Reigning World Matchplay champion Rob Cross has revealed his fear of being unable to defend the title he claimed so memorably in Blackpool last year.
Talking to Phil Lanning, for Darts World, the former world champion said:
“I know the PDC is making that decision by June 5. Obviously I hope it can go ahead somehow”.
Due to the Lockdown and social distancing rules caused by Covid-19 almost all live sporting events have been postponed or cancelled for the forseeable future. However the sport of darts has been at the forefront in attempting to keep its fans entertained during these troubled times.
The PDC have initiated the Home Tour and have postponed, rather than cancel, their major events in the hope of finding workable solutions later in the year.
Cross known as ‘Voltage’ to darts fans claimed the second biggest trophy in the PDC in 2019 adding it to his fairytale World Championship win. he added:
“It was my second favourite moment of my short career to win last year.”
Cross also commented on the rash of social media abuse suffered by players that seems to be on the increase. See the full story exclusive to Darts World here.
World Championship official, Darts World columnist and popular darts MC, finds the Covid-19 lock-down a mixed bag of exercising and boredom, but with moments of laughter and warm memories:
Well readers, it’s been another week of long walks, a little poetry, and sorting through the many momentoes and records of all my years in darts. Maybe I’ll write a book and put a poem in each chapter?
It’s not all doom and gloom though folks, I have rediscovered many fabulous souvenirs, programs and anecdotes that I may get the chance to share with you over the comings weeks and months.
Incredibly I found a handwritten copy of my first ever Darts World submission. The poem, from 1979 printed in Darts World:
I also have a letter saying my poem, about my county debut, which I can’t find at the moment, would be published in March 82 edition. Yes readers, believe it or not, I could throw a mean dart once!
I also came across a snap shot sent to me about the British Classic in 2005. When I could mix it with the big boys!
The event was won by Paul Hogan, who has gone on to cause many an upset and continues to do so.
But the amazing thing was the company I was keeping! There are three Wordl champions in the list including the current PDC holder Peter Wright. Players that I have gone on to work with at exhibitions or officiate for on the biggest stages. I have known Dave Honey for many years and Mark Lewis was a fine Welsh international, although he may be better known as Jamie’s dad these days.
I lost out to Andy Callaby. I left 44 after 12 darts and busted it, he took out 145 exactly the same way as he did to beat Phil Taylor in Dublin the previous year. If I had won, I would have played Gary Anderson in the quarter finals.
My treasure trove, of darting memories, contains many more items for me to check out and perhaps, share with you all. I have just come across a plain paper Bobby George exhibition program from decades ago when I was in audience. Hard to believe that Bobby and I have worked together a few times in the last few years!
That will have to be it for now, time for another of my daily excersise efforts, as allowed by the powers that be, so see you soon folks.
Stay safe and play darts!
Editorial team: We are engaged in a hunt for the original copies of johns poem and article and look forward to showing you how they looked back their printed format!
Today’s, darting isolation, drill/game of the day is called SwitchBlade. It’s a very simply way to get your eyes, & body, used to switching away from its main target. The art of ‘positive switching‘, to hit higher scores rather than from a maths views, was mastered and illustrated by Dennis Priestley, in his first World title run he amazed viewers with his habitual clocking of treble 18. This ensured he was swiftly ‘on a finish’ in minimum darts.
Players in the modern era (PDC and Sky TV), have developed switching to a fine art. Some such as Adrian Lewis and Micheal Smith almost seem to prefer it. Let’s get you more proficient, and automated, at this:
SwitchBlade aims to improve your accuracy and fluidity when switching from one treble bed to another. This applies equally to switching due to vision blockage or to ensure leaving a finish.
As with many of our drills it is based around five turns at the board:
Turn 1 : Aim for Treble 20 with all three darts.
Turn 2: Aim your first two darts at t20 then your third at t19
Turn 3: Aim your first two at t20 then the third at t18
Turn 4: Aim your first two at t20 and the third at t17
Turn 5: Aim your first two at t20 and third at the Bullseye
t20,s20,t20 = 140
s20,t20,s19 = 99
t20,t20,t18 = 174
s20,s20,t3 = 49
t20,t5,Bull = 125
Total = 587
You can vary this drill in many ways, you can use 1 dart at the treble 20 and two at the others or insert a treble you use often from scores such as 180 or 191. Most often used are t13 or t14.
N.B: The core skills are in the template above and that’s the one we use most.
SwitchBlade can be played by any player and doing it regularly will improve your overall play. Higher level players should really push themselves to get this to be second nature.
Level One – For those starting from a lower bar the first order of business is to hit the target aimed for so the 2 in the 20 segment and then one in the aimed for switch. If you manage this for each segment you will gain a score around 299.
Level Two – You should be aiming to hit one treble 20 or one on the switch. Scoring visits should total around 100 (+/- 10). Thus the total will be 450+
Level Three – You should now be looking to hit two trebles quite often. When you don’t hit two you should still be hitting one. Scoring visits will be regularly 131+ and predominantly 91+. Scoring regularly over 550 will put you on a level with our best players.
SwitchBlade requires rhythm and calm, a competitive streak also helps! The highest score, hit with marker/witnessed, is 659. On this one, we shall keep the record hitter to ourselves. It was struck during a private prep session for a very big name a few years ago!
Enjoy SwitchBlade and drop us a line to tell us how you’re doing. Comment below or tweet us – @Darts_World
We have known for a while that darts can be a great way for youngsters, and others, to become more confident with numbers. It may now become part of many people’s home education/occupation routine! Darts World contacted a highly experienced educator who has taught all abilities, and used indoor accuracy games in lessons previously,he commented:
Just the normal game alone is a very good maths exercise, if you play a leg of 501 and the child/leaRner simply subtracts the score from 501, and so on…..
Senior Maths Educator
The player can alter the difficulty of the sums to be done and practise his/her accuracy at the same time! If the children are younger then, perhaps. try 201 down and aim for 20s and 10s. The child has to add up your score, or take away the total or both. Vary it according to the ability level of the child.
Follow on or extension questions can be:
Please tell me what single & double combination/s I need to finish this leg?
What numbers under 60 cannot be hit with 1or 2 darts?
What numbers under 180 cannot be hit with 3 darts?
Players can choose to play different games to stretch the skills of learner/s. Half-It, for example, is more about addition (and perhaps dividing by 2!) than subtraction.
N.B – If you do not have a home set up you can use You Tube games, perhaps with non English commentary, (so the answers are not given away) or with the sound muted.
Set a time limit or number of legs/games that you are going to play. Probably 20 mins-half an hour in the first instance.
After the ‘lesson time’ perhaps treat them to a family game with every one playing. Alternatively, if you are able, some garden time as a reward for concentration.
DW Coach says: “This is great for getting young ones interested in the game” if they enjoy it at this troubled time it will stick with them in later years” and “Its good for the practiser as well, it hard to learn to be interrupted and distracted while throwing, but still focus on the correct target”
DW will aim to publish more educational and mental health information over the weeks ahead please check back in every day or so.
After the tough times are over if your youngsters have picked up an enthusiasm, for our fantastic game, then there are many local darts academies and branches of the JDC ( Junior Darts Corporation. Even some schools have lunch or after school clubs.
N.B. – Please remember to keep younger children a safe distance from the board (bounce outs happen even to the best of us).
We at Darts World realise that our fellow darters will be trying to enjoy the nice weather during this first weekend of social (we prefer physical) isolation. However, we shall keep asking ‘Coach’ for his drill of the day. If you don’t get chance to try it out, straight away, it can be added to your dart day routine!
This drill is to get you more fluid when travelling big distances between segments. The percentage rate for hitting or getting a shot at these finishes is much lower than those where two of the trebles are close together. This drill is best done daily, or as often as you practise, but not repeated too many times in a row due. I do not like practising missing too much!
The most regular finishes with Distant Trebles (DTs) are 167, 161, 157, 151 & 153*. The more your reaction to these numbers is automatic and drilled into your arm, the higher your performance will be. It is especially important to react (or not react!) properly to a missed dart. Getting used to missing and not letting it interrupt your flow, or mind, is vital.
So where do you throw your second dart if your first misses? What if you hit t5 first dart or t7, for example, second? These are the things that need to become automatic. They are almost as important as checking out the finish!
Take one turn (3 darts) at each of them. award yourself points as follows:
Checkout in 3 – 20 Points
Shot at a double – 10 Points
Leave a double (no shot) – 5 points
Non Treble finish left – 1 point (e.g. Turn at 161 – t20,s17,s20 & leaving 64)
* 153 is our example of a distant treble (DT) finish that does not involve Bull or Tops if you have another that comes up regularly then use that initially.
167 – t20,t19,Bull – 20 Points
161 – t20,T17,25 (missed bull) – 10 Points
157 – t20,s19,T18 (leave d12 ) – 5 Points
151 – s20, T20, s19 (leave 52) – 1 Point
Total – 36 Points
Between players of similar standard, keeping your focus, even after a stray dart, deflection or bounce out, and completing the set up makes all the difference!
As noted above, the fifth shot is variable according to player preference and or stats evidence of your regular ‘leaves ‘ during games.
The other main variation is for those who choose d16, where possible. They should still work on the above five as they can, and do, come up all the time. But they can look at at five that might reflect their regular paths.
This is a high level drill and for many player does not lead to high scores. But it should lead to improved ones!
Amateur/Pub: 5 Points
Higher Level: 25+
As with all our levels the points is a guide its the improvement and consistency that matters!
The record for this drill is 56 . Hit by a current elite player about 6 years ago. He checked out 161 and 153, wired Tops on 157, left 28 from 167 and 52 from his effort at 151.
It was an exceptional effort, but came from the fact that he consistently set up finishes or had shots in 4/5 of his turns.
So, there you go, a daily dose of the Darting DT’s that are not too painful or full of bad memories. Enjoy!
Those of you beginning to get used to the idea of the new isolation guidelines, whether self or precautionary, will hopefully be able to fit in some more darts practice. Perhaps we will see remarkable improvements in averages later in the year!
The DW resident ‘Coach’ thinks that practise is better with a structure an an aim. So he has outlined a warm up method and a drill or two to get you going. He is his ‘Drill of the Day’.
Sprint (or Pro) Half-It!
Ok this is a variation we use to get tour players extra sharp on the segments they use most, with a little pressure added, it can be used by all as a short and sharp drill.
This is version of the popular social game Half-It, but stripped down to focus on the important areas for competitive darters.
Take one turn (3 darts) at each of the following numbers/segments:
20, 19, 18, 17, Doubles, Trebles, Bull.
Note the total scored from that number only. Add the cumulative score as you go. If you miss the segment with all three darts your score is halved!
N.B. – On the doubles & trebles turns you get the score from any double or treble hit during the turn. If the score to be halved is odd round up to the nearest whole number.
Half-It is a game which can be varied many different ways. The two which best suit those trying to improve, at a higher level, are:
Adding your favourite treble that you use often. Many add t10 as they use it often to get to a double. This also gives you a personal game to improve at.
Making the last turn inner bullseye only. This can help to refine your ability to hit the bull under pressure, especially last dart! Imagine having a huge score dependent on hitting a, partially obscured, bull with the last dart in hand!
A guide to some benchmark to aim for would be:
Level One – To complete the game without being halved – Min total = 104
Level Two – To complete the game and hit the eqivalent of three of each scoring segment and one of each general segment. 60,57,54,51 + 1 x double 1 x Treble and 1 x 25/Bull.
Level Three – The equivalent of 5 of each scoring segment and one of each of the rest.
Perfection – 180+171+162+153+120(3xTops)+180+150 (3 x Bull) = 1316
If your playing with others, perhaps your children etc, then you can introduce handicaps to level the playing field a little. The better player has to hit a treble on one, or more, segments, or has to hit two doubles to prevent being halved.
Half it is one of the games in which everyone can win. I have witnessed a seventeen your old baby-sitter win ££££s by hitting at least a single every time, then getting lucky on the trebles, then the better players buckled, and her last dart 25 ensured she collected the pot!
Sprint, or Pro, Half It brings out a very competitive urge if you have two similar level players! But the pressure also increases.
In a marked and witnessed game the best scores we have recorded are:
Competitive: 770 (Other player scored 550+)
This was set by Colin Osborne in 2019 – 120+133+90+102+80+120+125
(The Wizard would have scored higher but for a bounce-out on his third shot at t17)
Half-It Pro (or Sprint) is a great drill and should be done regularly in between other drill to re focus on the important board areas and to maintain consistency.
Enjoy and let us know how you get on – @darts_world
Glen Durrant has just completed one of the most remarkable years in the history of professional darts. Darts World (JR Lott) spoke to him shortly after his selection for the PDC’s Flagship Showcase, The Unibet Premier League.
JR has been monitoring Duzza’s progress for a few years and has a slightly different take on his success. They discussed his thoughts and to see how Glen viewed his own success.
This months print edition of Darts World features the entire piece. JR first covers the 12 months between Jan 2019 and Jan 2020. The second section features highlights from their conversation including Glens thoughts on age, his previous career and the differing challenges of the PDC. Finally JR offers his view on how Duzza has mastered the concept of a modern darts professional by exemplary management of his career!
dartsworld.com reproduces Part 1 below:
January 2019 – A Hattrick of World Championships
As the reigning champion, and winner of two previous Lakeside titles, there was both huge opportunity and considerable pressure on Glen. Yet the Northeasterner joined a very exclusive ‘three-time club’ with relative ease. Only Scott Baker forced a final set. Durrant lifted the Trophy and confirmed his decision to switch to the PDC and attend their Q-School the following week.
January Pt II – Durrant was under huge pressure during the days of qualifying at Wigan. Early defeats, on days one and two, only increased this. However, Duzza summoned up the blood on day three and went on a strong run. It appeared he would go all the way but an inspired Reece Robinson defeated the World Champion 5-2. This left it all to be decided on the final day.
After a couple of straight-forward wins he encountered the talented Mathew Dennant in the last 128. Dennant played superbly well in the early part of the match and Durrant was on the verge of a disappointing exit. Yet with Dennant getting a dose of nerves and Glen upping his game it was the exact reverse. A 5-4 win gave him the chance to go further and claim enough points for the coveted tour card.
February – In an astounding start Durrant reached the final of only his second Pro Tour event defeating Peter Wright along the way. Indeed, he only lost out to Chizzy by the odd leg. A week later he went one better and captured his first PDC title. He again defeated some of the PDC’s finest and barely looked in trouble all day. Between the two a guest appearance in the Premier League as a ‘Contender’ saw Glen receive a superb reception in Glasgow.
March – The third month seemed almost like a settling down time for Duzza. No major achievements were added as he became accustomed to the rhythm of the PDC Tour.
April – Glen made his European Tour debut and reached a Qtr final. Other Pro Tour Qtrs were reached and the ranking £s/points continued to mount up.
May – More European tour qualifications were knocked off, but the highlight was a second Pro Tour title combined with a crushing demolition of MVG. Very few questions were being asked of his capacity, talent or stamina now.
June – A quiet month with more steady accumulation of prize money. The big news was a change of darts sponsor and new arrows. Target had pounced and Duzza’s new no-nonsense arrows seemed to suit him perfectly.
July – The highlight was a determined run to the semi-final of the, PDC’s second most valued ranking event, The World Matchplay. Saw him defeat MVG again during a superb run.
August – During a quiet month in the pro calendar Glen still picked up valuable ranking £s and qtr final places.
September – Glen begin to master the European tour and a semi-final place was banked.
October – Another Pro Tour final and a semi-final at yet another Premier event. This time it was the double start World Grand Prix.
November – Durrant had form at the Grand Slam, always performing well in the group but not during the longer formats. A big improvement over longer distance meant that Glen triumphed, in great games, over Gabriel Clemens and Mike Smith. He again lost out in the semi, this time to Peter Wright.
December – The completion of the 2019 Pro Tour featured Glen in 10th place overall with £80,000+ earnings from non-TV ranking events. After a solid ‘Player’s Championship Finals’ he progressed to the Qtr Finals of his debut PDC World Championship. His defeat to Gerwyn Price was the final competitive act of 2019 but the twelve months was not over.
January 2020 – Glen Durrant, now ranked 22, was selected, as one of the main field, for the Premier League for 2020. He will take a bow on Feb 6th 2020.
What a year, take a bow indeed.
This article appears in its full form in Darts World (Feb)2020.
The dartsworld.com team of writers, officials, players and friends had a tough time predicting events during this years World Championships. Non picked the winner, non suggested that Fallon Sherrock would progress and only one even managed a finalist!
The Coach – Managed to pick a finalist. He suggested that MVG would have a reasonable run through, where as the other may have to fight their way through a tough draw. His other picks did not live up to their billing.
JR Lott – Our columnist had a good year predicting Cross for the Matchplay and that Ian White would make progress on his previous stage form. His world champs efforts were less impressive. Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson & Krystof Ratajadski all flattered to deceive before being defeated in very good games!
The Wizard – Colin Osborne made his dartsworld.com debut, as a pundit, and did better than most. Gerwyn Price reached the semi and Chris Dobey had a fine run to the later stages. We will hear from more from the Wizard in 2020.
The Manufacturer – Despite huge inside knowledge Gerwyn’s run to the semi was the best our industry insider could manage. both his other two selections fell early. But we are sure he will have more important things on his mind this new year.
The Official View – Our resident referee, and contributor, John Fowler proved that current knowledge and player relationships can be very useful. John predicted that Glen Durrant would perform well and that Steve Beaton was in good shape and would out perform his Ally Pally record, both happened!
Between them our experts managed to spot a few decent runs and some one off results. But non spotted the winner and few could claim much overall success. Must try harder!
This years winners’ were John Fowler & The Wizard both could claim that two out of their three suggestions provided good value!
John Fowler’s Mic Drop: John Looks forward to his World Championship debut for the BDO at the 02 arena in January. As always he includes some anecdotes from his travels and MCing. See how his tips faired at the PDC Worlds!
Reviews – Daryl Gurney’s Special edition signature dart is reviewed in depth
Letters to the Editor: returns with some interesting opinions and comments including a review of Dr Eddie Normans contributions to our sport.
Olly Croft Obituary – Patrick Chaplin offers his fulsome tribute to the founder of the BDO.
All our usual features such as Tournament News and County Results are included as well as Competitions and chances to win darts equipment from Winmau and Red Dragon.