Home Tour: De Decker Claims Play-Off Group As Bunting Fades.

Mike De Decker became the second player through to the Semi-Finals of the Low6 Home Tour Play-Offs, as he topped the table ahead of Glen Durrant, Stephen Bunting and Alan Tabern on Night Two. 

Bunting started his play offs strongly but a heavy defeat, in his final game, allowed De Dekker to claim the group.


The young Belgian started the night off with a narrow 6-5 defeat to Bunting, but then got his first win on the board with the victory by the same scoreline against Tabern, recovering brilliantly from 5-2 down. 

Going into the fifth game of the night, he needed a convincing win to put pressure on the top of the table and did exactly that by beating three-time BDO Champion Durrant 6-4, but was still left waiting on the final result of the night to go his way. 

And go his way it did, as Bunting, who was searching for a third straight win to top the group, started to struggle on his scoring and let Tabern run away as a 6-2 winner. 

The heavy defeat for Bunting meant he finished in second, two behind De Decker on leg difference. The 24-year-old joins Jelle Klaasen in the Semi-Finals.

The Low6 Home Tour continues tomorrow with two-time World Champion Gary Anderson in action. All the action can be watched live and free through PDCTV for registered users (new users can sign up for FREE here), as well as through bookmakers’ websites and international broadcasters.

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

Low6 Home Tour Play-Offs
Group Two – Wednesday May 27 (1930 BST)
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Mike De Decker
Glen Durrant 6-3 Alan Tabern
Mike De Decker 6-5 Alan Tabern
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Glen Durrant
Glen Durrant 4-6 Mike De Decker
Alan Tabern 6-2 Stephen Bunting

Fans in the UK & Ireland can watch through the Sky Sports App.

Bunting “Scared” of Return to Big Stage. Bullet Vulnerable Due to Diabetes.

STEPHEN BUNTING is ready to step up his bid to be lockdown champion but admits he is “scared” about the sport returning to the big stage. The former BDO World Champion, talking exclusively to Darts World, continues his aim to be the first-ever PDC Home Tour winner tonight (Weds) against Glen Durrant, Alan Tavern, and Mike De Decker.

But The Bullet, 35, revealed he has major concerns about the re-start of sport during the coronavirus crisis.He said: “It’s tough to see what happens now if the Matchplay goes ahead because I haven’t had the chance to qualify for it as I’m World No.17. The tournaments I would have had to qualify haven’t happened.

“Also when we get back to full speed, how are they going to fit all these tournaments in? They are probably going to have to do five Pro Tours a week. “But is it safer for us to go over to Germany and play because restrictions have been lifted over there. 

“I’m not being funny but I’ve got Type 2 diabetes, I don’t want to be getting on a plane with loads of other people. There’s a lot of things to sort. “There’s a huge death rate with this disease for those who have diabetes. “I am more susceptible to death than most. The figures are there to show that. That’s why I’ve been more scared to leave the house because you just don’t know.“

Look at Kenny Dalglish. He was a carrier but no symptoms. So if we re-start the tour, who’s to say that no one has got it unless we are all tested? “At the same time, we want to get back playing again. It’s a really hard situation.”

Despite all the worries, Bunting is confident of going all the way to being the first-ever lockdown World Champion – now that’s he moved his board.He added: “The board was downstairs just as you come in the front door. But over the last few days I’ve been moving stuff around. “I’ve got a three storey house so I’ve now put my son Toby on the top floor. My practice board is now in his old bedroom. It’s a lot more secure.“

In the past I’ve been practising when the postman has been at the door or deliveries. It was a bit of an annoyance. “It also backed onto the living room so the wife had to keep the TV noise down and that wasn’t fair for her either.“

I think it looks pretty good and I played in an online tournament on Monday against Ricky Evans and a few others and got to the semi-final. But I played some really good stuff. “You are playing the best players in the world. To be the first lockdown World Champion would be a great achievement. “Obviously I’ve been practicing and getting ready for it. I’ve got a very tough group but if I can play the way I did in the first group, I’ll be OK. My first nine-dart average was pretty big so if I can keep that up and finish good, I’ve got a chance of winning the whole thing.“

Me and Alan (Tabern) over the years have had some great games, both from St Helens so there’s a bit of rivalry there. “Glen Durrant has come over to the PDC and done pretty much the same as I did. That’ll be a good game because I don’t think we’ve played each other since he came across from the BDO.“Mike De Decker is also playing well to qualify so three different games but all very hard in other ways.

“It’s a tournament that you want to win. You could be the first name on that trophy, it also may also be the only name ever as it may never happen again. Hopefully the only lockdown World Champion!

“I think the novelty bit has worn off now. It’s a proper tournament you want to win. Playing in this is actually similar to the Pro Tour.“There’s no noise, all you can hear is your opponent behind you. What I do is put the streaming on my TV which is behind me.

“That means it’s my normal rhythm. I turn round to watch them throw, then step forward for my throw just like I normally do. It feels more natural. I find that easier because you pace yourself.”


Keeping Tabs On Home Tour 11.

Alan Tabern came through a final game thriller to top the table on his head-to-head record in Group 11 of the Unibet Home Tour. 

The 53-year-old faced a straight shootout for top spot with Simon Whitlock in the final game of the evening, with both players sitting on the exact same points and leg difference. 



A narrow 5-4 victory for Tabern over Whitlock therefore put him level on points and leg difference with young Dutchman Mike Van Duivenbode, but a 5-2 victory earlier in the night meant he topped the table on the head-to-head record. 

Kirk Shepherd had looked the most likely to win the group going into his final game, knowing that a two leg victory over Van Duivenbode would be enough, but the former World Championship finalist squandered a 4-2 lead to end up losing 5-4. 

An early 5-1 victory over Tabern had given Shepherd a healthy position in the table, but he wasn’t able to capitalise, losing his next two games by a one-leg margin. 

The Unibet Home Tour continues tomorrow with Max Hopp, Keegan Brown, Conan Whitehead and Mike De Decker in action! 

All the action will be streamed live and free through PDCTV for registered users (new users can sign up for FREE here), as well as through bookmakers’ websites and international broadcasters.

PDC Home Tour

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

Unibet Home Tour 
Group 11 – Monday April 27 (1930 BST)
Simon Whitlock 3-5 Mike van Duivenbode
Kirk Shepherd 5-1 Alan Tabern
Mike van Duivenbode 2-5 Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock 5-4 Kirk Shepherd
Kirk Shepherd 4-5 Mike van Duivenbode
Alan Tabern 5-4 Simon Whitlock

Home Tour: Aussie Wizard To Headline Group Eleven.

The Unibet Home Tour continues on Monday from 1930 BST as former World Championship runner-up Simon Whitlock headlines Group 11.

Simon Whitlock will again front a Home Tour group. (Pic; Winmau)

World number 14 Whitlock will compete in the 11th of 32 consecutive nights of Home Tour action along with Kirk Shepherd, Alan Tabern and Mike van Duivenbode.

The opening game of the night will see Whitlock face Dutch youngster Van Duivenbode, before another former World Championship runner-up, Kirk Shepherd, joins the action along with former UK Open semi-finalist Alan Tabern.

All four competitors will play each other once in matches played over the best of nine legs, with a winner crowned at the end of the night.

Darts commentator Dan Dawson will be on hand to talk through proceedings, which will also include live score graphics on screen.

Unibet Home Tour 
Group 11 – Monday April 27
Simon Whitlock v Mike van Duivenbode
Kirk Shepherd v Alan Tabern
Mike van Duivenbode v Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock v Kirk Shepherd
Kirk Shepherd v Mike van Duivenbode
Alan Tabern v Simon Whitlock

MATCH ODDS

4/9 Simon Whitlock v Mike van Duivenbode 13/8
22/25 
Kirk Shepherd v Alan Tabern 22/25
4/5 
Mike van Duivenbode v Alan Tabern Evens
4/11 
Simon Whitlock v Kirk Shepherd 2/1
11/10 
Kirk Shepherd v Mike van Duivenbode 7/10
7/4 
Alan Tabern v Simon Whitlock 2/5

All odds courtesy of unibet.co.uk and correct at time of publication.

HOW TO WATCH

All Home Tour action will be broadcast live on PDCTV for FREE to ALL registered PDCTV users, regardless of whether you have a paid or free membership.

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

PDC Home Tour

Featured pic: L Lustig/PDC

Q School 2020 Day Four: Big Names Battle for Top Tier Return!

The final day of the PDC Q School of 2020 sees several ‘big names’ battling to secure a return to darts top division. Premier League Players, World Championship and major finalists as well as other former stars are amongst those still in with a chance of claiming a tour card:

The Points table, from which at least another 12 players will gain a card, looks like this with one day to go.

1Ryan Murray14
2Andy Hamilton12
3Damon Heta11
4Peter Jacques11
5Steve Brown (Eng)10
6Martin Atkins (Wigan)9
7Alan Tabern9
8Adam Hunt9
9Lisa Ashton9
10Darryl Pilgrim8
11Darryl Fitton7
12William Borland7
13Lee Evans7
14Paul Nicholson7
15Gary Mawson7
16Robert Modra7
17Niall Culleton7
18Ritchie Edhouse7
19Tony Newell7
20Seigo Asada6
21Jarred Cole6
22David Ladley6
23Lewis Pride6
24Tony Richardson6
25Darren Davies6
26Wayne Jones6
27Robert Collins6
28James Richardson6
29Daniel Lauby6
30Ryan Hogarth5
31Colin Osborne5
32Frankie Ansell5

Former World Finalist Andy ‘The Hammer’ Hamilton leads the way for the well known players and is almost certain to regain his tour place. Major winners Paul Nicholson and Daryl Fitton (World Trophy) are within striking distance as is Lisa Ashton the four time Women’s World Champion.

The Wizard is within striking distance of a return to top.

Major finalists Colin Osborne and Wayne Jones could gain cards, with strong final day runs, and former top ten player Alan Tabern is looking good to to remain in the top flight.

Seigo Asada is carrying the flag for Japan and looking to confirm his World Championship & Asian Tour performances at the highest level. Many will also wish James ‘Ruthless’ Richardson well.

So far the tour card winners have been split between players with a strong pedigree and those who are relatively unknown. Jeff Smith, former BDO World Finalist and World Cup Champion, claimed one of yesterday’s cards, whilst the other was claimed by a lesser known Aaron Beeney, a prison officer who represent London.

The points list is a similar mix of the known and lesser known players. It seems that the Q School, despite its critics, produces a well balanced group, of additional players, for each new season!

5 Darting Bargains – In An Age of Spiralling Costs.

Darts World has noticed that the costs, especially player and premium, of darts have increased substantially over the past few years.  Increased and improved cosmetics, together with some technical innovations, can be blamed for some of this. But, the increased popularity and worldwide expansion of darts seem to be resulting in a golf or tennis like spiralling of some equipment costs. 

Not quite within our bargain criteria, but the Pro-Line is an excellent dart for a mid-range price.

Less than five years ago very few sets of darts would cost more than £50 and the vast majority were between £20 & £35. These often included accessories such as a case and or spare flight & stem setups. Today, a brief look at any of the major sellers reveals thirty or forty different models with an RRP of over £60 with a handful of models on or around the £100 mark. 

Does all this mean that darts is becoming a rich pursuit for those with more disposable cash? Can the average young person still get a decent start and does all this extra cash actually make much difference? 

Darts World asked A.I.M: to look into the best value darts available and to put them through their paces. We set them a maximum of £25 per set and asked them to assess quality, performance, value, and accessibility.  Here is the first summary of what they found; 

1) Pro-Style (21-26g) – Darts Clearance £12.99-14.99. http://www.ebaystores.co.uk/dartsclearance?_fsub=7330512015& 

These are a lovely dart for the £15 cost.  The 22g model is 48mm x 7.2mm (widest) and has a slight taper from the front to rear. There is a small blank near the stem and the grip is what could be described as an original Bob Anderson style grip but slightly more aggressive. They have a slight front weight but still, feel well balanced. Almost indistinguishable from the McKicks Alan Glazier darts. 

The darts come with nothing but a point protector in order to keep the costs, and postage fees, at an absolute minimum. They were popular with all our testers and all standards. Even our elite player was very impressed. The ‘Pro-Style’ compared well with other models even those of higher cost. The tungsten content will be at least 80% and may be higher.  

Pro-Style – Excellent value at a bargain cost.

2) Winmau Diamond 23g – Red Dragon Clearance £24.90 (RRP £55)  – http://www.reddragondarts.com/winmau-diamond-3-23-gram-12105.html

These are a serious bargain. Originally £55+ they represent the combination of high-quality tungsten and a diamond fusion grip. Winmau seems to have abandoned this grip style and thus you can now pick up some serious bargains. 

Winmau Diamond Grip – Currently less than half price.

These have a great deal in common with John Lowe or Andy Fordham shape darts. The extra grip near the nose can be handy. They are 90% tungsten and measure 40.6mm x 7.7mm. The diamond grip was very popular and will be missed by some serious players. However, after a while, it can rub the other darts into looking shabby and wears itself down. 

In short, these are a premium dart for a one-off price. I doubt these will last long. Well worth a try or even to get yourself an extra set if you use them already. 

3) Designa Dark Thunder – £22.95http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=42991 

A lovely dart, in a classic style, for under £25.

These are a very good value, 90% tungsten dart. They have a lot in common with Unicorn (Taylor) Phase 1. The black barrels with natural highlights are a popular look and have a touch of the Noir range about them. A very grippy dart that is not chunky in the hard or over-complex in design. Various weights are available with 22g and 24g being the most popular. With Darts Corner moving their priorities to Mission darts these may not be around forever as the Designa badge may fade away. 

Monster – The Cobra – £24 (RRP £50+)  – http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=1190_1692&products_id=31539

These are available in the clearance section of dartscorner.com and may not be for very long at this price. This model became Jelle’s signature shape and style for quite a few years and during his most successful PDC spell.  

The Cobra – A £50+ premium dart for a clearance price.

90 % Tungsten, superbly designed and engineered to be a superb combination of aerodynamics and style. 42mm long x 7mm (at the widest) they are highly individual and you might wish to try before you buy! Although badged as 22g this is misleading the barrel weight is only 20.4g. 

Two of our testers loved these and one has kept them! However, our third player could not get used to them at all. It seems that ‘The Cobra’ is a bit Marmite! 

Alan Tabern – V180 – £20http://www.a180.co.uk/product.php/10304/v180-alan-tabern-90-tungsten-darts-21g

A classic player dart for only £20. Alan Tabern’s simple barrel.

You don’t get many classic player darts for under £20. However, V180 makes a small range, all of which are pitched at a great price. Perhaps the best of these is the Tabern dart. These could be made by Target, Alan’s old sponsor, they are a classic style ring grip dart. Only Alan’s 21g edition is available. They are a little over 47mm x 6mm wide they feel very well balanced and are 90% tungsten. 

Our players thought that these were a lovely dart. The only downside was that they are not as heavily gripped as some current models. Our more traditional testers were fond of these darts, whereas our younger player, seem to find them over delicate and harder to control. 

It can be seen from the above, that despite the recent increases in the cost of premium products, high-quality darts can be sourced. A little creativity and patience can result in darts of the same