As readers, of Darts World, will know there seems to have been an increase in the volume, and spite, in the abuse of players over social media. Rob Cross, Luke Humphries and Paul Nicholson are among those to have been speaking out recently.
Now the ‘players union’ the PDPA have stepped in to offer advice and support to players. They have introduced a simple guide to help those being victimised to deal with the instant problem and the longer term issues it can cause.
Darts World has reached out to cyberbullying and psychology experts in order that we may be able to suggest some positives solutions to this increasingly worrying phenomenon.
Reigning World Matchplay champion Rob Cross has revealed his fear of being unable to defend the title he claimed so memorably in Blackpool last year.
Talking to Phil Lanning, for Darts World, the former world champion said:
“I know the PDC is making that decision by June 5. Obviously I hope it can go ahead somehow”.
Due to the Lockdown and social distancing rules caused by Covid-19 almost all live sporting events have been postponed or cancelled for the forseeable future. However the sport of darts has been at the forefront in attempting to keep its fans entertained during these troubled times.
The PDC have initiated the Home Tour and have postponed, rather than cancel, their major events in the hope of finding workable solutions later in the year.
Cross known as ‘Voltage’ to darts fans claimed the second biggest trophy in the PDC in 2019 adding it to his fairytale World Championship win. he added:
“It was my second favourite moment of my short career to win last year.”
Cross also commented on the rash of social media abuse suffered by players that seems to be on the increase. See the full story exclusive to Darts World here.
ROB CROSS has hit out at the social media abuse that “hurts” the top players including World Champion Peter Wright. The 2018 World Champion was on the receiving end of death threats to him and his family after winning the big one at the Ally Pally two years ago.
Now Voltage fears it’s getting worse after Kyle Anderson, Jelle Klaasen, Michael Smith and Paul Nicholson received more abuse on Twitter over the past few weeks during lockdown. He said: “It’s not acceptable in any way. I know it’s been spoken about so much by different sports stars and celebrities. But I don’t know what happened to the ‘Be Kind’ message after Caroline Flack took her own life.
“Look at recently what Ian Wright got. He’s a brilliant bloke, so funny. Yet the messages he got were just vile. “I remember how much horrible stuff got said to Peter Wright and his family a few years back. Yet he’s the nicest guy ever, never says or does anything bad to anyone.
“Trust me this is serious. It was the worst thing that happened in my career when I got the death threats, especially to my kids.
“It really hurts players and their families. I don’t think any of us deserve threats and accusations of cheating. My rule is that if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, then don’t say it. “Surely there are more important things in the world right now to worry about than abusing a darts player. “I notice that one fan had a go at Daryl Gurney and then apologised. I just wish people would think before they say something so vile.
“I’ve been getting horrible messages even during matches if I lose a leg. After the match, I look at my phone and I can see they’ve been sent at certain times when I was playing! “We all like a bit of banter and most of us will take the stick for a laugh, but not when it’s really vile. You can’t cross that line.”
Cross agrees with Nicholson that social media accounts must be verified with a name and address so the keyboard warriors can be identified by police. He added:
“It’s very sad because I don’t think that will happen. When you see what is said these days, I can’t believe nothing has been done yet.“
The sad thing is that it will stop sportspeople and celebrities interacting with the fans, they will just stop using social media. That’s not fair on the real fans who do give us great support.”
Voltage, last year’s World Matchplay and European Champion, has drawn Ryan Searle, Luke Woodhouse, and Daniel Larsson in his next Low6 Home Tour group on May 30. He also hopes he will get to defend his Matchplay title in late July, adding: “I know the PDC is making that decision by June 5. Obviously I hope it can go ahead somehow. It was my second favourite moment of my short career to win last year.”
Twelve months ago MVG reasserted his dominance, over the Darting World, with another Premier League triumph. Our reader James Smith gives us his revisionist view:
Today, Thursday 21st May, would have been the day of the 2020 Premier League Darts Play-Offs at the O2 Arena, London, following a rigorous 17 nights of darts which began on 6th February in Aberdeen.
Sadly, the unfortunate and tragic situation we find ourselves in, means there will be no darts tonight. To fill the void, here is a look back at the 2019 Play-Offs.
12 months ago, Michael van Gerwen, Daryl Gurney, Rob Cross, and James Wade made the trip to London for the final night of action. Gurney was the only member of the quartet to have never made it to Play-Offs night previously and was the underdog. Cross had made the semi-finals at the first attempt the year before, losing 10-6 to van Gerwen in the semi-final.
James Wade had also made the Play-Offs night on his first attempt. Way back in 2008 he lost in the final 16-8 to Phil Taylor. He went one better the year later with a 13-8 victory over Mervyn King to lift the prestigious title.
Van Gerwen’s Premier League pedigree cannot be understated. Since he first appeared in the competition in 2013, he has made the final every year. After winning at the first attempt in 2013, van Gerwen lost back-to-back finals to Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld. His subsequent three consecutive titles meant that in 2019 he was a strong favourite and brimming with confidence. Quite rightly too, as his performances in each final, even when he lost, were sublime. His lowest three-dart average in any Premier League final came in 2014 where he recorded an excellent 102.98; whereas in 2018 he had brushed aside Michael Smith with a staggering 112.37.
This did not quite translate in his 2019 semi-final performance, where an inconsistent and patchy performance led to a 96.48 average, which was only just enough to sneak past Gurney 10-7 in a below-par match.
Cross looked much more assured in a comprehensive 10-5 victory over Wade, where the 2018 World Champion recorded an average of 100.31.
Going in to the final, one would have been forgiven for considering van Gerwen the clear favourite. The head-to-head of the two players was very much in the Dutchman’s favour, having lost only three times to Cross in 18 previous meetings. That being said, one of those three defeats was in a World Championship semi-final, so there was little doubt that Cross could produce high-quality darts against van Gerwen on the big stage.
In the Premier League, however, Cross had enjoyed no such luck. The Englishman’s first-ever game in the competition came in 2018 and resulted in a 7-2 loss to van Gerwen in Dublin, followed by a 7-2 loss in Birmingham and then the aforementioned 10-6 loss in the semi-final. En route to Play-Offs night in 2019, Cross and van Gerwen had alternated between first and second place in the league table from week six onwards, but the results between the two players had been similarly one-sided; van Gerwen enjoying another 7-2 victory in Dublin, and an emphatic 8-2 victory in Cardiff. Despite those results, with the dominance of the two players throughout the tournament so clear for all to see, this was the final that the majority of darts fans wanted and expected.
The final, however, went along with the form book. Van Gerwen started the final with a fifteen-dart break of throw, before moving in to a 5-1 lead; a run of six legs in which Cross only had three darts at a double. It wasn’t until leg seven where Voltage got his game together, hitting his first maximum and taking the leg on his favourite double eighteen. Cross then won the next two legs as both players pushed their average over 102.
Perhaps the turning point of the match came in the tenth leg where Cross uncharacteristically missed three darts at double eighteen to level the match, allowing van Gerwen to swoop with a crucial checkout of 74 to take a 6-4 lead at the break.
Cross never recovered and was to take only one more leg in the match, ultimately going down 11-5. Mighty Mike raced to his fifth Premier League crown in quick time, hitting a 130 checkout on double eight to guarantee the £250,000 winner’s cheque.
Despite another defeat at the hands of the world number one, Cross could be proud of his performance. Whilst he missed some key doubles and failed to pressurise van Gerwen’s throw at times, he did manage an average of 100.98. Moreover, at 5-1 down, when he looked almost out of the match at a very early stage, he managed to turn his game around and all but level. Needless to say, he showed all the class that has pushed him in to the top five of the PDC Order of Merit, but, like every other player in the world, he’ll need to show more to topple the dominant Dutchman.
The PDC has issued the following update in relation to the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay:
At present, the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay remains scheduled for July 18-26 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, and we continue to work with all relevant parties towards achieving this if possible.
As with all PDC tournaments at present, we remain in regular contact with the UK Government in relation to updates regarding regulations and are constantly monitoring the global situation.
However, the PDC plans to confirm on or before Friday June 5 a decision in relation to the planned July dates for this event.
We appreciate that the current global restrictions give cause for concern amongst fans who have purchased tickets for this event.
Should restrictions mean that the July dates are not possible, it would be the PDC’s plan to rearrange the Betfred World Matchplay for a date later in 2020, in line with other recently-affected tournaments.
Rob Cross became the highest ranked player to win his group on the Unibet Home Tour so far as he won all three games on Night 21.
The world number saw off William Borland, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Karel Sedlacek to top the group.
A routine 5-2 victory over Borland kicked things off, before edging out Van den Bergh 5-4 in a bizarre game in which he averaged nearly 10 points less than his opponent and survived a number of matched darts.
But it was in the final game of the night that Cross displayed his best stuff. Sedlacek started in superb fashion, moving into a 4-0 lead and looking set to top the group.
Cross then began to find his champion’s touch and fired in some incredible stuff to clinch five straight legs and seal the victory.
Van den Bergh ended the night in second spot with his early 5-1 victory over Sedlacek boosting his leg difference, but he was on the receiving end of a superb performance from Borland in the penultimate game of the night, with the young Scot averaging 103.8 in a 5-3 victory.
The Unibet Home Tour continues tomorrow and can be watched live and free through PDCTV for registered users (new users can sign up for FREE here), as well as through bookmakers’ websites and international broadcasters.
Karel Sedlacek will replace Derk Telnekes in Thursday’s Unibet Home Tour Group 21.
Czech Republic number one Sedlacek will take the place of Dutchman Telnekes, who is now unable to compete on Thursday for family reasons with his wife’s shifts as a healthcare worker in the Netherlands having changed.
Telnekes is, though, still hoping to take part in the Unibet Home Tour in one of the remaining group phase nights this month.
Sedlacek will now join former World Champion Rob Cross in Group 21 on Thursday evening for what promises to be another memorable night of live darts being shown on PDCTV, through international broadcasters and via bookmakers’ websites.
Group 21 will also feature two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh and emerging Scottish talent William Borland.
Unibet Home Tour Group 21 Thursday May 7 Rob Cross v William Borland Dimitri Van den Bergh v Karel Sedlacek William Borland v Karel Sedlacek Rob Cross v Dimitri Van den Bergh Dimitri Van den Bergh v William Borland Karel Sedlacek v Rob Cross
All Home Tour action will be broadcast live on PDCTV for FREE to ALL registered PDCTV users, regardless of whether you have a paid or free membership.
Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.
As well as being shown through a series of bookmakers’ websites, the Unibet Home Tour will also be broadcast live by a number of the PDC’s international broadcast partners.
Fans in the UK & Ireland can watch through the Sky Sports App.
Former World Champion Rob Cross is among the next group of players who will star in the Unibet Home Tour, with the line-ups and fixtures now confirmed for Groups 21-24.
World number four Cross will headline Thursday’s Group 21, while Ian White, Kyle Anderson and Krzysztof Ratajski are also set to feature this week as the home-staged event continues from May 7-10.
Thursday will see the 21st of 32 consecutive nights of live darts take place, as Cross is joined in Group 21 by two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, Scotland’s William Borland and Dutch PDC newcomer Derk Telnekes.
World number ten White will be the top ranked played in Friday’s Group 22, which will also feature PDC ranking event winner Danny Noppert, 2018 World Grand Prix quarter-finalist James Wilson and Spain’s Jesus Noguera, a two-time winner on the 2019 Challenge Tour.
Former Auckland Darts Masters champion Anderson, who recently received the all-clear after spending a month in isolation with coronavirus, will make a welcome return to action on Saturday.
Queensland-based Anderson’s Group 23 will see four players join the live broadcast from around the world, as he is joined by German World Cup star Martin Schindler, Dutch internet sensation Dirk van Duijvenbode and Sweden’s Daniel Larsson.
Sunday’s Group 24 will feature Polish number one Ratajski as the highest ranked player, and he will be up against 2019 Czech Darts Open winner Jamie Hughes, Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas – a World Championship quarter-finalist in December – and Spain’s Toni Alcinas, a former World Cup semi-finalist.
The nightly league format will see all four competitors play each other once in matches played over the best of nine legs, with a winner crowned each night.
With the Unibet Home Tour now past the half-way point, Stephen Bunting, Darren Webster and Damon Heta are among the most recent group winners.
Each night’s action will commence at 1930 BST, with darts commentator Dan Dawson on hand to talk through proceedings, which will also include live score graphics on screen.
All Unibet Home Tour action will be broadcast live on PDCTV for FREE to ALL registered PDCTV users, regardless of whether you have a paid or free membership.
Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.
Fans in Great Britain and Ireland can also watch the action through the Sky Sports app.
As well as being shown through a series of bookmakers’ websites, the Unibet Home Tour is being broadcast live by a number of the PDC’s international broadcast partners.
Unibet Home Tour Group 21 Fixtures Thursday May 7 Rob Cross v William Borland Dimitri Van den Bergh v Derk Telnekes William Borland v Derk Telnekes Rob Cross v Dimitri Van den Bergh Dimitri Van den Bergh v William Borland Derk Telnekes v Rob Cross
Group 22 Fixtures Friday May 8 Ian White v Jesus Noguera Danny Noppert v James Wilson Jesus Noguera v James Wilson Ian White v Danny Noppert Danny Noppert v Jesus Noguera James Wilson v Ian White
Group 23 Fixtures Saturday May 9 Kyle Anderson v Daniel Larsson Martin Schindler v Dirk van Duijvenbode Daniel Larsson v Dirk van Duijvenbode Kyle Anderson v Martin Schindler Martin Schindler v Daniel Larsson Dirk van Duijvenbode v Kyle Anderson
Group 24 Fixtures Sunday May 10 Krzysztof Ratajski v Toni Alcinas Jamie Hughes v Darius Labanauskas Toni Alcinas v Darius Labanauskas Krzysztof Ratajski v Jamie Hughes Jamie Hughes v Toni Alcinas Darius Labanauskas v Krzysztof Ratajski
Tournament Rules * All matches are the best of nine legs. * The player listed on the left of the fixture will throw first in odd-numbered legs. * Two Points awarded for a win. * Should players finish level on Points, the Leg Difference will be used to decide positions. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between two players, then the winner of the game between the two players will determine who finishes higher. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between three players, the Overall Average of each player (across the three games on the night) will be used to determine who finishes higher.
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!
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