Our columnist, and contributor, JR Lott added this tiny piece to a World Championship e-guide produced before the Ally Pally event this year. He seems he had an inkling of what was to come!
For the 2019 World Championship, the PDC innovated once more. A direct route for female players to play in the championships was introduced for the first time. Lisa Ashton and Anastasia were the qualifiers, from very high-quality field, and both played strongly in the main event. This year the route has been extended to include a UK and a Rest of the World style qualifying event.
Mikuru Suzuki,37, will debut at Ally Pally after capturing the Lakeside title in 2019. She is familiar with the PDC set up, and atmosphere, after being selected by the BDO for this year’s Grand Slam of Darts. The Japanese star made things deciding decidedly uncomfortable for Gerwyn Price in her opening match. Despite not qualifying for the knockout stage she will have gained valuable experience, and having little to lose, and could be very dangerous indeed.
Fallon Sherrock has been somewhat overshadowed in recent years. The former World Championship finalist, and twice major title winner, has been outmatched by Lisa Ashton and now Suzuki. The twenty-five-year-old hairdresser has, however, had a superb 2019, winning several titles all around Europe. She then played superbly in the ladies’ qualifying event averaging close to 100.
Her debut at Alexandra Palace will introduce her to a whole new audience and may prove another boost to her career.
The form and ability of the female representatives keeps getting stronger and stronger. It may not be long until darts becomes a fully integrated sport.
It’s been noticeable over the last few years that Winmau have stepped up the independent marketing of their premium board products.
After withdrawing from the supply/sponsorship of the BDO they have moved to a more direct model. This, in combination with the signing of MVG, has seen them seriously raise their game.
The brand’s latest promotional piece traces the evolution/history of the Blade over the years:
It’s hard to argue with much of that, (OK,OK, so the language is a bit flowery, but hey it’s their baby). With Unicorn having taken a bit of a PR beating, and other brands yet to really gain traction in the UK, it seems certain that these efforts will keep Winmau in the lead, with regard to ‘the darts space’, for a while yet.
JR Lott, and Target?, discover that the name of a product can have many an unexpected consequence.
Surfing around darting websites recently, I came across a bargain almost too good to be true. A full darting starter kit, of the highest quality, for two thirds or less of the previous price. This worked out to even bigger saving, on the items, if bought separately. In case it was a short term offer I snapped up a couple of the kits and awaited the email explaining why the company was out of stock (cynical or what?). Instead the items arrived, within 48hrs, and were exactly as described, what could possibly be behind it?
While unpacking the items I thought to myself that perhaps the makers, Target Darts, were planning on a mass change of their sponsored players. This seemed highly unlikely as many were very successful, and marketable, and some where recent signings. I even considered the idea that Target were having a spot of cash flow trouble, this seemed even less likely. Target have been expanding, developing, innovating and often leading the way over recent years and it seemed inconceivable that they would run into trouble. It turned out that one of these innovations might be behind the flash sale!
A few years back Target launched a board lighting system that did not require installation of extra light fittings or the precarious balancing of table lamps at unusual angles. This proved very popular and has led to many such ‘shadow reducing’ board mounted lighting sets being available.
Obviously, it makes sense for Target to combine these with their boards, and a selection of darts, cases and accessories from, your favourite of, their players, and package them in a single value box.
It took my wife’s shocked voice to reveal the problem and possibly the reason behind the large reduction:
“What on earth was in there?” She shouted, pointing at the partly obscured target Box in our hallway.
When I glanced through to see what she meant it was a clear as day:
Was the only thing visible on the box! A possible reason for the large discount became apparent, the word Corona had developed a strong negative reaction, just look at the issues faced by the Mexican Beer brand. Unluckily, Target’s lighting system is called Corona (as its round like the sun after a lunar eclipse) Vision!
The double-takes from my neighbours have been quite something after I put the box out for recycling! It now faces the wall and will be scrubbed before collection!
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. Finally Our Columnist JR compares the conversation to Duzza’s actions over the past few year here is part III:
In conversation Glen Durrant is amiable, interested and very fluent. He shows a superb awareness of what the other party may want from the conversation and goes out of his way to offer it. The years of public speaking, interviews, and dealing with various interested parties, both within darts and his previous profession, has given him a rare set of skills for a professional dart player. He is also able to measure his remarks and ensure that the conversation revolves around the things he wants it to and ensure he is happy with the end result.
Having watched Glen’s progress, over last couple of years, with a keen eye, the most interesting thing to me is that much, if not all, of the attention focuses on what he has achieved and not how he has achieved it. Many seem to forget that he lost often and on big occasions before he began to win everything
Pundits and fans alike have had to re-calibrate their view on Duzza, on more than one occasion, since his days of ‘close but no cigar’ within the BDO. A variety of, usually well informed, watchers assumed, talented though Glen was, that he would not reach the top. After he turned the situation around, and began his utter domination of BDO darts, they gave him some credit but also bemoaned the lack of elite talent to oppose him.
As Glen extended his prowess his fans gave him more credit, but doubted that he could improve further or compete with the likes of MVG or Gary Anderson. With age appearing to be against him, and his previous decision to remain with the BDO, it appeared they might be right.
As he joined the legends, with three BDO World Titles, fans became accustomed to him and regarded him very highly. Another re-calibration would be needed!
Glen Durrant has demonstrated a completely new skill-set for a professional dart player and has possibly broken the mould on a permanent basis. His move to the PDC underlined this.
The basic facts of his code switch demonstrate that he has pulled off the best transfer of results and performance since Barney in 2006/7.
Yet RVB was a four-time World Champ and a dominant force in a stronger BDO. In addition, the PDC was nowhere near its current levels, or depth, of quality, intensity and physical demands.
To have achieved this almost perfect switch (a trophy would have been nice!) is a remarkable effort. To do it aged 49, and while having to go through the Q School route, is unprecedented.
The extra factor may be the thirty plus years that Durrant has spent in a, professional and demanding, career managing one of the toughest housing estates in the UK. The skills learnt and polished in that area seem to have brought an extra dimension to his approach. His own phrase about “turning his hobby into his job” can be viewed more as bringing his combined skills into a new career.
The victory of Wayne Warren and the careers of players such as Bob Anderson indicate the Glen’s five-year theory does not have to be the end of the story. Assuming good health, and that the appetite/ambition to achieve remains, there is no reason that Glen could not extend his plan to include the next decade.
Management seems to be the key phrase here. Glen has mastered managing his nervous system and personal psychology to maximise his performance. His “limited adrenaline” approach has brought superb results and may have extended the possibilities going forward.
Glen Durrant has managed to apply this restricted adrenaline maxim to almost every area of his PDC campaign. It seems to have ensured that most of the players, many industry figures and even the PDC itself have been outplayed and or outwitted. Duzza has staged a ‘stealth raid’ based upon being well liked, underestimated and in complete control of the management of himself and his career.
How much was calculated and deliberately planned and how much was the natural result of Glen’s personality and his BDO progression? Judging from our conversation, we will only know what he wants us to know and when he wants us to know it!
Update:Glen has started well in the Premier League and indeed topped the table after the initial exchanges. Attention should be paid to his “I never thought this” “its a dream come true” style comments they should seem very familiar to anyone who has followed this article!
DW hope that you took advantage of JR Lott’s tips over the last couple of weeks. Glen Durrant has so far proven a great value. Tonight may not be the best one to get behind the three-time world champ. Following their recent encounters the 3/1 for a draw between Price and Wright looks worth a look. Overall the 9/1 for Gary Anderson still looks of interest.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Darts World contributor JR Lott may have again spotted very good value in the betting market for the Unibet Premier League. Prior to the event beginning JR proffered that 28/1 was a standout price for an each way punt on Glen Durrant.
Lott’s view is that Durrant has played a very smart game by underplaying his ambitions, and attitude, since joining the PDC. It appears that he is doing much the same for his first Premier League campaign.
Meanwhile, the more fancied names have tripped, over each other, early on. Gary Anderson is still getting back to his fluent best. MVG has changed darts and is not as at ease with himself. Peter Wright will have to get used to being World Champion, not as easy as it seems, and Cross and Price may be slightly fatigued.
Although he has only narrowed a little since, 20/1 was still available before last nights rubber, you best be quick as Duzza will not be underestimated forever!
The third night of the Unibet Premier League will take place tonight from Cardiff. The event sponsors are offering the following odds on each game and for the overall title. Our Columnist JR Lott still feels that an each way bet on Glenn Durrant, for the overall, offer very good value. JR thinks there is little value in tonight’s games but that a clean sweep for the favourites could well offer a nice reward.
Unibet Premier League Night Three Match Odds Evens Peter Wright – Draw 10/3– Rob Cross 2/1 5/2 Jonny Clayton – Draw 10/3– Michael Smith 4/5 4/11 Michael van Gerwen – Draw 23/5– Nathan Aspinall 5/1 11/4 Daryl Gurney – Draw 10/3– Gerwyn Price 3/4 2/1 Glen Durrant – Draw 13/4– Gary Anderson Evens
Unibet Premier League Outright Odds Michael van Gerwen 41/50 Peter Wright 5/1 Gerwyn Price 7/1 Gary Anderson 8/1 Rob Cross 14/1 Nathan Aspinall 18/1 Glen Durrant 20/1 Michael Smith25/1 Daryl Gurney 50/1 EW 1/3 1-2
Odds courtesy unibet.co.ukand correct at time of publication.
The latest edition of the Darts World print magazine is still available. A few individual copies remain for those without a subscription. Alternatively you can subscribe here: https://www.dartsworld.com/product/magazine/
JR Lott – Duzza’s Year
John Fowler – Mic Drop
Guess Who – Win a Signed Set of Red Dragon Darts.
World Champions – Reviews of the PDC & BDO Championships & Red Dragon’s Unique Trio.
Player of the Month – Who has impressed this month?
Unsung Heroes – Who is in the months spotlight?
Wizard’s Wizdom – Colin Osborne spells out his affection for the UK Open and the changing nature of the darts season.
County, Open and League darts reports and results.
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!
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!
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!
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