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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Matchplay Without A Crowd. Could Blackpool Be Silenced?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Lorraine Winstanley interview.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck and enjoy your darts!

Featured Pic: BDO / Tip Top pics

Light Editing: James Lincoln (for DW)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Darts World look forward to more of your work.

Revisited: 2019 Premier League Play-Off Night!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Thanks to James for another excellent read.

Additional editing – James Lincoln

Dart’s World Readers Fill The Vacuum: A Review of The German Darts Grand Prix.

This weekend was scheduled to host the third event of the 2020 PDC European Tour – the German Darts Grand Prix. This tournament, as well as the European Darts Open, was rescheduled as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. It has been tentatively rescheduled for July 31st – August 1st. So with the lack of professional darts to keep us entertained this weekend, here is a look back at the 2019 instalment.

Simon Whitlock took on MVG in last years final.

The 2019 German Darts Grand Prix final saw World Number One Michael Van Gerwen take on Australian Simon Whitlock at Zenith, Munich. The Dutchman was seeking his thirtieth European Tour title, his opponent looking for only his second, having won the Dutch Darts Masters way back in 2012.

Van Gerwen arrived at the tournament having more trophies for the German Darts Grand Prix then Whitlock had European Tour titles in total, the Dutchman taking the titles in both 2017 and 2018. His first Grand Prix victory came after a 6-3 victory over soon-to-be World Champion Rob Cross. He backed this up the following year by overturning Peter Wright 8-5 (Euro Tour finals had been extended to best of fifteen legs in between these two tournaments).

The gulf between Whitlock and Van Gerwen was further emphasised by their head-to-head record going into the final. Of their thirty-nine career meetings, Whitlock had won just five. The previous fourteen contests had all gone in MvG’s favour; a run going back as far as October 2016.

Van Gerwen’s route to the final also showed the fantastic run of form he was in. He posted back-to-back 100+ averages against Ratajski, and then Bunting in his first two rounds. He was then pushed all the way by Ted Evetts in a 6-5 quarter-final match, before breezing past Rob Cross 7-1 in the semi-finals.

So with all this in mind, the way the final played out will not come as a surprise. MvG coasted into a 5-0 lead. He won legs in fourteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, and eleven darts respectively, breaking the Australian’s throw three times in the process.

Whitlock, clearly seeing that the final was out of his reach, began playing up to the crowd. He won three of the next four legs, to bring a clearly-annoyed Van Gerwen back to 6-3. ‘The Wizard’ then attempted a daring 145-out going for the bulls eye, treble fifteen, and bulls eye again, in the tenth leg. He unfortunately missed the second bull in the combination to claim the leg.

Van Gerwen swept in to clean up, and proceed to claim an 8-3 victory and another £25,000 cheque. Despite seemingly faltering in the middle of the match, his game average was still 106.45, showing the exceptionally high standards he has set for himself.

Unfortunately for Whitlock, despite making the final last year, when the Grand Prix is eventually held in 2020, he will not be in attendance, having dropped out of the Top 16 of the ProTour Order of Merit.

Similarly, Johnny Clayton, Max Hopp, Danny Noppert, and Darren Webster have also dropped out. They are to be replaced by Aspinall, Price, Ratajski, Durrant, and Jamie Hughes. Hopp is still set to attend as an invitee alongside Gabriel Clemens, the two being the best German players at the moment.

James Smith

Thanks to James Smith for taking to time to entertain and inform Darts World readers.

Catch up with James’s choice of the six best matches to watch during lockdown here.

Featured Pic: Kelly / PDC Europe

Ones to Watch: Six of The Best (PDC) 2020 Games For Lock-Down Viewing.

As a fan of our ‘Ones to Watch‘ series James Smith got in – touch with his suggestions of the best of 2020, while his ambitions may seem a bit bold, his viewing choice is solid:

How many lock-down weeks until you reach MVG standard?

As a darts enthusiast, being trapped indoors currently does present one with a great opportunity to work on one’s throw, with the hope of giving Michael van Gerwen a run for his money when we are allowed outside again.

James Smith

However, there is only so long that you can kid yourself into thinking that you are good enough to become a World Champion. In the meantime, with no new (live) darts being televised, we are left only to look back over what has happened already.

So, to aid this pursuit of entertainment, here is a run down of the six most exciting PDC matches of 2020 so far:

6. Dobey vs Ratajski: UK Open 4th Round.

The early rounds of the UK open of 2020 were graced with some fantastic clashes, especially this contest between top-twenty players Chris Dobey and Krystof Ratajski. Both players are expected to start picking up serious titles this year, and this match showed why.

Both players averaged over 105 across a match that went all the way to the final leg. With Ratajski averaging 56.25% on his doubles, and Dobey 43.48% it is no surprise that this was a close-fought contest.

Ratajski broke throw early in the match to go into a 4 – 2 lead. Dobey responded brilliantly however, breaking throw twice to win four straight legs to go 6 – 4 up. This included a fantastic 121-check on the bullseye in leg nine to break for the second time.

After another break of throw, Ratajski then missed two darts at double sixteen to win 10-8, surprising given then quality of the match. With the pattern of the game continuing however, the Englishman hit the bullseye again, this time for a 92-out, in the final leg of the match, to break Ratajski and go to the next round. Darting drama right from the start.

5. Dave Chisnall vs Daryl Gurney: Masters First Round

Following disappointing World Championship campaigns, both Gurney and Chisnall arrived at the Marshall Arena at the end of January, with a point to prove. However, with the format of the tournament bringing the top sixteen of the PDC Order of Merit, neither player was likely to enjoy an ‘easy’ first round draw.

Both players showed in this first-round clash their undeniable class. Starting well, ‘Chizzy’ raced into a 5 – 2 lead, only for Gurney to bring it back to 5 – 5. The following six legs were then shared to make things 8 – 8, in this first to ten match.

With both players averaging in the low nineties, this wasn’t the highest scoring game ever. But missed doubles throughout the match, including Gurney’s four across the final two legs, meant that this game was full of darting drama from start to finish.

Chizzy emerged a 10 – 8 winner…only to be knocked out in the second round 10 – 0 by title-winner Peter Wright. A great contest as we get stuck into the list:

4. Peter Wright vs Gerwyn Price: PC 5 (Final).

The first of two Players’ Championship events to make this list – the final of PC 5 saw newly-crowned World and Masters Champion Peter Wright, take on Welsh Number One Gerwyn Price.

The final saw the two Major-holders both average over 109 across the fourteen-leg match. This was a fitting end to a day of darts where ninety-one matches saw averages over a hundred – beating the previous world record (set in February 2019) by a staggering twenty-one matches.

Showing the eminent quality of both players, the first thirteen legs of the match went with throw, leaving Wright with a 7-6 lead going into the fourteenth. Then with Price sat on double top, after twelve darts, ‘Snakebite’ hit ‘The Big Fish’ (a 170 Checkout) to seal his first Players Championship title of 2020.

You will struggle to find a final of such consistent quality anywhere else from this season. In fact, Wright’s performance in the final meant that of his seven matches en route to lifting the trophy, he averaged less than one hundred on only one occasion:

3. Nathan Aspinall vs Dirk van Duijvenbode: Belgian Darts Championship Quarter Final

2020 is the first year that the PDC European Tour hosted an event in Belgium. The inaugural venue was the Expo Hasselt, in Hasselt, where forty-eight competitors took to the stage.

The final was won by Gerwyn Price, in an 8-3 victory over Michael Smith. Arguably, however, the game of the tournament came in the Quarter Final between Nathan Aspinall and Dirk van Duijvenbode.

With both players reaching averages of over 102, this match was full of quality, with the Dutchman edging his English opponent 6-5, as the match went right to the final leg. Having hit the twenty-five for a 170-Check, Van Duijvenbode was let off the hook as Aspinall failed to get a dart at a double from ninety-five. The Dutchman cleaned up on double eight to proceed to the semi-fianls.

Despite losing 7-4 to price in the semi’s, he must have been over the moon for his performance that weekend. As well as this being the Dutchman’s first final’s day at a PDC European Tour event, the financial implications are also clear. Van Duijvenbode last season earned £14,500 – after reaching the semi-finals in Belgium, he has already supposed that in 2020.

This is the perfect chance to watch one of the new greats of the game in Aspinall, coming up against a young player of whom much is expected in the years to come:

2. Nathan Aspinall vs Gary Anderson: P.L. (6)

Having not played a Premier League match in almost two years due to injury, Gary Anderson returned to the Thursday-Night tournament continuing to reach his former best. His match against Nathan Aspinall in Liverpool showed that he still has a lot left in the tank.

Gary averaged 94.27 across the match, and flew into a 5-1 lead straight away after Aspinall missed six darts at a double in the first leg. The man from Stockport rallied however, hitting eight maximums to bring the match back level at 5-5.

Aspinall then responded to the Scot’s ninety-five finish to win the final leg to claim a 6-6 draw with an average pushing 108. With both players coming off stage pleased with coming away with a point it isn’t hard to imagine how much quality the two of them were producing:

1. Michael Van Gerwen vs Gerwyn Price: Players’ Championship Six Final

The second match in the list from the Players Championship events from Wigan this year – the final of PC Six saw the MvG lose to the ‘Iceman’ 8-7 in the most thrilling contest of the year.

With over 1,112 180’s thrown over the two days, as well as two nine-dart legs (from MvG and Steve Lennon) the Sunday final had a lot to live up to. It did not disappoint.

Price raced into a 4 – 1 lead, continuing to show the class that has brought him up to number three in the PDC Order of Merit. MvG managed to bring the tie back to 5 – 4, only for the Welshman to win to extend his lead to 7 – 4. As Price struggled to close the game, MvG won legs in eleven, fifteen, and eleven darts again to send the match to a deciding leg for what would have been his first title in 2020.

Price however, took the £10,000 cheque by hitting the bulls eye to complete a 94-checkout with the big Dutchman sat on double eighteen.

Price continues to ooze confidence and class – stating after his victory “I truly believe now that if I hit my double I will win matches against Michael, Peter [Wright] or whoever; my scoring game is up there, if not better than them.”

So there are James’s picks for the best viewing of 2020, so far!

Many thanks to James for his contribution. Perhaps you have a different pick of the 2020 crop? Maybe you have a ‘Six of the Best’ or ‘Ones to Watch’ of your own to offer to those currently stuck within four walls?

Get in touch with your suggestions: or @Darts_World

The Fall of Benito Van De Pas. When Will It End?

Benito van de Pas was ranked 13th in the world. He was about to be nominated for the Premier League. He was on the verge of joining the world elite. But then it went downhill all of a sudden. Now he is 52nd in the rankings and must fear the loss of the Tour Card.

‘Big Ben’ no longer chiming? Benito has suffered a dramatic decline. (Pic; Taylor Lanning)

Van de Pas’ talent cannot be denied, he had demonstrated this early in his career, reaching the last
16 of the World Masters whilst still a teenager. He was then able to win a tour card, via the PDC Q
School, at his first attempt in 2014.

Benito made an almost instant impact and things started to improve very quickly for him. He claimed multiple Pro Tour titles and reached the Quarter-finals of three different majors. He also matched Van Gerwen toe-to-toe on more than one occasion. He was considered one of the hottest new talents.

Some say that the turning point came after the unfortunate defeat to Peter Wright in a European
Tour final. It is certain that the quarter-final in the World Grand Prix, a few months later, was his last
big success. From then on he did not play so often and consistently at a high level.

Despite these problems ‘Big Ben’ was able to achieve good results in the last two World
Championships, although the statistical values were not very good. In the other tournaments, during
the last two years, he has not produced many noteworthy performances or results.

Nevertheless, it is not yet completely hopeless for the 26-year-old Dutchman. This year he already
qualified for a European Tour event and achieved some good results at the ProTour.

If we are to see ‘Big Ben’ back on top, he has to prove that he can consistently perform and to the level he has shown previously. When this happens, it is conceivable that instead of falling, he will rise again.

  • Credit – Elias Wilhem (@ewlhlm83)
  • Feature Pix- Taylor Lanning

Elias is a darts enthusiast who has written and contributed to a variety of darts publications. Follow him on twitter to see what he is up to next.

DW Ed. (3rd June 2020 Article amended for structure and quality at author’s request.)

A.I.M: Pick Their Premier League ‘Challengers’

In response to Andrew Devonshire’s article ( Dart designers, consultants and equipment testers A.I.M: have offered their selections for the seven remaining slots in the Premier League Challengers team for 2020. In addition, they have included a controversial wildcard:

Surely Whitey has earned his chance? Are they scared of him?
Pic: PDC L Lustig
  • Ian White
  • Krystztof Ratajaski
  • Seigo Asada
  • Max Hopp
  • Ricky Evans
  • Gabriel Clemens
  • Josh Payne

Our first selection is the Diamond, Ian White. Whitey has been consistently on the vrge of the Premier League (by right) for quite a few years. It seems very unfair that he does not even get an opportunity to get used to it. He is a very funny guy and a player who adapts and improves to every situation. This tester session could be just what he needs to jump up another level. Kryzstof is a major champion and he has claimed PDC titles already, it is only a matter of time before he qualifies and this would give him a chance to show he can do it under these conditions.

Selecting two Germans is both sensible for the development of the game and keeping up the standard of those selected. Clemens is a seriously hard working player who gets better on the time and Hopp know how to win matches and titles.

Ricky Evans is the such a singular player that it would be good to see him in these conditions. If he could retain his composure and relaxation he would be superb entertainment, the crowd would love him. Baby Shark anyone?

Asada gives the Asian tour a focus within the Premier League and may lead to a visit there very soon! He is a quality player who has performed well both on tour and in World Championships.

A fine example of a young professional who has done it the right way. Josh payne could cause a headache or two and deserves reward.

Josh Payne has developed strongly. He has taken his time and matured through each stage of the modern game. Talented, though a little under rated, Josh is a fine example of what a new generation young player should be in attitude, presentation and professionalism. It would be wise to reward this.

WILDCARD – Ted Hankey

The ultimate villain?
Pic: Wimau

We cant help thinking, that if Ted is fit enough, The Count would be a superb guest star. In many ways Hankey, at the Grand Slam, showed the way in terms of a darts villain. It would certainly be a challenge for his opponent and great fun for the crowd.