Cross: It’s Head Down and Back To Work Time.

Defending Champion Rob Cross knows its time to get back to work if he is to retain his Betfred World Matchplay crown.

‘Back to work’ for reigning Champion Rob Cross.

‘Voltage’ said: It’s been a long time and at least now we’ve got something set in stone so I’ve got something to work to now.“

“When there’s no darts on and you’re trying to maintain your practice,

at the same time you’re not practising for anything” .

At least now it will settle us all, it’s settled me definitely.“ It has been very tough but at least now I can get my head down – I’ve got a fair few weeks to sort myself out and get myself ready.“

“Just going back to playing darts and playing the best players in the world again is enough for me, because then you’ve got something to prove to the world and prove to yourself again.“

“It’s motivation and at least we are going back, it might be under different circumstances but I think the biggest thing for me is that I’ll get back doing my job and do what I enjoy.“

“I’d like to have something in the background, I suppose, but at the same time I think the biggest thing is that:

I go back in there as defending champion and I want to win it again,” .“

Cross added: *So whatever the circumstances, I’m only going out to win. It will be a little bit alien at first”.

“If it is quiet I’ll get over it – I might have a nervous first leg but at the same time it’s something that you’ve got to get on with and be ready for either way.”


Exclusive: ‘The Power’ Talks To Darts World.

PHIL TAYLOR believes that Gary Anderson will be “reborn” when darts returns after lockdown. The 16-times World Champion has been back in the spotlight thanks to online events with Paddy Power against Raymond van Barneveld and Fallon Sherrock.

The Power is still in the darts limelight after recent online specials.

But The Power is predicting a big comeback for pal Ando who finished runner-up in the PDC Home Tour a fortnight ago. He also laughed off suggestions by Michael van Gerwen that he only made controversial statements to stay in the spotlight.

Taylor said: “Someone like Gary Anderson will benefit from this enforced break. The time at home with his family will do him a world of good – he will almost be a player reborn.

A player reborn? The Power thinks the time with his family will benefit Anderson.

“I’d have loved being in Michael’s day as his peak. I do enjoy his company to be quite honest, he’s a funny lad.

“Am I trying to wind him up? No.

The question was who would be World No.1 if not Michael, it would be Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price is also climbing up the rankings. “But Michael will lose the fact that people are scared of him. He isn’t winning the titles like he used to.

“Do I need publicity? Not really. I think I’ve done 30 years at the top. If he can do 20 years at the top he’ll be doing well. “But he doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Do I care? No, not really. I’m quite happy where I am. “I can’t run him down, the lad has done brilliantly.

Is MVG missing his duels with The Power?

“You need someone on a pedestal and Michael was the one who took over from me. But I don’t think Michael will ever get me out of his head. “If you asked him truthfully, he misses me. Because it’s not the same. A lot of the players have told me this. The practice room where it used to be brilliant, ask James Wade, ask Gary, they say it’s dead. The characters are not there anymore.

“So deep down I think Michael would love me to come back as a rival. And then you’d see Michael up his game again because he’d have no choice.”

Taylor is convinced that the dominant MVG will find it hard now that he has a young family and a new baby son who was born in early April.

He added: “I’m really pleased for him. There’s nothing like fatherhood for changing your life. But it will get harder for him now – when you have to leave your loved ones week in, week out to play in the Premier League, and you’re only at home one or two nights a week, it’s really tough. Especially when your family is so young.“

Back in the day, I had to spend a lot of time on the road to pay the bills because there wasn’t a lot of money in the game. I got £24,000 for winning my first world title – now you get £500,000. But it’s getting harder and harder because the schedule is so full, and the travel is relentless.”


Pix: Taylor Lanning

World Matchplay Without A Crowd. Could Blackpool Be Silenced?


A few days ago, the PDC announced that the World Matchplay will take place on the planned dates. With or without a crowd. At the beginning of July, the PDC will make a decision on the venue presence of spectators.

BETFRED WORLD MATCHPLAY 2019 WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG)

If no crowd is allowed, the prestigious tournament will be held behind closed doors. Hardly imaginable, but then Blackpool may be silent this year. The 27th edition of the World Matchplay will start on 18 July.

The second most important tournament, after the World Championships, in the PDC calendar is also known for the fantastic atmosphere in the Winter Gardens. The World Matchplay has been played in Blackpool since its inception in 1994, but this year it might be different.

There is still no end to the strict conditions resulting from the spread of the coronavirus. The PDC has
no choice but to decide on the admission of spectators in the short term. If the decision is to play the
World Matchplay behind closed doors, many fans will have to do without Blackpool this year.

It is unclear whether the tournament will be held in the same way as the Superleague in Germany or
whether it will be similar to a Pro Tour event or completely different. What is certain, however, is
that the PDC will try to make the World Matchplay as special and entertaining as possible.

We’ve already seen how much effort some of the PDC staff put into the Home Tour to offer the fans live
darts. So if it turns out that the trip to Blackpool is cancelled for many, we can still look forward to a unique World Matchplay.

One thing’s for sure, if next year’s World Matchplay comes returns to normal, there will be an even more raucous atmosphere in Winter Gardens after a two-year silence.


Our thanks to Elias Wilhelm (@ewh27) for this affectionate contribution. Many in darts feel similarly about the Winter Gardens, including the man whom the trophy is named after!

Wacky White Wants Worlds Win!

WACKY Ian White is adamant he can be a World Champion…and then take the trophy off stage in a CARRIER BAG!

The real, very funny, Ian White is not often seen on stage or in front of a TV camera.

The Stoke star has been one of the most consistent stars on the oche and simply one of the best in the world in the Pro Tours. Diamond, 49, finally shattered his big stage quarter-final hoodoo last December by reaching the Players Championship last four.

But the joker in the PDC pack would definitely deliver a unique winning ceremony at the Ally Pally with another of his bag for laugh pranks.He said: “The carrier bag thing started when Gary Anderson beat me in one final. Years ago they used to interview the winner and runner-up, now they don’t bother. 

“My era was Morecambe and Wise…

it was like their sketch of Eric walking off at the end of the show.“

So when Gary was getting interviewed, at the end I walked away in the background with my stuff in a carrier bag and I said ‘I’m going now, ta-ra’! “After that, the same thing happened in another tournament with James Wade and I walked past with a wheelie bin shouting ‘any empties?’

“So what I’ll do at the Ally Pally is win the World Championship and walk off stage with it in a carrier bag!”

White is undoubtedly one of the most popular players on the circuit. He is practice partners with Michael Smith and close pals with Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, James Wade and Ryan Harrington, they all share a table on the ProTour circuit.

He believes that table can produce more trophies, adding: “I can be World Champion, definitely. I’m playing well. I’m working on a few bits but I should be OK.

“I’m knocking on the door at the moment and I just need one good tournament. I’m so close. “I’m a good character at exhibitions and on Twitter, everyone sees how much fun I am.

But when I’m up on stage I’m up there to do a job. I don’t jump around the stage. I might give it large if I win the game, that’s the extent of it though.“I know people went on about my quarter-final thing but at the end of the day I’ve got the best job in the world.“ “I enjoy what I’m doing and it’s paying for me. I can’t knock it” . 

“A lot of the people who criticise you on social media would love to be in my position. I do read it. And people are entitled to their opinions and we’ve got to watch what we say being in this spotlight. So I just sing on Twitter instead. That’s who I am!

“I think if I give up this job I going to dress up as a clown and entertain kids, that’s something I could be very good at.“

I practice with Michael Smith and we are great pals. He’s going to be one top dart player in years to come.“ “We all know we can do it, every player does. When we are on form, we can beat anyone. But every single player can do that in the practice room. It’s just timing and producing it when you need to.“I think we’ve all got the talent, it’s just whether it comes out on the day.“It would be lovely to get to play Michael in a final.

But there a few of us as friends, Adrian and Gary. We have a good table and all sit together on the Pro Tour. Us four plus James, Ryan. We are all playing well.“We’re a bit of a team on that table. It’s a hard tour all year so if you can make it enjoyable, it definitely makes a difference. “We spend a lot of time together, every weekend almost. It’s nice to have a great atmosphere.”



Images: Taylor Lanning

White’s Abuse Antidote!

Darts World have noted an alarming rise in the volume of social media abuse directed at dart players in recent times. However, during his exclusive conversation with Phil Lanning, Stoke’s Ian White revealed his ‘Diamond’ distraction tactics.

Ian White dabs his way past social media diatribes.( Photo : PDC)

Several players, including World Champion Peter Wright and reigning Matchplay winner Rob Cross, have commented in recent weeks that the abuse they recieve has increased and that the nature of it has worsened during LockDown. It seems, sadly, that Ian is not immune:

“A lot of the people who criticise you on social media would love to be in my position”.

‘Diamond White’, as Ian is known, has a somewhat different approach, to the trolls and other miscreants, than the often heard “ignore or block them” type clichés.

“I do read it….. people are entitled to their Opinions,

[But] we’ve got to watch what we Say, being in this spotlight”.

But, as anyone who follows Whitey on twitter will know, he doesn’t remain silent. Rather than respond in kind, or allow such bile to affect him, he offers Attenborough like clips of the wildlife in his garden, comic asides and even his own version of ‘Carpool Karaoke’!

White’s ‘Carpool’ singing and madcap antics seem to provide an insulation from much of the nastier social media abuse.

So I just sing on Twitter instead.

“That’s who I am!”


Ian was talking to Phil Lanning, for Darts World, and will soon be back in action at the Betfred World Matchplay.

Check out his full conversation, his tour posse, and the extent of his ambition here.

A Real Diamond? White’s Humour Shines Through.

Stoke-on-Trent’s Ian ‘Diamond’ White is not often thought to be one of darts’ natural entertainers. But those you know him, and his many twitter followers, often witness a different side to the likable major finalist. .

The crowds can look forward to Ian White’s dab celebration should he be victorious in the Matchplay!

Talking exclusively to Darts World, White revelled in discussing his quirky humour and where it comes from:

My era was Morecambe and Wise and it was like their sketch of Eric walking off at the end of the show

In his earlier days, playing in the BDO, Ian formed a successful partnership with fellow thrower Andy Bolton. Known as ‘A & Ian’ they would entertain as much with ‘madcap antics’ as with their impressive darts.

Ian added:

I’m a good character at exhibitions and on Twitter, everyone sees how much fun I am.

‘Whitey’ tends to show less of this personality on the big stages or during competitive Pro Tour days. As a former factory worker, he is well aware of his privileged position and knows that its his skill with tungsten, rather than his ‘sparkling wit’, that pays the bills.

He remarked:

But when I’m up on stage I’m up there to do a job. I don’t jump around the stage.

I might give it large if I win the game, that’s the extent of it though.“I know people went on about my quarter-final thing but at the end of the day I’ve got the best job in the world….


Pix: L Lustig / PDC

Read Phil Lanning’s full and exclusive conversation with Ian here.

Van Gerwen To Dominate for a Decade!

MIGHTY Michael Van Gerwen has blasted that he’s still “hungry” to dominate for another DECADE.

The mean, green winning machine opted out of the lockdown online PDC Home Tour to dedicate time to his new son and practice. In his absence, there’s been an awful lot of chat from rivals that his rule at the top of the sport could be on the slide. But MVG has dismissed any such talk.

He told the Sky Sports podcast:

“Of course I want to play darts but I didn’t really fancy it.

That is my own opinion and everyone thinks differently about it. Other people like to do it, but I don’t.

“I practice a lot with Vincent van der Voort, who is a very good friend of mine. We had a lot of battles and I think for myself, that’s better preparation than the Home Tour, so that is why I chose not to play the Home Tour. It’s for myself and nobody else.”Practice has been going well, really good to be fair. Lots of people competed in the Home Tour so you know if they’re playing well or not so well, but nobody knows anything about me, but I can tell you now, nothing has changed, trust me.

“Of course I’m going to come back with a bang. What I noticed is that I really missed playing on the highest level and that was a good sign to myself.

‘Hey, I’m still hungry to win more titles.’ I still want to be the best for another five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years.”

This charming Dutchman, ever the consummate professional has been an incredible leader for the sport. He removed Phil Taylor from the throne of World No.1 when he became World Champion in 2014.

MVG is undoubtedly the man to beat, the yardstick, racking up 54 televised titles and 77 other ranking events.Yet he was still under huge scrutiny when he switched to Winmau at the start of the year until he won the last major player, the UK Open.

He added: “There was a lot of talk about me. I moved over to Winmau, my new sponsor and darts manufacturer. There were a lot of question marks behind my name until I played the UK Open.“I played a phenomenal tournament over there, smashed everyone up and that gave me a lot of confidence. You need to believe in your ability, to know where your strengths and weaknesses are. I don’t have many weaknesses I know that.“

“I always say you need to invest in something and you need to give yourself some time and that is exactly what I did and it worked out quite well.”

It was announced on Friday that five Players Championship events are set to be held behind-closed-doors at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena from July 8-12, subject to the UK Government’s quarantine policy on overseas visitors. With the World Matchplay also set to go-ahead on July 18, it also seems increasingly likely that it will be held at the Marshall Arena rather than the iconic Winter Gardens.

Incredibly, Van Gerwen has failed to go beyond the quarter-finals at the Matchplay since winning in 2016. He added: “At this stage, nobody knows if you are going to play with a crowd or without a crowd. If I had to gamble I would say it will be without a crowd.

“This is bigger than the darts. This is about what is going to happen for the rest of the world. I am just a person in this scenario.

“If I can travel, I will be there. I didn’t perform well in the last two years at the World Matchplay. I have got nothing to defend at all so I think I might be hungry for that title.”


Record Prize Money On Offer In 2017

From Bullseyes to Bubbles – Darts Opts For Self Confinement!

DARTS is going from bullseyes to bubbles to get the sport back onto the big stage. Professional Darts Corporation bosses revealed a fortnight ago that the World Matchplay would go ahead from July 18, the first major after lockdown.

Record Prize Money On Offer In 2017
Photo; Lawrence Lustig / PDC

However, it seems almost certain that it will be temporarily moved from its traditional and iconic Winter Gardens home in Blackpool.It is likely to be relocated next month to the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes which has just successful hosted the behind-closed-doors Championship League, also under the Matchroom Sport umbrella.

The PDC yesterday revealed that they will be hosting the PDC Summer Series from July 8-12 at the Marshalls Arena.The Series will see all 128 Tour Card Holders given the chance to compete in five one-day Players Championship events, played behind closed doors at Marshall Arena, subject to the UK Government quarantine policy on overseas visitors.

As with all 2020 Players Championship events, prize money will stand at £75,000 per event, with all winnings counting towards the relevant PDC Orders of Merit.

Official PDC Logo

PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Throughout the challenging times of recent weeks we have continuously explored different ways of getting players back on the oche and live darts back on fans’ screens. 

“I was proud of our players and staff who broadcast 43 nights of live remote darts through the innovative PDC Home Tour, which thrust darts into the limelight in a unique way at a time when almost all other sports were unable to provide any form of competitive action.

“Prior to the Home Tour, I outlined the three-stage plan for the return of darts, starting with events played remotely, followed by events played behind closed doors, before events can be played in front of crowds.“I am delighted that we are now able to move on to the second stage of that plan, and hopefully, we will be able to safely welcome crowds back to our events in the not-too-distant future. 

Cross will defend his title, although its looks likely the venue will be different.

“The PDC Summer Series will provide a welcome return of live darts for both players and fans alike, and I’m sure the event will whet the appetite for the prestigious Betfred World Matchplay. “We appreciate the patience of our players in recent weeks as we worked to secure these events, and further details will be confirmed to them in due course.”

The PDC has also told Darts World they are working closely with players union PDPA in an attempt to unravel a hugely complicated future around the ranking prize money dilemma. With so many tournaments wiped out this year because of the coronavirus crisis, it has been a minefield for bosses to decide on how to freeze ranking money, if that is the fairest way forward for all 128 tour cardholders.


PDC Summer Series: Live Darts Returns!

The Professional Darts Corporation is pleased to announce that live darts will return on Wednesday, July 8 with the launch of the PDC Summer Series.

Official PDC Logo

The Summer Series will see all 128 Tour Card Holders given the chance to compete in five one-day Players Championship events from July 8-12, played behind closed doors at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes subject to the UK Government quarantine policy on overseas visitors.
   
As with all 2020 Players Championship events, prize money will stand at £75,000 per event, with all winnings counting towards the relevant PDC Orders of Merit.
   
In the event that quarantine restrictions make it impractical for non-UK players to travel to the events, the PDC will announce a revised schedule of non-ranked events for the same dates.
 
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Throughout the challenging times of recent weeks we have continuously explored different ways of getting players back on the oche and live darts back on fans’ screens.
  
“I was proud of our players and staff who broadcast 43 nights of live remote darts through the innovative PDC Home Tour, which thrust darts into the limelight in a unique way at a time when almost all other sports were unable to provide any form of competitive action.
 
“Prior to the Home Tour, I outlined the three-stage plan for the return of darts, starting with events played remotely, followed by events played behind closed doors, before events can be played in front of crowds.
 
“I am delighted that we are now able to move on to the second stage of that plan, and hopefully we will be able to safely welcome crowds back to our events in the not-too-distant future.

  
“The PDC Summer Series will provide a welcome return of live darts for both players and fans alike,

and I’m sure the event will whet the appetite for the prestigious Betfred World Matchplay.”


 “We appreciate the patience of our players in recent weeks as we worked to secure these events, and further details will be confirmed to them in due course.”
 
The PDC understands that players will have further questions regarding these events and we can assure them that as soon as details are able to be confirmed we will release the information appropriately. The PDC’s intention at this time is to confirm the dates and proposed format of the events so that players can begin to prepare for a return to competitive events and plan accordingly. Please be aware that hotel bookings for the Summer Series will be handled centrally by the PDC and players should not contact the Marshall Arena directly to make reservations.


Aspinall Admits Future Rankings “One Hell of a Headache.”

DARTS is ready to go from bulls to bubbles to get the sport back onto the big stage. In our DW story earlier, PDC bosses revealed a fortnight ago that the World Matchplay would go ahead from July 18, the first major after lockdown.

The Asp knows that ranking tables, and other issues, are going to get serious, very soon. (Pic: Taylor Lanning)

However, it seems almost certain that it will be temporarily moved from its traditional and iconic Winter Gardens home in Blackpool. It is likely to be relocated next month to the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes which has just successfully hosted the behind-closed-doors Championship League, also under the Matchroom Sport umbrella.

The player’s association will be heavily involved in discussions with the PDC about the path forward.

But The PDC has also exclusively revealed to DW they are working closely with players union PDPA in an attempt to unravel a hugely complicated future around the ranking prize money dilemma. 

With so many tournaments wiped out this year because of the coronavirus crisis, it has been a minefield for bosses to decide on how to freeze ranking money, if that is the fairest way forward for all 128 tour cardholders. Nathan Aspinall, who won the unique lockdown Home Tour event last week, admits it’s a real dilemma that all players are concerned about.

He said: “I would not like to be Barry Hearn or Matthew Porter. Because they are going to please people with what they decide and annoy some people.”

The Asp continued “The situation that we are in, it’s going to be impossible to please all 128 tour card holders.”

“I do think it’s how they deal with people defending prize money on the rankings. They need to think about that carefully. I have no idea how they are going to decide that. “In an ideal world we’ll play every single event that was scheduled but in a short space of time but I don’t think that’s going to be possible.“All I know is that it’s going to be one hell of a headache for them all.”

The Asp is still hoping that the Matchplay could go ahead at his “local” venue in Blackpool, just a short distance from his Stockport base. He said: “Obviously the Matchplay being the second biggest tournament of the year I think that’s a great way to kick it all back off.“ Personally I hope it goes ahead in Blackpool because the reception I got last year was phenomenal, even though I got beat first game. It’s my home tournament, I’m only 45 minutes away from Blackpool.

“Fingers crossed we can have some kind of audience there, even if it’s only 500 people, that’s better than nothing.“We have played in some European events on a stage with very little fans and we had the UK Open in Minehead a couple of years back.

“But any TV event you need that buzz, that adrenalin and that comes with the atmosphere, the crowd being loud.

“It will definitely be different but we’re professionals and play ProTours week-in, week-out behind closed doors.

I think the walk-on will be the weird one, just walking straight down, no high-fives or anything.

“It’ll be strange but at least we’ll be playing on that stage. A couple of games into it we’ll probably forget there is no one there.”


Late decisions on venues and event confirmations are likely over the next few weeks, keep an eye across the Darts World platforms for the latest news and updates.

Featured pic: L Lustig/PDC