Welsh Darting Greats: Our Six Of The Best.

Ray Reardon, JPR Williams, Lynn Davies, John Charles and, more recently, Gareth Bale. Legends of Welsh sporting prowess. But, even more have been born ‘on the oche’:

Wayne Warren the latest in a long line of Welsh Darting giants.

The triumph of yet another Welsh World Champion, Wayne Warren, together with our latest Darts World ‘Unsung Hero’ (Alan Evans) reminded us of the phenomenal sporting record of the principality. In snooker, rugby, football, and many other areas Wales punches above its weight, producing legendary players/characters. But is for the ‘darts’ floor’ that they just keep on producing.

Honorable mentions to go to Ceri Morgan, who sadly died recently, Marshall James, Johnny Clayton, Jim Williams and legendary Welsh skipper Martin Phillips. But our six Welsh giants are:

Six: Alan Evans

Evans the Arrow can rightly be classed as one of the founders of the feast. He claimed Runner-up spot in The News of The World event and lifted the World Master trophy. Alan was part of the three man team that won the first World Cup and stamped Wales on the darting map. Check out Alan’s Unsung Hero profile.

Five: Gerwyn Price

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG : GERWYN PRICE IN ACTION

The Iceman is storming through professional darts, just as he did opposition defences on the Rugby field. The Cardiff man already has two (ranking) major titles to his name and has also twice been a major runner-up. Currently ranked No 3, by the PDC, Price is strongly tipped as a future World Champion and is currently in his third season of Premier League darts.

Four: Wayne Warren

To claim a World Title is impressive at any time, to claim it as your first televised major is remarkable and to do it aged 57 is simply unique. Tynewydd’s favoured son gave the 2020 BDO World Championship the positive story it desperately needed and became the fourth Welsh man to claim the revered trophy. His 2020 form suggests he may add more titles to his collection yet.

Three: Richie Burnett

The Prince of Wales kept the Wrlsh flag flying after the early blaze had begun to fade. Winning the World Masters in 1994 and the World Championship the following year. Burnett has had ups and downs over a long career and probably waited too long before trying his luck on the PDC tours. However, his runner up effort in the 2001 World Matchplay and his comeback run, to the semi, in the World Grand Prix, a decade later demonstrate that he had the talent. Sadly, a social drugs suspension has hastened a decline in his success. Richie’s place amongst Welsh Darting royalty in nonetheless assured.

Two: Leighton Rees

Leighton Rees, father of the modern game? The Original Cobra?

The Marathon Man can lays strong claim to a place among the founding fathers of modern darts. Using self made barrels, dowling stems and paper flights Rees claimed the 1st World Professional Darts Championship in 1978. Often overlooked is that he often averaged over 90 and notched a 97+ on the way to the title. Leighton’s Welsh outfit claimed that first World Cup in ’77, & retained it in ’78. The big man had taken the Indoor League title in ’74 & ’76. Bearing in mind that Indoor League introduced darts to a mass audience, while Rees won the game many fans, by personality as well as ability, he was a strong contender for the top spot.

One: Mark Webster!

Carried the flag into the moder PDC era.

Despite Leighton’s claim, its the Denbigh player who carries the flag for the Welsh legends. Webster belongs to an exclusive club of World Champions who have also won the World Cup Singles titles. His defeat of Simon Whitlock, to win the Worlds, in 2008, restored Wales to the top of the darting tree after more than a decade. The fact he was only twenty-four ensured plenty more was to come.

Webster switched to the PDC and made sure Wales was represented, at the highest level, during a vital time for the professional game. Webby twice reached the semi finals of the (PDC) World Championship and was later the runner-up in the Players Championship finals.

Mark was the first Welshman to play in The Premier League and skippered the Welsh pairing (with Barrie Bates) on a tremendously popular run to the final of the inaugural World Cup of Darts (PDC).

Currently Mark is on a sabbatical from the Pro Tour, he can however be heard summarising major TV events. Who knows, as he is only 36, perhaps there are more chapters in the story of our top Welsh Darter!


“If God Threw Darts, He Would Throw ‘Em Like Wayne Warren!”

Listening to a new video with new World Champion (BDO) Wayne Warren, I was reminded of the above quote. Sadly God does not pay out prize money!

In conversation – Wayne Warren

It is a lovely chat with Wayne who is very authentic and obviously not an example of the modern, slick and media trained sportsman. Instead you actually see the real person!

From talking about his “god given” or natural talent, although he confesses to have sped up slightly over time, to first realising he might be a bit good when invited to join a winning team, at the age of seventeen, when no young players were allowed in the pubs! Then winning the individuals title in such company confirmed his thoughts.

Leighton Rees – Welsh Darts legend.

One delightful section reveals the importance of the carrying of the Welsh darts ‘torch’ Wayne clearly values his connection to the trailblazing greats such as Alan Evans and Leighton Rees and hopes that other young Welsh players will see him in the same light.

Wayne cites the infuence of the legendary Martin Phillips as part of the reason for his late career success. Time spent with Martin over many years and seeing his career example seems to have taken off for the fifty-seven-year-old Warren. He speaks about the lull in his career after playing Merv King in the 2005 lakeside, and how he faded for a while, before reaching the semi final in 2019.

On this years event Wayne offers some superb insights for those who might follow his path. He is aware that he has become a fraction slower on finishing and match winning darts and that this may be simply the result of time and patience.

Wayne’s restraint when talking about the controversy surrounding the event, especially the massively reduced prize fund, is admirable and even more so when its clear how unhappy he is with the situation. His reasons for this become apparent when he is asked how important it is that the alternative/grassroots structure of the BDO/WDF continues:

Its Vital…without it I think it could be the end of darts as an an amateur Game

Wayne Warren
Warren is clearly unhappy, with the BDO’s behaviour, yet shows admirable restraint.

Hopefully Warrens plans to recoup some of the financial reward by having a very busy year with his World Championship Trophy will pay dividends and he will both have the chance to defend the trophy and perhaps, give the PDC a try next year when things are a little more stable.

The closing section of the interview shows us an extremely well regarded, and down-to-earth, sportsman who has risen to the very top of his game. Darts World wishes Wayne all the success, and rewards, in the coming years.