This Week – Pentathlon Kings and Fairy Tale Princes.

JUNE 21-27 has been a mixed week over the years, some remarkable efforts and some almost barren spells. But Darts World’s ‘This Week’ has managed to locate a selection that includes a ‘Founding Father’, a Fairy-tale Prince, a ‘Dark Side Darter’, and one who is ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ for one more title. A random Scandinavian also manages a guest’s appearance.

Forty-Four Years Ago:

John Lowe captured the initial staging of an event that would become almost his personal property. The British Pentathlon involves playing a selection of different darting games, including round the board doubles, and it’s your overall performance that counts. A player capable of the consistency level showed by’ Old Stoneface’ should and did thrive!

Lowe receives his MBE last year. Perhaps it should have been for services to The British Pentathlon?

During the first dozen holding of this challenging event (1976-87), Lowe won an astounding ten! He was runner-up on another occasion (1981), defeated by Eric Bristow, and only in 1977 did he not make the top two. Before the 1994 split, only two others had claimed the event more than once. Eric and Phil Taylor. Surely no other tournament has been dominated in such a way from its inception?

Twenty Four Years :

The British pentathlon seems to spawn remarkable runs of domination. Perhaps its that the event rewards a set of qualities that are often held to extremes by only one or two players in each era? This week in 1996 Martin Adams picked up his second Pentathlon title. Not for the last time Ronnie Baxter was runner up in a major trophy, Colin Monk, father of, recent 9-Dart hitter, Aaron, was third and the Norwegian, Thor Helmer Johanson was fourth. Adams went on to dominate the event in a similar way to Lowe, but has been stuck on nine since 2011!

Fourteen Years Ago:

Darth Maple, John Part, was striding forth in the second qualifier for the PDC’s Las Vegas Classic. Part qualified, after a failed attempt the day before, by defeating Darts World columnist Colin Osborne, and Steve Maish, in the later stages. The outstanding feature of this effort was not his qualification, but the fact that he went on to win the main event the next day!

Coral UK Open - Day Two Round-Up
John Part has managed many ups and downs throughout his career, but fourteen years ago he pulled of a very rare feat! (Photo: Chris Dean/PDC)

The double World champion (later to claim the hattrick) had many peaks and troughs in his career, but this was another example of his knack of delivering on home turf. The Unicorn man clinched the crown after defeating Barney 6-3 in the final.

Four Years Ago:

A Challenge Tour event in June 2016 does not seem likely to have been a major turning point in the history of the PDC. But the winner of that year’s thirteenth second-tier event was engaged on a project, whether he knew it or not, that would validate the entire modern PDC system. On the way to a fine first PDC tournament win, the victor also hit a nine-dart finish.

It is safe to say that for a player who had broken through only months before, this was a decent effort in itself. Yet , after only another few months he claimed his tour card, via the CT order of merit, and twelve months after that he reached his first World Championship. Perhaps we should mention that the winner of CT 13 in 2016 was……………Rob Cross!

Rob Cross sealed his first PDC title as he won Challenge Tour 13 ‘This Week’ in 2016. Photo : Chris Dean

Look back through previous ‘This Week’ selections here.

This Week – Jocky Is The Master.

This Week, the darting archives feature one of darts most loved sons, a legendary Swede from the 1970s, a lightning-fast Dutchman, a little-known major winner, and a deadly Canadian. The 14th-20th of June has been a fruitful week over the years.

The Silencer – Jeff Smith.

Forty Years Ago:

Darts first non-UK star claimed the News of the World trophy by defeating Dave Whitcombe 2-0. Sweden’s Stephan Lord deserves huge credit for his early role in widening the game’s popularity beyond the shores of the UK. Although this was to be his only major, Stephan was a superb, fluid player who reached the last four at both the World Championships and World Masters.

Jocky staked his Masters claim in 1980

Meanwhile, Jocky Wilson claimed his first ‘Scottish Masters’ title. The ‘Wee Man’ went on to set all manner of records in the long running event. To this day he is the only player to have won it three times. Wilson was also the youngest winner. He was thirty at the time!

The Masters continued, unbroken, until 2010. This thirty-three-year run featured victories for numerous Scottish legends including Gary Anderson (twice), Robert Thornton, John Henderson, and ‘Bravedart’ Jamie Harvey. The event was revived in 2014 and claimed by its oldest winner, the forty-two year old Alan Norris.

Thirty Years Ago:

The News of the World trophy featured once more. The 1990 crown was captured by the mercurial Paul Cook. Paul repeated Bobby George’s boast of winning the event without dropping a leg! ‘Cookie”s triumph brought down the curtain on the storied event’s incredible continuous run (from 1948-1990). Check-out JR Lott’s piece in our ‘Unsung Heroes’ area for more on Paul’s often overlooked achievement.

That year’s Canadian Open was captured, three decades ago, by Bob Anderson who seemed to love this event, between 1987 and 1992, ‘The Limestone Cowboy’ claimed the title twice and reached the final on four more occasions!

Ten Years Ago:

Vincent was painting his first PDC canvass in 2010.

Vincent Van De Voort claimed a PDC Pro Tour title, pipping Wayne Jones in the final. VVV’s win was the quickfire Dutchman’s second title of 2010 and part of a superb run during that year. Vincent went on to reach the Qtr-finals of the 2011 World Championships. During the Ally Pally event some Tottenham Hotspur fans re-purposed a terrace chant to the tune of KC & The Sunshine Band’s ‘Give It Up’, it’s fair to say Vincent’s receptions were never the same again!

This Time Last Year:

Dave Chisnall was underlining his title-winning ability and bringing a smile to the face of his new backers, Harrows. Chizzy seemed lifted, by the new arrangements, and produced a superb run to win the Danish Open (PDC).

Chizzy was hitting his straps in 2019. (Pic: Taylor Lanning)

On the other side of the Atlantic, Canadian thrower Jeff Smith solidified a winning run by claiming the Canadian Open (WDF) . ‘The Silencer’ had been showing signs of a return to his very best for a year or more, and his momentum was growing. Within months Jeff had reached the last 16 of the World Masters. He went on to reclaim his Pro Tour Card, and immediately reach his first Pro Tour event final, in the early months of 2020.

‘This Week’ has been a busy and eventful one over the years and it seems strange to think that we will look back to find a Covid-19 shaped blank. Yet, the success of ‘distanced darts’ and with the tentative restarting of live events, perhaps, this week will be seen as a turning of the page. I certainly hope so!

This Week appears regularly at check out recent editions here.

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

This Week – Bob’s Unique Triumph and The Pro Tour Evolves.

Our regular ‘This Week’ review features a unique event and some stages posts on the PDC’s journey to its current impressive position. March 30th – April 4th has had some superb moments over the years:

30 Years Ago: World Champions Challenge

Imagine an event where every living/active World Champion met in a special one off tournament. Today’s would include Taylor, Lowe, Priestley, Barney, Adams, Part, Hankey and many more.

The (1990) World Champions Challenge was a unique event. All seven WDF/BDO World Champions appeared, six played the first round with Eric Bristow gaining a semi final place via a bye. Kieth Deller narrowly defeated Jockey Wilson, Bob Anderson removed Leighton Rees and Phil Taylor was crushed by John Lowe.

The semis saw Eric defeat Keith, a modicum of revenge for 1983?, and Anderson move past Lowe and into the final. The Limestone Cowboy claimed the crown in fine style, besting Eric by three sets to one, to become the first and Champion of World Champions!

Although the event was staged again the following year, with Priestly being added as the new and eighth World Champ,it did not have the same feel or format. Players such as Mike Gregory, Dave Whitcomb and Peter Evison were added despite not being World Champions.

Bob Anderson therefor lays claim to a truly unique notch on his ‘gunbelt’.

12 Years Ago: Taylor Bags Six of The Best

Phil Taylor

The PDC Pro Tour, as we now know it, was beggining to take firm shape. Every month featured Players Championships, UK Open qualifiers or TV and other events. This week saw Phil Taylor in the middle of a run of six Pro Tour events in a row.The last of these was the Midlands Final of the UK Open qualifiers. The Power was utterly dominant whitewashing Brendan Dolan(8-0) in the final. For good measure, Taylor then claimed the, non ranked, London Masters to make it seven PDC events on the bounce.

4 Years Ago: Development Tour Flexes It’s Muscles

Four Development Tour events were claimed, by four different players, over this weekend, four years ago:

Steve Lennon (Photo: Lawrence Lustig)

Adam Hunt, who has long been known to have superb potential and recently reclaimed his PDC Pro Tour Card, Josh Payne who has already achieved much in top level darts including senior Pro Tour titles and a UK Open qtr-final place, Steve Lennon has also claimed other PDC titles as well as reaching the Quarters of a PDC major. In addition, Steve reached the final of the World Cup with Willie O’Conner. Callum Loose is the fourth member of this impressive group. Though is yet to match the others in terms of measurably achievement, it’s not too late and many report that Callum is just as talented.

It is no surprise to see the level of talent out there. The structure built, by the PDC, over the last decade enables more of it to be developed, and showcased, and later to earn a very good living from “chucking sharp things at a round thing” as some would call it!

This Week! Darts World’s Regular Review of The ‘Arrows’ Archive.

Moving further and further through, the calendar, we find that events become more frequent. This Week (22nd-28th March) features the debut of a, fondly remembered, TV event – from almost forty years ago -, The rise of the first darting ‘Iceman’ and The Power being unplugged.

38 Years Ago:

Featured he first holding of the legendary Double Diamond Masters. In many minds the darts event is more kindly thought of than the beer! The first winner was Ken Stringer, a player whom we know little about (perhaps our readers can provide some colour?) Ken defeated Sandy Pattinson, in the trophy match, while Northern Ireland’s Steve Brennan and Peter Locke, of Wales, were beaten semi finalists.

Coming Soon: Beaton & The Double Diamond Masters!

Both Brennan and Locke were far more storied names and went on to reach World Championship Qtr finlas. Perhaps the DD Masters was just one of those events. A couple of years later the DD would feature the TV debut of a darting legend who is still at the top of the game today!

Another bit of trivia to note: None of the big four legends of that golden era Bristow, Lowe, Wilson or Anderson ever claimed the Double Diamond!

22 Years Ago:

Alan Warriner-Little collected to the German Open title. The original ‘Iceman’ added the crown to the Dutch Open, that he had already claimed, in a very impressive start to 1998. At that time many events were open to non PDC players, especially those held under the banner of the WDF (effectively simply accredited by the PDC for rankings and opportunity for their players.) Robbie Widdows was the defeated finalist with Roland Scholten and John Walton reaching the last four.

Warriner-Little had a very strong year in ’98. After his strong start he went on to reach the final of the World Masters. He claimed the English Open title he reached multiple later stages, and indeed finals, of WDF & PDC events. The climax of the season saw him reach the last four of the PDC World Championship, his best result at the event, early in 1999.

12 Years Ago:

Mark Walsh: Conquered The Power during a great 2008

Featured a Pro Tour victory for Mark ‘Special Brew’ Walsh. Walshie is sometimes overlooked and not given full credit for what he has achieved in darts. In, and around, 2009 Phil Taylor was cleaning up most events in which he chose to take part. When other players claimed wins or title sit was often because Phil was not in the event, or had been defeated by someone else, Mark was an exception to this. The Pro Tour win, from March 28th 2008, featured a superb 6-4 final win over The Power. He went on to a very successful year claiming a total of four Pro Tour events in a ‘Powerful era’.

Walsh has been a major finalist, reached the later stages of most PDC majors, and battled back from dartitis to (again) reach the top of his profession. ‘Special Brew’ indeed.

This Week’s Birthday:

Jeffrey De Zwann is turns 24 this week. The ‘Black Cobra’ seems to have been around a lot longer than he age would imply. But, then again, he did win a World Youth Championship as far back as 2012.

Happy Birthday to The Black Cobra – Jeffrey de Zwaan – How old is the Unicorn thrower? Pic: L Lustig PDC

I first recall seeing him play during the 2015 UK Open. He was defeated by Benito van de Pas, but at no time did he look ruffled and played pretty well. De Zwann has gone on to much better things since. The Unicorn man has won titles, within the PDC, at both development and Pro Tour level as well as reaching the Semi Finals of The World Matchplay. He is currently ranked just outside the PDC’s top twenty and will be looking to rise further when ‘hostilities’ resume. Many Happy Returns!

The Winmau World Masters Returns to the Bridlington Spa

This Week – Masters of The Eighties! 20th-26th Oct.

THIS WEEK’s glance into darting history we are going to visit, that glorious darting decade, the 1980’s. We feature Eric, John, Dave Whitcombe, and a certain Peter Evison. A Masters pattern emerges along the way.

1981 – Bristow Claims Hatrick at The Masters

The ‘Crafty Cockney’ was in superb shape in the early 80s, indeed much of the legend that is Eric Bristow was formed during these years. This week in ’81 part of me thinks Eric was simply trying do-over, John Lowe, again! The previous year Lowe had become the second player to claim more than one title. Being as they met, one more, in the final Eric must have wanted to exert his dominance and again set records.

Serious players should watch the final as an example of match play, set play, game management. Both players are aware of the threat from the other. Eric subdues much of his flamboyance in order to ensure consistency. Lowe does tremendously, too hold on and produces some superb single legs. Watch it here:

In the end, though, I suspect that this game is a perfect summary of the two players. Both outstanding but, all other things being equal, Eric had that little more.

Claiming Majors in Dave Whitcombe’s peak time was not easy. Dave claimed his 1st ‘This Week’ in 1985!( Pic: Dave claiming the News of the World event in 1989).

1985 – Whitcombe Joins Multiple Masters!

Dave had managed to break the dominance of Lowe and Bristow, in The Masters, during 1982. This week, in ’85, he did it again! In claiming his second title he joined the club of players, yep you guessed it, John & Eric!, to have picked it up more than once. Whitcomb had a mixed run to the title. He had to defeat Mike Gregory in the Qtr-Final and then Bob Anderson in the Semi.

In the final, however, he faced Ray Farrel. Ray was having a superb run, reaching his first, and only, major final. It is fair to say Dave was a different class of player, from those Ray had met so far, and he wrapped up a 3-0 win in style. Dave has often been overlooked due to the remarkable players in his era. But you don’t win Two Masters’ and The News of the World Title, against those guys unless you are a top draw player.

1989 – Fenn Tiger Tames Legends.

Sticking with a Masters theme, how many players can claim to have won their first major by defeating Phil Taylor in the semi-final and Eric Bristow in the final! The diminutive Peter Evison, aka ‘The Fenn Tiger’ did just that this week in 1989.

Peter is perhaps the only player to “come from nowhere” twice! Almost a decade after this superb performance he did it again. In 1997 he returned to his very best and claimed the PDC World Matchplay in the qtr final he produced an 8-1 thumping of a certain Mr Taylor! He also had to squeak past Dennis Priestley to claim that one. A bit of an expert, in taming the legends, was Mr Evison.

Following Peter’s win, in 1989, none of the quartet of early darts greats; Eric, John, Jockey or Bob claimed another Masters title. Even Taylor claimed his only title in 1990.