JUNE 21-27 has been a mixed week over the years, some remarkable efforts and some almost barren spells. But Darts World’s ‘This Week’ has managed to locate a selection that includes a ‘Founding Father’, a Fairy-tale Prince, a ‘Dark Side Darter’, and one who is ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ for one more title. A random Scandinavian also manages a guest’s appearance.
Forty-Four Years Ago:
John Lowe captured the initial staging of an event that would become almost his personal property. The British Pentathlon involves playing a selection of different darting games, including round the board doubles, and it’s your overall performance that counts. A player capable of the consistency level showed by’ Old Stoneface’ should and did thrive!
During the first dozen holding of this challenging event (1976-87), Lowe won an astounding ten! He was runner-up on another occasion (1981), defeated by Eric Bristow, and only in 1977 did he not make the top two. Before the 1994 split, only two others had claimed the event more than once. Eric and Phil Taylor. Surely no other tournament has been dominated in such a way from its inception?
Twenty Four Years :
The British pentathlon seems to spawn remarkable runs of domination. Perhaps its that the event rewards a set of qualities that are often held to extremes by only one or two players in each era? This week in 1996 Martin Adams picked up his second Pentathlon title. Not for the last time Ronnie Baxter was runner up in a major trophy, Colin Monk, father of, recent 9-Dart hitter, Aaron, was third and the Norwegian, Thor Helmer Johanson was fourth. Adams went on to dominate the event in a similar way to Lowe, but has been stuck on nine since 2011!
Fourteen Years Ago:
Darth Maple, John Part, was striding forth in the second qualifier for the PDC’s Las Vegas Classic. Part qualified, after a failed attempt the day before, by defeating Darts World columnist Colin Osborne, and Steve Maish, in the later stages. The outstanding feature of this effort was not his qualification, but the fact that he went on to win the main event the next day!
The double World champion (later to claim the hattrick) had many peaks and troughs in his career, but this was another example of his knack of delivering on home turf. The Unicorn man clinched the crown after defeating Barney 6-3 in the final.
Four Years Ago:
A Challenge Tour event in June 2016 does not seem likely to have been a major turning point in the history of the PDC. But the winner of that year’s thirteenth second-tier event was engaged on a project, whether he knew it or not, that would validate the entire modern PDC system. On the way to a fine first PDC tournament win, the victor also hit a nine-dart finish.
It is safe to say that for a player who had broken through only months before, this was a decent effort in itself. Yet , after only another few months he claimed his tour card, via the CT order of merit, and twelve months after that he reached his first World Championship. Perhaps we should mention that the winner of CT 13 in 2016 was……………Rob Cross!
Look back through previous ‘This Week’ selections here.
Martin Adams struck the second nine-dart finish of the Icons of Darts League completing his win over former World Youth Champion James Hubbard. Adams has performed well, in the MODUS promoted remote darts event, and at the age of sixty-three showed he can still produce outstanding darts.
Three-time Lakeside World Champion Adams, joins Arron Monk who hit ‘the niner’ early in the league’s existence. His was the third overall in the current batch streamed tournaments with Luke Woodhouse also hitting ‘a perfect leg’ from his kitchen in Bewdley!
Wolfie went the traditional route hitting scores of 180, 180 & 141 (T20, T19, D12), it appears that this may have been his first recorded 9-dart finish!
Lionel Smith was a legendary Staffordshire (UK) darts player who is fondly remembered by many who played, and followed the game, in its first glorious era. Lionel was still playing county darts for Staffordshire (A) at the grand old age of seventy-five.
Lionel, born in July of 1928, lived to the ripe old age of 91, was an influence on generations of Staffordshire players latterly including the two Marks, Frost and Hylton.
Although his success at the elite level was limited to a couple of last 32 defeats, in the World Masters & British Professional Championships, though he claimed the British Internationals title in 1981.
His defeats, at the above events, were at the hands of ‘Big Cliff’ Lazerenko and Dave Whitcombe who could both be said to be at the peak of their powers the time.
Perhaps his most famed achievement was in winning the Bronze Bully in on the darts TV show Bullseye. This involved a professional (or highly regarded) player attempting to score more than 301 in nine darts. If they managed this the money was doubled and given to charity. Lionel scored 365 in his nine darts during the 1986-7 run of the show. He was also (comically) introduced as Eric Bristow’s Grandad!
Smith’s high standards of play, and conduct, over so many years endeared him to many. In 2012 Hylton paid tribute to his former mentor:
“Despite passing away in 2001 Lionel has often been in my thoughts since I joined the PDC. It was he who really encouraged me to take darts seriously and apply myself. Lionel represented England and twice reached the last 32 of the English Professional Darts Championships during the 1980’s golden era, he was defeated by Dave Whitcomb & Cliff Lazarenko respectively.”
“I played with Lionel for The Thorn Club in the early 1990’s, he was a gentleman and a darting great.”
For a number of years, after Lionel’s death, the Staffordshire Open was known as The Lionel Smith Open in tribute. Hylton continued:
“It gave me great pleasure to win the Staffordshire Open on many occasions and it would be lovely to think that it could once again carry the name of my friend Lionel Smith.”
Further evidence of Smith’s influence can be seen when even Martin Adams cites Lionel as an inspiration, this time because Lionel was still representing Staffordshire County A in 2001 at the age of 75!
I’ll leave it to three-time World Champion, fifty-eight at the time, to sum up Lionel Smith. Adams was quoted as saying:
“I’ll keep playing as long as possible. I look at a guy called Lionel Smith, who played top county darts for Staffordshire at the age of 75. If Lionel can do it, I can do it……”
Unsung Heroes aims to give credit to those who missed darts great golden era’s or who have been undervalued or slipped under the radar, with the passing of the years. We add a new hero every month and hop to build an outstanding archive of those who have contributed to our game.
(Lionel Smith’s edition first appeared in issue number 560 of Darts World magazine.)
The recent (virtual/remote) performances of Martin Adams, Raymond Van Barneveld, and Phil Taylor have, once again, raised the possibility of a large scale ‘Legends Event’ within darts, we suggest Founders’ Fest 2021!
The Darts World ‘Coach’ thinks that such senior stars benefit from the lack of travel, sponsors commitments, and ranking stresses. This enables them to concentrate on producing their best darts for a short period with few external distractions.
I have thought for a long time that darts is in an unusual place as a sport, its rapid expansion, together with the demands upon players, and its relatively lesser physical demands mean that the best to have played can play at a very high level for longer than in most sports.
More often than not it is the travel and other demands that mean icons such as ‘The Power’ feel that they should retire.
We are also a sport that can see new players come through, aged fifty plus, after many years of playing high-quality darts but in different formats. You only have to look at Wayne Warren to see proof of that!
The combination of these two means that at an event such as a senior/legends festival might be both extremely popular commercially successful. Clever use of formats such as pairs or short course matches may level the playing field and perhaps two classifications or age ranges might add to the entertainment.
An annual competitive screened tournament including Barney, Phil, Adams, Colin Lloyd, Ted Hankey in one section. John Lowe, Denis Priestley, Bobby George, and Bob Anderson in another. Others such as Chris Mason and Alan Warriner-Little might join to mix it up. Over time more players will ‘qualify’.
A well organised and professional founders and legends festival could be a lovely addition to our sports calendar whilst reminding us ‘from where we came!’
Martin Adams continued his superb run in the ‘A Night At The Darts’ league and extended his unbeated run to eight matches. Meanwhile, Arron Monk claimed added to his 9-Dart moment to claim Modus’s Icons of Darts group three.
Adams, former three-time World champion, claimed all four of his matches Wednesday evening, matching his Tuesday effort, and stretching winning streak to eight games.
Adams started his campaign by defeating Scott Mitchell, in a close encounter, before thrashing David Evans only dropping one leg.
The former World youth champion Monk completed the first 9-Darter ‘Icons of the Darts’ Live League nine-dart finish en route to winning Group Three.
Monk also recorded wins over Diogo Portela, Andy Jenkins and Adam Huckvale with his nine-darter coming against James Hubbard.
The Modus ‘Icons of Darts’ Live League and ‘A Night At The Darts’ resume on Thursday. Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor has announced his participation in the event and will start his campaign against Mitchell
In what might be the last major darts gathering, for quite sometime, The Isle of Man festival took place recently, in Douglas. The longstanding event was held under the auspices of England Darts and the WDF.
Fallon Sherrock enjoyed a phenomenal weekend at the Isle of Man Darts Festival, claiming the three singles titles and the ladies pairs event, Beau Greaves was defeated in all four finals. After her efforts at the (PDC) World Championship, Premier League and appearance at the UK Open, Sherrock has returned to BDO events. The experience and efforts with the PDC have clearly boosted her.
The 25-year-old picked up the Isle of Man Classic (4-2), Open (4-2) and Masters (4-3), while also winning the ladies’ pairs with Casey Gallagher (3-2). Teenager Greaves was runner-up in all the three singles events, and with Deta Hedman in the pairs event.
The Men’s events were taken by Thibault Tricole and Micheal Warburton respectively. Warburton defeated a resurgent Martin Adams in the final of the Open.
Luke Littler claimed the youth title overcoming Charlie Manby in the trophy match.
Former hairdresser Sherrock took to social media after the phenomenal weekend: ‘Ecstatic feeling today having won all 3 singles events and the pairs, full credit to Beau Greaves for her performances as well.’
Sherrock will rise to second in the BDO rankings, behind Greaves, and third within the WDF. The Queen of the Palace wil be back in PDC action in the World Series events, starting with the US Darts Masters on 5 June in New York and going to Copenhagen the following week.
A gap before the New South Wales Darts Masters, NZ Darts Masters and Queensland Darts Masters, all played in August, all of which will be shown on ITV4.
Fallon will play these events, however this will mean that she will miss any BDO events that are held, this will include the World Trophy, which co-insides with the competition in Queensland.
The Men’s and Ladies singles winners have been confirmed at the 2020 Dutch Open Darts in Assen.
The men’s event saw double glory for Ross ‘The Boss’ Montgomery who claimed his second Dutch Open title. Montgomery started by edging through in a 4-3 win over Levy Frauenfelder in the last 64. After that, Stefan Martena (4-1), Aleksey Kadochnikov (4-0) and John Desreumaux (5-3) were next to fall to ‘The Boss’.
Montgomery defeated BDO world champion Wayne Warren at the semi-final stage claiming a 2-1 sets win. He then defeated Brian Raman 3-1 in the Final. He also took glory earlier in the day when claiming the Men’s pairs title with Martin Adams.
The Ladies crown went to Aileen de Graaf who claimed the honours for the third time she defeated compatriot Anca Ziljstra to do so in a 5-2 victory.
The Ladies title was claimed by Lorraine Winstanley and Margaret Sutton whodefeated the Dutch duo of Anca Ziljstra and Femke van Zuiden in a 4-2 win after winning through the field on Friday.
Men’s event witnessed Ross Montgomery and Martin Adams defeating another Dutch pairing of Colin Roelofs and Ryan de Vreede in a closely fought 5-4 win.
Ladies Doubles Final. Lorraine Winstanley/Margaret Sutton 4-2 Anca Zijlstra/Femke van Zuiden
Men’s Doubles Final. Ross Montgomery & Martin Adams 5-4 Colin Roelofs & Ryan de Vreede
In the Girls, it was Lerena Rietbergen who defeated her compatriot Layla Brussel 3-1 in the first final. This was followed up with the Boys Under 14 final.The title went to Stijn Verbakel who claimed a 3-0 win over Francesco Basili. Then in the Boys under 18 it was Mark Tabak who won the final Youth title defeating Marcel Bus, former JDC World Cup runner-up in a 4-1 win.
Youth Age Group Finals: Girls: Lerena Rietbergen 3-1 Layla Brussel Boys U14: Stijn Verbakel 3-0 Francesco Basili Boys U18: Mark Tabak 4-1 Marcel Bus
Imagine a player who kicked off the decade by crossing into a rival code, claiming one of their major titles and then crossing straight back again. A year later the same player claimed two more major titles, including the much vaunted Winmau World Masters, and the World Cup singles crown.
Over the next year our player goes on picking up title after title until he claims the ultimate prize in his organisation. Perhaps you imagine this player would be cheered from the rafters, would he be fending off sponsors and filling his diary with lucrative exhibitions. Now imagine this player is Scott Waites!
‘Too Hotty’, as Scott is known, can be viewed as a titan of the darting decade. From claiming the Grand Slam of Darts in 2010, The World Masters & World Cup Singles in 2011 and The Lakeside World title in 2013 all the way through to reaching the World Masters Final again in 2019, he has played a huge role in the last ten darting years.
In combination with Martin Adams, it could be argued that Scott gave the BDO a legitimacy that helped to retain its sponsors, and TV coverage, for an artificially long time. By demonstrating that BDO players were capable of bringing low the very best the PDC had to offer, Waites reaffirmed the role of grassroots darts. The fact he chose to remain within that ‘amateur’ code, retaining his full time work, was widely admired.
In the middle of this period Waites suffered a severe injury, to his rotator cuff, and had to have surgery on his throwing arm. In a fairy-tale worthy of ‘Escape to Victory’ Waites returned and, despite not seeming quite as destructive, captured a second World Title (Lakeside) in 2016.
Yet ‘Too Hotty’ has never received the credit he deserves. Often his efforts have been demeaned as one offs or lucky. Online forum members mock his more recent efforts and even darts media undervalue Waites’ at almost every turn.
The group of players to win multiple World Titles (senior), The World Masters, The World Cup Singles and a ‘big 5’ PDC major, is tiny. In addition as a team representative Waites can add the European and World Cups to his collection. Add in the return from injury and the capture of a large number of BDO/WDF Opens over the decade and Scott is unique.
Although he declined the chance to cross to the PDC after his 2010 Grand Slam win, and again after his World Championship, the forty-two year old has been flirting with the PDC since 2019. January 2020 saw Scott claim a coveted Pro Tour card and he will finally become a full time darts professional!
Paul Hogan was just milimetres away from a nine-darter as he saw off former World Masters champion Adam Smith-Neale in double quick time. After two consecutive 180’s, Hogan left double 18, but couldn’t quite find the target as Smith-Neale failed to find his scoring game as Hogan took the whitewash victory.
Number one seed Wesley Harms began his Indigo campaign with a hard fought victory over Andreas Harrysson in the afternoon session in Central London. ‘Sparky’, a former electrician goes into the tournament as one of the favourites for the title, but was pushed all the way by the heavy scoring Swede. After the duo shared the opening four sets, experienced proved to be a key factor in the fifth, the Dutchman cranking up to pressure to put his name in the mix for round two.
It was a perfect start for reigning Ladies champion Mikuru Suzuki as she started her title defence with a victory over Maria O’Brien. Plymouth based O’Brien took the first set with ease, but that was seemingly the wake up call Suzuki needed.
The Japanese star returned with the fire in her belly, immediately fighting back to take the match into a decider. Despite a brief flurry of heavy scoring from ‘OB’, Suzuki secured her spot in the quarters in spite of the early wobble.
There were also wins for debutantes Nick Fullwell and Justin Hood in the slightly reduced Monday afternoon schedule. Somerset based Hood made his TV debut at the World Masters in October, but eased into life under the lights with a routine victory over Romania’s Gabriel Pascaru.
Elsewhere, Andy Hamilton proved too much for Darren Herewini to handle, The New Zealander was superb in his victory over Simon Stainton, but couldn’t replicate that performance at Hamilton found a extra gear in set four to take the win.
Fullwell, competing in his first BDO World Championships, aged 50, was surprisingly dominant against Canada’s David Cameron. ‘Excalibur’ has been a thorn in the side of many big names over the years, but could do little as the French Open finalist set up a tie with David Evans on Tuesday afternoon.
In a battle of the BDO legends Scott Waites came out on top against Martin Adams. In a scrappy encounter, where missed doubles were a key factor, ‘Too Hotty’ was the one to hold is nerve in the final furlong to secure his spot in round three.
Afternoon Session Justin Hood 3-1 Gabriel Pascaru Nick Fullwell 3-1 David Cameron Wesley Harms 3-2 Andreas Harrysson
Evening Session Andy Hamilton 3-1 Darren Herewini Mikuru Suzuki 2-1 Maria O’Brien Scott Waites 3-2 Martin Adams Paul Hogan 3-0 Adam Smith-Neale
Our friend & colleague Jacco Krook (http://www.facebook.com/Dartfreak-Jacco-112347950269442) has put together his preview of the World Championships from a continental perspective. There are some excellent suggestions for interesting game and much more information regarding mainland European players than is usual in these reviews. We hope you enjoy it.
FAVOURITES Wesley Harms, Jim Williams and Richard Veenstra are three players changing the top spots of the rankings for a year or so, so I think it is obvious those three are the favourites.
Wesley won the England Classic, England National Championships, British Open and Scottish Open amongst other so has certainly showed he is a player able to win the upcoming World Championship. Sparky however didn’t really shine on the big stage in 2019 with a quarter final at the World Trophy, last 16 in the BDO World Championship and ending fourth in the group stage of the Grand Slam of Darts
Jim seems not to have the top form he had in 2018 if we look at tournament wins. The Welshman however made it to the semi finals after losing against Glen Durrant and with the BDO World Trophy 2019 under his belt The Quiff is certainly a player able to win the upcoming World Championship.
Richard recovered well from a bad BDO World Championship 2019 by winning the Dutch Open 2019. Probably the hardest open event to win in BDO darts. He also made it to the final of the BDO World Trophy, however losing against Jim Williams. So that might be an interesting semi final if the both reach the semi finals of the upcoming BDO World Championship. Flyers also won the Luxembourg Open and Isle of Man Classic.
OUTSIDERS Martijn Kleermaker has had a tremendous 2019 and therefore is certainly a player in the form needed to win a world title. Martijn made it to the semi finals of the WDF World Cup singles 2019 and won the Welsh Open, Luxembourg Open and had a successful weekend in his home country winning both the West-Fries Open and West-Fries Masters. Martijn however has relatively little experience on the big stage playing the Finder Darts Masters only twice and losing his last 16 match at the BDO World Trophy 2019, which might be a disadvantage but I expect Martijn to be one of the players who might take the chance if the favourites don’t perform their best.
Scott Waites might be not the top player he has been. Scotty2hotty however is a player who is always dangerous on the big stage as he showed in 2019 making the final of the BDO World Championship for the third time in history after being crowned BDO World Champion in 2013 and 2016. Since his last world title he did it each year a little better with respectively a quarter final, semi final and runner-up spot so if he retains that line he will be the BDO World Champion for the third time in history. He was also the runner-up at the World Masters 2019.
Wayne Warren is in my opinion an often underestimated player, also sometimes by myself. I think that is because he rarely perform great stuff, but other players have to perform on their best to beat him. Because Warren is comparable to players like James Wade someone who does the right stuff at the right moment without playing extraordinarily well. This is also shown by the fact that he is almost always selected for the Welsh national team and made it to the semi finals of the WDF World Cup 2011 and 2013 as well as of the WDF Europe Cup 2010. In 2019 he added the Antwerp Open title to his honors list.
Nick Kenny was longtime regarded as one of the talented youth players we had to look out for in the future. For example, he won the WDF Europe Cup youth back in 2010 and won two PDC Development Tours in 2014. In 2014 he also reached the last 16 of the World Masters. Since then he seemed to drop from the top of the rankings and it seemed he was one of the many talented players who wouldn’t make it in the world of darts. But he didn’t give up and made it to the semi finals of the World Trophy 2017 and retained climbing up the ranking. 2019 was very successful for the Welsh lad winning the Belgium Open, French Open and Bruges Open as well as the team event of the WDF World Cup. Therefore Kenny is back in the top of the BDO and will be one of the outsiders for the trophy.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Dave Parletti is a dangerous player. He won the Welsh Classic and Romanian Open 2019 and is the number four seed. He also beat William O’Connor at the Grand Slam of Darts 2019, which shows he is a very capable player. At the big stage he further however only reached the last 16 of the World Masters 2018. So he is certainly a good player but seems to need to up his performances on the big stage.
Mario Vandenbogaerde surprised me at the Darts Festival Sevenum 2017. A tournament in the south of the Netherlands with some known players and a huge field of players, however not a ranked event so only little top players. This Belgian player of whom I have never heard of before made it to the final, where he lost an extremely tense final and both players played a great match. I tried to find out who he was and where he came from after quite a lot of time I learned he had been a Belgian top player for years, before he had stopped playing darts for a while and just started playing darts again. The rest is history, because in 2018 Super Mario went playing some BDO-events and won the Luxembourg Masters 2018 and German Open 2019. In 2019 he also reached the big stages reaching the last 16 of the World Trophy and the semi finals of the World Masters. So this Belgian player is certainly one to watch.
Sebastian Steyer of whom an article will be posted very soon guaranteed himself a spot in the first round of the BDO World Championship by being the number 24 of the BDO Invitational Table at the cut-off date. He will be the fourth Polish player to participate in the BDO World Championship after Krzysztof Ratajski, Krzysztof Kciuk and Karolina Podgorska has played on the Lakeside stage. Steyer impressed at the World Trophy 2019, where he reached the semi finals eventually losing against number one seed Richard Veenstra. He also played PDC Q-School last January and came only one point short of winning a PDC Tour Card so he definitely is a player to watch.
Thibault Tricole is one of the players I have interviewed before to offer people some insight in his career and life and the status of darts in France. Thibault qualified by being the highest ranked player on the Western European ranking which hadn’t qualified yet by being in the top 27 at the cut-off date. I really think Thibault could have done even better but wasn’t able to play the whole BDO-tour. The Frenchman however won the Greek Open and Torremolins Open in 2019 and therefore is certainly a player to watch. However he has little experience on the big stage which I assume will be a disadvantage for him, definitely after he acknowledged he has to improve his playing under pressure.
Andreas Harrysson of whom an article will be posted very soon qualified by being the highest player on the Baltic & Scandinavian ranking. Andreas is an experienced player and tough opponent. He however play only little outside of Scandinavia. He has already showed what he is capable of. He reached the WDF World Cup 2019 quarter finals after he already reached the semi finals of the WDF Europe Cup 2016. He also won the Finnish Masters 2018 and made it to the final of the Swedish Open 2018 and semi finals of the Denmark Masters 2019 and Polish Open 2018.
INTERESTING FIRST ROUND MATCHES Mario Vandenbogaerde and Sebastian Steyer will kick off the BDO World Championship. A match between two players to watch. Sebastian has made it to the semi finals of the World Trophy, while Mario was a semi finalist of the World Masters. Need I say more?
Number 8 seed Willem Mandigers from the Netherlands will meet Michael Unterbuchner from Germany. Last year they delivered a great match in the quarter finals, which Michael won 5-4. If they only can get close to their quarter final match of last year we have a decent game on our hands.
Scott Waites against Martin Adams, the only players to win multiple world titles in the mens event have drawn each other in the first round. A two times world champion against a three times world champion after a very interesting encounter in the ladies event. Is there a better way to spend the Monday evening?
Former BDO World Champion Scott Mitchell will play Leighton Bennett, one of the revelations of 2019. The 13-year old Leighton has had a tremendous year, but can he beat the experienced and popular Scott Mitchell?
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