Unsung Heroes – Chris Thompson, The Hitman

Darts World’s regular look at those players whose career or contribution to the sport of darts may have been overlooked, under-credited or faded with time.

During a recent interview with Darts World magazine, three-time World Champion Glen Durrant raised an eyebrow or two when he stated that a certain player was in fact “a far better player than me”.

Although Durrant added that it was some time ago that he had battled with Chris Thompson, it was still a very generous compliment. So, who is ‘The Hitman’?

The story starts at the 1985 Yorkshire Boys Club Championships in Hunslet. Thompson, then aged just 13, was persuaded to enter and emerged as the champion, without dropping a leg!

A very talented young player, at the age of 16 and already standing over 6 feet tall, Thompson ventured into the pub leagues in York. He soon claimed the York individual title, beating a host of top local players including Barry Noble and Stuart Holden, earning himself an invitation to the Yorkshire Super League in the process.

After a couple of successful seasons, Mick Nixon, captain of Humberside, recruited Thompson to his county squad. This proved excellent experience for Thompson as he had the opportunity to play alongside high quality players such as Vijay Kumar and John Pickering. After a further season in the Yorkshire Super League, Thompson was then invited to join the full Yorkshire squad and he lent on his fellow player and friend, Stuart Holden, for advice:

“By this time Stuart Holden had become a close friend and advisor. He thought that it was too early for me to join Yorkshire and encouraged me to remain with Humberside. I took this advice and ended up playing over 50 games for Humberside. After a few more invites from Yorkshire, Stuart eventually advised me that the time was right for me to join the “big boys” at Yorkshire”.

Following six consecutive wins in the Yorkshire B Team, Thompson was promoted to the Yorkshire A-Team, a huge landmark in his career. He eventually went on to play over a hundred matches for Yorkshire and was made captain of a team that included the likes of John ‘Boy‘ Walton, Scott Waites, Martin Atkins and Garry Thompson, under the famed management of Peter Senior.

Thompson’s next career milestone was qualifying for the News of the World Grand Finals, beating Lancashire’s Paul Williams in the final qualifier, thus making his television debut.

In 2000 Thompson claimed the Yorkshire Classic beating John Walton in the final, whilst he also struck up a very successful pairs partnership with Martin Atkins, with whom he remains close, both as a player and a friend.

Whilst progressing in the BDO, Thompson had kept a close eye on the PDC circuit and in 2007 he ultimately decided that the prize money available was too enticing to ignore:

“I decided to leave the BDO circuit and concentrate on the PDC, this was the best move I ever made”.

In his second season in the PDC, Thompson reached the quarter-finals of the UK Open, losing out 10-5 to Vincent Van Der Voort. This proved a springboard to further success as he went on to reach eight pro-tour semi-finals, including “the most memorable day” of his darting career in Las Vegas. On that day he defeated Gary Mawson, Kirk Shepherd, Mark Walsh, Terry Jenkins, and Andy Hamilton.

In the quarter final the invincible Phil Taylor awaited. Thompson states that he “played the game of my life” in beating the ‘The Power’ 6-5, with an average of over 114 before losing to Simon Whitlock in the semi-final. The next day Taylor took his revenge beating Thompson 6-0, costing him a place at the World Matchplay.

Later that year ‘The Hitman’ reached the World Championships for the first time. His first-round opponent at the Alexandra Palace was Darts World columnist Colin Osborne who showed his experience in defeating the York man 3-1.

Subsequently, Thompson’s form dipped and he struggled, eventually losing his tour card. Sadly, efforts to try and win a new tour card were unsuccessful and he took the difficult decision to quit his career within the PDC.

‘The Hitman’ still plays locally once a week at his local pub The Green Tree in York and says:

“I really enjoy the social aspect of the local league again.

However, my will to win has never deserted me, and my opponent, whoever they are, will always get 100% from me, I have always played to win no matter what the circumstances.

People always ask me if I miss the darts and my response is always “a bit, but I miss the friends I have made, and the crack we had, a lot more”.

  • JR Lott with Chris Thompson
  • Pix: PDC
  • Originally published in Darts World Magazine (569) April 2020
  • JEGL

I’ve Only Got Five Years – Durrant Speaks to JR Lott (Part II)

This months Darts World Print Edition features an extended interview with Glen Durrant. After looking at Duzza’s remarkable 2019 season they settled down to a more general conversation covering career, game management, the relevance of age and much more (grab yours here:http://www.dartsworld.com/product/magazine/) here is part II:

The Conversation 

The full interview and analysis features in this months Darts World (Print Edition)

In conversation Glen Durrant is a relaxed, jovial and measured person. We spoke a couple of days after his selection for the Premier League and he seemed delighted to have been chosen and looking forward to the challenge. 

JR: Let’s start at the conclusion of your amazing year, how did you find out about getting into the Premier League and how do you feel about it. 

GD: Delighted! It was a beautiful day! its superb to be in and, after my appearance last year, I am really looking forward to it. I really did not want to know in advance, I even told my manager not to tell me before the official announcement. I even took myself off to Catterick Races for the day as a distraction and a way of not getting too worried about it. Finally, he cracked and called me and I told him to tell me if he knew, then I just had to keep quiet for an hour or two. 

JR: Congratulations again. I have followed your transition closely over the last couple of years and wondered, Did you have a blueprint or plan for how to approach the PDC system. 

GD: I had contemplated switching before and had I not progressed at Lakeside I may well have done. Been the contract, with the BDO, insisted that £100k would have to be returned and I was in a very good place. Had circumstances not changed, at my age, I would have stayed in the BDO. But Des Jacklin changed the rules and allowed BDO players to make the attempt at Q School, and other events, without penalty and it seemed perfect for me. 

JR: Q-School must have been very tough, especially after winning the World Crown and with little time between the two. 

GD: It was the scrutiny level was very high, especially after the first couple of days, and that’s not really me. I am more of a backroom guy. I am looking forward to popping in this year and supporting Jim Williams. 

JR: I recall Dean Winstanley saying that he returned the year after he gained a card to watch other sweat it out! 

GD: I can reiterate that I think he might have had a point! 

JR: You mentioned age earlier, what effect do you think age has on players in the modern game? 

GD: There is a general fitness question, things like aches and pains that people suffer more of, you have to change your regime. No six-hour practices, like I used to! You must consider eye-sight. But there are plenty of a similar age. 

JR: Many sports, including darts, seem to be expanding the age at which player can perform at the highest level. Phil Taylor was in his mid-fifties and still on top. Peter Wright has just won his world championship at 49/50. 


GD: I am good friends with Peter he has given me good advice and I am delighted for him. I really hope your right, but I also wish I was twenty-odd! 

JR: Its unusual, even unique for an elite darts player to have had a very successful long-term career in another industry. How has thirty plus years helped your darts, especially this year. 

GD: The ethos of darts now being my job and treating it as one. Funnily enough Peter Wright gave me that advice as well. The work ethic, obviously and to appreciate the value of everything that is earned. It really values and attitude.  

The Hitman, Chris Thompson – Better than Duzza? (Pic: PDC)

JR: I remember, the fine Yorkshire player, Chris Thompson had a career as a solicitor but I can’t recall many others. 

GD: Ah ‘The Hitman’ I knew Chris well, fine player, better than me. 

JR: Really, better than you? GD: Yeah, in the old days, back in the North, Chris was a great player, far better than me. 

GD: The guys that still work fulltime amaze me, Darren Webster, for example. Hard physical graft all week they go and win professional dart matches. Now that’s tough. 

JR: I notice that the PDC seem to have involved you, to a greater extent, in their marketing and public relations activities. Was that an additional strain or pressure. 

GD: Not really, I have spent a long time managing one of the toughest estates in the north-east. I have dealt with speaking in public, the press and other organisations.  I am familiar with marketing speak and the corporarte side of things, so it’s not such a chore. It’s certainly a lot better than working for 40-50 hours a week and I still make sure I get my time on the board. 

I am a fairly boring guy and don’t really do razzmatazz so these sorts of things don’t have a great effect on me. 

JR: Having bumped into you, on occasion over the last couple of years, you always seemed quite sombre during events, I wonder? Did you manage to enjoy the experience of the PDC? 

GD: I try to treat it like a job, Peter’s advice again, I know that I have five years to achieve as much as I can. I have also learned that my best game is limited adrenalin. The best fun is success and achieving your ambitions. 

JR: Low adrenalin? 

GD: Staying calm and not getting too worked up or distracted. 

JR: Remarkably, you changed darts mid-way through the season, to Target, and seemed to adjust instantly? 

GD: Yeah, Target have been great, because I use a glorified Bristow barrel it’s not like reinventing the wheel. I really wanted a back-to basic dart. So, although I looked at all sorts of designs and colours, even an orange one, I really wanted a silver coloured dart with few alterations.  

JR: Did you get a bit of time to get used to them? 

GD: Yes one of the advantages of no longer working full time is that I have some time for that. There may be another edition of my dart along soon, perhaps a gen2?  

GD: I have always fancied trying Std flights and seeing if they add anything. 

JR: Funnily enough our resident coach thinks you might be suited to a small std, he goes on and on about it! 

GD: You never know, I might get around to it. 

JR: With the BDO Championships about to take place how do you feel about not being there and your decision to try the PDC. 

Duzza Takes his place in the 2020 PL field.

GD: It will feel unusual but I wish everyone the very best, I love the BDO, and am grateful to it, it has allowed me to fulfill all my darting dreams and I will always be part of it. I am in a beautiful place, it’s been a fantastic year, I suppose I got to turn my hobby into my job and loved every minute of it. 

I am looking forward to a nice break before hitting the board before the Premier League.  

JR: Thank-you for your thoughts, speak again this time next year! 

The excerpts above are from an extended conversion. We covered many different areas with Glen who was very generous with his time. He even called us back after his wife needed assistance in tracking down a receipt. No ‘big time’ in Glen’s house! JR Lott. 

“He was a far better player than me….”. Duzza Pays Ultimate Compliment, But To Whom?

While chatting away to, three-time World Champion, Glen Durrant for an article in this months Darts World Magazine, Duzza made a somewhat startling revelation! During a discussion of players, who have had more clerical (or white collar type) careers, Duzza stated that one of them was a far better player than him!

The Hitman – Better than Duzza? Pic:PDC

Just who do you think that Glen rated so highly? The clue is in the nature of their career. Darts has its roots in working class communities and in pubs and clubs. Yet there have been those who have flouted this tradition and had somewhat different backgrounds or careers. Mark Hylton was a Airline Cabin Manager with an English degree, Scott Mitchell is a farmer and there are other examples.

As a housing manager Glen himself appreciated the difference between his own career and that of many other top rank darters. He expressed admiration for those, such as Darren Webster, who still put in a full week of physical labour before winning PDC darts matches over the weekend!

Chris Thompson in World Championship action. Pic: PDC

So who did Glen rate so highly? Turns out it was Chris ‘The Hitman’ Thompson! Chris is a former PDC Tour player who pursued a career in the law alongside his darts! Anyone who has played against Chris, or even watched him, will know that he was indeed very talented. Chris reached the Qtrs of The News of The World event as far back as 1997 and the same stage of the UK Open in 2008. The plain-speaking Yorkshire thrower was incredibly passionate, tough to beat and never gave any player an inch!

Now, to be clear, Glen did ad that it was back in his days of playing Leagues and Opens in the north of England that Chris had been “far better than me…..”.


It is still a lovely compliment for Chris and its typical of Glen that he recalled it in a random chat about career choices!

Full interview and feature on Glen Durrant in February Darts World Magazine. Grab your subscritpion here: http://www.dartsworld.com/product/magazine/

Darts World – February Issue – A Chat with Glen Durrant & Loads More.

The February Issue of Darts World magazine will be out shortly. This month’s issue is packed full of with columns and pieces on subjects across the darting world. Here are a few you may want to look forward to:

John gives us the Indig02 lowdown.

Mic Drop John Fowler gives us another insight into his life on the road. This month includes the BDO World Championships and working with a legend.

Glen Durrant JR Lott in conversation with the three time World Champion. Everything from ‘The Hitman’ being a better player than him! Through to trying avoid the news of his Premier League selection.

Choose Your Weapons – We look at a World Record setting dart used by a current World Champion.

Guess Who? – Your chance to win a signed set of Red Dragon darts.

Colin Osborne Joins Darts World!

Wizards WizdomColin Osborne looks back to the start of his career and takes a closer look at today’s game.

Player of the Month – Nominate a player who deserves to join our Hall of Fame, see who has won last months award and you could earn yourself a set of Pro-Line darts from Winmau.

County News & The Circuit – All the results, news and reports from around the UK.

The Last WordPatrick Chaplin always had the last word. What will he hold forth on this month?