Hollywood’s Close Up! The Darts World Q&A.

Fresh from his appearance on our ‘Players Lounge’ Facebook Live last night Darts World thought readers might like another shot of Hollywood tittle-tattle:

Chris Dobey gives Darts World his quick fire answers.

FULL NAME: Christopher Dobey.

BIRTHDATE: 31st May 1990.

NICKNAME: Hollywood.

HOBBY:  Family time.

MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT?  First interview after winning my game, didn’t know what to say.

BEST CHAT UP LINE? Never used chat up lines they come to me.

FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MOMENT? Christmas as a kid.

FAVOURITE MATCH EVER? Darts? I would have to say Taylor v Lewis was an incredible game to watch I’m sure you can guess what one it was.

FAVOURITE MAGAZINE? Nuts.

FAVOURITE SMELLS? Fruity Smells.

LEAST FAVOURITE SMELLS? Other people’s dropped guts.

FAVOURITE SOUND? Voice of my little boy.

WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? Being hungover.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? Food.

Surely a meeting with Big Al cannot be that hard to sort out?

FAVOURITE COLOUR? Blue.

FUTURE CHILD’S NAME? No more kids!

WHAT’S YOUR RINGTONE? iPhone ringtone. 

FAVOURITE FOODS? Chicken Madras/ Spaghetti Bolognese.

CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Chocolate all day.

DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST? Don’t drive but no I wouldn’t.

DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? Definitely not.

STORMS – COOL OR SCARY? Cool.

FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION AND WHY? Tenerife as a family holiday it’s just so nice and it’s hot all year round. 

IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR HERO – DEAD OR ALIVE – WHO WOULD IT BE?  (Big Al) Alan Shearer.

FAVOURITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK? Sloe Gin. 

FAVOURITE SOFT DRINK? Cherry Coke.

WHAT IS YOUR STAR SIGN? Gemini.

TATTOOS COOL OR NOT COOL & IF YOU HAVE ONE WHAT’S YOUR BEST? Some are cool.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD IT BE? I would have loved to be a footballer. 

IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOUR WHAT WOULD IT BE? Would never do it!

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST LOVE? Football.

FAVOURITE MOVIES? Step Brothers/ Drop Dead Fred/ Happy Gilmour.

WHAT’S UNDER YOUR BED? Trainers.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NUMBER? I always had 10 as a football number so it was that but now I choose 13 as it’s my boy’s birthday.

FAVOURITE SPORT TO WATCH? Football/Darts.

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO BE AN ANIMAL, WHICH ONE AND WHY? I would choose a dog as they are loved by all.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT DARTS? Oooh, there’s a lot of reasons to love the game but it would have to be the enjoyment of playing the game for me. I’ve not even been playing 10 years yet but I enjoy it a lot and so be where I am now is unbelievable.


Pix: Taylor Lanning

Elusive Exclusive: Superchin Rested & Ready!

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

I trust them.”


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

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

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

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

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


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


Pix: Taylor Lanning.

Jake Jones: JJ Answers The Big Questions!


During the lockdown, many players have taken this chance to improve their darts. We spoke with one player who has been getting renewed attention this lockdown for his superb online performances, Stoke On Trent’s Jake Jones.

Dars In Stoke darts knockouts darts leagues in Stoke Staffordshire

Jake, who is currently playing the Unicorn the Challenge Tour, spoke with DartsInStoke’s Shaun Rogers for Darts World:


Q. Let’s start and take this back to January and Q School, what was your thoughts heading into
the event? Am I correct in thinking it was a last-minute decision to go?

A: Well it wasn’t quite a last-minute decision but I’d say in about mid-November I made my mind up that I wanted to pursue darts properly again and there was only one way to do that. My thoughts exactly were to just enjoy it and see how things go. I knew I had the game to get through but it was a tough task after having 5 years out of competitive tournaments.


Q. You did have some time away from competitive darts before this year?
A: Yes that’s right. Before December I hadn’t played anything competitively since the development tours and there under 23. I’m 26 now so that shows at least 3 or 4 years out of competitive tournaments.


Q. On day one you had Josh Howarth and then Wes Newton how did you feel day 1 went for
you
?
A: Well I wasn’t expecting much on the first day as I was out of tournament practice but game-wise I played quite well, and let Wes Newton off really. So mixed emotions about my first day.


Q. Day two you had a good run to the last 32 loosing to Dave Prins, did you feel more
comfortable on day 2 having got the first one out the way
?
A: Day two started off well for me, I beat some very good and seasoned players in Kevin Mcdine and Mark Barilli to get through to the last 32 averaging a few 90+ averages but came up against a steady Dave Prins, like the day before I let him off with a lot of missed doubles but that darts and I knew I had 2 more days to do well and only needed one more decent run.


Q. Over days 3 and 4 you also seemed to be comfortable with your game with match averages
in the high 80’s and 90’s you must have looked back on the Q School experience and felt good
looking forward to the future
?

A: Well where do I start with day 3 and 4. As I didn’t have a lift on Friday I had to drive myself so after day 2 concluded I left my car at the venue overnight right in front of the Robin park tennis centre doors. I come to the venue Saturday morning to start day 3 and found out that someone had smashed my car up and robbed my darts and other stuff out of my car so I had to play with a borrowed set off a complete stranger in the venue. I was devastated, to be honest, as I practiced so hard for 2 months running up to the tournament to just have it taken away from me. I didn’t feel comfortable at all the last 2 days with someone else’s darts even though I had averages of 95+ and a few high 80’s I still felt very uncomfortable and was gutted for a couple of days after Q school.

PDC-Unicorn-Challenge-Tour


Q. You managed before the world went crazy to get in the challenge tour events 1-4 with a Last
16 finish on the 3rd event how was that experience
?
A: Yes I played challenge tour 1-4 and had a very tough draw first round on the 1st event losing to an on-form John O’Shea with him averaging 103+. The 3rd event like you said was my best performance-wise as I played brilliantly all day finally losing to a great player in Nathan Rafferty. The experience none the less brilliant and intend to get a lot further when lockdown ends and the tournaments come back on.


Q. Did you attend any of the UK Open qualifiers if so how did you find them?
A: I did attend one in Nottingham and it wasn’t my best experience. I got there at 10 o’clock to find out that apparently I had not entered, upon showing them a confirmation email I was finally allowed to play. I played my first game at possibly 12 pm and my second game around 5 pm. The waits were ridiculous as there were around 200 players on 6 boards, but if you want to get in a professional televised tournament, days like that are rewarded brilliantly for the individual that gets through.


Q. Once lockdown happened did you see this as a time to get on the board and get focused on
your game
?
A: Oh definitely, as soon as lockdown came and furlough came apparent it was an opportunity for me to get on the board and play like I’ve always wanted to.


Q. On average how many hours practice do you put in on a week?
A: Well at the moment I’ve been playing tournaments more or less every day/every other day and practicing constantly. I would say about 3 hours on average a day so about 21-25 hours a week.


Q. And what’s the normal routine?
A: Normal practice for me is match practice. There is no better practice for me than a match against someone. You can practice doubles all day long or you can practice around the board all day long but for me there’s no better practice than match practice.


Q. You have been tearing up knockouts and online events with 93+ avg games and some
excellent darts, how do you feel about your game currently?

A: My game is currently in such a good place. My consistency level is so good at the moment but, don’t get me wrong, I’ve hit a few 82’s a few 85’s recently but for weeks now my game is consistently around 93-95 average mark and on some occasions, 102-106 averages have been hit.


Q. What has been the most challenging aspect and the best aspect to you of playing players
online during lockdown?

A: The most challenging by far is trusting people online. There are so many people out there that just want to win, win, win. If you can’t win without cheating then don’t play. Simple. Some games I’ve constantly had to watch the board and caught a few people out and it puts you right off your rhythm. The best aspect I’d say is being able to still play competitively during such a rubbish time also meeting a lot of new people from all over the world who are genuinely top people.


Q. When we come out of lockdown and back into playing on a tour whatever that might look like what do you see for you and your game, where do you hope to take this good form have you set any plans for the rest of the season
A: I haven’t thought much about it yet as we don’t know how long or when all this will be blowing over, but one thing I can assure is that I will definitely keep practicing to keep up this consistent form I’ve been producing recently. What I do see personally for me is to be pushing up the challenge tour rankings and trying to get that elusive PDC tour card that everyone strives for. I know I’ve got the game for it. It’s about producing it consistently that matters.

Q. Like most players sponsorship to play in the tour is key are you looking for sponsors and if
any are reading what do you feel is your best attribute you can offer to bring them a return on
investing in you
?
A: I’m currently looking for a sponsor and I’m not going lie, I’m in talks with a few management teams/sponsorship deals. My best attribute I would say is that I’m a dedicated, loyal, and determined guy who wants the best for me, my family and anyone who wants to back me. I’ll always try my best if I’m 4-0 down first to 5. I would never give up and always think I could win the game.

Jake Jones has demonstrated some of his huge talent recently.

Q. You, like most players, work for a living and have a family to look after, how do you find
the balance between family time and darts time?

A: Like anyone who does sports at a high level it’s a hard task. I get up at 6:30 every morning and scaffold for 9 hours a day every day Monday to Friday. I get in at about 5 o’clock most days, shower, and then play with the kids until tea time. Then at around 6:30 pm, it’s bath time for my kids and bed for 7:30 pm. Then tidy up time and settle at about 8:30 pm.

It’s hard to feel like practicing after a tough day but what I’ve come to realise over the last 6 months is if you want something out of something as I do with darts then you make time. Even if I get on the board at 9 pm I will practice until near midnight to make sure I’ve done enough. It’s good that I’ve got good backing from my girlfriend and children who push me and get me on the board as well even if I feel like a lazy day.


Catch the quickfire round, of Shaun’s Q& A,with Jake Jones here

De Dekker Aims To Repeat Home Tour Efforts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

De Dekker stated:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He added:

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

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

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


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

The Miracle – Mikuru Speaks To Darts World.

A little while ago our lead reporter caught up with the remarkable Mikuru Suzuki. As well as revealing her discomfort at having to wear shoes in her own house, against Japanese tradition, to play Phil Taylor, she enjoyed a full Q & A session ‘our man in Japan’:


Darts World: What was your childhood like, where did you grow up in Japan?

Mikuru Suzuki: I grew up in Osaka in a city called Katano. It’s a bit in the countryside with lots of nature. I think I was a quite active child.

Suzuki Into the spotlight. Pic:Taylor Lanning

DW: How many in your family? Brothers and sisters?

MS: We are a family of three. My husband and son. I also have an older brother who is two years older.

DW: What did you first want to be when you grew up for a job?

MS: I had no specific career in mind but I wanted a job that allows me to talk with other people.

DW: When did you first play darts, how old and where?

MS: I was 26 when I threw my first darts. My friend took me to a dart bar and we played there.


DW: What was your first big win which meant you knew you could go professional?

MS: There is a soft (electronic) darts pro tour (for which, a player has to get a pro license) in Japan. I think it was the first win of one of those tour stop in Nagoya.


DW: What did the people close to you think of you playing darts for a career?

MS: I became a professional dart player after getting married and I can continue to be so thanks to the understanding and support of my husband. I think I am lucky with the support of my close ones.


DW: What has been your favourite darts match so far?

MS: I think it was my first at Lakeside against Lisa, that January. I remember that the enjoyment of the game took over the nervousness and I manage to get the win.


DW: Do you believe that women can compete with men and beat them on a regular basis?

MS: Currently it is still hard but definitely want to get closer to that.


DW: What is your ambition in darts?

MS: To be the number one on the planet.


DW: What do you think of the standard of the Ladies game? Who are your biggest rivals?

MS: I think the standard will still rise a lot.


DW: Do you think Beau Greaves is going to be the future of the Ladies game?

MS: I think she has a huge potential still inside her.


DW: How do you think your game can improve?

MS: I think it will take time but I can improve it by trying to reach the level of the men.

(PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG) MIKURU SUZUKI & DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH.


DW: What’s been the most exciting thing about coming to the UK? London?

MS: Maybe the shopping part? I also love to go to the grocery stores!

DW: Are there more talented younger players coming through from Japan?

MS: I think there will be more and more indeed. The road is built, so why wouldn’t they?


OM: Do you think we will one day see a Japanese mens World Champion?

MS: I strongly believe so. The dart level in Japan, in Asia is currently going through a big growing period.


DW: What is your favourite food and drink?

MS: I like spicy food and black tea.


DW: What is your favourite food and drink in the UK?

MS: It’s not a meal food but I really like the Salt and Vinegar crisps! I like things like the HP sauce and malt vinegar that is not common in Japan.


DW: Who is your sporting idol?

MS: I think it might be Saori Yoshida who was called the strongest human on earth. I also am trying to be the best dart player.


DW: Are you proud of what Japan achieves in other sports. Like how they did in the Rugby World Cup?

MS: Yes, especially the Rugby World Cup was a fantastic event and people were quite excited!


DW: Do you have any hobbies or other interests.

MS:

I like singing Karaoke and golf. But I am not good at either.


Pix: Taylor Lanning (unless stated)

Rockstar Revitalised! Cullen Back In Love With Darts.

JOE CULLEN admits that lockdown has made him fall back in love with darts again. The gritty Yorkshire terrier is in action tonight (Sunday) in the PDC Home Tour last 32 against Chris Dobey, Jeff Smith and Martijn Kleermaker.

But The Rockstar, 30, has revealed he’s ready to show his heavy mettle as he yearns for big stage glory.
He said: “There are a few announcements coming out now so at least there’s going to be some sort of normality.

“It’s hard to be motivated. The first thing you usually do is look at the calendar then start practicing. But it’s the same in all jobs, all walks of life I guess.“

The Home Tour has been good to keep us ticking over. Before the first group, I hadn’t practiced for 11 days. “I had an hour and 45 minutes before I played that night and that was the outcome. To be honest, I’m happy that I won the group. 

“More so that I’d fallen out of love with the game to the extent where I couldn’t be bothered. But this has made me realise just how much I do miss it. 

“Has this situation given me more hunger? 100 per cent. If I play in the Home Tour last 32 and lose all three matches, it doesn’t matter. What the Home Tour has done for me has given me a kick up the backside I needed. “If anything comes from lockdown it will give me the hunger and love back for the game.“

I know I’ve got the ability. I need to commit 100 percent to darts. I’d rather go and play snooker for two hours than practice darts, or play a game of five-a-side”.

“I need to get my priorities in order. Darts needs to be at the forefront of my mind. Darts pays the bills so I need to put it first!”

The Bradford battler has been through the mill of the past couple of years. He lost an epic World Matchplay quarter-final to Gary Anderson in 2018. Cullen may feel luck was not on his side when throwing for the match he missed double 18 before a fly flew across his eye-line and the Yorkshireman missed double nine. Then, after an innocent Twitter exchange, he was subjected to an incredible amount of social media abuse – also aimed at his son. It once again highlights the growing amount of stick players are getting from fans and Cullen believes it won’t go away.

He added: “It doesn’t bother me to be honest. I was actually speaking about it with Mark Webster. Obviously Paul Nicholson got quite a bit as well. “I always take it with a pinch of salt. There was one where I did react a little bit. One night someone said something to my 10-year-old son about me and Laura Woods. “Say what you want to me and I’ll take it. But as far as messaging my son, it’s not right. “It seems to be part and parcel of the game now. We get it pretty bad so I can’t imagine how bad the football players get. “Mark Webster has been playing on the Modus Tour and some guy said to him ‘how you became World Champion I don’t know, you’re s***, pack it in’. That sort of thing.”

Cullen produced three dazzling displays in his opening group, including a comfortable win over high-flying Gerwyn Price. He added: “It’s a funny one I actually got more nervous playing the home darts than what I normally do on stage. It’s a bit of a strange one.

“What I do like about it there can’t be any tactics. I’ve played players this year and they’ve tried slowing me down and do this and do that. That element is taken out of their hands.”


Pics: Taylor Lanning.

Anderson ‘Masks’ Concerns Of Written Off Year!

GARY ANDERSON believes that this year will be “written off” with doubts that the World Matchplay will go ahead. The two-times World Champion goes into the last 32 of the PDC Home Tour online streaming event tonight (Thurs) against Luke Humphries, Nick Kenny, and Jamie Lewis.

Gary Anderson has concerns about the holding of the World Matchplay.

But Ando, 49, has revealed he does not feel the Matchplay can happen in July and is happy to just wait for the all-clear from experts.

He said: “I don’t know if it can run at all to be honest. They are telling you, you have to stay away from people. “If we are up in Blackpool, we are up staying in hotels. You have air con which is flying through other rooms. “I will wait until we get all the all-clear and it will be back to normal. They have got to take in hotels into consideration. 

“Where are you going to stay? It’s the same when you sit on an aeroplane. If somebody has a cold, by the time it comes through on the air con, everyone ends up with it. “I think it will be the same in hotels and venues. I don’t have a clue. I will wait until I get the green flag to say it’s safe to come out.

“If we are seven or eight weeks behind on the ProTour then we could have a week in Barnsley. Play for the seven or eight days that we need to catch up. That’s not a problem. But the same again – staying in hotels. Can the boys abroad travel? Can they get flights across?

I think this year will be written off, to be honest.”

However, when darts does make it back on the big stage for TV cameras, players and officials could be wearing Anderson branded masks – all proceeds going to the NHS.

,

He added: “Hopefully they all sell. Dee Smith at Burghley Sports came up with the idea. So, hopefully, load of folk will buy them, make loads of money and we can pass that on to the NHS. “They have been brilliant. You hear about it on the news every day. It’s not just the nurses and doctors, you have the admin staff, the cleaners in hospital, anyone who has something to do with the emergency services. They are right in the line of fire. Hats off to them and thank you very much.

“It would be a bit strange if fans wear them. Even stranger standing on stage, playing with them on! But you never know. Listen get fingers out of your pockets, get a couple bought, and it will go to a good cause. Hopefully we will see loads of them.

”Anderson also admits that he feels for fellow countryman Peter Wright who has had his World Champion year ‘stolen’ from him.

He added: “I haven’t thought about that but it could be. But if this Worlds were to go then he would score an extra year doesn’t he? There will be downs and pluses. “So, it’s a a shame, you play all your life to lift that title and then get it taken away, well the tournaments don’t happen, and you aren’t mentioned as the World Champion.”

Now Anderson faces a tricky Home Tour group including Humphries who became the first Premier League Challenger to win a match against him in March. Ando admits that playing online is a very different experience, adding: “It was strange. I struggled with Dan talking in between each leg. I was pacing up and down. You have got someone you can see when you throw the last darts. So, you know when to walk. I was standing there listening for the thuds on the dartboard. It was hard, you know. But it was fun also.

“I have had a few throws since Barnsley. I have been a home teacher. It takes up all my time. The school have been great and sent Tai plenty of stuff through. It’s coming through the internet. So we have been struggling to print a lot off. He’s up and running now. 

“Rachel deals with a lot of it, more than I do. I have got patience that lasts about five minutes. Two young kids test your patience. They do test it. It’s hard for them as well as they cannot see their friends or go to the nursery. They are stuck as well. 

“Fortunately they have a decent-sized garden and get chucked out of there for a couple of hours every day.

“There are ducks, chickens in the morning. I am up usually at 5.30am, letting them out. Tai gets up at 7am, 7.30am. I am the one who gets up and does his job. He needs to learn.”


Gary Anderson was talking to Darts World’s Phil Lanning

Pics: Taylor Lanning

Voltage Shocked By Online Abuse – Rob Cross Exclusive!

ROB CROSS has hit out at the social media abuse that “hurts” the top players including World Champion Peter Wright. The 2018 World Champion was on the receiving end of death threats to him and his family after winning the big one at the Ally Pally two years ago.

Now Voltage fears it’s getting worse after Kyle Anderson, Jelle Klaasen, Michael Smith and Paul Nicholson received more abuse on Twitter over the past few weeks during lockdown. He said: “It’s not acceptable in any way. I know it’s been spoken about so much by different sports stars and celebrities. But I don’t know what happened to the ‘Be Kind’ message after Caroline Flack took her own life.

“Look at recently what Ian Wright got. He’s a brilliant bloke, so funny. Yet the messages he got were just vile. “I remember how much horrible stuff got said to Peter Wright and his family a few years back. Yet he’s the nicest guy ever, never says or does anything bad to anyone.

“Trust me this is serious. It was the worst thing that happened in my career when I got the death threats, especially to my kids.

“It really hurts players and their families. I don’t think any of us deserve threats and accusations of cheating. My rule is that if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, then don’t say it. “Surely there are more important things in the world right now to worry about than abusing a darts player. “I notice that one fan had a go at Daryl Gurney and then apologised. I just wish people would think before they say something so vile.

“I’ve been getting horrible messages even during matches if I lose a leg. After the match, I look at my phone and I can see they’ve been sent at certain times when I was playing! “We all like a bit of banter and most of us will take the stick for a laugh, but not when it’s really vile. You can’t cross that line.”

Cross agrees with Nicholson that social media accounts must be verified with a name and address so the keyboard warriors can be identified by police. He added:

“It’s very sad because I don’t think that will happen. When you see what is said these days, I can’t believe nothing has been done yet.“

The sad thing is that it will stop sportspeople and celebrities interacting with the fans, they will just stop using social media. That’s not fair on the real fans who do give us great support.”

Voltage, last year’s World Matchplay and European Champion, has drawn Ryan Searle, Luke Woodhouse, and Daniel Larsson in his next Low6 Home Tour group on May 30. He also hopes he will get to defend his Matchplay title in late July, adding: “I know the PDC is making that decision by June 5. Obviously I hope it can go ahead somehow. It was my second favourite moment of my short career to win last year.”


Pics: Taylor Lanning

Humphries Gets The Hump With Social Media Abuse.

LUKE HUMPHRIES admits that revealing his anxiety has made him “stronger” for the challenges ahead. The World Youth Champion opened up just under a year ago about the anxiety problems that have hindered his progress.

Can’t Hear You! Luke has struggled to blank out the abuse on social media. (pic: Taylor Lanning)

Cool Hand Luke became the first-ever Challenger to win a Premier League match against Gary Anderson in Exeter two months ago. Now he’s next in action on May 28 in the PDC Home Tour against Gary Anderson, Jamie Lewis, and Nick Kenny. But he admits it’s been a struggle after getting more online abuse after becoming a World Champion.

He said:

“Sometimes it’s hard to sit back and let people, in a way, abuse you online.“It’s got very bad in the last five to 10 years the abuse online. Fortunately I’m very hard skinned so I didn’t let it affect me. 

“I just felt that I wasn’t the only 24-year-old World Youth Champion. Dimitri van den Bergh was 24 last year when he won it but he didn’t get any stick.“So it was a bit unfair I thought.

Apparently it’s my beard’s fault. But I’ve seen 17-year-old kids have better beards than me!

“Seriously though, it was hard. I thought people would celebrate for me especially because of what I had gone through over the past six to eight months. It was all real, I really did consider giving up the game.“

I was really struggling and anyone who has been through it, will know it’s not easy to stand on a big huge stage in front of thousands of people when you’ve got anxiety. “I was just hoping that people might have celebrated it a bit. Like this is great he is World Youth Champion but he could have given up the sport eight months ago. But unfortunately it didn’t end up like that. “People see the bad instead of the good in you. “

Cool Hand Luke says his beard and eligibility for last years World Youth Championship have added fuel to the social media fire.
(PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG)

To read stuff can be the toughest thing about anxiety. Like Fallon for instance. People should celebrate her success. People just like to say nasty and negative things about players who do well. “I don’t see a lot of congratulations and stuff like that going on Twitter.

There’s a lot of ‘why are you in this, why are you in that and you shouldn’t be in that’. “But we wouldn’t be in it unless we were eligible, simple as that. “I do agree with what people say, 24-year-old isn’t probably classed as a youth. I see where they are coming from.

“The problem is if you are eligible to play in something which you can become a World Champion in, you are not going to turn it down.”

In May last year Humphries bravely decided to reveal all about his demons. He admitted that he was having palpitations in his chest and it spooked him. But now does he regret being so honest? He added: “Being truthfully honest I do think that opening up about there anxiety has made me stronger. In my opinion if I can fight through this, I can fight through anything. It’s really not been an easy time for me over the past 12 months.“I never thought at my age I’d have to go through something like this. But life can throw up anything, everyone knows that.

“I’m just proud of myself the way I fought back and carried on because a lot of people might have given up. “

I nearly did but I’m very proud for battling back. It’s definitely made me a stronger human being in every aspect of life, not just darts.”


Pics: Taylor Lanning

Legends Of The Oche: New Light Through Old Windows?

Sports journalist, and Darts World contributor, Tom Beresford, recently launched a new podcast aimed at capturing the spirit of darts’ first golden era. Tom aims to bring a contemporary take to darting tales of yore and seek the insights of some of the game’s biggest and most influential characters.

Alongside Tom, for the debut edition is Bobby George. It’s not a stretch to say that Bobby brings decades of anecdotes, memories, and serious darting knowledge to any conversation.

Dr Linda Duffy is expected be a regular contributor. Her insights, both academic and affectionate, are always insightful.

Darts World would wish every success to Tom and the team behind this new venture. Crediting our sport’s modern founding, enjoying it, and learning from it seems a sure-fire winner for darts fans everywhere.

The King of Bling, a certainty for stimulating conversation? We would think so!