Young Guns Forcing Generational Change? Or The Old Guard Failing To Keep Up?

Darts World lets our readers have their voice heard and, it’s fair to say, our reader *Elias Wilhelm has gone from gentle homage to the Winter Gardens, to a full blast at some of our senior Pro’s:

In recent years, many young players, such as Aspinall, Dobey or De Zwaan, have attracted a lot of attention. Slowly, but surely they supplant themselves into the world’s elite. Slightly older players just can’t seem to keep up.

The Asp, Nathan Aspinall, has been amongst a group of younger players nipping at the heels of those who have been at the top for many years.(pic: Taylor Lanning)

How can it be that these are being harassed by young players from their place at the top of the world? Terry Jenkins, Ronnie Baxter, Mervyn King, Kevin Painter, Andy Hamilton, Robert Thorton. These were all players who have played in the Premier League in the last ten years. Now some have almost completely disappeared, while some have to fight to keep their spot on the tour.

Raymond van Barneveld ended his career simply because he no longer had the ability to win. He was in pain. It was too hard for him to endure, to go to tournaments, and hardly ever to win.

In addition, many trips were a problem for him. His departure was then at the end of last year full of disgrace. That’s exactly how many older players feel. The whole trips back and forth is much too exhausting. The tournament calendar is getting more and more crowded.

RVB’s career petered out over the last few years (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG).

The tournaments are indispensable for them because otherwise, they would drop in the rankings. That’s why they have no choice if they want to stay successful, they have to play and play and play. On top of that, strong young players join in. Especially the players, like Nathan Aspinall, who are almost unstoppable. Full of energy, they’re pushing up the rankings. Also players, like Humphries or Van Den Bergh, who beat big players every now and then and score good results.

All this makes it difficult for the older players, which is why it is no wonder that they are slowly being ousted from the world elite. Experience no longer plays such a big role and young players have a lot of self-confidence and no respect for,(or perhaps, fear of) the older players.

Everbronze? The Adonis does not conform to the conventions in any way!

Many are happy when players like Steve Beaton or Mervyn King can still keep up. But it is obvious that time is running out for the veterans.

Elias Wilhelm (@ewh27) is a Darts World reader and budding darts writer who appears to be getting the hang of our ‘Talking Points’!

*Reader’s writes is Darts World’s area for our reader’s voices to be heard. Their views are their own and do not represent the opinions of the magazine or its staff.

Diary Of Darting Distance: John Fowler Shares Tales Of Darting Life On Hold.

Darts World have been in regular contact with our contributors, both print and online, during these difficult days. Each have expressed a combination of sadness, disappointment and apprehension at what the future may hold. However, they have all also felt that others are worse of than they are and that they should make the best they can of things.

John Fowler, World Championship official, popular MC and author of ‘Mic Drop’ has offered to share his experiences through a regular diary. As always with John it is honest, revealing and quite moving at times. We hope readers gain from his sharing it:

John’s usually irrepressible personality has taken taken a a different tone during the Lock Down. he share it here:

Thursday 9th April:

2 and a half weeks into the “Lockdown” situation I find myself going out for a good long walk, at least 5 miles a day alone with my thoughts. Today I was a bit more cheerful than I have been and came up with a poem that many of you will have seen on Facebook. The weather was very kind and it was enjoyable. Beats staring at 4 walls I suppose:

While this footpath I walk along, 
The sky is full of skylark song,
A flock of bullfinch thirty strong, 
Serenade me on my way;

Listening to the buzzing bees,
Above the sound of a gentle breeze,
With the fresh new leaves upon the trees, 
On this beautiful spring day;

A brace of pheasant took to the air,
They gave me quite a scare,
I did not know that they were there, 
But I’m still alive so that’s okay.

Friday 10th April:

“Good Friday” although nothing “good” about today apart from the weather. I should have been working with Ronnie Baxter in Plymouth tonight before travelling to Germany for an exhibition with Jackpot, Diamond, Superchin and Duzza and then staying over there for the Bulls German open weekend in Kalkar next weekend. Another exhibition postponed today which doesn’t help my mood.

Saturday 11th April:

Another 5 or so mile walk today, different route to the last 2 days. I went down by the canal, another fine day, mood a little better today. Although disappointed about not being in Germany, working, at least I had an enquiry for later in the year or early 2021.

Sunday 12th April:

Another fine day, I was a little bit naughty so don’t tell anyone but walked a lot today totalling about 11 miles. To be fair, where I live, you don’t see many people where I walk and definitely give them a wide berth when I do. I spend lots of time thinking whilst walking, does that count as multitasking? Just hoping that this situation sorts itself out soon.

Stay safe all.


Editors note: John has form when this poetry lark, there is a rumour that he had poems published in darts world over 30 years ago! We shall try to track them down!

This Week – Our Weekly Troll Through Darting History.

Early March has become busier and busier over the last decade or so. The movement of the UK Open, from June, has added importance to the first quarter of the year. The PDC Pro Tour is strongly underway and the European Tour is about to start. Historically there has been plenty to look back at:

6 Years Ago:

Jenkins and Lewis have enjoyed magical moments in their careers, including the final of the UK Open in 2014 (Photo:Lawrence Lustig)

At the UK Open, Adrian Lewis claimed the title, with a crushing 11-1 defeat of Terry Jenkins, adding it to two World Championships and a European Championship. Jackpot has suffered, following injury and loss of confidence, since but had a superb run at 2014’s event. His only close call was a 9-8 victory vs Ronnie Huybrechts. That year’s outsider ‘fairytale’, there is one almost every year, was Aiden Kirk. His back-to-back wins over Gerwyn Price, Phil Taylor and Peter Wright took him all the way through to the last sixteen where he was narrowly defeated by Brendan Dolan.

10 Years Ago:

January 2018 Front Cover
Playing fewer floor event enabled The Power to play though to 2018/9

The Power was, again, asserting dominance over the PDC Pro Tour events. Phil adopted a policy of playing fewer and fewer Players Championship (or UK Open Qualifiers) competitions, in the last decade of his career, and had skipped the first four in 2010. This served two purposes, firstly, his opponents did not become immune to him or become familiar with the experience of playing him. Secondly, it enabled him to remain fresh and responsive when he did play. Taylor’s latest appearances of the 2010 season resulted in back-to-back victories. He claimed the Player’s Championship event on the Saturday for the loss of only 14 legs across 7 matches. The Power improved again for the UK Open qualifier the next day, he managed to win the seven matches needed, dropping only 7 legs! His run included four whitewashes and wins over Micheal Smith, Jelle Klaasen, James Wade and Colin Osborne Often Phil seemed to treat the early ‘floor’ events as ‘playing himself fit’, it certainly worked in 2010 he went on to claim the Premier League, The UK Open, The World Cricket Championship, The World Matchplay and the European Championship.

16 Years Ago:

Wayne Mardle triumphed in The Vauxhall Spring Open (PDC) defeating ‘Rocket’ Ronnie Baxter in the final. 2004 proved a bountiful year for ‘Hawaii 501’ he had just reached the first of three World Championship semi-finals and claimed two Pro Tour level titles as he rose through the rankings. The previous day had seen Alex ‘Ace of Herts’ Roy claim the famed Vauxhall Pro. Alex is often undervalued, as a professional player, but he has a remarkable record. The Watford based builder reached thirteen World Championships in-a-row and was an ever present at the UK Open from it’s founding in 2003 through to 2018. Roy reached the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay and UK Open as well as winning multiple Pro Tour titles, he was also an outgoing and bubbly person liked and much admired for his quiet and reserved nature!


Many Happy return to Peter Wright who turns 50 this week! That’s a Bullseye!

pic: L Lustig / PDC

Devonshires’ Darts Discussion – The Challengers: A Missed Opportunity?

AS many of you will have seen I recently published a piece on the PDC’s ‘Challengers’ concept. Some of our contributors then added their selections to my own. This week the PDC published their choices for the 2020 slots.

William Hill World Darts Championship Preview
The Power vs Barney in Rotterdam? A Challengers / Legend tie to wet the appetite!
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Following the announcement, of the PDC Premier League Challengers, I wonder if more could have been done or a different path taken? Most selections were as predicted and could easily be accepted. What a missed opportunity for us darts fans to have seen something different in 2020.

The PDC could have reverted to selecting 10 players to play the league season with two relegated. Imagine if along with those ten players two legends were picked for each week to compete against each other!

Imagine Taylor v Barney in Rotterdam,  Beaton v Burnett in Cardiff, Priestley v Deller, Bob Anderson v Lloyd (with or without the horse!), Manley v Baxter the list could go on and on. Surely fans would support the chance to see the legends, after all they have helped the PDC on its journey.

Challenger on both merit and legacy?

Many of the ‘Legends’ style players are also highly skilled in entertaining an audience and, although their desire to win is unbowed, they may well provide a different style in terms of personality and flair. Perhaps next year!

Original Article by Andrew Devonshire –

Follow Andrew: @A_Devonshire