This Week – Darts World’s Selection of Darting Milestones.

Selecting highlights from the week of February 3-9th would have been thought to be slim pickings until recently. However, the ever expanding global darts calendar and the superb archive of darts records provides some interesting flashbacks:

35 Years Ago:

This week 35 years ago saw the start of a great year for Dave Whitcombe!

Dave Whitcombe claimed the WDF Finnish Open, in 1985, defeating “Big” Cliff Lazerenko in the final. Dave was at the peak of his powers in the mid 80’s and would go on to claim the World Masters later the same year. He is often overlooked in the annals of the game’s history. But to claim major titles during that period was not exactly easy. Dave claimed also added The News of the World to his role of honour and deserves to be acknowledged.

10 Years Ago:

Jaws romped to a Pro Tour title in Gibraltar this week.

Colin’Jaws’ Lloyd got the 2010 season of to a flying start when he claimed the first Pro Tour event of the year. That year the first weekend PDC was held in Gibraltar, Lloyd, the former World No.1, blitzed through the field to claim the title. His run included a 6-0 whitewash over new World Champion Peter Wright. Although Lloyd was beginning to struggle overall he again showed just how talented he is.

5 Years Ago:

MVG was utterly dominant in the non TV events five years ago.
Photo : Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Micheal Van Gerwen was in imperious form in the middle of the last decade. An example was his remarkable run in the UK Open Qualifiers in 2015. Out of the six Pro Tour events, that selected the field for the first major of the year, MVG won four and reached the final of a fifth. His run of four consecutive wins started this week five years ago. In the sixth event Van Gerwen could only manage a poor effort of a place in the last four!

The remarkable Larry Butler returned to the top of world darts with a bang in 2015. The “Bald Eagle” kicked off what would be an almost incredible year with victory in the Camillia Classic in North America. Butler, World Matchplay Champion in 1994, would go on to reach the final of the World Masters and earn a place in the Grand Slam of Darts. He also qualified for the BDO World Championships and reached the last 16. All after a decade away from the top flight, and at the age of 57, as we now know from Wayne Warren age is no barrier to darting success, The Bald Eagle reminded us of that in 2015.

The Bald Eagle! Larry Burler showed us that late 50’s is not too late. Wayne Warren listened to the advise!

This Week:

The 2020 Pro Tour kicks off this coming weekend, who will break through this year to challenge the established order? Every year the Pro Tour standard is met by more and more of the players.

The days of a player winning four out of six events may well be over. But other highlights will be made and benchmarks set. This week will look for them and try to make sure they are acknowledged.


This Week is a regular look at darting events throughout the history of recorded darts.

Unsung Heroes : “Mile High” Leaves A Vapour Trail.

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.

In February 2010, Mark “Mile High” Hylton embarked on what was to be a brief, but highly significant, escapade into the world of PDC darts. An airline cabin manager for 15 years, Hylton quit at the age of 42 to become a full-time arrowsmith. A majestic take-off was followed by a turbulent spell cruising at altitude, before a steep descent took him away from our view. 

Hylton enjoyed a high flying start to his PDC Career.
PIC;L Lustig/PDC

Born and raised in Staffordshire, Mark Hylton had been a familiar name in amateur darts for quite some time, including a notable television appearance at the the 2007 UK Open, before he decided to turn professional. His first few months on the tour proved a steep learning curve, but he was soon to rise rapidly through the PDC Order of Merit.

In early 2010, Hylton was playing superbly behind the scenes, cleaning up in non-professional events all over the UK. His management and coaching team decided to fund trips to Australia and Canada that summer to see if their hunch was right that he could compete with the best in the game. Hylton responded with a dazzling run to the final of the PDC Australian Open in Sydney, where he was defeated 6-3 by Dennis Priestley. The prize money, £3,000, ensured he would qualify for the 2011 World Championships. 

Hylton’s success continued with a string of very consistent results on the PDC Pro Tour, resulting in qualification for the lucrative Grand Slam of Darts. Despite not progressing from the group stage, the experience of such a huge, televised event was not wasted on Hylton, who was confident of a good showing at the Alexandra Palace.

Hylton and his team prepared meticulously for the 2011 World Championship. He played in all conditions and as often as possible, including on borrowed stages with friends acting as officials. When Hylton drew the legendary Steve Beaton in the first round, practice partners were hand-picked to try and mirror Beaton’s style and pace. Likely second and third round opponents were also calculated.

The venue was scouted, the weather anticipated (which was extreme) and complications allowed for. Despite some early nerves, and the silky skills of his opponent, the vigorous preparation paid off as Hylton ran out a 3-2 winner in a tense final set, where he held his nerve well. Hylton’s reward was a second round date with former PDC world number one, Colin Lloyd.

During the days before the match, Team Hylton again prepared diligently. Their man was less nervous than previously and was given these simple instructions by his coach: 

“you are the best kept secret in world darts, now go and show these people why”

Despite Lloyd edging in to a narrow lead in the fifth set, Hylton reeled off a remarkable 6 legs in a row to win 4-2 at a canter. By the end of the game Lloyd was shaking his head in disbelief as Hylton averaged over 115 in his purple patch and became the event’s leading 180 hitter.  

Sadly, Hylton could not produce a similar level in his last-16 match against welshman Mark Webster who defeated Hylton 4-1 on his way to a run to the semi-finals. Despite this, Hylton had served notice that he was a player to be taken seriously. He was awarded the PDC’s New Player of the Year award, a lucrative dart sponsorship and went on to achieve success in more major events in 2011, reaching the quarter-finals of the UK Open and the Grand Prix, rising to number 32 in the world in the process. He also frightened the life out of Phil Taylor in a thrilling 10-8 defeat at the World Matchplay in Blackpool.

Although he is no longer playing high profile darts Hylton left a trail that inspired others to even greater heights.
Pic – L Lustig/PDC

Although Hylton has slipped from view since those halcyon days, his efforts should not be forgotten. To become a professional at 42 with no top flight experience, and to hit the heights he did, was remarkable. Indeed, the vapour-trail Hylton left guided many. You don’t need to be a big name to win big.

Just ask Rob Cross! 


A version of this article appeared in The Ultimate Guide to the PDC World Championship – https://appsolutely.dev/darts/
JEGL

Colin Lloyd – The Big Questions!

As we said recently Lloydy is often underestimated by darts folk, especially those of more recent vintage. Here he gives a taste of a remarkable life/career in darts:

Since his competitive retirement, Lloydy is doing more TV along with his corporate and exhibition work.

Thanks to Red Dragon Darts for their assistance with this article. Checkout Colin Lloyds latest dart models here:http://www.reddragondarts.com/colin-lloyd-diamond-22g.html

Out Now – Grab Your November Copy of Darts World Magazine!

MVG at the Grand Prix, Unsung Hero, Top 5 Bargain Barrels, County News, Competitions and Loads more! Order yours here: http://www.dartsworld.com/product/magazine/

Look out for highlights, previews, competition winners and extended articles all at dartsworld.com.

Darts World Logo

Between the Covers! What’s in November’s Issue

We are just over a week away from the latest edition of Darts World. You may have noticed we are adding more and more features and contributors every month. Here are few to look forward to ……..

  • Colin Lloyd: answers ‘The Big Questions
Former No.1 Colin Lloyd talks to Darts World.

Our regular interview with one of the nicest people in darts.

Who does Lloydy think has the best throw?

Who would he rather be?


John Fowler: Life on ‘The Open Road

Our newly adopted BDO Official gives his inside view.


  • Choose Your Weapons: Target Swiss Point.
Look out for our reviews of this ingenious new system

We look at the latest point system and the Swiss Point 03 model.


  • Patrick Chaplin: Gives ‘The Last Word‘ every month. November finishes with Patrick’s thoughts on everything from Olly Croft to Shayne Burgess!

  • JR Lott: Introduces us to his Unsung Heroes

Player of the Month – Win a Winmau Prize, Guess Who? – Win a Set of Red Dragon Darts

In addition, there will be; Towe The Line, Top 5 Value Darts, County Lines, and much more………

Our next edition will be available on November 1st, to buy or to subscribe go here:http://www.dartsworld.com/product/magazine/

Coming Soon – The Underestimation of Colin Lloyd.

Whilst catching up with the gossip in the Darts World office the other day, I came across the draft copy of a player interview for an upcoming Darts World (Print Edition). The piece will feature Colin ‘Jaws’ Lloyd.

Darts World features an upcoming interview with Colin Lloyd. JR Lott was reminded of how he is underestimated by many.

I couldn’t resist a sneak peek at the interview and found it engaging, interesting and refreshingly honest. This should have been no surprise as it’s an accurate reflection of the Colin I have met regularly over the years. He is the same in good times and bad.

However, at the same time, it occurred to me that ‘Lloydy’ seems to get scant wider attention. Whereas some past players, with less of an achievement record, are lauded with praise, and media attention, Colin seems to be skated over when mentioned at all. This is very unfair. Jaws achieved a huge amount and has always been a superb ambassador for the game. ( OK except for the incident against Andre Welge)

Jaws’s practise space. Check out the trophies!

Colin Lloyd spent his entire elite career in the PDC. Starting in 1999 he spent almost twenty years in the top echelon of the game. Along the way, he claimed more than a dozen Pro Tour level floor titles. Indeed his floor performance was so strong that he rose to be World number one. The PDC system was then made up from points claimed from all events. With ‘The Power’ playing less, as time went on, ‘Jaws’ kept accumulating points until he sat on top of the pile. To this day PDC number ones make up a very select club. It is also forgotten that Colin’s entire career was played under the arc of Taylor completly rewriting the sport.

Next on Lloyd’s achievement list is that of multiple major winner! It is not easy to claim a PDC major, claiming more than one is seriously tough. In some ways, Colin’s two majors are the most contrasting you can win. The World Matchplay is a long-format, leg play, an elite seeded true test of matchplay. Winners of the World Matchplay can still be counted on two hands (winners of more than one title on less than one hand) and again that list features Colin Lloyd (2005). The opposite is true of the World Grand Prix, it is a shorter format, especially early on, and is a set based structure. Both are tough to win but as your two majors they stand up well.

Colin in the TV booth. Surely we should hear more from Lloydy?

Reflecting on these details of Colin’s career it struck me how many of them I already knew. He has also always been an accessible, open and entertaining person. ‘Jaws’ is popular in exhibitions and corporate events and is an ambassador for Red Dragon after many successful years with both Target and Unicorn.

Sadly, the underestimation of Colin Lloyd extends from other players all the way through the media and sadly to many fans as well. It would be nice to see this being put right.

I find I am very much looking forward to reading the finished article in the magazine.