IT’S Michael, er, Van Car Wash! The three-times World Champion is ready to return to the oche after the prolonged lockdown break by cleaning cars and vans.
The World No 1 is lined up to take part in the first Hannover Drive-in Darts Gala on June 24 against Dutch pal Raymond van Barneveld, German star Max Hopp, and South African Devon Petersen. It will be a four-hour open-air exhibition event with German families paying a maximum of €61.50 (£55.33) to watch from the safety of their own cars or vans. A limited number of punters can pay the VIP top price of €181.50 (£163.28) which involves a space in the first row, a sticker, a photo by their car, and their windscreen cleaned before the show by one of the four stars.
The Gala is a madcap way of bringing back top-class darts following the Covid-19 sporting shutdown. Players will do ‘walk-ons’ in golf buggies through the car park, there will be big screens erected and fans can tune into a special radio frequency for commentary. The only time fans can leave their cars is for toilet use, but they may be encouraged to honk their horns with each 180 hit. On the oche, players will observe social-distancing rules with one official rotating a ‘Stop-and-Go’ sign before each throw.
The event, which will be run by PDC Europe, will be held in a huge car park next to the stadium of Bundesliga 2 side Hannover 96. MVG has also hit out at Phil Taylor for suggesting that he could lose his top spot in the sport to Peter Wright. The Power recently claimed that Snakebite could take the mantle as the main man as MVG gets used to life as a father of two children. But Van Gerwen hit back at the 16-times world champion believing he makes big comments to “stay in the spotlight”.MVG told Bureau Sport:
“Taylor has always made statements like that about me, but I have always been very correct with him.
You know what it is, I am the only one who has made it difficult for him over a long period of time”
He was never used to getting such competition and he was never able to digest it well. He has always seen me as a major threat “I think he does this to stay in the spotlight. I’m breaking more and more of his records and before you know it, people will have forgotten about you; which is probably quite difficult for him.”
Phil Lanning| 5-times award-winning journalist/publicist
In another superb effort to give spectators some live sport, and show darts at its very best light, the first Hannover Drive-In Darts Gala will be held on June 24th. Darts has been at the forefront of such innovations during the Covid-19 crisis and PDC Europe released the following information:
Darts is shifting into the next gear! Special times require special measures. That is why you no longer have to go without LIVE darts events and can be the first ones to see the greatest stars of darts again – from the safety of your own car.
Join us in Hanover for the first Drive-In Darts Gala in history and experience the Dutch legends Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, Germany`s Number 1 Max Hopp and „The African Warrior“ Devon Petersen. The voice of German darts, Elmar Paulke, will be the MC.
Triple-20-Ticket: The price per car is 60 € plus 1,50 € system charge. Two persons per car + a maximum of two related kids.
VIP 180-Ticket Our limited VIP offer includes • a space in the first row • a prefessional photo with the players around your car • a 180 sign signed by all the players • a surprise package and a sticker for the Drive-In Darts Gala pioneers! • CAR-WASH SPECIAL !!! The new Meet & Greet … Prior to the show (6.30pm – 7pm) your windscreen will be cleaned by one of the stars – for an ideal view of the show 😉
VIP 180-Ticket: The price per car is 180 € plus 1,50 € system charge. Two persons per car + a maximum of two related kids.
Nick Kenny won Group Five of the Unibet Home Tour, as the innovative new tournament continued on Tuesday night.
The fifth of 32 consecutive nights of live darts action saw Welshman Kenny get off to the best possible start with a 5-3 defeat of World Youth Champion Luke Humphries.
Kenny, who won his Tour Card for the first time in January, then got the better of former Players Championship event winner Joe Murnan 5-2, before sealing the group win with a 5-3 victory over popular South African star Devon Petersen.
The Unibet Home Tour continues on Wednesday night with Group Six, which will see nine-time televised champion James Wade competing against Ryan Searle, Andy Boulton and Adrian Gray.
Unibet Home Tour Group Five – Tuesday April 21 (1930 BST) Nick Kenny 5-3 Luke Humphries Joe Murnan 5-1 Devon Petersen Nick Kenny 5-2 Joe Murnan Luke Humphries 5-4 Devon Petersen Nick Kenny 5-3 Devon Petersen Luke Humphries 5-3 Joe Murnan
The Unibet Home Tour continues on Tuesday from 1930 BST as World Youth Champion Luke Humphries headlines Group Five.
Back-to-back World Championship quarter-finalist Humphries will line-up for the fifth night of Home Tour action alongside Devon Petersen, Joe Murnan and Nick Kenny.
The opening game of the night will see Humphries take on Welsh PDC newcomer Kenny, before popular South African star Petersen enters the live broadcast for a match with former Players Championship event winner Murnan.
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 Five – Tuesday April 21 Luke Humphries v Nick Kenny Devon Petersen v Joe Murnan Nick Kenny v Joe Murnan Luke Humphries v Devon Petersen Devon Petersen v Nick Kenny Joe Murnan v Luke Humphries
Luke Humphries 4/9 v Nick Kenny 7/4 Devon Petersen 1/2 v Joe Murnan 6/4 Nick Kenny 4/5 v Joe Murnan 19/20 Luke Humphries 4/6 v Devon Petersen 23/20 Devon Petersen 13/25 v Nick Kenny 29/20 Joe Murnan 17/10 v Luke Humphries 4/9
All odds courtesy of unibet.co.uk and correct at time of publication.
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!
John Folwer is a an MC, Host and Darts Referee. He has worked with legendary players and promoted darts all over the globe. He recently made his World Championship Officiating debut. His monthly column appears in Darts World Magazine.
Here is December 2019’s Episode:
Hello again readers, what a month I’ve had since my last report. A fantastic week in the sun at the Northern Cyprus open, culminating in calling the finals, sharing those duties with Mick Connerton, on the Sunday afternoon, great job my friend.
I actually played in two of the events, reaching the last 16 of the warm up singles for players that had no partners in the mixed pairs. I decided to enter the Men’s singles on the Saturday night where I was drawn against the number 14 seed, Gabriel Pascaru of Romania. I missed 4 darts at a double in the 1st leg and the rest as they say is history. I may get to referee for him at the World Championships at the O2 Indigo in January.
No sooner had I landed back in England, it was time to repack my bag for a weekend in Essex at the iconic Circus Tavern for the World Masters as seen on Eurosport. It was brilliant to meet up with the majority of the refereeing team again, great job again folks. I called four great matches on the Saturday, then two quarter finals, one of the semi finals and the first five sets of the final.
Congratulations to John O’shea on his victory and commiserations to Scott Waites, the runner up and to all the other qualifiers too. Well done to Lisa Ashton on her victory in the ladies tournament. It was great to see Bobby George and his lovely wife Marie in attendance on the Sunday. Many thanks to everyone for their kind comments and words of encouragement, they are really appreciated.
I am very much looking forward to January at the O2 Indigo. Toward the end of October 2019, at an exhibition in Wittlich,in front of 1500 fans, I finally added Raymond van Barneveld to the list of World champions that I have worked with. It was a fantastic night, in another beautiful part of Germany, that also included Ian White, Max Hopp and Gabriel Clemens.
By the time that you read this I will have officiated at the Malta open for the 3rd time in 4 years. Looking forward to a weekend in Dublin with Devon Petersen and Stephen Bunting at the beginning of December, always a great experience in the Emerald Isle. 2020 looks like it will provide more fantastic times with the diary filling up nicely. Already plenty of events booked in Germany and Switzerland is also booked again. Also my first darts event in Jersey has been confirmed.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading, hopefully you enjoy reading about it as much as I do writing about it.
Signing off for 2019 and wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in 2020.
Devon Petersen has revealed that talks are well underway for the World Series to expand to South Africa.
In March, the PDC announced that Shanghai would feature as part of a revamped tour in 2016.
And in an exclusive interview with Darts World, Petersen said that the game’s top stars could flock to the Rainbow Nation in as little as two years’ time as the PDC looks to broadcast tungsten from the continent for the first time ever.
“We’ve been in discussion with my event partners in Cape Town and are looking to bring to the World Series here in 2018,” Petersen said. “We’re just in the talking phase right now and seeing what the momentum will be with ticket sales, and what else we need to do to make it profitable. But hopefully by that date we will have a World Series in South Africa.”
Recent installments to the World Series has seen the tournament flourish in the Far East and Oceania.
It could be strongly argued that Africa is somewhat of an untapped area for the PDC in their mission to turn the sport into a global sporting sensation.
As the only African on the Pro Tour, Petersen believes that it has been much more difficult for players from his home nation to make the breakthrough in the professional game due to the financial cost of playing in UK-based tournaments.
“In terms of the breakthrough, a lot of it has been down to sacrifice and leaving your family behind,” he said. “For a lot of people in South Africa, the culture is to work hard and work for your family. If you compare it with other sports, in football you still get paid a salary but darts is purely what you win and what your sponsorships are so if you are not winning it can be a very quiet six months and you need to look at going back home because you can’t work full-time in the UK.
“There are a few players who have missed that opportunity a couple of years back. There are a few youth players coming through now that could be big players with a few years Pro Tour experience. Again, it comes down to financial backing. It is hard for them to do. It’s a gamble. If you don’t get a sponsor within your first six months it can be very costly. It can cost you easily £1000 for accommodation and entry, that’s before you take transport and food into consideration. If you don’t get a sponsor it becomes an uphill battle and you have to perform as well.
“It can be hard to make the initial breakthrough and I was quite lucky in getting a sponsor.
“I don’t think the growth of darts in South Africa is down to the exposure through TV, I think it is down to the financial bearing of the sport with regards to the PDC and BDO. In South Africa, we don’t have a lot of money tournaments; it is more trophy-based in a sense. If we add more money to the tournaments itself players can make a living from it and eventually ply their trade in the UK. But if you need to work five days a week there is no way you can possibly come over to the UK and give it a go.
“The standard of darts in South Africa itself is a really good standard but we’re not exposed to as many international tournaments. If you are a normal player you need to save a lot of money before you can come in to the UK to play. It’s difficult.”
Petersen is a player who comes across as the eternal optimist. After losing a year of his career due to an arm injury, The Spartan has since battled back and maintains a positive outlook on his future in the game, with a return to the Ally Pally stage the main priority after he missed the cut last year.
“I’ve overcome the challenges that I’ve faced strongly and I’ve moved into a much better place on the Order of Merit – but I want to achieve top 50 minimum by the end of this year,” Petersen said.
“The last year has been a lot better than I expected. I am getting a lot more used to the top-quality standard. The last 12 months has been great but I think the next 12 months is going to be amazing.
“Getting back to the Alexandra Palace is definitely on course now. I’m in the running for the Matchplay as well so there’s a lot on board just now. Qualifying for the Worlds comes when you do well in the other tournaments so I’m just taking it one tournament at a time.
Business commitments and family life has meant Petersen spends much of his time making the gruelling 20-hour journey from the township of Mitchells Plain to the UK and back again.
However, the 29-year-old says that a possible permanent relocation to British shores may be in the offing in the near future:“(Commuting back and forth from Cape Town) is effectively life in a suitcase,” he said. “Last year I probably travelled 15 times through the year. This year I will be down to six trips maximum. Because I have so many exhibitions I am staying in the UK for two months at a time before travelling back. It’s still quite tiring.
“Last weekend I only arrived in the UK on Thursday and travelled to Barnsley to play on the Friday morning, it’s basically a full day of travel. It is things you need to battle with as a touring foreign player. It’s something I need to do but I’ve managed it so far and getting a lot better at it. I’m looking for a good six or seven months on tour.
“I would definitely consider moving to the UK. After this year it will be one of those questions where I am going to have to either stay over full-time or look at further movements but I definitely want to move over. The potential of my family coming here in the next year would also motivate me to stay here for the rest of the time I’m playing on tour.”
Petersen is a born entertainer, with his walk-on dance moves almost as prominent as his prowess at the oche. For him, darts should be enjoyed as a form of entertainment as the on-stage camaraderie between Peter Wright and himself as seen in Dusseldorf last year a prime example.
“It changes the dynamic, the profile and the media appeal of the game,” said Petersen. “If it is just guys playing a sport with no real hype, no real entertainment value, it will wither away. With players now changing their character and the way they are, everyone is just trying to create their own profile. It is amazing because their own character is portrayed to the darting community and the audience. The PDC enjoy it because it’s more entertaining. It can help attract sponsorship and then increases Pro Tour winnings for the players.
“There are characters in the sport. It can come across as a dull sport because watching someone throw from 501 is not really as entertaining but seeing emotion and players wearing their heart on their sleeve can be big factors in TV views as well.“
Petersen turns 30 in June – his birthday landing on the same weekend of the World Cup of darts, and reckons an ideal present would be victory for his nation in Frankfurt.
“It’s funny you mention it because I was thinking about it yesterday! Maybe making the World Cup final could be my birthday present.
“I feel that the way I am playing along with Graham (Filby) we are the dark horses to come through. I think we will give a few teams a good game and maybe surprise everybody. You never know, we might just win it.”
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