The science, and history, of dart development is of great interest to players, and readers of Darts World, we often get asked “how the modern game has changed?” or “what made the difference in standard?”
‘Coach’ always says that they “last real change was the acceptance of tungsten in the 1970’s”. Red Dragon have produced a great ‘potted history’ here:
The Tungsten in your hand is so perfectly sculptured and comfortable to your grip, you probably won’t notice the benefits of this semi-precious alloy until you try picking up an old brass dart.
Tungsten darts evolved in the mid 1970’s with the invention of high density, tungsten alloy rods, known as billets. Tungsten’s massive weight to volume ratio offered dart players an unrivalled scoring advantage over traditional brass darts. Whilst individual machinists started to fashion the very first tungsten dart barrels, it was not long before a plethora of tungsten dart brands sprung up around this blossoming market.
Red Dragon’s very own engineers were pioneers at this hugely exciting time in the history of the sport. Experts in tungsten powder metallurgy, they were one of the first companies to successfully blend tungsten with other metals such as copper and nickel, in the early mass production of these revolutionary new darts.
At the same time as tungsten was re-writing the rule book for scoring averages, a global industry was emerging as the game was watched on television by millions of viewers worldwide. When Leighton Rees doubled to victory at the inaugural BDO World Championships in 1978, the future of tungsten for darts was secure.
Over the last 45 years, Red Dragon has consistently remained at the forefront of new technology and innovation, focusing on the development of profiles, trajectory dynamics and grip biomechanics. It is this genesis of eighth generation tungsten, that offers the players of today such a huge range of grip and flight dynamics to perfect to their very own throw.
With staggering tournament prize funds, now estimated to exceed £10 million per annum, the technological advantages offered by tungsten have never been so important.
Each top professional is fastidiously aware of the advantage that the perfect feel in a set of darts can give them, almost to the point of an unfair advantage.
And so it is to the top tungsten technologists that the leading players turn in their chase for the most innovative, tournament winning designs.
Congratulations therefore to our three reigning World Champions, Luke Humphries, Wayne Warren and Peter Wright as well as our team of specialist engineers who continue to push the scientific boundaries of tungsten technology.
John Henderson admits he’s “worried” for the health of his NHS hero wife during the coronavirus crisis.
The Huntly star, like the rest of the darts circuit, is stuck at home working hard on the practice board during the UK lockdown.
But Hendo, 46, has revealed that he fears for his missus Veronica working on the frontline as a Theatre Co-Ordinator at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
He said: “Obviously it’s a worrying time for everyone. Veronica is still going to work every day as per usual.
“It’s naturally a lot more hectic for her and the risks are higher. She books in all the surgery to be done and that’s been complicated because of ops being cancelled and stuff.
“I am worried about her, but I always am. This is a fairly normal situation for any frontline NHS worker to be honest.
“Right now the entire population has woken up to the NHS workers being heroes, but they are every day of the week, every week of the year. They are used to dealing with the hardest cases on a day to day basis.
“So life isn’t a great deal different in that respect. We have obviously discussed the risk of the virus but nothing stops Veronica, she just gets on with it. That’s always the attitude of NHS staff, they just have this incredible Dunkirk spirit.
“I’m extremely proud of her and all the NHS. It’s at times like that everyone appreciates what they do, but people should do all year, every year not just during this crisis.”
Cult hero Hendo also admits that he is sticking rigidly to Government guidelines to protect his own health as a diabetes sufferer.
He added: “It’s not just about me, everyone needs to stay safe. I have to be very careful because I fall into the vulnerable category.
“I am doing as I’m told with one bit of exercise a day when I walk Veronica to work. The rest of the time I’m just on lockdown at home.
“I’m doing far more practice than I usually do. Normally I do two or three hours a day, I’m doing up to twice that at times.
“I think the general belief is that when we do get back to the Pro Tours, every player will be hitting 115 averages because they’ve been bored and practising so many hours a day for so many months!
“All I do is practice because daytime TV is dreadful. There’s also no sport to watch, no football, life is rubbish without sport.
“I just clean the house and practice. Sadly I’m rubbish at cooking, I should maybe train to be better during this time. I’m a dab hand at a Pot Noodle, but that’s about it!”
Peter Wright has swapped clogs for eggs as he gets used to life in lockdown after taking the world crown.
The Livingston ace should have been strutting his stuff for two nights in front of a sea of orange 22,000 Dutch fans in Rotterdam this week.
But due to the coronavirus lockdown, instead of the bright lights and glamour of the Premier League, Snakebite has been supplying eggs to the elderly from his farm in Suffolk and clearing out poop from the chicken coop.
World Champ Wright, 50, said: “We’ve been giving out eggs to the local community during this time. Jo put it out on our Facebook community page that eggs can be collected and we’ve given the neighbours some as well.
“All this shutdown stuff works, we’ve all got to do it for everyone’s health and everyone’s benefit.
“Just be safe, just be careful and help the elderly if you can. All these little bits.
“Jo put up on our local shop if any of the elderly needed any eggs because they’re running out in some shops and supermarkets, then we’d also take them round from a distance, obviously.
“It’s been quite nice to hit the pause button in some ways. Instead of just being home for one and a half days a week, I’m here full-time which is great.
“I’ve just managed to put the Christmas decorations away at last, it’s been that hectic since the Worlds!
“I’ve been doing all the odd jobs that haven’t been done for years. I’ve even cleared out Jo’s sewing room.”
Wright admits that darts isn’t the main thing on his mind right now but would be gutted if he couldn’t bid to retain the World Cup for Scotland with the event on June 18 under threat because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
He said: “Obviously darts isn’t a priority right now. I wanted to retain the World Cup for Scotland with Gary (Anderson) and we don’t know if that will happen right now. I miss the competition of playing but everyone’s health comes first, end of story.”
The caring star, crowned World Champ on New Year’s Day, has even taken on a lodger in double World Youth Champ Dimitri van den Bergh – and he’s also been helping with farm duties.
Wright added: “We’ve got young Dimitri staying with us. He’s been here since the last Pro Tour in Barnsley, he didn’t want to chance travelling home because of the restrictions and he’s been here since.
“Dimitri is helping me out with a bit of practice every now and again. Two world champions practicing together can’t be bad.
“It’s a bit tough – he wants to go home and see his parents, stuff like that. It’s tough on him but he’s thinking of moving to the UK soon anyway to try the darts 100 per cent. Being UK based gives him a taster, I suppose.
“We were out on the farm collecting eggs the other day, I said ‘your job is not to drop them’, so he’s having fun.
“I’ve been practising a lot with Dimi, but just using all sorts of different darts. It will take a year for me to get through using all the different darts I use!
“Seriously though, I do change a lot as I practice otherwise I get bored and I won’t want to use them again when the Premier League starts up again.”
Wright’s wife Jo was meant to be in hospital yesterday (Thurs) for a major spine op but it was cancelled at the last minute because of the Covid-19 crisis.
He added: “The hospital phoned her up and it was OK, they definitely wanted to go through with it. They said their beds are OK for another fortnight. But then she got a message at 7am on Thursday morning to say it was off under Government authority.
“It was a massive worry for us. It’s a very big operation as it is on her spine. But it would have also put her into the vulnerable category for coronavirus. We’ve been through this as a family and Jo was adamant she wanted to go ahead with it.
“The operation could have gone wrong and she could have ended up in a wheelchair.
“I’m always a house husband anyway, I do all the work. I can’t even escape now to play darts all over Europe, so I have to do as I’m told or I’m in deep trouble!
“The strange thing is that this enforced time at home has worked out really well for us. Because if the op had gone ahead I would have been at home permanently to look after Jo which I couldn’t have done if I’d been away playing.
“I did say to her the plan was I would miss the Premier League if she wanted me to. But she said no way, I was to carry on playing.
“It’s a condition that Jo has in her spine that has progressively got worse over the years. It’s giving her pain with nerves so the operation has to happen, she is having her spine fused together in the lumber region and will be in hospital for 3-5 days. It will also include four to six screws and plate or rods put in her spine.”
Robert Thornton has been talking to Phil Lanning via his sponsor Red Dragon:
Robert Thornton admits that coronavirus self-isolation means he can “knuckledown” and get back to the top of the sport.
The Ayrshire ace has had a roller coaster dozen years at the PDC of huge highs and lows but has now surprisingly dropped down to No.62 in the world.
Yet he was a record-breaker in rising up the rankings into the top 32 within a few months after leaving the BDO in 2008 – even faster than Glen Durrant’s recent rapid ascent.
He was also a huge Thorn in the side of big guns Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, beating them both in the UK Open and Grand Prix major finals in 2012 and 2015.
Not forgetting his sensational match with James Wade at the GP a year earlier when both hit double-start nine-darters.
But Thornton, who lost 6-1 to Kim Huybrechts in the recent UK Open, has vowed that he’s far from finished despite such a disappointing run of form.
He said: “I’ve got to knuckle down now and start getting the results I should have been getting. I’ve started playing really well.
“It was just double trouble stuff against Kim in the UK Open, it didn’t feel like a 6-1 defeat to be honest. It was just one of those things.
“To be honest being stuck at home with nothing to do but practice could benefit a great deal of players.
“But sometimes you need that wee bit of luck and I’ve not had that for a while. However that will turn at some point.
“I think darts works in circles. It’s a funny game, you can be playing awesome one minute and rubbish the next. Most players go through this. There’s no explanation for it.
“If I stop believing in myself I’ll pack it in. I’m not ready to retire like Phil or Barney, I’ve got a lot left in the tank.
“I’ve still got the belief I can beat anybody up there. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not long ago I beat Phil in the UK Open and Michael in the Grand Prix final.
“My family still believe I can beat anybody in the world. When they stop believing then maybe it’s a different story. My wife is still kicking my backside, every minute of the day. Chrissy wouldn’t let me give in and it’s not in our character.
“Us Scots people have always got plenty of fight in us.”
Thornton, 52, doesn’t like to talk about it much, but behind his slump in form has been a multitude of family illnesses that have naturally distracted him.
His driving force wife Chrissy has been in and out of hospital of a sustained period which has put a massive strain on his focus towards the arrows.
In fact, right now his concern is towards his missus and she falls into the vulnerable category during the Coronavirus crisis after a recent operation.
He added: “We’ve got to be a bit more careful because Chrissy has had an operation recently. We can’t bring flu’s and viruses in the house, well try not to. That also means watching where we go if we have to go out anywhere.
“It’s mad because everywhere is selling out of everything. I’ve got my toilet rolls. Even the Lurpak butter has been selling out in supermarkets, it’s ridiculous. That’s the only butter that Chrissy and I like. I had to kill a few in the aisles to get some!”
Thornton is a remarkable character, such a resilient Scot. He has never got carried away with success or failure.
He also refuses to get too excited about being the forerunner of so much success at the PDC for Scottish players since he jumped from the BDO in 2008.
The Thorn was the first Scottish major winner at the UK Open in 2012 and has been followed since by a plethora of titles by Gary Anderson and now current World Champion Peter Wright.
He added: “I don’t get reflected glory, I don’t think of it in that way. They’ve done what they’ve done and I’ve done my stuff.
“I wasn’t really at the forefront, Jocky Wilson was the real hero, everyone looked up to Jocky. I did what was best for me and my family at the time.
“I don’t think I was the first Scot to do it and everyone followed me. I did my job.
“I watch those matches back sometimes, it’s inspirational. Sometimes when you watch it’s kind of silly, you think ‘did I actually do that?’
“But the proof is in the history. I don’t look back that much. The best thing I can do is so it all again and that’s what I intend to do.”
Gerwyn Price admits he didn’t instantly know who his top fan Hollywood A-lister Matthew McConaughey was!
The World No.3 Welshman was tweeted by the Dazed and Confused superstar after he retained his Grand Prix title last November.
McConaughey tweeted: “Big ups to the Iceman @Gezzyprice for taking out MVG (Michael Van Gerwen) and the Eagle to win his second consecutive GSD.”
But Price revealed: “It was pretty cool. I’m rubbish with names and I didn’t know who he was until I Googled it.
“I did know who he was to look at. It was great for someone of his calibre to tweet me and say all the best or whatever.”
Such an acknowledgment underlines how Price has been the biggest story of the past 18 months on the oche.
He has left his rivals dazed and confused many times to become the box office blockbuster of the bullseyes.
But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the ex-Neath, Cross Keys and Glasgow Warriors hooker. It’s been a hard slog as the biggest villain of the oche and Price admits he has the battle scars to show for it.
He said: “Some people still don’t like the way I am on stage. I just go up there to do whatever I can to win. I never go up there to cheat or anything, I just do whatever I can do the best I can.
“Sometimes it’s not to everyone’s taste but it gets me going. But I think I’ve got over that barrier now. There’s a few there who don’t want to accept it but that’s up to them.
“I am going to be here for quite a while so it’s something that people have to deal with. I’ve had to put up with a lot of rubbish over the last 18 months.
“In 2019 in the Premier League and Grand Prix it was hard. Just after the Grand Slam in 2018 when I played Gary Anderson and then the Worlds I was 2-0 up against Nathan Aspinall and end up losing 3-2. I think that was the fault of the crowd for being the way they were.
“I had to deal with those situations and I think I did that quite well. If anything it’s made me into a better player. Even though I was having all those boos, it was the best year I ever had.
“That pushed me right up to World No.3. I’m not saying I want that every year but it certainly helped me become a stronger player.
“I’ve got deep scars a lot of other players haven’t got. When it comes to those times when you have to pull things out the bag, it helps.”
Price is all rippling muscles and let-ripping mouthy on stage, but he has become the most compelling player to watch.
But he’s walking the walk to match the talk. After defeating Gary Anderson in ill-tempered fashion to secure his first ever PDC major in 2018, the former rugby player cheekily quipped that he was pinching money from the pockets of darts professionals.
Now he has two major PDC title victories to his name and has earned a staggering £762,750 in prize money over the last two years.
He’s now one of the hottest properties in world darts and currently the biggest rival to World No.1 Van Gerwen – and he wants that top spot.
He added: “Since the Grand Slam I’ve done really well. I think I should have got to the World final, things happened and I left that behind me.
“I’ve now had eight or nine tournaments this year and I’ve reached the finals in most or if not lost to the player who went on to win it.
“I’ve had a really good start to the year but maybe in the tournaments I was runner-up in I should have won.
“In the Players Championship against Peter Wright I should have done that, even though we played some great stuff against each other. I think we both finished on 109 or 110 averages.
“But halfway through that game I bombed opportunities. I had more chances to break him than he did me. That was another one that got away.
“The UK Open final I should have won quite easily if I’d hit my doubles. But that’s the game, if you don’t take your chances you don’t win. At 5-2 up Michael wasn’t in the game, I just let him off the hook a little bit.
“I relatively new in the PDC and to rise up to World No.3 I’m very happy. Obviously I’m looking forward to going up to No.2 or No.1 by the end of this year which I never thought I’d be saying in a million years.
“I’ve done well, if I was never to go further in the rankings or win another major, I’ve done alright.
“But I’m in tournaments to win them. I was just a rugby player pinching money out of the pros pockets. I’m now a professional darts player how and I deserve to be where I am.”
With the darts schedule on lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis, Price now admits that his life is all about doubling…and decking.
He added: “It’s a bit boring. I’m not the sort of player to stand there for six or seven hours. Being on the road all the time is my practice. I keep my arm in when I’m home for maybe an hour a day but that’s it. Maybe I’ll start to hit some doubles if I have to practice more!
“We don’t get many breaks so to have this extended time off, I don’t know what to do with myself.
“I’ve got some work to do in the garden but the weather’s not the best so I can’t even do that right now. I’m just stuck in the house eating my own body weight in food!
“I like doing the odd jobs and getting things done. I’ve got to finish the decking out the back and some walls need doing plus a steel fence.”
PETER WRIGHT admitted he made “hard work” of nailing his first Unibet Premier League win of the season.
The Livingston star finally got his campaign off and running thanks to grinding out a 7-5 win over a very stubborn Rob Cross in Cardiff last night (Thurs).
Snakebite roared into a 3-0 lead but Voltage kept plugging away and forced it to a nail-biting finale with Wright needing double five to wrap it up.
He said: “I made it hard work for myself. Rob Cross is never going to give you a game anyway, he is a fantastic player.
“Obviously he’s had his issues of trying to get himself back but I’m happy to get the win obviously.
“I’m finding it hard work, I’m putting too much pressure on myself. But I think I’ve got to relax a little bit more.
“I made a good start but Rob stayed with me and that’s why he is a World Champion, he will never give up. World Champions don’t just give you games. That’s why it was so close.”
Gerwyn Price received a phenomenal welcome from the Welsh fans but struggled to get a point against a supercool Superchin Daryl Gurney.
The Iceman said: “The crowd tonight were fantastic. I think Daryl got a bit of what I had for most of last year!
“It’s tough to play up there when the crowd is on your back. Fair play to Daryl he hit a couple of doubles under real pressure. I think Daryl deserved to win that game.
“A draw is a draw. I’m not happy but I picked up a point.
“I thought Daryl started really well, I just feel everyone is playing well against me. It’s a good compliment to me really.
“I wasn’t on my A game today. I’m happy with a point.”
Michael Smith ended a remarkable 20-game Premier League run without a win to comfortably dump home star Jonny Clayton 7-1. It included a slick 167 finish which turned the match in his favour.
He said: “The 167 I hit kind of changed things. I just didn’t want to slip up like I did last week. When I got to six I said to myself ‘don’t do it again’.
“Luckily enough I put in a half decent leg with a 12-darter and I’m really over the moon to get two points on the board.
“He missed 36 to got 2-1 up on me and I then took out the 167, that changed the match. For me it kind of killed the match. I think I played well.
“Any win is vital in any sport. Last week hurt me to throw away a big lead to only draw with Gerwyn. I was angry with myself. I knew I had a big chance tonight. Jonny had never played up here before. But when he won the first leg I thought ‘he’s up for this’.
“But thankfully this is my first win in 10, that has shocked me as well. It does feel good to end that run.”
News reaches us that the BDO World Championship players are becoming evven more restless as the 28-day deadline has now passed for players receiving prize money from the 2020 World Championship.
The already much reduced, £23,000 for the men’s Champion and £10,000 for the Ladies, prize fund for the recent BDO World Professional Championship remains unpaid and players are expressing their understandable upset. Players have doubted that they will be paid since the event closed with Andy Hamilton saying he’s ‘leaning on the side it won’t’ in a later interview.
The usual deadline, for post tournament payment, as stated in the pre event contract expired on Sunday February the 9th.
‘Any prize money awarded to you at the World Professionals will be paid out by way of a BACS payment to your designated bank account within 28 days of the conclusion of the World Professional Championships.’
Ryan Hogarth reacted by stating he hadn’t received anything yet and that he is planning potential legal action tweeting ‘enough is enough’.
Breaking news! I’ve just checked my bank account and you’ll never guess…
Former World Master Adam Smith-Neale also commented, remarking that he’d phoned the BDO office, who replied that chairman Des Jacklin was behind the hold up.
The news follows the BDO releasing a statement last week repeating that their tour was continuing and that further meetings were scheduled to further develop the BDO side of the game.
dartsworld.com would like to think that this was merely an administrative delay and a mere glitch. Yet we would also like to believe that the moon is made of cheese!
Richard Veenstra will be looking to retain his title when ‘The World’s Largest‘ darts open gets underway this Friday. Sadly, Mikuru Suzuki cannot defend her 2019 crown. De Bonte Wever in Assen will host the 2020 Dutch Open with the event being streamed live and free on WinmauTV across 31st Jan – 2nd Feb.
The inaugural WDDA Winmau World Championship also takes place on Friday 31st Jan. as part of the renowned event, with the final streamed at approx. 7pm on Friday.
Friday opens with the Pairs tournament played down to and including the semi-finals, with the finals opening the stage finals on Sunday. The Winmau WDDA tournament will also begin at approx. midday Friday with the final set to be played at approx. 7pm.
Saturday the singles tournaments get under way with over 5000 entrants taking part for the Mens, Ladies and Paradarts classifications. The Ladies will play down to the final whilst the Mens play down to the last 64 and the Paradarts will be played to it’s conclusion.
Sunday the men’s last 64 onwards will play until the final whilst the Youth events get underway – stage matches then start at 12.30 local time where all finals will be played.
All the coverage will be streamed live and free on WinmauTV – tune in here.
Full Schedule is available from the Dutch Open website here.
History was made in Iceland when darts became a part of Reykjavik International games this weekend.
Reykjavik International Games is a big sports feast where 23 individual sports competed. The competition is divided on two weekends. In 2020 almost 1000 guests from more than 40 different countries took part in the games. Around 1500-2000 Icelandic athletes from Iceland take part every year.
The games are held over two weekends, last weekend in January and first in February every year. It’s the Reykjavik Sports Union in cooperation with the national sports associations and the sports clubs in Reykjavik that organise the games.
Ingibjörg, Darts organising committee said “We are truly humble, and happy, the darts competition was a big success, and we live streamed on Facebook and YouTube through the Live Darts Iceland channel. We hope to see more international participants next year”
So the World Championships are over for another year; one a spectacle, the other, well I’m not so sure…
But of course the one person who hogged all the headlines was Milton Keynes’ Fallon Sherrock and deservedly so. What a performance! You don’t need me to tell you the story. We all know that Fallon became the first female player to beat a top male player in a World Championship and went on to beat another before falling to a third. In all my years of writing about the ladies game I’ve never known anything like it and I guess neither have you.
The media response to Fallon’s breaking through the ‘glass ceiling’ was immense, even warranting column inches in The Economist magazine! Journalist Bo Franklin wrote
Ms Sherrock, a far cry from the beer-bellied blokes who used to typify the game, symbolises how, in recent years, darts has gone from a peculiar British pastime to an entertainment juggernaut with transatlantic ambitions.
This has been great for Fallon who will surely go on to even better things but it’s also so good for women’s darts. Now that women’s darts has attracted the world’s attention what will happen? How can the momentum be maintained? I was hoping that it would start with impressive ladies’ performances in the BDO World Championships which largely, I have to say, disappointed.
Sadly Fallon’s success was, if only temporarily, overshadowed by the BDO having to slash the prize money in its World Championships something that, it appears, warranted Fallon withdrawing from that tournament. Part of me felt disappointed for her and the sport of darts but the other part said “Good on you Fallon. You now have control.”
Fallon will now work with her management and the PDC (probably harder than she has ever worked before) and who knows where it may lead. Of course, other women have preceded her by qualifying for the PDC World Championships. I expect the best of them, including Lisa Ashton, Anastasia Dobromyslova and Mikuru Suzuki, to lead the rest of the pack into this new era of women’s darts. If the opportunities present themselves then I am absolutely sure they will embrace them and that many others will then follow.
Fallon has shown that it can be done. (We all knew it could. We just didn’t know exactly when.) A top woman player can beat top men. Now all we need is for a woman to go one better and become PDC World Champion, I guess not yet awhile, but having said that who thought Fallon could beat Ted Evetts, let alone 11th seed Mensur Suljovic and then give Chris Dobey a run for his money? Come on. Be honest!………….
Patrick goes on to discuss Peter Wright’s victory, the BDO Championship and much more.
Patrick’s column and newsletter is supported by Winmau
Find more of Dr Darts work, and check out his monthly newsletter, at patrickchaplin.com
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