Betway Premier League - Night Eight Round-Up

Thornton Swaps Domestic Duties for Home Tour Arrows!

ROBERT THORNTON admits he can give up the gardening to stay sharp on the oche for his PDC Home Tour online debut.

Thorn Gives Up Gardening To Stay Sharp
The Thorn – Rob will be away from the roses!

The Ayrshire ace will have to overcome his gadget phobias to take on Keegan Brown, Reece Robinson and Jose De Sousa in the streaming event tonight (Monday).

The Thorn, 52, has been strictly staying at home to protect his vulnerable wife while his daughter Jodie is also a care worker during the Covid-19 crisis.

He revealed: “We have missed an awful lot of events in the time the game has been in shutdown.

“There would have been events every single week over the eight weeks there has been since this all started and it’s been a lot of competitions missed.

“What can you do about it? There’s plenty of other things going on and the people I take my hat off to are the ones who are going into the heart of this crisis and work in it.

“The health workers, the nurses. Our Jodie is a care worker and she’ll not let anyone go without. She has been offered to take some time as holidays, but she won’t take any.

“These are the ones who are having the most to deal with along with those who have contracted the virus and their families.

“Yes I want to get back to playing darts, but it’s not really that important just now when you compare it with other things. That’s the perspective. 

“We all feel like we’re hard done by at times, but there are people out there risking their lives.”

Thornton, a former UK Open and Grand Prix major winner, is delighted to be back on the oche to get him away from gardening!

He added: “I wasn’t really that aware of the Home Tour when it all started. It was only really decided a week or so ago that I was going to be playing in it.

“The idea of keeping people’s arms working and also helping with practice which is a good thing.

“Also, it’s nice for the people at home to have something to watch and I’ve got it all worked out how I’m going to do it. 

“It’s a case of me getting my phone onto the tripod and switching it on.

“I tried to get it to work on the laptop and it was no good. I’m not great with these things. I’m technically-challenged! But I go to the PDC website and flick it on. That’s it.

“It’s better than having nothing to do and, as I said, it keeps me sharp.

“It’s not much fun staying in all of the time and you can be climbing the walls at times.

“I suppose it gives you some time to get into some other things like you wouldn’t normally be doing.

“I’ve got into some decorating and doing a little bit in the garden.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly a gardener, but you do what you can to keep busy. Cutting hedges and that kind of thing.”

Picture by Taylor Lanning

Article originally published by Red Dragon Darts

Featured pic: L Lustig/ PDC

Six Of The Best: Scottish Oche Legends

Andy Murray, Stephen Hendry, Kenny Dalglish and Chris Hoy are all Scots who conquered their respective fields, but there has certainly been no absence of Scottish influence in darts either.

Rab Smith – Scottish Legend!

Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright recently became Scotland’s fourth darts World Champion when he overcame Michael Van Gerwen at the Alexandra Palace and it reminded us of the huge influence that the nation has had on our sport. Here we take a look at six of the best to come out of the Land of Cakes.

6. Rab Smith

Sometimes in sport, titles don’t tell the full story about a player and that is definitely the case with ‘Mr. Golden Darts’. A fluid player with a clean-cut image, Rab Smith (above) claimed his fair share of trophies throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s. He was Scottish Champion, British Matchplay Champion and famously won the Golden Darts Championship in 1977, winning a prize of £1,000 and a set of 18 carat gold darts. However, he was never to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the World Championship, a statistic that betrays his talents.

Smith, a patriotic Scotsman, did captain his country to win the 1981 Nations Cup however, defeating Eric Bristow and his England team in the final, no mean feat in those days. In all, Rab Smith represented his home nation for more than a decade whilst he also has a rare claim to fame in that he is the player throwing darts on a television in a scene from the Academy Award winning horror film ‘An American Werewolf in London’.

5. Robert Thornton

‘The Thorn’ has never quite achieved household name status, but he is undeniably one of Scotland’s most successful darts players.

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The Thorn. Robert Thornton may have been undervalued by darts fans?

Winner of the BDO World Masters in 2007, Ayrshire’s Robert Thornton made the switch to the PDC in 2008. Through some admirably consistent performances, he was in the top 16 players in the world in just two years. Thornton’s television breakthrough came in 2009 when reaching the final of the Players Championship, where he went down fighting against Phil Taylor. Away from the television cameras, he became only the third player to win back-to-back Pro Tour events over the same weekend.

A bout of ill-health was to halt Thornton’s progress but he came back in 2012 to land his first PDC major title at the UK Open in Bolton. Battling through a terrible draw that included Gary Anderson and Dave Chisnall, Thornton took the ultimate scalp when beating Phil Taylor 11-5 in the final, earning £40,000 for his troubles. A place in the lucrative Premier League followed in 2013 and 2014, as did a remarkable nine-dart-finish in the double-start World Grand Prix in Dublin.

Thornton’s biggest triumph, however, came in 2015 where, following a career-best quarter-final run at the World Championship, he returned to Dublin to win the World Grand Prix. He defeated world number one Michael Van Gerwen 5-4 in the final, sealing the £100,000 first prize and a rise to number five in the PDC Order of Merit.

Since 2015 struggles with form and personal problems have seen ‘The Thorn’ slip down the rankings, but recent signs of a resurgence suggest there may yet be another chapter in his rousing story.

4. Les Wallace

Scotland has often been the source of colourful, entertaining and unpredictable characters in darts and ‘McDanger’ certainly fits in to that category.

‘McDanger’ – Les added a certain element of
unpredictability, not to mention the kilt!

Known for playing many of his matches in a traditional Scottish kilt, the popular Les Wallace first appeared on television in 1984 when, at the age of just 22, he competed in the Dry Blackthorn Masters. It was not until 11 years later, however, that he made his debut at the BDO World Championship when losing in the first round to Raymond van Barneveld at the Lakeside.

He was to improve on that the following year by reaching the semi-final, but in 1997 he gained revenge on van Barneveld en route to a thrilling World Championship victory where he defeated Welshman Marshall James 6-3 in the final, becoming the first left-handed player to win a world championship (BDO or PDC) and only the second Scot.

Wallace’s success continued the following year when he defeated a stellar field to win the BDO World Masters, his victims including Alan Warriner-Little, Martin Adams and Ted Hankey, no less.

Sadly, that was to be as good as it got for Wallace as personal problems, including brushes with the law and personal tragedy led to a prolonged loss of form and regular absences from the tour. However, the World Championship/World Masters double is a feat achieved by very few and ensures the talented ‘McDanger’s’ place in darts folklore.

3. Peter Wright

Despite being based in England since the age of five, ‘Snakebite’ is proud of his Scottish roots, having been born in West Lothian.


Peter Wright’s story is a truly inspirational one. Having taken up darts at a young age, he had a promising junior career and qualified for the BDO World Championship in 1995 where Richie Burnett knocked him out in the first round. This was the first and last time he would play darts on television for over a decade.

Wright spent the next 10 years playing darts in local leagues, moving around from town to town, seeking employment where he could get it. Then one evening in

2007, at the age of 37 and unemployed, Wright declared he had unfinished business with darts and joined the PDC circuit. A naturally shy man with a history of self-doubt, he reinvented himself as ‘Snakebite’, adopting a Mohican haircut styled by his wife Jo and dyed various bright colours, matched by equally flamboyant shirts and trousers. He also developed the habit of changing his darts as often as his hair colour!

After an uninspiring start in the PDC, Wright began to make notable progress from 2009 onwards. This culminated in a first PDC title in 2012. His big breakthrough, however, came in 2014 when he made the World Championship final, losing 7-4 to Michael Van Gerwen. Since then, Wright has constantly been in the top 10 of the PDC Order of Merit, becoming a Premier League regular and a genuine contender for major titles. However, before his World Championship win this year, he had won only one major final (UK Open, 2017) from 11 attempts, leading many to label him a nearly man.

That all changed in January as ‘Snakebite’ claimed the ultimate crown and £500,000 at the age of 49, thoroughly deserving of his victory over Michael Van Gerwen, and so completing the most remarkable and heartwarming journey.

2. Gary Anderson

There is simply no better sight in darts than ‘The Flying Scotsman’ in full flight on the oche. The super-talented, heavy scoring Gary Anderson is a giant of the game having captured eight major PDC titles in addition to 31 PDC Pro Tour event titles. However, at various stages of his career, one could have been forgiven for fearing the Musselburgh man may not fulfil his obvious potential.

Anderson began playing darts at the age of 24 and first rose to prominence with an excellent run to the semi-final of the BDO World Championship in 2003. Subsequently he won a number of titles, but a television major eluded him. His form in the World Championship completely deserted him, winning just one match at the Lakeside in the period 2004-2007. This led to many questioning if Anderson had the temperament for the big occasion.

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A double World Championship and with a multitude of other titles, Gary Anderson. (PDC)

That changed in 2007 when Anderson participated in and won the televised cross-code International Darts League, defeating Phil Taylor in the final. Confident he could now beat the best, Anderson switched to the PDC in 2009 after a run to the quarter-final in his final appearance at the Lakeside.

Within six months of being on the PDC tour, Anderson had won his first Pro Tour event and hit a nine-dart-finish. The following year he reached his first major final at the UK Open, followed by a breakthrough run to the final of the World Championship where he lost 7-5 to Adrian Lewis. Despite a major title eluding him, Anderson had secured a place in the Premier League and reached number 4 in the PDC Order of Merit.

Anderson enjoyed the short format of the Premier League and remarkably won it at the first attempt, beating Lewis 10-4 in the final. Personal tragedy and injury problems meant that Anderson had to wait over three years for his next major title, but the birth of his son Kai seemed to inspire him as he won, first the Players Championship, and then the World Championship where he defeated Phil Taylor 7-6 in a classic final. He went on to retain his crown the following year, defeating Adrian Lewis to become a back-to-back, two time world champion.

A popular, humble man, Anderson has crossed eras with both Phil Taylor and Michael Van Gerwen and yet has got the better of them both on many occasions; he must go down as one of the greatest darts players of all time.

1. Jocky Wilson

The ‘Wee Man’ (Jocky Wilson) Scotland’s Number 1.

It’s hard to argue that Scotland has ever produced a finer player than Gary Anderson, but the legend of John Thomas (‘Jocky’) Wilson will always leave an indelible mark on the darts world. Anderson himself says he would never have picked up a dart were it not for his ‘hero’.

Raised in a children’s care home in Kirkcaldy, Wilson had a difficult upbringing but would find a way to twice become the champion of the world in an era where darts went from pub pastime to television entertainment and a working class man could become a hero to the masses.

As a young adult Wilson found it very hard to find employment and spent a lot of time in his local pub, ‘The Lister’, honing his darts skills. In 1979 he entered a tournament at Butlins, Ayrshire and won the first prize of £500. This triumph convinced Wilson he should turn professional.

Just three years later Wilson’s profile was propelled in to stardom as he won the BDO World Championship live on BBC2, defeating John Lowe 5-3 in the final at the Jollees Cabaret Club in Stoke.

Almost overnight, Wilson became a hugely popular nationwide star and appeared on a number of television shows including Terry Wogan, Russell Harty and even Top of the Pops! Meanwhile, the tabloids were always keen to run a spread on any story they could find. There were plenty of stories to be found due to Wilson’s chain-smoking, excessive drinking, brushes with authority and financial problems. Wilson was uncomfortable with the attention but a media fascination with his rags to riches story meant it was unrelenting.

Undoubtedly Wilson’s finest moment on the oche came in 1989 when he recaptured the World Championship, beating his old rival and world number one Eric Bristow 6-4 at the Lakeside. A respectful Bristow would later admit that Wilson was one of only two players (John Lowe being the other) who he could not influence with pre-match mind games.

Tragically ‘Jocky’ left darts in 1995 and was never to return. He became a recluse, unwilling to leave his home in Kirkcaldy that he shared with his wife, and sadly died of lung disease in 2012. His legend lives on in a sport that he helped revolutionise.

Text: James Lincoln & Darts World Staff Writers.

Pics: As credited.

UK Open – Draw, Schedule and Details.

The draw has been made for the first three rounds of the 2020 Ladbrokes UK Open, with the schedule of play also confirmed for the festival of darts which begins on Friday March 6 at the Butlin’s Minehead Resort.

PIC: PDC / L Lustig

The unique multi-board tournament will see 160 players in action live from March 6-8, with the first round featuring Tour Card Holders 97-127 along with the eight Challenge Tour Qualifiers, nine Development Tour Qualifiers and 16 Rileys Qualifiers.

The opening three rounds will take place in the afternoon session on Friday March 6, with the top 32 entering at the fourth round stage in the evening session.

Friday’s play begins at 1100 GMT on Stages Two-Eight, while the Main Stage action begins at 1200 GMT as Lisa Ashton opens the tournament against Belgium’s Mike De Decker.

History-maker Fallon Sherrock returns to PDC action against Kyle McKinstry in another first round game on the Main Stage, after Australia’s Brisbane Darts Masters winner Damon Heta takes on two-time BDO champion Scott Waites.

Karel Sedlacek will be seen on Stage II.

Stage Two’s matches from the first round include former UK Open runner-up Andy Hamilton against Patrick Lynskey as well as New Zealand’s Cody Harris, Hong Kong’s Kai Fan Leung and Czech debutant Karel Sedlacek – with the Stage Two action to be streamed in PDCTV on Friday and Saturday.

The first round winners will be joined by Tour Card Holders 65-96 in round two, as former BDO number one Mark McGeeney faces Scott Baker and Canadian ace Jeff Smith plays Greece’s John Michael in the Main Stage Games.

Friday’s opening session will also see round three take place, featuring the winners from round two along with Tour Card Holders 33-64 as World Youth Champion Luke Humphries faces Australian number two Kyle Anderson in a tasty tie on the Main Stage.

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The Thorn will enter in the 32.

Round three will also see 2012 winner Robert Thornton face Kim Huybrechts on the Main Stage, while Ireland’s World Cup finalist William O’Connor plays Jan Dekker on Stage Two.

The world’s top 32 come into the event in Friday evening’s fourth round, including defending champion Nathan Aspinall, world number one Michael van Gerwen and former UK Open champions Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, James Wade and Adrian Lewis.

The action continues on Saturday March 7 with the fifth and sixth rounds in one bumper session, before Sunday’s closing stages are played out on the Main Stage.

At the conclusion of the third round, an open draw will be made live on the Main Stage for round four. The draw for the fifth and sixth rounds will be conducted on the Main Stage at the conclusion of the fourth round, while the UK Open’s unique open draw format will remain in place.

Players will compete for a £100,000 top prize, with a total prize fund of £450,000 on offer being paid down to the last 96.

The Stage Two action on Friday and Saturday will be streamed exclusively for all PDCTV Subscribers worldwide at

The 2020 Ladbrokes UK Open will be broadcast live on ITV4 for UK viewers, through the PDC’s international broadcast partners and through PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2020 Ladbrokes UK Open

Friday March 6

Afternoon Session (1100 GMT Start, 1200 GMT on Main Stage)

First, Second & Third Rounds

Main Stage

Mike De Decker v Lisa Ashton (R1)

Damon Heta v Scott Waites (R1)

Kyle McKinstry v Fallon Sherrock (R1)

Scott Baker v Mark McGeeney (R2)

Jeff Smith v John Michael (R2)

David Pallett v Doets/Thompson (R2)

Heaver/Noguera v McKinstry/Sherrock (R2)

Luke Humphries v Kyle Anderson (R3)

Kim Huybrechts v Robert Thornton (R3)

Josh Payne v Luke Woodhouse (R3)

Stage Two

Cody Harris v Scott Taylor (R1)

Kai Fan Leung v Kelvin Self (R1)

Adam Hunt v Karel Sedlacek (R1)

Keane Barry v Alan Tabern (R1)

Andy Hamilton v Patrick Lynskey (R1)

Marko Kantele v Dirk van Duijvenbode (R2)

Heta/Waites v Geert Nentjes (R2)

Larsson/Meikle v De Decker/Ashton (R2)

Menzies/Brooks v Nick Kenny (R2)

Ryan Searle v Cristo Reyes (R3)

William O’Connor v Jan Dekker (R3)

Vincent van der Voort v Smith/Michael (R3)

Koltsov/Van Trijp/Davidson/Borland v Larsson/Meikle/De Decker/Ashton (R3)

Stage Three

Steffen Siepmann v Krzysztof Kciuk (R1)

Peter Jacques v Ciaran Teehan (R1)

Michael Barnard v Steve Brown (R1)

Daniel Larsson v Ryan Meikle (R1)

Harry Ward v Gavin Carlin (R2)

Kirk Shepherd v Leung/Self (R2)

Hunt/Sedlacek v Barrie Bates (R2)

Hayden/J Clark v Richardson/Penhall (R2)

Ron Meulenkamp v Richard North (R3)

Jones/Blades/Whitehead v Steve West (R3)

Devon Petersen v Menzies/Brooks/Kenny (R3)

Justin Smith/Jenkins/Beeney/Harms v Atkins/Murray/Bunse (R3)

Huckvale/Burton/Van der Meer v Heaver/Noguera/McKinstry/Sherrock (R3)

Stage Four

Jason Askew v Greg Ritchie (R1)

Jason Heaver v Jesus Noguera (R1)

Adam Smith-Neale v Ben Cheeseman (R1)

Darren Beveridge v Nathan Rafferty (R1)

Andy Boulton v Reece Robinson (R2)

Nathan Derry v Maik Kuivenhoven (R2)

Justin Smith/Jenkins v Beeney/Harms (R2)

Telnekes/Kleermaker v Madars Razma (R2)

Jamie Lewis v Ross Smith (R3)

Evetts/Van Peer/Roelofs v James Wilson (R3)

Steve Lennon v Barnard/Brown/Barry/Tabern (R3)

Mickey Mansell v Zonneveld/Hamilton/Lynskey (R3)

Stage Five

Adam Huckvale v Stephen Burton (R1)

Rhys Hayden v James Clark (R1)

Cameron Menzies v Bradley Brooks (R1)

Kevin Burness v Harald Leitinger (R1)

Jonathan Worsley v Matt Clark (R2)

Carl Wilkinson v Siepmann/Kciuk (R2)

Ted Evetts v Van Peer/Roelofs (R2)

Barnard/Brown v Barry/Tabern (R2)

Justin Pipe v Shepherd/Leung/Self (R3)

Ryan Joyce v Jacques/Teehan/Meeuwisse (R3)

Jose De Sousa v Williams/Owen/Gray (R3)

Van Duivenbode/Beveridge/Rafferty v Jamie Hughes (R3)

Stage Six

Aaron Beeney v Wesley Harms (R1)

Boris Koltsov v Danny van Trijp (R1)

Andrew Davidson v William Borland (R1)

Lewis Williams v Robert Owen (R1)

Harris/Taylor v Jason Lowe (R2)

Atkins/Murray v Christian Bunse (R2)

Mike van Duivenbode v Beveridge/Rafferty (R2)

Niels Zonneveld v Hamilton/Lynskey (R2)

Derry/Kuivenhoven v Gabriel Clemens (R3)

Darius Labanauskas v Kantele/Van Duijvenbode (R3)

Hayden/J Clark/Richardson/Penhall v Toni Alcinas (R3)

Matthew Edgar v Smith-Neale/Cheeseman/McGuirk/Rydz (R3)

Stage Seven

Martin Atkins v Ryan Murray (R1)

Shane McGuirk v Callan Rydz (R1)

Wayne Jones v Gary Blades (R1)

Berry van Peer v Owen Roelofs (R1)

Rowby-John Rodriguez v Askew/Ritchie (R2)

Jacques/Teehan v Yordi Meeuwisse (R2)

Williams/Owen v Adrian Gray (R2)

Burness/Leitinger v Joe Murnan (R2)

Martin Schindler v Benito van de Pas (R3)

Baker/McGeeney v Boulton/Robinson (R3)

Worsley/M Clark v Harris/Taylor/Lowe (R3)

Telnekes/Kleermaker/Razma v Heta/Waites/Nentjes (R3)

Stage Eight

Justin Smith v Andy Jenkins (R1)

Derk Telnekes v Martijn Kleermaker (R1)

James Richardson v Darren Penhall (R1)

Kevin Doets v Alfie Thompson (R1)

Huckvale/Burton v Vincent van der Meer (R2)

Jones/Blades v Conan Whitehead (R2)

Koltsov/Van Trijp v Davidson/Borland (R2)

Smith-Neale/Cheeseman v McGuirk/Rydz (R2)

Jelle Klaasen v Rodriguez/Askew/Ritchie (R3)

Ward/Carlin v Wilkinson/Siepmann/Kciuk (R3)

Pallett/Doets/Thompson v Simon Stevenson (R3)

Hunt/Sedlacek/Bates v Burness/Leitinger/Murnan (R3)

Session Schedule

Friday March 6

Afternoon Session (1100 GMT start – 1200 GMT start on Main Stage)

First, Second & Third Rounds

Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Eight

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)

Fourth Round

Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Eight

Saturday March 7 (1530 GMT start)

Fifth Round

Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Four

Sixth Round

Main Stage & Stage Two

Sunday March 8

Afternoon Session (1245 GMT start)


Main Stage

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)

Semi-Finals & Final

Main Stage


First, Second & Third Rounds – Best of 11 legs

Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Rounds & Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs

Semi-Finals & Final – Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund

Winner – £100,000

Runner-Up – £40,000

Semi-Finalists – £20,000

Quarter-Finalists – £12,500

Sixth Round Losers – £7,500

Fifth Round Losers – £4,000

Fourth Round Losers – £2,000

Third Round Losers – £1,000

Total – £450,000


Red Dragon Claim Unique World Champion Treble.

Welsh darting brand Red Dragon have a lot to shout about already. Major champions, innovative models and a solid reputation for service and value. Yesterday they moved to a new level. We pestered Red Dragon’s Simon Hall for his thoughts before the final took place:

With World Titles meaning so much to every player, and those behind them, the chance of three in one year is nothing short of breathtaking

Simon Hall – Red Dragon
Red Dragon’s World Champion.

With the crowning of Peter Wright, earlier this month, RD put the cherry on a long baked cake. Over the past decade they have developed a model and put together a group of players that rival anything seen previously. It results in World Champions!

Can Wayne Warren make it a rare double for the Welsh brand?

Wayne Warren lifting the BDO World Professional Championship gives the Bridgend based company a unique trio of World Champions. With Snakebite already holding the PDC crown and Luke Humphries capturing the World Youth title (PDC) it’s been a bumper few weeks. It may also make all the difference in the annual manufacturer rankings!

The RD model is not overly complex. The select their players carefully, work with them closely and stick with them for the long run.

A Celtic Flavour?

Success begins at home? – RD have a very good base of Welsh talent, but with Scots and more added!

In addition, to Warren, Red Dragon have Gerwyn Price, Johnny Clayton, Jamie Lewis and Barrie Bates all from their home pricipality of Wales. In addition, they boast a clutch of Scotsmen lead by Robert Thornton and backed up by John Henderson and Ross Montgomery. previous players include former world champ Richie Burnett. If you know sport you will understand that the Celtic passions work well in harness with sporting talent.

Multi Generational

Jamie Lewis
Jamie Lewis seems to have spent his whole life under the wing of RD?

Like all manufacturers RD have been keen to find and nuture young talent, they were the first sponsor for Adam Smith Neale, backed Richard North and have supported Jamie Lewis through thick and thin. But RD are not in thrall to youth. During the last decade they took considered risks on older, seasoned player who were coming on strong. Mark Hylton, Ian White and indeed, Wayne Warren were all in there forties or older when they were first signed up.

Back Your Decision

Those who make the decisions at RD seem to stick with them and are not afraid to throw the rule book out of the window if it may help a player or kick start a relationship. The Peter Wright story, and ever changing equipment, might have driven some companies over the edge. Instead Red Dragon have invented a totally new model for Peter and his sponsorship.


John Henderson has had ups and down as well as injury, Gerwyn Price has had much publicised disciplinary issues and Luke Humphries has well documented mental health concerns. Yet all are still with RD and have had multiple deals often renewed during tough times as well as good. This approach seems to allow players time and space to flourish at their own pace or to adapt to new circumstances.

Choose Wisely.

Initial signing decisions are a combination of analysis, external reports, observation and consultation. There is no fixed recipe for pursuing, or signing, a player but a number of differing factors can influence a decision. A good network of informative and reliable sources, very good data and carefully honed instincts all play a part.


RD are not the sort who sign a player as soon as he/she does anything of note and then reject them if they don’t hit that high spot again instantly. Instead they take advice and are prepared to move earlier at times and be more long term in their thinking. This has occasionally seen them miss out rather than make an error.

A good example is David Evans. ‘Stretch‘ is a fine player with huge potential. Several of RD sources pointed him out a while ago. Yet, other sources recommended a step by step approach as that thought he needed time to develop and adapt. The last twelve months, and his recent World Championship efforts, suggests that they were correct.

Red Dragon’s collection of a threesome of World Champions means they have reaped the rewards of a program, and a belief, that dates back well over a decade. It would be a wise move to keep an eye on their future signings and those already on their books.

We’re so lucky to have these great players out there fighting to win & carrying the Red Dragon Name

Simon Hall of Red Dragon Darts

More than just luck Simon! In the meantime congratulations are in order! Well done indeed.

Trio Set For Betway Premier League Judgement Night Battle

Czech Darts Open – Draw and Details

ROBERT THORNTON will make his return to European Tour action against Stephen Bunting in the first round of the 2019 Czech Darts Open, as the inaugural tournament in Prague begins on Friday.

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The ninth European Tour event of 2019 will see 48 players battling it out at the PVA Expo for £140,000 in prize money from June 28-30, with the action streamed through and bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

Friday’s first round will see 32 qualifiers competing across two sessions, before the 16 seeded players enter the action in Saturday’s round two.

The clash between former European Tour event winner Thornton and world number 18 Bunting will headline Friday’s opening day of action, as the Scot makes his second European Tour appearance of the year.

Thornton is one of 11 players starring in this weekend’s event who have a chance to reach the Betfred World Matchplay through the ProTour Order of Merit.

The Czech event will be the final ranking tournament before the qualification cut-off for Blackpool, with the 32-player field for the prestigious event to be confirmed on Sunday.

Thornton is one of seven players who would have to take the £25,000 top prize in Prague if they were to sensationally break into a qualifying place.

Keegan Brown will face Host Nation Qualifier Ondrej Plsek in round one, where a win would be enough to move the former World Youth Champion above Kyle Anderson and into a qualification spot, although that position may come under threat depending on other results.

World Cup finalist William O’Connor must reach the quarter-finals if he is to snatch a World Matchplay place, and he faces Host Nation Qualifier Vaclav Shieferdecker in the opening round.

Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp and Steve West both need runs to the semi-finals, and they will play Host Nation Qualifier Jan Hlavacek and Mervyn King respectively.

Along with Thornton, Jamie Hughes, Ted Evetts, Brendan Dolan, Justin Pipe, Rowby-John Rodriguez and Madars Razma must win the Czech Darts Open if they are to make it to the Winter Gardens.

Round One will also see Australia’s Corey Cadby make his European Tour debut against Dutch youngster Wessel Nijman, while 2019 Players Championship event winners Krzysztof Ratajski and Glen Durrant will take on Ted Evetts and Daniel Larsson respectively.

Danish Darts Open finalist Chris Dobey will face Poland’s Sebastian Steyer, who won through Thursday’s East European Qualifier, while Czech World Cup ace Karel Sedlacek meets Brendan Dolan after he completed the Host Nation Qualifiers.

2019 Czech Darts Open

Tournament Draw Bracket – Second Round Onwards

Michael van Gerwen (1) v Ondrej Plsek/Keegan Brown

Darren Webster (16) v Danny Noppert/Stefan Bellmont

Mensur Suljovic (8) v William Borland/John Henderson

Ricky Evans (9) v Krzysztof Ratajski/Ted Evetts

Peter Wright (5) v Stephen Bunting/Robert Thornton

Joe Cullen (12) v Chris Dobey/Sebastian Steyer

Daryl Gurney (4) v Vaclav Shieferdecker/William O’Connor

Jonny Clayton (13) v Jermaine Wattimena/Kevin Garcia

Ian White (2) v Karel Sedlacek/Brendan Dolan

Nathan Aspinall (15) v Andrew Gilding/Rowby-John Rodriguez

Adrian Lewis (7) v Jamie Hughes/Devon Petersen

Steve Beaton (10) v Ron Meulenkamp/Jan Hlavacek

James Wade (6) v Mervyn King/Steve West

Michael Smith (11) v Wessel Nijman/Corey Cadby

Gerwyn Price (3) v Glen Durrant/Daniel Larsson

Simon Whitlock (14) v Madars Razma/Justin Pipe

Schedule of Play

Friday June 28

First Round

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)

Danny Noppert v Stefan Bellmont

Madars Razma v Justin Pipe

Jermaine Wattimena v Kevin Garcia

Karel Sedlacek v Brendan Dolan

Wessel Nijman v Corey Cadby

William Borland v John Henderson

Ondrej Plsek v Keegan Brown

Andrew Gilding v Rowby-John Rodriguez

Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 BST)

Glen Durrant v Daniel Larsson

Mervyn King v Steve West

Vaclav Shieferdecker v William O’Connor

Krzysztof Ratajski v Ted Evetts

Chris Dobey v Sebastian Steyer

Ron Meulenkamp v Jan Hlavacek

Stephen Bunting v Robert Thornton

Jamie Hughes v Devon Petersen

Saturday June 29

Second Round

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)

Jonny Clayton (13) v Jermaine Wattimena/Kevin Garcia

Darren Webster (16) v Danny Noppert/Stefan Bellmont

Simon Whitlock (14) v Madars Razma/Justin Pipe

Nathan Aspinall (15) v Andrew Gilding/Rowby-John Rodriguez

Daryl Gurney (4) v Vaclav Shieferdecker/William O’Connor

Ian White (2) v Karel Sedlacek/Brendan Dolan

Steve Beaton (10) v Ron Meulenkamp/Jan Hlavacek

James Wade (6) v Mervyn King/Steve West

Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 BST)

Ricky Evans (9) v Krzysztof Ratajski/Ted Evetts

Joe Cullen (12) v Chris Dobey/Sebastian Steyer

Peter Wright (5) v Stephen Bunting/Robert Thornton

Michael van Gerwen (1) v Ondrej Plsek/Keegan Brown

Mensur Suljovic (8) v William Borland/John Henderson

Gerwyn Price (3) v Glen Durrant/Daniel Larsson

Adrian Lewis (7) v Jamie Hughes/Devon Petersen

Michael Smith (11) v Wessel Nijman/Corey Cadby

Sunday June 30

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)

Third Round

Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 BST)




Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order


All games up to and including the quarter-finals are the best of 11 legs, with the semi-finals the best of 13 legs and the final the best of 15 legs.


Written by Josh Phillips

Beware the Old Guard – Darts World Coach Warns Young Guns.

Despite the obvious talent of the latest breakthrough stars. Our coach thinks many long- established names are not done yet.

Betway Premier League - Night Eight Round-Up
The Thorn; A recent resurgence included the humbling of MVG and a 9 dart leg. Pic:PDC

As with most sports tales of new and exciting young players tend to dominate the darts news these days. Whether it’s Nathan Aspinall, and his superb breakthrough spell or twenty-one-year-old Harry Ward claiming his debut title in Players Championship 16 much attention is devoted to fresh talent and new tales.

Look beyond the headlines and another story is being played out. DartsWorld’s resident coach has been quietly observing a continuing trend for a while now. The ‘Old Guard’ are quietly but determinedly refusing to step aside.

Coach Calhoun says: “Just look over the past month or so, you’ve had Beaton getting better and better in Europe, Thornton thumping MVG and both of them hitting 9 darters

Adrian Lewis is looking stronger all the time and James Wade has had a very good spell since becoming a father.” “Ian White is yet to show us his best, but it looks to be coming…..”

It may be the case that some of those who appeared to have been slipping away have halted the slide and realised they do not have to be winning every event. Playing to their strengths and taking full advantage of opportunity may work just as well.


Coach added “there are so many events, and the prize money has increased rapidly. This means that persistence, and old fashioned class, can be rewarded” ….” The depth of playing talent and the volume of competitions, means the wins and later stage places are divided more widely. In short, a lot of steady efforts and then a couple of exceptional days can go a long way

Beaton, for example, is benefiting from seemingly adapting to the European Tour. Regular qualification and solid performances have led to some seriously impressive runs and increased earnings in recent months.

Coach summed up ” I can see this trend continuing, with the skill and experience in their possession the ‘Old Guard’ can time their efforts better and gain maximum benefit.

The recent generation are superbly talented but many are not seasoned and will suffer from the usual up’s and downs. Some of the older guys have seen it all and will continue to extend their impressive careers into the latest era“.

DartsWorld looks forward to keeping an eye out, for those returning to their best or extending already tremendous careers.

Big H Claims Players Championship Title.

HARRY WARD claimed his first PDC title at Players Championship 16 in Barnsley on Sunday, defeating Max Hopp 8-7 in a dramatic final.

21-year-old Ward, who won his PDC Tour Card at UK Qualifying School in January 2019, continued his remarkable rise with a first title within four months of playing full-time on the professional circuit on the second day of the ProTour weekend double-header.

The Derbyshire youngster was ranked 88th on the PDC Order of Merit at the start of play but produced a string of impressive displays to reach his third ranking quarter-final of the year.

Defeats of Vincent Kamphuis, Madars Razma, James Richardson meant that the Unicorn man would meet World Championship runner-up Michael Smith in the Last 16, where a 145 finish saw him come through a deciding leg.

Ward, part of the MDA stable of players, then overcame Nathan Aspinall 6-5, which he followed up with a 7-4 win over Jose de Sousa to reach the final where he held his nerve to defeat Hopp and claim the £10,000 star prize.

“This is unreal, I’m so, so happy to win this title,” said Ward.

“Max is a great player and it was a really tough final, and after I missed three darts for the match I began to doubt myself a bit.

“I rode my luck at times but that’s what you have to do sometimes and I’m really pleased that I made the most of it.

“I went to Q School without expecting to win a Tour Card so to achieve what I have done over the past few months is fantastic for me, and now I want to kick on further.”

The final between 21-year-old Ward and 22-year-old Hopp began with a stunning 133 checkout from Ward, who doubled his lead only for Hopp to fire back to restore parity.

Ward fired in his 20th 180 of the day before finding tops to break throw and 5-3 up, and followed it up with another 13-darter to take a commanding 6-3 lead.

Hopp once again fought back, taking out a magnificent 150 finish to make it three straight legs for the German number one, who was bidding for his third PDC title in just over a year.

At 7-6 up, Ward missed three match darts, allowing Hopp to his double ten with his last dart in hand to take a thrilling encounter to a last-leg shoot-out.

Hopp piled on the pressure with visits of 180 and 125, but Ward was unshaken as he took out 68 to seal a historic win in his short career.

It was also a significant day for Robert Thornton, who returned to form with a win over Michael van Gerwen in the Last 32, which he followed with the third nine-dart finish of his career in a 6-3 win over Krzyszytof Ratakski.

The former World Grand Prix champion then defeated Chris Dobey to reach his first PDC semi-final in almost two years, where he was eventually defeated by Hopp.

Back-to-back quarter-final appearances across the weekend for Dobey move him into the world’s top 32 for the first time, Challenge Tour high-flyer Scott Taylor reached his second ProTour quarter-final and Portgual’s Jose de Sousa reached his first PDC semi-final.

Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis and Corey Cadby all fell before the Last 16 stage, while Raymond van Barneveld and Players Championship 15 winner Glen Durrant both suffered first round defeats.

The next Players Championship events will be held from across the weekend June 22-23 at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan, with live action shown on

See full Players Championship 16 results at

Players Championship 16 Sunday May 19, The Barnsley Metrodome

Last 16
Robert Thornton 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Chris Dobey 6-0 Jonny Clayton
Danny Noppert 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Max Hopp 6-2 Alan Tabern
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Adrian Gray
Harry Ward 6-5 Michael Smith
Scott Taylor 6-3 John Henderson
Jose de Sousa 6-5 Vincent van der Voort

Quarter-FinalsRobert Thornton 6-3 Chris Dobey
Max Hopp 6-3 Danny Noppert
Harry Ward 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Jose de Sousa 6-1 Scott Taylor

Max Hopp 7-6 Robert Thornton
Harry Ward 7-4 Jose de Sousa

Harry Ward 8-7 Max Hopp


Written by Josh Phillips


Thornton suffers early UK Open exit - Afternoon session round-up

Thornton suffers early UK Open exit – Afternoon session round-up


Thornton suffers early UK Open exit - Afternoon session round-upFormer youth world finalist Arron Monk produced the shock of the afternoon by knocking out Robert Thornton 6-4 in the second round of the UK Open.

It had already been a week to forget for Thornton after last night’s Premier League defeat to Gary Anderson.

And the Scot was left stunned by Monk, 25, who now goes on to face Phil Taylor in the next hurdle at Minehead.

There were several big names on show in the opening rounds, with 2011 finalist Wes Newton also on the end of a shock reversal, losing 6-4 to debutant Rob Cross.

Dean Winstanley squeezed by Kevin Painter in one of the hotly-anticipated ties of the second round, Winstanley defeating the Artist 6-4 despite his opponent firing home a 12-dart leg.

Andrew Gilding may have upset the odds by reaching the semi-finals of this tournament last year but suffered an upset himself after he went down 6-5 to 23-year-old Dutchman Ryan de Vreede.

Brendan Dolan set up a third round tussle with another debutant, Barry Lynn, after he brushed aside Scott Marsh in his fixture.

Jamie Caven, Darren Webster, Ronny Huybrechts all safely negotiated a passage through to tonight’s action albeit Rowby-John Rodriguez, Cristo Reyes and Andy Smith were among the players ranked in the Order of Merit top 50 to suffer a premature exit.
Third round ties take place tonight and is live on ITV 4 from 7pm.

Main Stage
First Round
Wes Newton 6-4 Mark Cox
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Mark Rice
Alex Roy 6-1 Dennis Smith
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Andy Smith
Second Round
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-5 William O’Connor
Lee Evans 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Arron Monk 6-4 Robert Thornton
Dean Winstanley 6-4 Kevin Painter

Stage Two
First Round
Andy Boulton 6-4 Lee Grimshaw
William O’Connor 6-1 Mark Jodrill
Magnus Caris 6-5 Jason Mold
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Mick McGowan
Second Round
Matt Clark 6-5 Mike De Decker
Joey Ten Berge 6-5 Mark Dudbridge
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Scott Marsh
Ryan Harrington 6-4 Darron Brown

Stage Three
First Round
Kevin Dowling 6-2 Dick van Dijk
Jonathan Worsley 6-1 Curtis Turner
Arron Monk 6-3 Stewart Rattray
Barry Lynn 6-4 Dean Stewart
Second Round
Jamie Caven 6-2 Gary Stone
Mark Frost 6-4 Mark Barilli
Robbie Green 6-3 Yordi Meeuwisse
Ronny Huybrechts 6-4 Jay Foreman

Stage Four
First Round
Ben Green Bye (Jason Hogg eliminated, did not register in time)
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Michael McFall
Harry Ward 6-3 Alan Tabern
Paul Hogan 6-3 Daniel Day
Second Round
Andy Jenkins 6-5 Wayne Jones
Steve Maish 6-4 Paul Milford
Josh Payne 6-1 Harry Ward
Darren Webster 6-2 Scott Dale

Stage Five
First Round
Mark Barilli 6-1 Darren Layden
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Ian McFarlane
Ryan De Vreede 6-3 Nathan Derry
Darren Webster 6-0 Lee Morris
Second Round
Richie Corner 6-5 Berry van Peer
Alex Roy 6-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Barry Lynn 6-4 Brett Claydon
Andrew Davidson 6-4 Cristo Reyes

Stage Six
First Round
Mark Frost 6-0 Andy Brown
Joe Murnan 6-2 Paul Whitworth
Andrew Davidson 6-5 Jan Dekker
Steve Maish 6-5 Jason Heaver
Second Round
Matthew Edgar 6-4 Mark Wilson
David Pallett 6-1 Jason Marriott
James Wilson 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross 6-4 Wes Newton

Stage Seven
First Round
Mark Wilson Bye (Les Delderfield eliminated, did not register in time)
Dean Winstanley 6-5 John Scott
Paul Milford 6-1 Chris Jones
Scott Marsh 6-1 Steven Rose
Second Round
Joe Murnan 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 Peter Hudson
Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Kevin Dowling
Magnus Caris 6-3 Ben Green

Stage Eight
First Round
Gary Stone 6-5 Johnny Haines
Rob Cross 6-3 Ken MacNeil
Ryan Harrington 6-1 Glen McGrandle
Josh Payne 6-2 Dave Parletti
Second Round
Andy Boulton 6-2 Jonathan Worsley
Ryan De Vreede 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Tony Newell 6-1 Paul Hogan
Stuart Kellett 6-5 Nathan Aspinall

Michael Smith

How have Premier League players fared on debut?

On Thursday night, Michael Smith will become the 28th player to feature in the Premier League after impressing during 2015, but history suggests that the St Helens thrower has a sizeable task on his hands if he wants to establish himself in the tournament.

Six of the current crop have featured in every edition of the event since making their debut, while Adrian Lewis and James Wade have only missed one year since making their debut in 2007 and 2008 respectively. It also took a major tournament win for Robert Thornton to regain his place in the competition.

It highlights the difficultly in not only retaining your place among the sport’s elite, but being able to make a sustained impact on a weekly basis while you travel up and down the country. The sums of money on offer and the regular exposure on television make it all worth it, but regardless of experience or current form, longevity in the competition is not guaranteed.

Michael Smith

As many as 11 of the previous 27 participants have made two appearances or less, with seven currently being limited to just one year. Some will have ambitions of making a return in the near future, but below, Darts World takes a look at the contrasting fortunes of each player who have made their debut in the tournament since 2010, with the competition evolving to accommodate two extra throwers from 2013 onwards.

Simon Whitlock

After his run to the PDC World Championship final, Simon Whitlock was granted his debut in 2010, but everything did not go according to plan for the Australian thrower in his first fixture. An 8-3 defeat and an 84 average against Phil Taylor left ‘The Wizard’ with it all to do, but despite remaining inconsistent throughout the 14 weeks, Whitlock finished in second place in the standings, before losing out to James Wade in the semi-finals.

Whitlock would go on to become an ever-present for the next four years, with an appearance in the final in 2012 his best performance, but after finishing bottom of the table in 2014, he has slipped off the radar.

Gary Anderson

Like Whitlock a year earlier, Gary Anderson would benefit from reaching the World Championship final but his Premier League debut would lead to his first televised triumph in the PDC. The Scot recorded eight wins during the league format to secure third place, but on finals night, he was superb in beating both Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis to continue what had been a rich vein of form on television.Gary Anderson

The following two years saw Anderson bow out before the playoffs, but after a narrow semi-final defeat to Michael van Gerwen in 2014, he returned a year later to beat the world number one 11-7 in the final.

Mark Webster

After back-to-back appearances in the World Championship semi-finals, Mark Webster was handed a wildcard for the 2011 campaign, and he suggested in the opening four weeks that he could become a mainstay in the competition, with an average of 110.19 being registered in an 8-2 demolition of Lewis. However, the Welsh left-hander would fail to win any of his remaining 10 matches as he finished with the worst record in the history of the tournament.

Webster would perform well for the remainder of 2011, reaching final of the Players Championship Finals at the end of the year. However, a first-round exit at the Worlds was the catalyst for a fall down the rankings, and it was only during the second half of 2015 that we witnessed the former BDO world champion show signs of a resurgence.

Andy Hamilton

After his surprise appearance in the 2012 World Championship final, Andy Hamilton would be provided with a wildcard for the next staging of the Premier League and he capitalised on the most closely-fought tournament ever by reaching the semi-finals with just four wins from 14 contests. He would lose in the last four to Whitlock, but his performances were enough to secure inclusion for the following year.

However, the 2013 event would represent his second and final appearance. The Stoke-on-Trent thrower won six times in 16 games but it was only enough to finish in seventh position.

Kevin Painter

Kevin Painter had slipped down the PDC Order of Merit during 2011 but his surprise success at the Players Championship Finals earned him a wildcard in 2012. ‘The Artist’ was always in contention for a playoff position, but an 8-1 drubbing against Hamilton was the difference between his opponent finishing third and Painter finishing seventh, and he has not featured in the event since his debut.

Michael van Gerwen

Michael van Gerwen

His victory at the World Grand Prix secured Michael van Gerwen’s debut in the Premier League in 2013 and the Dutchman has not looked back since. Eleven wins from 16 group fixtures was followed by victories over Van Barneveld and Taylor in the playoffs as he claimed his second PDC Major, but while continuing to dominate the league phase, he has not added a second crown to his trophy cabinet.

Making the final on each of his three appearances in the tournament is an achievement in itself, but only finishing as runner-up to Van Barneveld and Anderson in each of the last two years will only motivate Van Gerwen ahead of this year’s competition.

Robert Thornton

While Van Gerwen was taking centre stage, Robert Thornton was doing his best to keep pace with the rapid youngster. The Scot would suffer just two defeats in nine during the first stage, but five defeats in seven outings would see him miss out on the playoffs by just two points.

The following year, the former UK Open champion would scrape through to the last eight, but he would only win twice in 16 matches in 2014 – a run of results that would see him miss out on a wildcard 12 months later.

Wes Newton

The third debutant of 2013 – Wes Newton – found the tournament considerably tougher than Van Gerwen and Thornton. The Fleetwood thrower would lose six of his opening nine games, which would see him end the tournament in ninth place.

An otherwise consistent year would see Newton earn a second Premier League appearance, but again, he would finish in ninth place, claiming just two more wins – against Van Barneveld and Lewis – in another disappointing campaign.

Peter Wright

After his surprise run to the World Championship final, many questioned whether Peter Wright could maintain his consistency during the 2014 Premier League season, but ‘Snakebite’ would make an instant impression. Seven matches without defeat further enhanced his growing reputation and although he eventually missed out on the playoffs, his performances between February and May of that year sent a message to his rivals that he had the ability to gatecrash the upper echolons of the PDC Order of Merit.

Wright would fail to replicate his results in the tournament in 2015, but ahead of his third appearance this year, his ranking position and entertainment value should make him a guaranteed pick for the next few years.

Dave Chisnall

Dave Chisnall

Dave Chisnall would win just three of his 16 matches during the 2014 event but his results did not tell the whole story. The former Lakeside runner-up failed to emerge victorious in four fixtures where he averaged over 100, while he hit the most 180s during the league phase.

However, his place in the 2015 edition was under threat until he reached the final of the Grand Slam of Darts, and he capitalised on that run to match Van Gerwen during the league format. Chisnall would head the standings after week five, and although he eventually finished in second spot, he would again hit the most 180s over 16 matches. The St Helens thrower would miss three match darts against Gary Anderson in the semi-finals, but Chisnall is now an obvious choice for a wildcard each year.

Stephen Bunting

An excellent first 12 months with the PDC resulted in Bunting being given a wildcard for the 2015 event, but the Liverpudlian failed to fully recover from a slow start. He would reach the last eight of the group phase, but he was too far behind to realistically threaten for a playoff place and he would end his debut campaign with just three wins from 16 matches.

Kim Huybrechts

Kim Huybrechts would join Bunting in making his bow in 2015 but despite a number of impressive performances, which included an average of over 107 against Chisnall, the Belgian would finish bottom of the standings with just four points from nine matches