Tom is an experienced and respected sports journalist, specialising, and focusing on darts. Before joining Darts World, Tom launched his darts journalist website – TungstenStories.com back in 2015, as a way to showcase his journalist skills. Tom has appeared radio stations discussing darts and several Podcast shows. Tom has written for several newspapers covering darts and the progress of certain players. In early 2017, Tom joined the Junior Darts Corporation's media team.
As the coronavirus pandemic has left the world with a real shortage of live sport, the Championship Darts Circuit has ‘moved with the times’ as the North American-based darts corporation set up their very own darts at home league, the CDC Championship League.
Canada’s Kiley Edmunds picked up the inaugural title, defeating Gary Mawson in the final. Despite finishing fourth in the Canadian Division and seven points adrift of Matt Campbell, who topped the league phase from a Canadian perspective, the CDC Tour event finalist took full advantage of the tournament’s criteria.
Following the CDC Championship League, it was announced on social media that the third weekend on the CDC tour, due to be played in Denver, Colorado, was to be cancelled.
The CDC’s CEO, Peter Citera released the following statement:
“Due to the continued uncertainty affecting North America surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the decision to cancel the upcoming events originally scheduled to be held in Denver July 10th – 12th.
“All outstanding registration fees from Tour Card Holders will be refunded via cheque by the end of June.
“We are currently exploring the possibility of holding two event weekends (one in each country) in late summer or fall. More information on the remainder of 2020 will follow in the coming weeks. Please watch www.champdarts,com and follow all of our social media properties as we will share information on all the CDC tours (Main, Junior, and Evolution) when it becomes available.
“In the meantime, we look forward to bringing you Series #2 of the CDC Championship League that will feature seven US and Canadian players in a seven-week season with one weekly featured match from each country; details will be announced in June. Additionally, we’ll continue with our giveaways of dart-related merchandise and memorabilia made possible by the generosity of our wonderful sponsors.
“Thank you for your continued support of Championship Darts Corporation and the Championship Darts Circuit. Please stay safe and healthy, we look forward to seeing you on the oche and the Livestream just as soon as circumstances allow.”
On the back of Mr Citera’s statement that leaves a degree of excitement prior to the Championship League announcement in a few weeks time. But, in the mean time, the CDC already have something else up their sleeves..
Keeping North America entertained, the CDC announced the ‘Next Generation Showcase’ featuring some of the most talented young players in North America, kicking off on June 3.
Separated into two divisions, CDC Junior Division & CDC Evolution Division, Kaden Anderson, Jamison Merritt, PJ Stewart, James Butler, Keifer Durham, Gavin Nicoll, Jacob Womack and Joey Lynaugh will battle it out for a place in the play-offs.
Junior Division: Best of 10 legs, a win earns two points, with a draw earning a point.
Evolution Division: Best of 12 legs, a win earns two points, with a draw earning a point.
As the growth of the North American darts scene continues to rise, Florida’s Daniel Baggish, Philadelphia’s legendary figure, Darin Young and Ontario’s ‘Ginga Ninja’ Matt Campbell represented North America amicably at the 2020 PDC William Hill World Darts Championship in London prior to the festive break.
Before we delve into the World Championship itself and the plaudits that the three North American representatives deserve, let’s just offer an overview as to just how much the profile of the sport in the North American region has grown over recent years.
Championship Darts Circuit: The growth of the North American game
The growth of the Championship Darts Circuit, a tour that was set up around five years ago by a group of four partners – Peter Citera, Anthony Eugenia, L.David Irete and Jeff Goode. This particular team of darts enthusiasts shared a vast knowledge of the sport and a long-term vision – to pasture together the best players that North America has to offer and to raise the bar in terms of standard on a consistent level, with rewards to match those who can play at the highest level.
Like any new business plan, the CDC did take time to generate interest and build. The Dart Connect system coincided with the launch of the CDC tour, allowing darts fans on a global scale to keep up-to-date with all events and individual performances.
A year or two into the existence of the CDC, tournaments were able to view using online streams and gradually, the Championship Darts Circuit consistently gathered in large viewing figures in each of their events.
Hard work, rewarded
Following the consistent hard work and high-quality players emerging from the CDC tour, in 2018 – the CDC’s efforts were recognised by the PDC and after months of meetings and communication with the PDC, Barry Hearn and Matthew Porter rewarded the CDC’s efforts by offering three spots at the 2019 PDC World Championship, those three places were allocated to the highest-ranked USA player on the CDC tour, whom at the time was Arizona’s Chuck Puleo, the highest-ranked Canadian (Jim Long) and the winner of the North American Championship in Las Vegas, which was none other than Jeff Smith.
Following the 2019 World Championship, both Puleo and Long were rewarded further as the Professional Darts Corporation awarded places to the pair in the USA and the Canadian team at the PDC World Cup of Darts in Germany. Puleo pairing up with the ever-present Darin Young and Long accompanying Dawson Murschell. The Canadian duo performed superbly with a great run to the quarter-finals, just losing out to the Netherlands 2-1, with Murschell enjoying a memorable win over Michael van Gerwen en route.
After an impressive 2019 from a North American perspective on both the CDC tour and in at the PDC World Championship and the World Cup, the growth of the sport and the opportunities that were on the table to the top players in the North American region, more and more ‘new’ players emerged out of the region as the 2019 CDC Tour kicked off on March 30.
Darin Young made a great start to the year on the CDC tour after agonisingly missing out on the PDC World Championship spot in the final event back in 2018. Young won two out of the first three events, reaching the final in all three. Ontario’s Matt Campbell came into some great form midway through the season, reaching four consecutive finals, winning two of them and threw his name into the hat for a place at Alexandra Palace.
The Canadian Burst onto the scene midway through the 2018 CDC tour, reaching the final on-tour in just his first CDC weekend – reaching a final after coming through the qualifiers, producing 23 maximums over the course of the event and just losing out to an on-song Darin Young in one of the greatest finals we’ve seen since the CDC’s inception.
After Young and Campbell continued to reach finals and win events, it came as no surprise to see the pair clinch their places at Alexandra Palace. Campbell, who just missed out on a place at the North American Championship, deservedly booked his debut at the PDC World Championship.
Joining Young and Campbell at the PDC World Darts Championship was none other than Florida-based star, Danny Baggish – a player that’s been taking North American darts by storm over the course of the year, winning events left, right and centre, travelling to tournaments all over North America and producing some breathtaking displays, breaking average records.
Baggish stormed his way through the qualifiers at the North American Championship in Las Vegas. Baggish recorded several averages in the one hundred-and-teens en route. In the North American Championship itself on the PDC stage, Baggish defeated Elliott Milk, Leonard Gates and Jeff Smith to secure his place at Alexandra Palace and setting up an opening round tie with Daryl Gurney in the PDC US Darts Masters.
Ahead of Baggish’s clash with Gurney, it was a tie that excited darts fans, not only in North America but on a global scale, given the quality of Baggish’s performances in 2019. Despite losing out 6-1 to the Irishman, who’s of course a two-time major winner, Baggish certainly won over several fans, globally.
So, as the Championship Darts Circuit tour came to a close, Baggish made the decision to compete in the final two CDC events via the qualifiers. The Florida thrower stormed through the first qualifying event, averaging a whopping 110.5 in both of his victories, sealing qualification with a 111.2 average in a 3-0 win over Mike McClain.
During Main event nine, Baggish produced several impressive displays as he reached the third round, before losing out to an in-form Danny Lauby. Baggish notably saw off three-time world champion John Part in a crushing 5-0 win with a breathtaking 112.2 3-dart average.
As expected, Baggish successfully came through the qualifier for the final CDC event of 2019 and after tasting defeat in the previous event, Baggish successfully stormed through the field in Philadelphia and won his first CDC title at the second time of asking. Baggish enjoyed a series of victories over the likes of Paul Burns (5-0), Joe Chaney (5-2), Dave Richardson (5-1), Jeremiah Millar (6-1), Chuck Puleo (6-2) and Joe Huffman (6-2) in a blistering series of performances to end the CDC season.
So, as the 2020 PDC World Championship kicked off at Alexandra Palace, first-up from a North American standpoint, Ontario’s Matt Campbell came up against former BDO World Championship finalist, Mark McGeeney.
2020 PDC World Championship
Campbell put in a solid performance and matched McGeeney in the scoring stakes, in the end, McGeeney’s stage experience proved to be a telling factor as he pounced on every single error from the Canadian. Campbell fell to a 3-1 defeat, but there were plenty of positives to take from his performance – his scoring was consistently heavy, if his timing was better and grasping the chances more ruthlessly, then he really can be a handful to any player in the PDC ranks. Will Campbell decide to give PDC Qualifying School a go, who knows?
Ever-present USA darting star, Darin Young was involved in an emotionally-charged first round tie as ‘Big Daddy’ completed a memorable 3-1 victory over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in a result that ended the Dutch legend’s final World Championship campaign.
For Young, it was a result that filled him with confidence and although the night was surrounded by the aftermath of the Dutchman’s career coming to a close, Young remained upbeat as he moved into round two.
“Raymond’s been on the front-line for the best part of 15-20 years, it’s excitement for me, but honestly, I feel bad for Raymond.” said Young after the win. “I was always the underdog as far as the crowd was concerned, but I kind of played that to my advantage, I think. I’ve put a lot of practise in, my preparations been good and you never know when it’s going to be your last match.”
“There’s no pressure on me whatsoever, everyone in this place was expecting me to lose this match. What I think happened for me is that all the years of experience, all the years of being here and the age I’m at now and the practice that I’ve put in this year, I haven’t put in since I was a young lad is paying off. If I can keep that rhythm going then I don’t really care who I play.”
Following Young’s heroics over van Barneveld, the Philadelphia star almost recorded a Dutch-double. Young moved within a leg of a 3-1 win, before Jeffrey de Zwaan produced heroics of the highest order to force a deciding set. The American moved ahead in the fifth set and missed a match-dart at D8 to stun the ‘Black Cobra’ but de Zwaan used his stage experience to secure a place in the third round of action at the Ally Pally.
It was another impressive showing from Young, who used his experience to carry himself through the tournament and despite defeat, there are many positives to take from another decent World Championship campaign.
Thirdly, it was time for the much-fancied Florida star, Danny Baggish to make his PDC World Championship debut. Baggish used his spare time in London to perfect his preparations as the USA ace sharpened up with the likes of 13-year old star, Leighton Bennett at Target Darts HQ and John Scott alongside the Middlesex super league team.
Baggish was tipped for big things ahead of the action at Alexandra Palace, and it’s fair to say that he won over plenty of fans in the United Kingdom due to his professionalism and his high-quality levels of performance.
Despite Baggish’s great year in terms of his form across North America, questions were asked how would he be able to handle the pressure applied from the PDC professionals, well those fears were soon put to bed as Baggish dug in deep to secure a hard-fought 3-2 win over Andy Boulton in his opening match.
Coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 behind, Baggish really had to remain mentally calm and composed on the oche as he withheld early pressure from Boulton and the Florida ace’s quality shone through as he moved into the second round of the competition.
Following the win, Baggish was full of confidence and expressed his delight as he spoke to a jam-packed media room at Alexandra Palace.
“I feel ecstatic,” said Baggish. “Everyone that’s here, want to be here and to be able to play here for the first time and win is unbelievable.
“I found another gear from 2-1 down and after I made it 2-2, I felt like it was ‘my time’.
Baggish admits that playing darts in London earlier in the week really helped him.
“It’s unbelievable. Where I’m from, there’s no steel-tip leagues, it’s all electronic and soft-tip. What you guys have here is fantastic and I’ve loved it [London].
Baggish was also quick to praise the CDC, insisting: “I wish we could play events every weekend.”
“The CDC is the best thing going right now. If we’re going to continue to bring the best players in North America against each other, then it’s only going to help darts in North America.”
In terms of the possibility of attending PDC Qualifying School, Baggish was quick to admit that he will be there.
“I’ll be at Q-School.” Said Baggish. “If I can play well at a solid pace, then I’ll stand every chance.”
In the second-round, Baggish came up against the much-fancied UK Open champion, Nathan Aspinall. Many wrote Baggish off before a dart was thrown, and the American responded to that as he took the opening set, although he expected a backlash from Aspinall.
As anticipated, Aspinall battled back as the pair continued to trade blows with moments of real quality being produced in what was a fascinating spectacle. Baggish created an opening in the third set, and of for large parts looked like he was heading for a 2-1 lead, but Aspinall really showed his class as he wrapped up a 3-1 win.
Despite defeat, Baggish really showed a glimpse of his potential and even Aspinall was full of praise for the American, insisting that it won’t be the last time that Baggish will appear on the biggest stages in world darts.
On a continual scale, darts in North America is on the rise, massively. it’s certainly going to interesting to see how many North American’s head over to PDC Qualifying School in January.
This is a modified version of the Tom original article, photos and social media content has been removed.
Glen Durrant confirmed his place in the Semi-Finals at Lakeside as he produced a phenomenal comeback, after recovering from 4-1 behind to edge out Jim Williams 5-4 and keep his hopes alive in defending his World title.
The number one seed fired in 15 maximums along with a 100.92 average. Durrant won 12 of the final 13 legs in what was a quite remarkable comeback; of course he had a similar comeback in last year’s event as he came from 3-0 behind to defeat Paul Hogan 4-3 in round two, but this was just extraordinary.
Williams was very clinical in the opening exchanges as he raced into a 2-0 set lead despite Durrant averaging 102.57 and 95.60 in those opening two sets. Durrant fired in a stunning 132 finish in the very first leg as he looked like he was going to win the match convincingly from then on, but Williams responded with a 12-darter followed by a 15-darter to hold as he took the opening set 3-2.
It was just as clinical in the second set from Williams as he moved two sets clear after producing legs of 15, 13 and 16 darts to stun the number one seed. Durrant as you’d expect came battling back as he provided some brilliant moments to take the third set 3-1 as he averaged over 101 in that particular set to reduce the scoreline to 2-1.
The fourth set was a bit strange in terms of neither player setting the game alight at that point, but it was Williams who managed to take it 3-1 as he regained his two-set advantage.
In the fifth set, the standard was raised up a notch or two as there was only one leg won over 15 darts, and incidentally that 16-dart leg from Jim Williams saw him move into a 4-1 lead. Durrant produced a 15-darter to break as he took out 86, but Williams responded perfectly as he came back with a 12-dart leg as he piled in a 121 finish to break straight back. He then held on to take the set 3-2. With no room for any mistakes, the pressure was on the number one seed as he was fighting to stay in the tournament.
In the sixth set he produced some sensational darts as he used just 38 darts to take the set, he piled in an 11-dart leg in the first leg and followed it up with a sumptuous 158 finish to seal the set and reduce the deficit to just two sets. The Teesside-based ace then made it six legs on-the-spin as he whitewashed Williams in the seventh set to move within one of the Welshman as he produce some solid legs of darts. Durrant then went on to force a ninth and deciding set after he once more produced some phenomenal legs, he took the first two legs of the eighth set with legs of 13 and 15 darts. Williams came back with a level 15-darter as he took out 64, but Duzza sealed the set with a delightful 116 finish for a 12-dart leg.
Durrant showed ultimate composure in the ninth and final set, both players had left a two-dart finish in the first leg, but Williams spurned his attempt at 41 on throw. Durrant stepped it for a 12-dart leg as he took out 46 to break Williams’ throw. Duzza then went on to hold his throw comfortably to move within a leg of the match as he pinned D16. In the final leg of this extraordinary match, Durrant produced a superb 13-darter as he again picked out his favourite D16 as he completed yet another sensational comeback.
Duzza has showed some fantastic mental strength over the past few years in his domination of the BDO circuit and he’s well and truly on course to defend his World title. Following that victory, Durrant put to bed any hopes of a potential career in the PDC or going to Q-School. He had let fate decide itself before the tournament began as he stated that if he wasn’t to reach the Semi-Finals then he would give Q-School a shot, if not then he will remain in the BDO. That decision seems to have made itself now.
Waiting for Durrant in the Semi-Finals will be Scott Waites. Attached below are some statistics which I have compiled following my analysis. The sixth set was the stand out set for the Middlesbrough ace as he averaged 118.66 and had a first 9 average of 126.78.
‘Duzza’ Glen Durrant produced another phenomenal run in the Professional Darts Organisation’s BWIN Grand Slam of Darts event over in Wolverhampton over the past week as he reached the Quarter-Finals in the historic event, the Teesside-icon enjoyed victories over Peter Wright, Alan Norris and Dave Chisnall on his way to the last eight before losing out to Peter Wright 16-10 in a fantastic battle which included a stunning nine-dart attempt as he narrowly missed D12 for the ‘perfect’ leg.
Durrant moved one step further from 12 months previously, in which he had a run to the last 16 on his debut in the competition as he was defeated narrowly by Raymond van Barneveld 10-7.
Durrant referred back to that match in an interview earlier this week in which he stated that he “ learned from his mistakes” in that match as the match was poised at 5-5 at the second break and after the interval, Durrant found himself 8-5 behind in the blink of an eye.
This time round, Durrant has put in some world-class displays. In his first two group E matches the Middlesbrough-ace averaged 106 and 103 respectively as he emerged as one of the favourites for the competition.
The tournament sponsors bwin had Durrant as 80/1 post tournament to win the Grand Slam. After those first two group E matches, those odds were slashed to just 20/1. Durrant’s last 16 victory over Dave Chisnall showed another side to Duzza’s game as he could of easily folded as he missed a couple of opportunities to increase his lead to three or four legs to the good.
Chisnall stuck with Durrant all the way, but he was always in the driving seat showing extreme composure and mental strength up on the stage. One of the standout legs for me in which Durrant showed great composure was the final leg as he fired in a 14-darter in which he started with a maximum, and with Chisnall left on 77 to break throw, Durrant picked out D20 to progress.
So people ask me quite a lot, where did things all start to go right for Durrant as he has dominated the BDO circuit for the last 3/4 years? Well, it was around 2011 where Durrant started to make a name for himself within the BDO ranks as he reached the Quarter-Finals of the World Masters in which he lost out Martin Adams 3-1. In 2012, Durrant fired in his first competitive nine-dart leg in the 2012 England Darts Organisations Grosvenor Casino Tyneside Classic. The first major International open tournament win for Durrant came in September 2012, when he recorded victories against Martin Adams, Robbie Green and Martin Atkins amongst others, before defeating Scott Waites in the final to win the 2012 EDO England Classic and the £3000 first prize.
In 2014, Durrant’s progression was coming along nicely as he reached the final of the Jersey Open as he lost out to Scott Mitchell despite missing three match darts. That was following a run to the Semi-Finals of the World Masters as he was defeated in the end by Martin Phillips.
In 2015, Durrant’s dominance of the BDO circuit came into fruition as he reached the Semi-Finals of the Lakeside World Championships as he lost out in an absolute classic match with Martin Adams, ‘Wolfie’ missed D12 for a nine-dart leg in that one as he edged out Durrant 6-5 with Durrant missing one match dart to win it 6-4. The match was talked as one of the best in the history of the tournament as Durrant averaged 99.57 to Adams` 97.92 and both hits 12 ton+ finishes between them. Following that defeat, the Teesside-ace approached a sports psychologist in Stephen McKibben from Northern Ireland, who is a very popular figure with helping several top players. Glen has worked with Stephen ever since and it has enabled him to win his majors and dominate the BDO circuit. Durrant had a phenomenal year in 2015 on the BDO Circuit as he picked up many titles such as the English Classic, English Matchplay, Welsh Open, Denmark Open and Isle of Man classic titles, and was finalist in the Scottish Open, Isle of Man Open, English Open and British Classic. He also helped his country to win the WDF World Cup team title.
Durrant won his first major title when he won the Winmau World Masters title, after showing superb form throughout the tournament. He defeated Larry Butler 7-3 in the final. After the victory, Durrant mentioned about how much working with Stephen has changed him from a nearly man to a major winner.
Durrant’s second BDO major title victory came at the Zuiderduin Masters as he defeated Martin Adams 5-2 in that final with a 100.69 3-dart average.
After Durrant’s phenomenal year in 2015, he emerged as the favourite as the number one seed to win the Lakeside World Championship in January the following year, he started off superbly with convincing victories over Dean Reynolds and Larry Butler without even dropping a single set. In the last eight, Durrant came unstuck against Scott Waites despite leading 4-2 in sets and 2-0 in legs as he made his exit from the competition. But, in typical ‘Duzza’ style he managed to comeback from that disappointment as he continued to win nearly every title the BDO has to offer, he successfully defended his Winmau World Masters title after completing a 6-3 victory over Mark McGeeney.
In January 2017, Durrant acheived his dream as he was crowned the Lakeside World Champion for the first time as he completed a stunning 7-3 victory over Danny Noppert in which Durrant put in a relentless display as he sunk to his knees after realising his accomplishment. In the very first round of that tournament he was survived a stack of match darts against Paul Hogan who was 2-0 ahead at the time as he came back to win 3-2 and showed superb resolve and mental strength which wad mostly down to Stephen McKibben’s help and support and Durrant never looked back.
Following that victory, Durrant took a few months away from the game as he filled his time up with exhibitions and preparing for the upcoming major tournaments. Durrant’s form started to make it’s return as he made his bid to win the Winmau World Darts Masters for the third time on-the-spin, but he suffered a 4-2 defeat in the Quarter-Finals at the hands of Krzysztof Ratajski in the last eight with the Pole averaging over 100.
After this weeks showing, Durrant has showed why is returning to the very top of his game as he TV tournaments arrive thick and fast. For the majority of the week, the talk has been about Durrant’s possible move to the PDC in January which all depends how far he goes at the Lakeside. If he reaches the Semi-Finals or better, Duzza will not be able to attempt to win a tour card in Wigan as his contract with the BDO does not allow him to do so.
Durrant has stated in the past that the PDC is the last chapter in his career and it’s a challenge that he wishes to attempt.
Peter Wright booked his place in the semi-finals of the BWIN Grand Slam of Darts after he completed a 16-10 victory over Glen Durrant. But, it could have been such a different story as Durrant spurned several opportunities to move 5/6-0 ahead. Snakebite punished those crucial misses from ‘Duzza’ as he moved 3-2 ahead heading into the first interval.
Durrant didn’t give up despite his misfortunes on the doubles as he fired in a 15-dart leg to level things up at 3-3. After Wright’s throw was broken by the Middlesbrough-ace the world number two went on to win the next four legs on the spin, racing into a 7-3 lead as he won legs in 14, 13, 14 and 15 darts to move four clear. Durrant fired in an 89 finish to end his four-leg drought to move back within three legs of Snakebite. Wright regained his four-leg lead, producing another level 15-dart leg as he took out 84 to move past the halfway mark.
In reflection, after 12 legs Durrant had one more dart than Wright at a double having only hit 4/17 and Wright hit 50 per cent of his with 8/16.
That was the main statistic separating the pair at that stage. The Lakeside champion suffered a blip in the scoring stakes in leg 15 and Snakebite managed to break his throw with ease as he moved into a 9-4 lead and the finishing line looked like it was moving ever closer.
Durrant almost completed a superb 157 finish to close the gap to 9-5, but once again even one miss at a double to win the leg was punished as Wright took out 60 to move into a 10-4 lead. Duzza’s double woes continued severely in the very next leg as he went onto miss nine darts at a double to peg things back to 10-5, Wright snatched the leg at the expense of his opponent as he moved into an 11-4 lead just five legs from victory.
This was a disastrous turn of fortune for Durrant as he had hit just 4/23 on the doubles at that stage, having outscored Snakebite throughout the contest but being unable to take those crucial opportunities. Durrant did manage to end his five-leg drought, being the beneficiary this time of missed doubles from his opponent as he pegged the scoreline back to 12-5. Durrant wasn’t giving up on a comeback as he fired in a stunning 124 finish to pull things back to 13-6, but time was slowly running out for the Teesside legend with Wright was just three legs from the semi-finals.
Wright moved into the third interval 14-6 to the good as he fired in a score of 171 which was followed by D4 to move within just two legs of the last four. Durrant wasn’t giving up without a scrap; after the break he came out all guns blazing as he fired in a 14-darter to get his seventh leg on the board. Durrant won his second leg on-the-spin for the first time in the match by firing in a 14-dart leg to move within six legs of Wright just after he had some double trouble of his own.
Durrant was in ‘the zone’ at this stage as he fired in six perfect darts to start the very next leg, and in the end took out 77 for a stunning 12-dart leg as he pegged the score line back to 14-9. He missed two ever-so-crucial darts at D16 to move within four legs of Wright, and once again it was punished as Snakebite picked out 68 to move within just a leg of the semi-finals.
The very next leg produced a very special moment as Durrant fired in EIGHT perfect darts after very very nearly picking out D12 for the perfect leg. It was a 10-darter in the end for Duzza as he went into the break 15-10 behind; credit to him for really picking up the pace and showing why he’s a world-class talent.
In reflection on the last five legs from Durrant, he was averaging a mind-boggling 114.88. He narrowly missed one dart at the bull for a 124 to stay in the match, and it proved to be his last attempt as Snakebite picked out D5 to cement his place in the last four.
But, what a tremendous and courageous fightback from Durrant who was stunning in the latter stages of that battle.
Niall Culleton was in a jubilant mood on Sunday afternoon as he clinched victory in the fifth round of the Irish Darts Masters Championship over at the Springhill court hotel in Kilkenny. He enjoyed some terrific victories in the latter stages of the event as he defeated Jason Delahunty 6-3, Ciaran Teehan 6-2 in the quarter-finals In the semi-finals Culleton came up against Benny Grace, he continued his red-hot form as he booked his place in the final as he defeated Grace 6-3. History was made in the event as the Irish PDC star Steven Lennon hit a nine-dart leg in his semi-final victory against Dylan Powell in which he went on to win 6-2.
In the final, Niall Culleton’s delightful form throughout the day continued as he edged out Lennon 6-2 to clinch the title. In the Ladies event it was 13-year old Katie Sheldon who brilliantly went on to win her second Ladies title in successive years as she defeated Breda Kelliher in the final. The teenage sensation Ciaran Teehan was victorious in the youth event after a terrific last-leg deciding win over Killian Heffernan 4-3 in the final. The Grand Finals of 2017 Irish Masters takes place in Clonmel Park on July 30th.
2017 Irish Darts Masters Championship Round FIVE RESULTS
Gary Anderson’s delightful run of form continues as he won PDC Players Championship 14 in Wigan on Sunday afternoon. The Scot lost out in the final yesterday to Steve Beaton but he made amends just 24 hours later to win the title. Gary’s form in Wigan has been superb as he has made three finals out of the last four events in Wigan. Just like yesterday, Anderson had a slow start in sweltering conditions it’s fair to say at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan as he opened up with a last-leg deciding victory over Mickey Mansell (6-5). He then defeated Harry Robinson 6-4 in the second round in another close tungsten tussle.
In the Last 32, it was the battle of the Anderson’s as he took on Australia’s Kyle Anderson. The Scot stated his intent early on as he cruised to a 6-2 victory as he cemented his place in the last 16. As each round progressed, Anderson seemed to get better and better as he swept aside the young Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 to book his place in the Quarter-Finals. Anderson cruised into the Semi-Finals with the minimum of fuss as he seen off Richard North 6-1 to set up a mouth-watering Semi-Final clash with the in-form Rob Cross. The Semi-Final was a terrific contest with both players throwing well on their own throw, in the end though Anderson broke the Cross throw in the tenth and final leg to book his place in his second final in as many days as he recorded a 6-4 victory over Rob Cross.
In the final, Anderson came up against his stable-mate Ian White who himself had played superbly all afternoon in the sweltering conditions. Anderson dominated proceedings in the final as he cruised to a 6-1 victory, the averages were very close but it was the finishing statistics from Anderson that proved to be pivotal in the end with Anderson hitting 60% of his doubles attempted compared to the 20% of his opponent.
The delighted Scot spoke to Dan Dawson after the final :
” The last couple of games have dragged a little, it’s been a long day and it’s been really hot. These tournaments are hard work as Ian will tell you, it’s absolutely baking in here. ”
” Since Dubai, I think I’ve thrown my darts once. Then there was the World cup I think we lasted about 16 minutes on stage, then I came back and went on holiday. ”
I’ve played well today and surprised myself, I was playing well before I won the first World title two years ago. Every night I had at home I was down the pub playing 60,70,80 legs a night we were playing Monday Tuesday every week really helped me, but the last 23 years we have been on the road so haven’t had the chance. ”
I’m delighted to say that I am joined by the two time back-to-back World champion GaryAnderson for an exclusive interview. The Flying Scotsman enjoyed back-to-back World title wins in 2015 & 2016 with wins over Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis in both finals. The Scot nearly made it three times in succession but narrowly missed out to Michael van Gerwen in the 2017 final. Anderson has been in phenomenal form over the last three years as he sits second in the PDC order of merit behind Michael van Gerwen, the 46-year old Scot had a tremendous 2016 as he reached the Semi-Finals of the World Matchplay, the Final of the World Grand Prix, and of course he reached his third World Championship final in succession. In the World Series events, Anderson had huge success as he won three out of the five events played. The Scot enjoyed victories in Dubai, Auckland and Shanghai.
First of all, thanks for joining me Gary. You have had a tremendous last three years rising to number two in the World, at what point did things start to click for you ?
I think it was after the birth of my son Tai. He gave me a new outlook on life and put darts into perspective. I relaxed a bit more and the results flowed.“
After you were the reigning World Champion in 2015 & 2016, did you feel any added pressure going into tournaments or did you just treat them like any other game ?
” You try and treat them just the same, but it is different. You are a bit more of a target from other players but especially the media, you need to do far more interviews and that distracts you.“
Obviously you have quite a team now with Tommy Gilmour, blending youth with experience with the recent additions Ian White and Chris Quantock. How is it spending time with all of the team and how far do you think the likes of Chris Dobey, Adam Hunt and Chris Quantock can go ?
” They can go all the way, or they wouldn’t have been signed. They all have so much talent and potential it’s scary. What I love about them all is their attitude and clean living. They’ve got big futures. We’re a really close team at Dunvegan Enterprises- Tommy and Stephanie are brilliant at looking after us and if any of the boys (myself included) need anything at all we just ring them and it’s sorted.“
With the World Matchplay just around the corner, just how desperate are you to win the Matchplay after making two semi-finals? Do you prefer the format ?
” I must admit it’s one I’d finally like to win. I must be the only Scot who doesn’t enjoy his visits to Blackpool in the summer! Seriously though, I need to improve my record there. The format suits me so there’s no reason why I can’t win it. “
After lots of success in the World Series events last year, just how much do you enjoy playing in them and travelling all over the globe ?
” I’m not a great traveler, it’s exhausting, but I loved every minute of it- what an opportunity to see the World. When you win a couple like I did it’s a wonderful experience. The travelling can really affect you during the year but the World Series has been an excellent addition to the calendar. Rachel and Tai also joined me on parts of the World Series so that’s a fantastic opportunity for Tai to say he was in China and the opening of Shanghai Disney at two years old. “
Apart from the World Championship, what is your favourite tournament on the calendar ?
” I’ve always enjoyed the Grand Slam. It’s a nice format and you can afford to lose an early match and still stay in the tournament! “
You have had quite a lot of success in the floor events, just how different are these to playing in TV stage events ?
” They are actually a lot more difficult to win that the TV events. The floor events are the greatest form guide in the sport. When a player starts to win at weekends, you know they are going to go all the way.“
You recently appeared at the launch of the Unicorn Glasgow Darts academy, just how bright is the future looking for these youngsters ?
” The opportunities now for young players is like night and day compared to how it was when I started. These kids can get so much experience in youth tournaments and if they stay dedicated can be superstars. This has been happening in Holland since Raymond van Barneveld started winning world titles – we are catching up now“
How does you feel the overall attitude towards darts is in Scotland ?
It’s great, Darts is becoming a past time for all ages now. There are 2 youth Academies in Glasgow that I’m associated with- The Gary Anderson Academy at Bannerman High School which they set up a few years ago as a lunchtime/after school club. They have a waiting list it’s so popular. The Head teacher wasn’t keen on the idea but she’s now a 100% on-board with it as she has seen visible differences in behavior and maths skills.
There is also the Glasgow Unicorn Youth Darts Academy which I launched with some of the other Unicorn players in March. This is the serious kids who are hoping to knock MvG and I off our spots. What talent from the 8 year olds to the 18 year olds. This has been fantastic to The Academy is based at the Tigers Den at Ashfield Stadium, Possil park is a very deprived area and the uptake shows that the kids are crying out for something to do other than sit at home in front of the TV. Every week so far has seen increased numbers.
The kids are given a set of rules when they sign up- dress code, code of conduct etc. and you can see already a change in behavior- they all come in and say hello to each other, shake hands with their opponents before and after they play, it’s very social. They were offered a chance to buy “Team” polo shirts which most of the kids have done so already. They are also progressing each week with both their accuracy of throw and their numerical skills.
I’m really proud to be associated with both these academies. It does mean the kids are better younger as they don’t need to wait until they’re old enough to go to the pub now. “
As a youngster, what got you into playing Darts? Did you have a darting hero when growing up?
” I remember my dad watching Eric Bristow and Jocky Wilson on World of Sport on TV and I loved it, the atmosphere, everything. Jocky was my hero and then Phil Taylor. “
There was a lot of talk near the end of last season about the possibility of darts being in the Olympics. What are your thoughts on this?
” Don’t get me wrong, I’d love darts to make the Olympics. But I doubt it will happen because there’s so much snobbery towards darts. “
You have always had a natural ability, is it true that the first three darts you ever threw you hit a 140?
” Yes that’s true. There’s been times when I’ve not be able to hit one since when I really needed to. “
You met your partner Rachel through darts didn’t you, is she a decent player as well?
” Yes she’s very decent. But don’t tell her that! “
Please explain how you felt when the D12 went in to win your first World title?
” I’ve got to be truthful and say I can’t really remember. It’s a bit of a dream. Probably a bit of relief as well. I just wanted to turn round and shake Phil’s hand and try and take as much of it all in as I could. “
Do you have any targets/ambitions for the rest of 2017, or do you just take every match as it comes?
” I know it’s a cliche, but I live life a day at a time. It would be nice to pick up a new major like a Matchplay. But I’d love the Worlds back, just to annoy Michael a bit more (and who doesn’t want to be 3 Time Champ) “
How do you feel playing in your home country the week on the final night of the group phase ?
” There’s a wee bit of pressure off of me now that I know I’m qualified for the O2, but I take every game as it comes so there is no relaxing. I go to win. “
How different is the atmosphere in Scotland and is it a boost for you ?
” Playing at home is fantastic. The noise levels are amazing but the fans are all on my side . I do get a bit more nervous in Scotland for this reason though. “
How do you feel your chances are against MVG, do you feel playing against the best player in the world will be a good test ?
” A test of what? It’s not like I’ve never played Michael before, and beaten him!!! I’m World No2 and Double World Champion, Double PL winner…. Michael is a superb player, but I’m not too bad myself. “
Did your tournament win at Players Championship 10 give you confidence?
” I do like to win a Players Championship and I had a great time in Wigan. “
Thanks to Gary for taking time to join me for this interview.
Steve Beaton rolled back the years this afternoon in Wigan as he claimed Players Championship 13 over in Wigan which was his first PDC title win for four years and his third in his illustrious career. The Bronzed Adonis stated his intent from the get-go as he kicked things off with a 6-0 whitewash win over Matthew Dennant who defeated Beaton in last night’s Euro Tour qualifier 6-2 and Beaton got his revenge in the end to kick off the days play perfectly. In round two, Beaton came up against a talented youngster in Keegan Brown. It was a closely contested battle but in the end it was Beaton who came out on top taking it 6-4 to move into the last 32. The former World champion breezed past Robert Owen 6-2 as he confirmed his place in the last 16 with his confidence growing more and more as each round progressed. It wasn’t getting any easier for Beaton as he came up against Dave Chisnall in the last 16, but Beaton managed to edge out the St Helens ace taking the tie 6-4 to move into the Quarter-Finals.
In the last eight he produced a flawless display to whitewash Kirk Shepherd 6-0 as he heat inside the venue clearly wasn’t getting to Beaton as he breezed into the Semi-Finals. In the Semi-Finals he faced a very tough opponent in Rob Cross who himself continued his marvellous run of form as he took out the favourite Peter Wright in the last 16. It was a nip n’ tuck affair but Beaton raced into a 2-leg lead early on as he took out finishes of 124 and 120 and Cross couldn’t get back into the contest as Beaton remained in firm control of the contest and seen the match out with a 6-3 victory and booked his place in the final.
Beaton faced a final with Gary Anderson who himself was in superb form all day as he dropped just 3 legs from the last 16 onwards which included a 6-0 demolition job over Kim Huybrechts. Beaton kicked off the final in perfect fashion as he fired in a terrific 125 finish to take the opening leg. The pair exchanged 180’s in the second leg and the Bronzed Adonis doubled his lead to 2-0 with a 12-dart leg as he picked out D20. Beaton missed a dart at D16 for a 3-0 lead but it wasn’t punished by the Scot as he missed a dart at the bull, Beaton returned to take out D16 for a 3-0 lead. Anderson replied with a 12-darter as he picked out D20 to reduce the deficit to two legs. Beaton regained a three-leg lead as he fired in D20 for a 13-darter, Anderson fired in a maximum to apply the pressure but Beaton was composed as you like as he moved within two legs of the title. The two-time back-to-back World Championship reduced the deficit as he picked out D10 for a 12-darter as he looked to make a comeback, but Beaton wasn’t lying down as he moved 5-3 ahead courtesy of a 15-darter as he found D8 with his last dart in hand with Anderson waiting to pounce on 72. Anderson held throw firmly to stay alive in the contest to make it 3-5 as he took out 68 on D20. Beaton completed the victory with a terrific 12-dart leg as he picked out D20 capping off a delightful display from the Bronzed Adonis, Anderson played his part but with Beaton playing so well on his own throw that two-leg lead early on was just too much for Anderson to live with and he thoroughly deserved to win Players Championship 13. The statistics from the Final were very impressive with Beaton averaging 107.09 and a spellbinding first nine average of 121.04. It just shows how high the standard was when Gary Anderson averaged 108.53 and hit four maximums and he won just three legs.
JDC’s Tom Beresford previews the JDC’s UK Tour 3 which comes to Rileys Sports Club in Worcester in just two weeks time, he is joined by the winners from the first two UK Tour events James Beeton who was successful at event one in Dorchester and Jarred Cole who was victorious over in Derby in event two. The JDC have recently just unveiled a HUGE event – The JDC European Open 2017 coming this December on the eve of the JDC World Junior Darts Championships in Bristol with over £4000 in prize money up for grabs. The winner will receive some huge benefits too as they will get to play the World number one Michael van Gerwen on stage and will automatically gain a place in the 2018 PDC Unicorn World Youth Championships in 2018.
With event three of the UK Tour just around the corner, there are a number of young hopefuls looking to become the next JDC all-star. Tom had a chance to grab a chat with the winners of the first two UK Tour events of 2017 in James Beeton and Jarred Cole. Here’s what they had to say :
James, how much confidence did it give you to win the opening event of the JDC UK Tour over in Dorchester ?
” It gave me lots of confidence, I was confident in everything I was doing, practise as great, my set up was great everything was going smooth, I had lots of confidence going in to every game I was going in to and I felt I was playing well had all the hard practice paid off. “
Jarred, How did it feel for you to win the second event over in Derby after dominating the days play after dropping just three legs all day ?
” For me to win the second event in Derby was brilliant I had been playing really well in the build up to this event and felt I had a good chance after coming so close in the first tour I played excellent all day and was so happy to get over the line to play such quality players and drop only 3 legs all day was just an overwhelming feeling. “
It must feel great for you both to now become JDC allstars and book your places in the play-offs for the JDC World Youth Championship ?
JB: ” Feels amazing to be a JDC All-Star and I can’t wait for the World Junior Championship’s , excited but nervous but I will be practicing hard in preparation for it and hope It goes well for me on the day. “
JC: ” Being a JDC All-Star is great it is a real privilege to be able to say that the perks it has are incredible and gives you the confidence to go out and win it again. “
James, you obviously travelled a long way from Chester to Dorchester, did that put any added pressure on you to do well or did you just take each match as it came ?
” It was a long journey down from Chester, me and my dad left at about 5:30 in the morning to get down there, I felt pressure because It didn’t add any pressure but I didn’t want to let me Dad down. ”
Jarred, it must give you a lot of confidence going into the remaining JDC events after winning UK Tour 2 the way you did ?
” The way I played at the second event will give me great confidence to push on in the next few events and hopefully do well at the JDC World Youth Finals. ”
Just how much are the pair of you looking forward to the JDC European Open later this December with over £4000 in prize money up for grabs ?
JB: ” The JDC European Open will be an outstanding event with some quality dart players and I can’t wait and hope I can emulate what Jim Moston did. “
JC: ” I am very much looking forward to the European Open feeling great going into it and hoping to continue playing the way I am and battle for the title. ”
Just how well would you say the JDC competitions are run and do you look forward to the remaining events in 2017 ?
JB: ” The JDC events are ran superbly, quick, good format and the JDC helps young kids try and become the next Michael van Gerwen or Phil Taylor. “
JC: ” The JDC UK Tour is an incredibly well run event which I very much enjoy the group of people who run it do an excellent job I always look forward to there events knowing it’s gonna be a great day. “
For more information on ALL things Junior Darts Corporation please visit the website at www.juniordarts.com
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