in future?

Darts is getting more and more popular in Lithuania and around us. More people want to try this sport.

As for rising players I would mention Mindaugas Barauskas, whom I played with in the pairs to the final of the BDO Sweden Open.

And Ugnius Jankunas. He is 19 years old and became Lithuanian champion this year.

Growing up in Kaunas, how did you first get into darts? Was it always something you wanted to do? And what was the moment you believed you could make it in the sport?

It started with my friend, who had a dartboard with numbers 1-10. We played sometimes, until I saw an invitation in the newspaper to the tournament in Kaunas.

I liked the tournament very much, [so] started to enter clubs for training, and participating in Lithuanian national and Baltic ranking events.

My debut abroad was in 2006. I lost the first games in singles and pairs at the BDO Sweden Open and WDF Gold Cup, and decided it was not time to play in Europe yet.

After seven years in 2013, I went to the BDO Czech Open and with Paul Coughlin won the pairs. In the singles I got to the last 32.

After a few months, I reached the Bremen Gold Cup semi-finals, and in the biggest European BDO tournament, the Dutch Open, I got to the last 32.

After that great season, I got to my first BDO World Championship.

Darius Labanauskas interview: Lucky D discusses a number of topics with us, including how he got into darts.
Photo: BDO

You, Krzysztof Ratajski and Madars Razma, from neighbouring nations Poland and Latvia, have notably impressed from that region. Do you keep in touch with them? And is it good for you to have others from your region to push you to become even better?

With Krzysztof, we talked to each other during the tournaments. Relationship with Madars is more close.

Now we play in different leagues but always keep an eye on each others performances, saying good luck before tournaments.

With Madars, we travelled together and played in many BDO tournaments pairs events – winning 10.

There are more players playing well than you mentioned in this region, but they rarely go to play outside their region.

Ratajski and Razma are beginning to impress in the PDC now. Have you thought about playing in more PDC events too?

2018 I will stay in the BDO, but will try myself in the PDC Nordic tours.

A few of them will take place in Lithuania.

You have winning records against those two and notable others too. Does that give you confidence knowing that you can beat the best on your day and win Major titles?

Deep down in my heart I dream to became World Champion. I think I can do it.

At the 2016 BDO World Trophy TV tournament, I won a match with an average of 102 (against Glen Durrant to reach the quarters).

I think I just need to keep such averages during all the tournaments, and I will have good chances to win.

Being based in Lithuania and having a job too, how do you balance that with travelling to darts events?

I have huge support from my wife, my employer is big fan of this sport and I can work to a convenient schedule. That helps me to relax and to play good.

Travelling to tournaments is of course exhausting. I travel by plane and after that I have to take a bus or train, because to rent a car just for my own is too expensive.

For example, to get to the English Open’s Selsey venue, it takes me 12-14 hours. After a few hours, after getting to the venue I already competing at the darts board.

And finally, are there any World Championship finals you remember watching as a spectator in the past, that perhaps inspired you?

The 2007 BDO World Championship final, Martin Adams vs Phil Nixon.

Martin led 6-0, but won only 7-6. Phil even lost but showed a great example – you have to try and fight to the very end.

Many thanks to Darius for speaking to us this week, and best of luck at Lakeside! Join us next time, where Turkish star Umit Uygunsozlu shares his thoughts to us in part 7 of our BDO Worlds interview series.

Exclusive Scott Mitchell interview.

Scott Mitchell exclusive thoughts: BDO Worlds player interview series part 5

Scotty Dog’s views on BDO Worlds, being a darts double, farming and more

We are delighted to be joined by 2015 BDO world champion Scott Mitchell, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his ninth successive Lakeside appearance, in Part 5 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.

Exclusive Scott Mitchell interview.
Exclusive Scott Mitchell interview: Read the thoughts of the 2015 BDO world champion.
Photo: BDO

Scotty Dog is one of the BDO’s elite names, gaining darting immortality when lifting his first world title back in 2015, and he’s still hungry for more!

He was seen on our TV screens at the 2017 Grand Slam of Darts, his third successive appearance at the cross organisation event, where he battled the likes of fellow former BDO Worlds finalists Dave Chisnall and Stephen Bunting.

Mitchell also recently reached the Finder Masters semi-finals – narrowly losing to eventual champion Danny Noppert – for the third time in preparation for Lakeside, after another successful year where he won titles at tournaments such as the England National Championships, Swedish Open and Belfry Open.

Scott talks to us about all of the above and more, including how he got into the sport, balancing farming with darts and being a darts double for Hollywood star Johnny Depp!

So, read on for our exclusive Scott Mitchell interview and profile, the fifth in our series, ahead of the 2018 BDO World Championship from January 6-14…

If you missed the first four parts of our interview series with Cameron Menzies, Glen Durrant, Lorraine Winstanley and Deta Hedman, click on this link.

Check out our PDC Worlds interview series too.

Scott Mitchell profile

Date of birth: 05/06/1970 (age 47)
Place of birth: Bournemouth
Nation: England
Based: Bransgore
County represented: Dorset
Nickname: Scotty Dog
Walk-on song: Who Let The Dogs Out? by Baha Men
Darts used: Winmau Scotty Dog Mitchell darts 24g
Sponsors: Winmau, Sunrise Motor Services, Designs by Sazz, Piddle Brewery
Twitter handle: @scottydogdart
Website: www.scottydogmitchell.co.uk

Favourite double: Any that I hit!
Favourite checkout: 146, my first big one on TV
Favourite tournament: Floor tournament – Dutch Open, TV tournament – Lakeside
Favourite country played in: They are all good for different reasons, but Swiss Open will always be one of the favourites as it was my first big win
Toughest players faced: Again all tough but hardest thing is keeping my own concentration
Players to watch in future: Jared Cole, Keelan Kay
Sports/darts heroes growing up: Bobby George, Bob Anderson
Best mates in darts: I’ve got a few, Darryl Fitton, Scott Waites, Andy Fordham
Favourite food: Steak
Favourite films/TV shows: Top Gun, Hawaii Five-0, Neighbours, Country File
Favourite band/musician: Bon Jovi
Hobbies outside of darts: Watching Speedway (Poole Pirates) and football (AFC Bournemouth)
Current day job: Cutting grass, feeding cows
Ultimate darting ambition: To keep playing well as long as I can, to get Dorset county to BICC Premier League

Scott Mitchell interview

How do you rate your chances going into the 2018 BDO Worlds?

Nobody goes there to make the numbers up, we all go there to win…

What makes the tournament special to you? After your incredible win in 2015, how did that change your career and life?

Being part of Lakeside’s history is very special indeed.

As a person winning has not changed me, it just made me more recognisable really.

It has opened some very different possibilities for me, i.e. being a darts double on Eastenders and films (such as London Fields for the likes of Johnny Depp and Billy Bob Thornton!).

After your recent appearance in the 2017 Grand Slam, how much do you enjoy the tournament and testing yourself against some of the PDC’s biggest names?

The Grand Slam of Darts is a really hard tournament to qualify for, so to have done it three years on the trot is a big achievement in itself I feel.

It’s lovely to go back and see your old mates.

Scotty Dog discusses a number of topics ahead of his ninth successive Lakeside appearance.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The BDO have had their issues over the last year or so, is there anything you’d like to see improve or change?

There’s is always room for improvement in any business..

After lifting the BDO’s holy grail and reaching the semis in many other premier events, do you believe you have at least another Major title in you?

Of course, don’t we all.

How do you balance your farming life and playing darts in terms of travelling all around Europe and practising?

Farming life always comes first… darts second.

It’s not always easy to get a good balance. I’m lucky that the farming quieter time coincides with Lakeside practice.

How did you get into darts? And at what stage did you realise you were good enough to compete with the BDO’s best?

My Young Farmers’ Club darts team were short of a player when I was 16, so was drafted in at short notice.

I think I first realised I was ok enough to give it a go on the circuit when I played jelly klaxon (Jelle Klaasen) at the UK Open in 2007.

What do you make of your beloved AFC Bournemouth and boss Eddie Howe presently? Could you ever have imagined they’d be where they are now a few years ago?

I was at Bournemouth the night they got promotion (in the 2014/15 season). What a great night and well deserved.

Eddie is a local man that led us to the dreamland that is the Premier League, and the fans are enjoying the ride.

It’s a far cry from the club nearly winding up (in 2008)…

And finally, are there any standout World Championship finals that you remember watching as a spectator in the past, that perhaps personally inspired you.

The game I remember most is 1983, Keith Deller v Eric Bristow.

With Deller being the underdog (and winning 6-5), it proves that if you have three darts in your hand everybody has the same chance.

Many thanks to Scott for speaking to us this week, and best of luck at Lakeside!

Exclusive Deta Hedman interview.

Deta Hedman exclusive thoughts: BDO Worlds player interview series part 4

Deta’s views on BDO Worlds, early darts career, growing up in Jamaica and more

We are delighted to be joined by darting legend and WTF women’s world number one Deta Hedman, who shares her exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of her ninth successive Lakeside appearance, in Part 4 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.

Exclusive Deta Hedman interview.
Exclusive Deta Hedman interview: Read the thoughts of the women’s 2018 BDO World Championship number one seed.
Photo: BDO

Deta is one of the sport’s most recognisable names, thanks to having been among the best female players in the world for the best part of 30 years and winning well over 100 titles during that time – including the World Masters twice (in 1994 and 2013), the 2011 Finder Masters and 2002 PDC Desert Classic.

Hedman has also battled her wits against the men in the past, notably becoming the first woman to defeat a man on TV when she knocked out both Aaron Turner and Norman Fletcher at the 2005 UK Open to reach the last 64 – progressing further than the likes of Glen Durrant, Peter Wright, Rod Harrington, Alan Warriner-Little, Keith Deller, Steve Beaton and even her brother Al!

A World Championship has still eluded her, though, despite coming so close three times after narrowly finishing runner-up in 2012, 2014 and 2016. But being in great current form, winning the Italian Grand Masters, Malta Open and Jersey Classic all in November, Deta goes into the 2018 edition in confident mood as top seed ahead of her opener against Norway’s Rachna David.

England star Hedman talks about all of the above and more, including growing up in Jamaica, her impressively sporting family, working 52 hours a week, her new nickname and reasons why she was forced into taking long spells out of the game.

So, read on for our exclusive Deta Hedman interview and profile, the fourth in our series, ahead of the 2018 BDO World Championship from January 6-14…

If you missed the first 3 parts of our interview series with Cameron Menzies, Glen Durrant and Lorraine Winstanley click on this link.

Check out our PDC Worlds interview series too.

Deta Hedman profile

Date of birth: 14/11/1959 (age 58)
Place of birth: Jamaica
Nation: England
Based: Witham, Essex
County represented: Oxfordshire
Nickname: The Heart of Darts
Walk-on song: This Girl – by Kungs (Cookin’ on 3 Burners)
Darts used: One80 R2 reflex Deta Hedman 26g
Sponsors: One80 darts, Fastaway, L-Style, Big5, Steve Holmes/Mark Bridges
Twitter handle: @deta132
Website: www.detahedman.com

Favourite double: Any one I hit!
Favourite checkout: As above, but enjoyed 132 finishes at 2 Lakesides
Favourite tournament: Dutch Open – biggest in the world
Favourite country/city played in: Czech Republic, Prague
Toughest players faced: Too many to mention
Player(s) to look out for in future: Beau Greaves, Owen Roelofs and Charlie Stocks (only because he winds my partner Paul up) and he is very good
Sports idols: Usain Bolt and loved the Jamaican bobsleigh team
Best mates in darts: Jill Bailes and Maggie Sutton, modern day Lorraine Winstanley and Anastasia Dobromyslova
Favourite food: Like a nice chilli con carne
Favourite film(s)/TV show(s): Don’t even have a TV
Favourite band(s)/musician(s): Anything that takes my fancy
Hobbies outside of darts: All sports
Day job: Royal Mail
Ultimate darting ambition: To be world champion of course, but be nice to be remembered as a nice person

Deta Hedman interview

Firstly, how excited are you ahead of the upcoming 2018 Worlds? Do you believe you can finally lift the title?

I’m always get excited about a World Champs.

I can honestly say this is the toughest field since I made my Lakeside debut [in 2010]. Every player there is capable of beating anybody.

I believe I can win any event I enter, but as they say it’s all on the day .

You’ve had another fantastic year, winning many events and still being ranked WDF no.1. Are at the top of your game, and do you still have many darting years left in you?

My game has been very consistent the last eight years. I’ve been informed that since August 2009 I’ve won 102 ranking titles and 126 in my career.

Personally, I feel I was playing better about three seasons ago, but I’m not far off that form.

When I came back to darts, my partner Paul said ‘as long as you are enjoying darts, play’ – I’m still really enjoying my darts.

Deta discusses a number of topics with us ahead of her ninth BDO Worlds appearance.

How do you balance such a demanding day job with darts? What is your darts practice regime like during the year and before the Worlds?

My REAL job is demanding as I work 52 hours in four nights [for the Royal Mail].

I try to do 20 minutes a day practice and mainly on doubles.

We are not allowed time off in December, so I actually practise less going into the Worlds.

What are your thoughts on the women’s game at present? Is there anything you’d like to see change or more that can be done by the BDO or even PDC again?

The women’s game has a very strong top end at the moment, my belief is we are an underused asset within the BDO at the moment.

There are continuing rumours of the PDC showing an interest in the top end of ladies darts, but let’s wait and see!

Many promises have failed to materialise for the ladies game.

How was your time in the PDC, and what were your memories of winning the Dessert Classic and making history in the UK Open? Would you like to see female players more regularly compete with the men?

PDC never had a women’s tour, I played on tour against the men. The Dessert Classic was a ladies event but not part of a PDC ladies tour.

I loved my time in the PDC. I used to drive my then partner Colin Lloyd to the events, and as we were there just entered. Had some great times in PDC as I have in BDO.

Ladies have proved we can compete against the men, but I think we deserve our own ladies tour, though would love an event or two where we were all in an event together.

You have taken two long breaks from darts since first starting out in the 1980s, was there a particular reason for that?

I was disenchanted with the game in 1997 – work commitments and a few issues led me to pack in.

Sometimes innocent remarks to some people are offensive to others, I used to hate being called a 6ft Mars bar – others found it funny.

I remember the BDO asked me to reconsider and go to World Cup in Australia to play for England.

[But] I stuck to my retirement, in fairness to the other ladies, and a certain Trina Gulliver was called up to replace me!

What memories do you have of Jamaica growing up? And was there a particular reason you moved to England?

The early days in Jamaica weren’t easy. My day would start with fetching water from the creek – in the early days we had Tilley Lamps, no electric.

When I was two, dad and mum came to England and I lived with my aunt (in Jamaica).

As mum and dad got established in England they brought us over one by one, so I came over when I was 13 and my first day in England I saw snow for the first time.

Deta Hedman interview: Can The Heart of Darts (formerly known as The Dark Destroyer) complete her darting CV and become a world champion?
Photo: BDO

How exactly did you get into darts? And at what moment did you believe you can make it in the game?

In a very English tradition, I used to go down the pub on a Sunday lunchtime, used to mark and wouldn’t leave until I could beat one of my brothers.

I think they used to let me win just so they could go home for Sunday lunch.

I used to have a great friend, who sadly passed away, who encouraged me to play for a pub team and I then progressed to Superleague then county.

Is your nickname The Dark Destroyer in recognition of boxing great Nigel Benn by any chance? You are from a sporting family too?

It was a mixture of Nigel Benn and Shaun Wallace (both of Caribbean heritage too) – The Dark destroyer on The Chase.

I bumped into him at King’s Cross train station recently, and was introduced together as the 2 Dark Destroyers.

I am an ambassador for the Heart of Darts charity and I have now adopted that as my new nickname.

My brother Al Hedman won the British Open (defeating Andy Fordham in the 1995 final), my nephew Graeme ran the 400m for England and Great Britain in athletics, and my brother Rudi played football for several pro clubs including Crystal Palace.

I love all sports, and used to watch football and rugby a lot when I wasn’t playing darts.

And finally, are there any World Championship finals you remember that really stood out most for you in the past?

As a spectator, the famous Martin Adams v Phill Nixon battle [in the 2007 BDO final] stands out.

In the ladies, I think my final against Lisa Ashton [in 2014] had it all. I was 2 sets up, and 1 leg from winning, and Lisa launched an amazing fight back.

To make it strange I had campaigned for years to make the ladies final best of 5 sets instead of 3!

If I had kept quiet I would have beat Lisa 2-0 and Trina 2-1 [in 2016], but in fairness it should have been 5 sets all along.

Many thanks to Deta for speaking to us this week, and best of luck at Lakeside! Join us next time for part 5 of our BDO Worlds interview series where we’ll hear the thoughts of 2015 men’s world champion Scott Mitchell.

Lorraine Winstanley interview.

Lorraine Winstanley exclusive thoughts: BDO Worlds player interview series part 3

Lorraine’s views on BDO Worlds, World Masters triumph, how she got into darts and more

We are delighted to be joined by reigning BDO World Masters champion Lorraine Winstanley, who shares her exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of her eighth successive Lakeside appearance, in Part 3 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.

Lorraine Winstanley interview.
Lorraine Winstanley interview: Read the thoughts of the women’s 2017 World Masters champion ahead of her eighth successive World Championship appearance.
Photo: BDO

Lorraine is in the form of her life currently, having recently won her first Major event at the 2017 World Masters, and is now ranked number 1 in the women’s BDO standings after a year that has included multiple other title triumphs.

But ahead of the Worlds, she has her sights firmly set on her ultimate goal in becoming world champion.

The closest she has come to lifting the trophy is the semi-finals in 2012, but is among the favourites to win at Lakeside in January.

Lorraine discusses with us all of the above and more, including how she first got into game and an update on her husband Dean’s potential darting comeback.

So, read on for our exclusive Lorraine Winstanley interview and profile, the third in our series, ahead of the 2018 BDO World Championship from January 6-14…

If you missed parts 1 and 2 of our interview series with Cameron Menzies and Glen Durrant, click on this link.

Check out our PDC Worlds interview series too.

Lorraine Winstanley profile

Date of birth: 28/10/1975 (age 42)
Place of birth: Buxton
Nation: England
Based: Buxton
County represented: Yorkshire
Nickname: N/A
Walk-on song: Happy by Pharrell Williams
Darts used: Lorraine Winstanley 24g
Sponsors: Harlequin Teamwear, A&S Bearings and Transmissions, Davis Permanent Cosmetics
Twitter handle: @lorraine180

Favourite double: 16
Favourite tournament: Scottish Open
Favourite country/city played in: Prague
Toughest player faced: Every player is tough
Sports/darts heroes growing up:
Best mates in darts: Trina Gulliver, Deta Hedman, Anastasia Dobromyslova
Favourite food: Chinese
Favourite films/TV shows: Eastenders, Real Steel
Favourite bands/musicians: Listen to anything apart from rap
Hobbies outside of darts: Shopping
Current/previous day job: Beauty therapist & hairdresser
Ultimate darting ambition: To become world champion

Lorraine Winstanley interview

Firstly, how excited are you ahead of the upcoming 2018 Worlds? And what makes the event special to you?

I’m really excited for the 2018 World Championship. There’s no stage like the Lakeside stage, it’s every player’s dream to play up there.

It’s the ultimate place to play.

You’ve reached at least the quarters in 5 of your 7 Lakeside appearances, do you believe you can win it this year or in future?

Of course I believe I can win the Worlds, every year I play I believe I can win it.

How does it feel to be the 2017 World Masters champion? Is it your proudest darting moment to date?

It’s amazing to be a Winmau world master, it’s one of my proudest darting achievements along with playing for my country.

You’ve had a brilliant year on the whole, are you playing better than ever? And what is your ultimate dream to achieve in the game?

2017 has been my best year to date, I’m playing the darts of my life so far.

My dream is to be world champion.

What do you credit your form down to?

I think the difference this year is the self belief.

I’ve always had the game, but you have to believe you can do it and it’s never over until that winning double goes in.

Lorraine has high hopes of now becoming a world champion after a hugely successful 2017.
Photo: BDO

Is the standard of the women’s game better than ever? Is there anything you’d like to see improve or change to help the standard continue to rise?

The standard of the women’s game has soared over the last few years. We have all had to raise our game.

More prize money would obviously be a major improvement to the women’s side of the game, along with TV exposure, as along with that comes more sponsorship opportunities.

I understand there will never be equality in prize money as the numbers don’t add up – women’s events don’t have the same numbers as the men entering. You can’t pay out if you’re not taking it in.

I love the tournaments with longer formats. A lot start at best of 7 now, which is better than best of 5.

What are your thoughts on darts potentially being in the Olympics? Is that something that would interest you if it did eventually get into the Summer Games?

I’d love to see darts at the Olympic Games, but I can’t see it happening in the near future.

How did you first get into darts? And at what stage did you realise you were good enough to compete with the best in the game?

I started playing darts as I worked in a pub when I was 18 years old.

I loved the game but I couldn’t count very well. I could add up from working behind the bar but struggled with subtracting so they made me mark on practice nights using chalk.

I’m not the best counter by any means but I’m definitely better than I was.

I’m very competitive so I just loved to play, so I started in the league, played super league then county and I’ve been lucky enough to play for my country.

A quick word on your husband Dean, who’s hinted he could be set for a comeback. What’s the update on the situation and his shoulder? And do you believe he can get back to being a top player?

As regards to Dean’s comeback, all I’ll say is watch this space… as for his shoulder it’s not fully recovered but it’s on its way.

Of course Dean can get back to playing top level darts. Self belief is key and together we can make it possible.

And finally, are there any particular men or women’s World Championship finals you remember watching in the past that stood out most for you?

The most memorable Worlds final has to be Dean vs Martin Adams [in 2011].

That was our first World Championship and something I’ll never forget, a roller coaster week for emotions.

Many thanks to Lorraine for speaking to us this week, and best of luck at Lakeside! Join us next time for part 4 of our BDO Worlds interview series.

Exclusive Glen Durrant interview.

Glen Durrant exclusive thoughts: BDO Worlds player interview series part 2

Duzza’s views on BDO Worlds, Grand Slam, his early years, PDC and more

We are delighted to be joined by reigning BDO world champion Glen Durrant, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his Lakeside defence, in Part 2 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.

Exclusive Glen Durrant interview.
Exclusive Glen Durrant interview: Read the thoughts of the multiple Major champion ahead of his BDO World Championship title defence.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Duzza is quite simply the current star and dominant force of the BDO, becoming a five-time Major champion after completing his dreams by claiming his maiden Worlds title last January, and he’s hungry for more.

Although he admits he’s not been happy with his 2017 form overall, Durrant well and truly made an impression at the cross-organisation Grand Slam event in November, sparking much debate about his future once more. Nothing is certain as of yet, however, and his mind for now is set on just one thing – retaining his Lakeside trophy.

Glen discusses with us all of the above and more, including taking a trip down memory lane to how he first got into darts as well as thoughts on his beloved Middlesbrough FC – whose colours he dons while playing.

So, read on for our exclusive Glen Durrant interview and profile, the second in our series, ahead of the 2018 BDO World Championship from January 6-14…

If you missed part 1 of our interview series with Cameron Menzies, click on this link.

Check out our PDC Worlds interview series too.

Glen Durrant profile

Date of birth: 24/11/1970 (age 47)
Place of birth: Middlesbrough
Nation: England
Based: Middlesbrough
County represented: Yorkshire – previously 100 Caps for Cleveland
Nickname: Duzza
Walk-on song: Reach Up by Perfecto AllStarz
Darts used: Duzza Harrows 24g
Management company: The Sportsman Management Company with Mac Elkin
Sponsors: Manjaros Restaurant, Harlequin Teamwear, Harrows, Sheila May Carpets, Vertec Scaffolding
Twitter handle: @Duzza180

Favourite double: 16
Favourite checkout: 64, 125, 132
Favourite tournament: Lakeside
Favourite country/city played in: Canada, St John’s
Toughest player faced: Scott Mitchell
Sports/darts heroes growing up: Seb Coe, Eric Bristow, Steve Davis
Best mates in darts: Jim Williams, Jamie Hughes, James Hurrell
Favourite food: Teesside Parmo
Favourite films/TV shows: Shawshank Redemption, Only Fools & Horses, Auf Wiedersehen Pet
Favourite bands/musicians: Michael Jackson, Steve Wonder
Hobbies outside of darts: Middlesbrough FC
Current/previous day job: Estate Housing Manager for Coast & Country Housing
Ultimate darting ambition: Already achieved it – Lakeside Champion

Glen Durrant interview

Firstly, how excited are you ahead of your BDO Worlds title defence? Only 13 names (8 in the BDO) in the history of darts can claim to be multiple world champions, are you confident of joining that elite list?

I am coming good at the right time of the year. I’ve got new darts and a renewed focus.

It will take someone to play very well to beat me and take this trophy from me for sure.

How would you sum up your year to date in the BDO?

Below average. I made a decision to play the exhibition circuit and it has had an effect on my match play for sure.

I feel like I have addressed that problem now after the World Masters and at this moment I’m in a very good place.

You of course made a huge impression at the 2017 Grand Slam. Can you sum up your experience of the tournament this year?

The experience was as good as the previous year. I was determined to play as the Lakeside champion and felt I had a responsibility to succeed.

Looking back I see the week now as a success. The 9-darter [just missed against Peter Wright] would of course have been the ultimate in front of a spectacular crowd.

Glen Durrant
Durrant is in confident mood ahead of his BDO Worlds title defence.
Photo: David Gill

You looked totally at ease against some of the PDC’s top players, achieving 100+ averages, but was it the best you’ve ever played?

On stage over a sustained period of time, then statistically it was my best performance.

But in floor events I have played so much better. The quality of the opponent for sure was the best I have played.

You battled out some cracking matches with Peter Wright and Corey Cadby in particular. You’ve since said some very praising words about both. What makes them so special to you? And are they different off stage to their exuberant displays on the oche?

Peter Wright made me feel very welcome at the Grand Slam in 2016 and I will never forget that.

He’s a good guy and appears to have time for darts players, but his professionalism stands out to me.

Corey needs to pump his fists when he plays and I ask people not to judge him on that.

He is actually very quietly spoken – for an Aussie – and not the persona he demonstrates on stage.

I was looking for that special moment to give someone my Lakeside winning darts, and he was that person (Glen recently presented those darts to Corey at an exhibition).

I’m sure you’re sick of answering about switching over to the PDC. So, instead I’ll ask, whether you join them or not, do you believe you are currently at the level of their best players? And would you be able to consistently challenge for and win Major titles?

I honestly don’t know, but I have monitored the progress of many of the BDO boys that joined the PDC.

Must admit to play at Blackpool for the Matchplay and Ally Pally does excite me.

But yeah, sick of the PDC questions now.

You’ve said if you defend the BDO Worlds title, you’d most likely stay, but would you have any regrets if moving to the PDC never happens before you retire?

I would have regrets if I never played in the PDC for sure.

The BDO have had their critics over the last year or so, but what is your take on the situation? And being their best player is there anything you can suggest to ensure they get back to making things work for everyone again?

I just don’t get involved in the politics. I am still working 40 hours per week in a challenging role.

I am disappointed with lots of aspects of the BDO, in particular the TV coverage.

But the BDO have been very good to me, and without the organisation I would never have had ‘that’ moment when you win the Lakeside title.

Glen Durrant interview: Duzza had some very complimentary words to say about Cadby, who he gifted his 2017 BDO Worlds-winning darts to.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Moving on to how you first got into darts. And, being a late bloomer, at what point did you start believing that you could be a leading player in the BDO?

I was a very good billiards player, and in Teesside in the 1980s most teenagers played. I was soon in that culture of working men’s clubs and enjoyed a game of darts. I played in a Cleveland team in 1986 that ended runners-up at the British Teenagers in Leicester.

I met my wife and started a family and never threw a dart for a decade. A chance meeting with my darts captain brought me back into the game and I played Super League and County from 1999 onwards.

2008 was a turning point when I started the Teesside Ranking Events, creating a competition each month that attracted the best players in the northeast of England – a real hotbed.

In 2010, I was really dominating the northeast scene and started the BDO circuit in 2011. I took in an awful lot the first few years before the tournament wins kicked in [and the following achievements]… England place, World Cup with England, BDO number 1, World Master, Lakeside champion.

You are a passionate Middlesbrough FC fan too, what do you make of their season so far under new boss Garry Monk?

Middlesbrough FC have been very good to me and taking the Lakeside trophy onto the pitch was the best moment of 2017.

[It’s been] a very inconsistent season so far and calls for Monk’s head have already been heard.

But the chairman does believe in giving managers time to get their thoughts and shape into their teams.

I think we are play-offs material at best.

And finally, are there any World Championships that stood out for you as a spectator in the past, that perhaps inspired you?

[The final in] 1989, Jocky v Eric… no question.

Many thanks to Glen for speaking to us this week, and best of luck for your world title defence! Join us next time for part 3 of our BDO Worlds interview series.

Cameron Menzies interview.

Cameron Menzies exclusive thoughts: BDO Worlds player interview series part 1

Cammy’s views on BDO Worlds, Grand Slam, future aims and more

We are delighted to be joined by rising star Cameron Menzies, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his first Lakeside appearance, in Part 1 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.

Cameron Menzies interview.
Exclusive Cameron Menzies interview: Read the thoughts of the super Scot ahead of his first BDO World Championship appearance.
Photo: PDC

The Scotsman has made a real name for himself this year in particular, after winning his home country’s Open and Classic tournaments, as well as reaching the British Open final again and World Masters semis.

Cammy was also one of the most talked about players at the recent Grand Slam of Darts, where he gained praise from players and pundits as well as earning a new fan base thanks to his strong performances, passionate celebrations and engaging interviews.

After giving his darting hero Gary Anderson a real game in his opening match, Menzies then defeated Australian star Simon Whitlock before narrowly missing out on a place in the last 16 after a defeat to Berry van Peer in what was arguably the match of the tournament for many reasons.

Although football was initially his sporting focus – he played to a semi-pro level and gained interest from some top teams around Scotland as a youngster – darts has always been a part of his life thanks to his parents and he certainly has the potential to be a real star in the game.

So, read on about the above and more for our exclusive Cameron Menzies interview and profile, the first in our series, ahead of the 2018 BDO World Championship from January 6-14…

If you missed our PDC Worlds interview series, click on this link.

Cameron Menzies profile

Date of birth: 27/06/1989 (age 28)
Place of birth: Glasgow
Nation: Scotland
Based: Muirkirk
Nickname: Cammy
Walk-on song: Not sure as of yet
Darts used: Datadart icon 24g
Management company/sponsors: N/A
Twitter handle: @CameronMenzies

Favourite double: 20 or 16
Favourite checkout: 170
Favourite tournament: Welsh Open
Favourite country/city played in: Prague
Toughest players faced: Krzysztof Ratajski, Andy Boulton
Players to watch in future: Nathan Girvan, and a few of Scotland’s youth players
Sports/darts hero(es) growing up: Jorg Albertz (ex-Rangers and Germany footballer)
Best mates in darts: My family
Favourite food: Steak
Favourite films/TV shows: Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan
Favourite bands/musicians: Bastille, Swedish House Mafia
Hobbies outside of darts: Playing football and computer
Current/previous day job: Plumber
Ultimate darting ambition: Win the Worlds and to get good enough to go professional and play on big stages consistently

Cameron Menzies interview

First of all, how excited are you ahead of your first World Championship? What are your aims for the event?

I am really excited as it’s been something I have dreamed of as a kid.

I never thought I would get there so I am hoping for a deep run in the tournament and make it worth my while travelling.

It’s been a great year for you, but what’s your overall assessment of your current game, and do you have belief you can challenge for Major titles more and more in the near future?

My game has improved but I have been putting more effort on the practice board over the last two years or so, with good people I practise with, and it’s improved my game massively.

Plus playing against top players on the circuit has improved me as well.

I believe I can push the best in the BDO on my game. So you never know what can happen.

What do you credit your form since winning the British Open last year down to?

I just believed I could give players a game.

I started winning against the best and started believing that I could beat these players, rather than hoping.

Menzies has been making waves this year in the BDO, and won the 2017 Scottish Open.

By winning the 2017 Scottish Open, you of course emulated your hero Gary Anderson who won it a decade ago. Describe your emotions on the day and how it was to then play him at the 2017 Grand Slam.

The Scottish Open was massive for me to win. It’s played over two days, and I beat some good players on the road to win.

That night was good as friends and family stayed to watch it.

Playing Gary [at the Grand Slam] was the game I wanted, he’s arguably Scotland’s greatest and my idol so it was the dream draw for me.

Your match against Berry van Peer was also well documented. You showed great sportsmanship at the end after seeing him suffer with dartitis, but how hard was it for you to face him and to narrowly miss out on reaching the last 16?

My dad had dartitis so I do respect what he goes through. Maybe too much.

Maybe [it was] a bit of inexperience from me. But I have never had to deal with it in a pressure situation as that.

[It was a] big learning curve for me. I usually respect everyone. I was just happy being there, [but] losing hurt massively and I sat myself down for 10 minutes until I calmed down.

You’ve certainly made a huge impression in darts, both at the Grand Slam and in the BDO, and are gaining more and more fans. What was the overall response from social media like, and how was your experience of the event in general?

My adrenaline goes haywire when I get onto a bigger stage, and it makes me hyper.

I would love to be calm and collected, but my heart races so I can’t stand still. Always have to be doing something.

I loved the experience, from the PDC staff to commentators and players. I loved every moment, a dream come true for me and my best experience as a darter as of yet.

Fans have been great, I’ve tried to message everyone back on Facebook – it has been hectic, but I have loved it.

You’ve hinted before that you’d be interested in eventually joining the PDC when the time is right. Do you now have a better idea of the standard and whether you’re ready to switch over? And is Q-School a possibility in January?

I think the standard is amazing. I think I could go there and do ok, [and] I do believe playing those kind of players more often would bring my game on massively.

I will deal with Finder and Lakeside and then have a sit down and see what my future holds – it is on my mind especially after the Grand Slam.

[There is a] long time to think about it before I make the choice.

Cameron Menzies interview: Cammy’s experience at the 2017 Grand Slam included a fine 5-2 win over in-form Aussie star Whitlock.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

You’ve stated before that your darts-playing parents played a big part in you taking up the sport. But at what stage did you believe you could make it in the game?

After I won the Scottish Open this year, which was my first ranking tournament, I went to work the next day and looked at other tournaments.

And from there I just wanted to travel more and see how far I am from [qualifying for] Lakeside, so it’s been more these last few months I have started believing.

I’d always played football rather than darts til the last few years.

Can you tell us more about your football playing career?

I was semi-pro, but not enough for a living. But I had been told scouts from top teams were interested in me, so I stuck to football. Never came to anything.

I did get told about them but I also missed games to play darts, so that didn’t help.

You’re also a big Rangers fan, but what do you make of their season so far? Are you hopeful they’ll eventually get back to winning ways and challenge Celtic again for the title in the coming seasons?

I hope we improve soon. Rangers lost again at the weekend (2-1 away to Dundee). I try to get to games when I can but it’s been hard with all the darts.

Hopefully we get a manager soon and start getting a better team, as the team we have isn’t good enough to challenge Celtic. They (Celtic) keep getting better and it looks like we’re getting worse unfortunately.

I’m hoping next year we push Celtic as they’re laughing all the way to 10 [league titles] in a row.

And finally, are there any standout World Championship moments you remember watching in the past, which perhaps personally inspired you?

There’ve been so many Championships. [Wayne] Mardle’s win against Taylor [at the 2008 PDC Worlds] I remember. And Ted Hankey’s 170 to beat Ronnie Baxter [in the 2000 BDO Worlds final].

I’ve always liked watching Gary Anderson even in the BDO. [He’s] just great to watch.

Many thanks to Cameron for speaking to us this week, and best of luck for the future! Join us next time for part 2 of our BDO Worlds interview series.

Ian White interview.

Ian White exclusive thoughts: PDC Worlds player interview series part 6

Diamond’s views on PDC Worlds, his career aims and more

We are delighted to be joined by the hugely popular Ian White, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his seventh successive Ally Pally appearance, in Part 6 of our 2018 PDC World Championship profile/interview series.

Ian White interview.
Exclusive Ian White interview: Read the thoughts of Diamond ahead of his 7th successive PDC World Championship appearance.
Photo: Kelly Deckers

Diamond has been a big part of the PDC and the Worlds for many years now, with a best performance to date coming at the 2014 edition when he reached the quarter-finals.

He actually first came to prominence way back in 1997, when facing Phil Taylor in the final of the last ever edition of the News of the World Darts Championship – eventually losing 2-0 to his fellow Stoke native – but has since established himself as one of the top names in the sport, and broke into the top eight in 2015.

Having won three Players Championship titles in 2016 and reached a further two finals this year, White is still firmly in the top 20, but feels he has plenty more to give in the game – particularly on the big stage.

So, read on about the above and more for our exclusive Ian White interview and profile, the sixth in our series, ahead of the 2018 PDC World Championship from December 14 – January 1…

If you missed the first five parts of our interview series with Jeff Smith, Diogo Portela, Stephen Bunting, Michael Smith and Gary Anderson, click on this link.

Ian White profile

Date of birth: 17/08/1970 (age 47)
Place of birth: Nantwich, Cheshire
Nation: England
Based: Stoke-on-Trent
Nickname: Diamond
Walk-on song: Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry
Darts used: 23g Unicorn
Management company: Dunvegan Enterprises
Sponsors: Unicorn, WMH HWIN, Mayday Homecare
Twitter handle: @IanDiamondWhite

Favourite double: 4
Favourite checkout: 170
Favourite tournament: World Matchplay, Blackpool
Favourite country played in: Germany
Toughest players faced: Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson
Player to watch in future: Jeffrey de Zwaan
Sports/darts hero growing up: Kenny Dalglish
Best mates in darts: Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, Michael Smith, James Wade, Jamie Caven, John Henderson.
Favourite food: Chinese
Favourite film/TV show: Dirty Dancing (chick flicks)
Favourite band/music: Bon Jovi
Hobbies outside of darts: Fishing
Current/previous day job: Previous job – process Leader at an aluminium company
Ultimate darting ambition: World champion

Ian White interview

How excited are you ahead of this year’s Worlds? Do you have hopes of matching or even bettering your run to the quarters in the 2014 edition?

This is the biggest tournament of the year, and I would not only like to equal the quarters from 2014 but also to better it.

You jumped onto the darts scene many years ago, reaching the News of the World Championship final in 1997. But what made you take a step back from the sport soon after and then eventually give it another go?

My reasons for stepping back from darts after the 1997 News of the World Championships, was I found it difficult to win games after.

So I started a few years later in local leagues in Runcorn, then onto Superleague, the BDO circuit, then playing for England.

You have been a top player on the PDC circuit for a number of years now, and have reached two finals in 2017. How do you feel your year has gone so far?

The standard of my darts has improved but I’ve just not had the luck this year.

One of your highlights in 2017 is surely thrashing Van Gerwen 6-1 at the German Masters, where you averaged well over 100. Do those kinds of performances give you great hope that you can beat anyone on your day, and more consistently on the big stage?

Yes, and I have been doing 100-plus averages most of the year.

It’s only a matter of time before my luck changes for the better.

White has been a consistent figure in the PDC’s top ranking places over the years, and still has hope he’ll win a Major or even the Worlds!
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

What are your aims for 2018? Do you still hold hope that the PDC will finally reward your performances over the years by inviting you to the Premier League or even World Series in future?

[My 2018 aims are to] reach and establish myself in the top 10 at least. [And] yes, definitely.

The standard in darts just keeps getting higher and higher. Have you had to change anything you do to ensure you stay among the elite? And how different do yourself and others approach the sport now compared to when you first started out on tour?

I have stepped up my practise in the hours and days I put in, because if you want it you have to work for it.

Being with management company Dunvegan, it must be great for motivation to be stablemates with fellow top players like Anderson and Smith and future stars like Quantock, Dobey and Hunt. How much of a help is the set-up there in terms of on and off the oche?

It’s nice to have a management team with great teammates and support.

And I know that I am always backed strongly by the Dunvegan Team taking away any concerns knowing that things can be dealt with, so I can get on with my work as a professional dart player.

And finally, do you have any favourite or standout memories watching the World Championship in the past, besides your own successes? And what makes the PDC Worlds so special to you?

My biggest memories are that when the World Championships were on in the late 90s.

I used to watch in my local in Runcorn (the Dockside) whilst practising. I used to play with the match and try and beat the scores.

One game that tends to stick in my memory was a Phil Taylor and Dennis Priestley final.

The PDC World Championship is special for me because the crowds, the atmosphere is electrifying, and it is a massive honour to be a part of. All my hard work is paying off to be a part of the biggest competition in the world.

Many thanks to Ian for speaking to us this week. Join us for part 7 of our PDC Worlds interview series next time, where we’ll hear the thoughts and views of rapidly rising star Rob Cross.

Exclusive Gary Anderson interview.

Gary Anderson exclusive thoughts: PDC Worlds player interview series part 5

The Flying Scotsman’s views on PDC Worlds, becoming a father again and more

We are delighted to be joined by two-time world champion Gary Anderson, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of another title attempt at the Ally Pally, in Part 5 of our 2018 PDC World Championship profile/interview series.

Exclusive Gary Anderson interview.
Exclusive Gary Anderson interview: Read the thoughts of The Flying Scotsman ahead of his attempt to win a third PDC World Championship.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The Flying Scotsman needs no introduction, being a two-time world champion and a nine-time Major winner across both organisations.

A premier event trophy has so far eluded Anderson 2017, but he has still reached finals at the last PDC Worlds back in January, The Masters and Champions League, as well as claiming titles such as the Perth and Dubai Masters.

The birth of his daughter this year of course has trumped all other achievements, and resulted in less playing time overall, but his hunger and desire for silverware is bigger than ever.

So, read on about the above and more for our exclusive Gary Anderson interview and profile, the fifth in our series, ahead of the 2018 PDC World Championship from December 14 – January 1…

If you missed the first four parts of our interview series with Jeff Smith, Diogo Portela, Stephen Bunting and Michael Smith, click on this link.

Gary Anderson profile

Date of birth: 22/12/1970 (age 46)
Place of birth: Musselburgh, Scotland
Nation: Scotland
Based: Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset
Nickname: The Flying Scotsman
Walk-on song: Jump Around by House of Pain
Management company: Dunvegan Enterprises
Sponsors: Unicorn, Rix Motor Company
Twitter handle: @GaryAnderson180

Favourite double: Tops
Favourite tournament: World Championship
Favourite country played in: Scotland
Toughest player faced: Phil Taylor
Players to watch in future: Michael Smith, Chris Dobey, Chris Quantock, Adam Hunt
Sports/darts hero growing up: Jocky Wilson
Best mate in darts: Adrian Lewis
Hobbies outside of darts: Relaxing!
Current/previous day job: Made fireplaces
Ultimate darting ambition: To win world title number 3

Gary Anderson interview

Firstly, many congratulations to you and your partner on recently welcoming a new baby daughter to the world. How does it feel becoming a father again?

It feels amazing. It’s such an incredible experience and I’m lucky to now have a daughter, although that scares the hell out of me.

I’ve had three boys so I’m very happy now.

You’ve previously credited the birth of your son Tai in 2014 as inspiration for your successes since, do you hope for a similar rise in your performances again now too?

I think so. Must been something about the cost of nappies that motivates me to win more!

Seriously, though, my instinct as the bread winner kicks in and that makes me want to win just that little bit more for my kids.

With the PDC Worlds and other big ranking tournaments coming up, you have the chance to regain the number two spot in the Order of Merit and close the gap on MvG. How much would it mean to you to eventually be world number one? Is it a big goal of yours to get there?

I’ve got to be honest, being world champion again is my only priority.

World ranking doesn’t really bother me. It’s trophies and titles that motivate me.

Anderson is aiming to become only the second person to win three or more PDC World Championship titles.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Playing in fewer tournaments this year, is it becoming your aim to pick and choose entering certain events now like Taylor and Barney have done, or will you go back to taking part in more again next year?

My manager Tommy Gilmour and I look at my diary at the start of each year.

With so many tournaments now it is absolutely vital not to get burnout and keep as much energy for Majors as possible.

Obviously, the past year I’ve wanted to be at home a bit more because the baby was due.

But we will look at my 2018 commitments and make a judgement in the New Year.

What are your main goals for 2018? Is there a particular title besides the Worlds you want your hands on again or for the first time?

Not really. I want to win every tournament I enter but the Worlds is the one everyone wants the most.

What affect will the loss of Phil Taylor from next year have on darts? Will the sport be the same without him? And have you thought about how many more years you’d like to play at the top?

Phil is the greatest and always will be.

But the sport will move on without him, new names are emerging already and that’s good for the sport.

I’ll keep playing as long as I enjoy it, and I’m enjoying it right now.

How is the state of darts in Scotland right now? Can we expect any youngsters coming through to join you as being a world champion in the coming years?

There are a few guys coming through on a local level and a new academy has opened which is wonderful for Scottish darts.

I think that will definitely produce a lot of talent.

And finally, besides your own successes, what are your memories of World Darts Championship events in the past? Do any in the past stand out in particular, that inspired you to make it in the sport?

I just remember my dad watching Jocky Wilson and Eric Bristow [in the 1989 BDO Worlds final].

I watched it in the front room and loved it. The rest, I guess, is history!

Many thanks to Gary for speaking to us this week. Join us for part 6 of our PDC Worlds interview series next time, where we’ll hear the thoughts and views of Ian White.