Whitlock Adds Joins Remote 9-Dart Club.

Simon Whitlock became the latest player to hit an online nine-darter on his way to winning a ‘remote’ knockout tournament featuring other top names this weekend.

Winmau’s Simon Whitlock has had a relatively successful spell and seems to have adapted well to the distanced darting situation.

Former World Championship semi-finalist Whitlock took out his nine-dart finish during a second-round encounter with the in-form Jake Jones. The Australian’s nine-darter and the later final (vs Dobey) were not streamed online due to regulations that come alongside owning a tour card.

Simon had a disappointing time in the newly instituted PDC Home Tour but has acquitted himself well, in remote darts events, since.

‘The Wizard’ came through a field of 128 players in the tournament including Michael Smith and Chris Dobey last Saturday afternoon defeating Chris ‘Hollywood’ Dobey in the final. The event was put together by Australian Danny Kilbane, Dobey had conquered Michael Smith and the dangerous Andy Boulton en route to the final.

(PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ) CHRIS DOBEY IN ACTION

Meanwhile, the ‘Aussie Wizard’ removed Joe Murnan, William Borland before clinching victory over Dobey During his earlier encounter, with Englishman Jones, Whitlock hit six 180s in ten legs with two of those coming back-to-back in the final leg, Simon then completed the regulation 141 check-out to become the third big-name player to his a nine-dart finish during the lockdown months.

Unfortunately, neither Whitlock’s nine-darter nor his final against Dobey were allowed to be streamed online due to regulations that come alongside owning a tour card.


Feature pic: PDC (L Lustig)

Keeping Tabs On Home Tour 11.

Alan Tabern came through a final game thriller to top the table on his head-to-head record in Group 11 of the Unibet Home Tour. 

The 53-year-old faced a straight shootout for top spot with Simon Whitlock in the final game of the evening, with both players sitting on the exact same points and leg difference. 



A narrow 5-4 victory for Tabern over Whitlock therefore put him level on points and leg difference with young Dutchman Mike Van Duivenbode, but a 5-2 victory earlier in the night meant he topped the table on the head-to-head record. 

Kirk Shepherd had looked the most likely to win the group going into his final game, knowing that a two leg victory over Van Duivenbode would be enough, but the former World Championship finalist squandered a 4-2 lead to end up losing 5-4. 

An early 5-1 victory over Tabern had given Shepherd a healthy position in the table, but he wasn’t able to capitalise, losing his next two games by a one-leg margin. 

The Unibet Home Tour continues tomorrow with Max Hopp, Keegan Brown, Conan Whitehead and Mike De Decker in action! 

All the action will be streamed 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.

PDC Home Tour

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

Unibet Home Tour 
Group 11 – Monday April 27 (1930 BST)
Simon Whitlock 3-5 Mike van Duivenbode
Kirk Shepherd 5-1 Alan Tabern
Mike van Duivenbode 2-5 Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock 5-4 Kirk Shepherd
Kirk Shepherd 4-5 Mike van Duivenbode
Alan Tabern 5-4 Simon Whitlock

Home Tour: Aussie Wizard To Headline Group Eleven.

The Unibet Home Tour continues on Monday from 1930 BST as former World Championship runner-up Simon Whitlock headlines Group 11.

Simon Whitlock will again front a Home Tour group. (Pic; Winmau)

World number 14 Whitlock will compete in the 11th of 32 consecutive nights of Home Tour action along with Kirk Shepherd, Alan Tabern and Mike van Duivenbode.

The opening game of the night will see Whitlock face Dutch youngster Van Duivenbode, before another former World Championship runner-up, Kirk Shepherd, joins the action along with former UK Open semi-finalist Alan Tabern.

All four competitors will play each other once in matches played over the best of nine legs, with a winner crowned at the end of the night.

Darts commentator Dan Dawson will be on hand to talk through proceedings, which will also include live score graphics on screen.

Unibet Home Tour 
Group 11 – Monday April 27
Simon Whitlock v Mike van Duivenbode
Kirk Shepherd v Alan Tabern
Mike van Duivenbode v Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock v Kirk Shepherd
Kirk Shepherd v Mike van Duivenbode
Alan Tabern v Simon Whitlock

MATCH ODDS

4/9 Simon Whitlock v Mike van Duivenbode 13/8
22/25 
Kirk Shepherd v Alan Tabern 22/25
4/5 
Mike van Duivenbode v Alan Tabern Evens
4/11 
Simon Whitlock v Kirk Shepherd 2/1
11/10 
Kirk Shepherd v Mike van Duivenbode 7/10
7/4 
Alan Tabern v Simon Whitlock 2/5

All odds courtesy of unibet.co.uk and correct at time of publication.

HOW TO WATCH

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.

PDC Home Tour

Featured pic: L Lustig/PDC

Home Tour 9 -12: The Asp & Bullyboy To Join The Action.

Premier League stars Michael Smith and Nathan Aspinall are amongst the next 16 players set to take part in the Unibet Home Tour, with the line-ups and fixtures confirmed for Groups Nine to 12.

Will Bullyboy buck the trend, many top names have struggled with the home format.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG MICHAEL SMITH IN ACTION

Former World Championship runner-up Smith will headline Saturday night’s Group Nine action, while former UK Open champion Aspinall will compete in Group Ten on Sunday as the home-broadcast event continues.

PDC Home Tour

Saturday will see the ninth of 32 consecutive nights of live PDC action take place, as Smith takes on Dutch PDC newcomer Martijn Kleermaker in the opening game of Group Nine.

2019 Players Championship event winner Harry Ward and experienced competitor Matt Clark will also be in the hunt to win Group Nine.

Sunday’s Group Ten will begin with a contest between Aspinall and former ProTour event winner Steve Brown, before Ryan Joyce and Simon Stevenson enter the fray.

Popular Australian Simon Whitlock will make his Home Tour debut in Monday’s Group 11, taking on Dutch youngster Mike van Duivenbode in his opener.

Another former World Championship runner-up, Kirk Shepherd, will also be in action, along with former UK Open semi-finalist Alan Tabern.

Dialling in from Germany, Max Hopp is the top ranked player in Group 12, with the former European Tour event winner set to take on in-form Belgian Mike De Decker in his opening match on a night featuring two former World Youth Champions.

Taking a well-earned break from his duties as a key worker in an NHS laboratory, Keegan Brown will join the live broadcast from the Isle of Wight, while Conan Whitehead completes the Group 12 line-up.

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.

The opening six nights of Home Tour action have seen a fast-paced, unpredictable start to the innovative new tournament, with Luke Woodhouse’s sensational nine-dart leg from his kitchen on Saturday night the highlight so far.

With each night’s action commencing at 1930 BST, darts commentator Dan Dawson will be on hand to talk through proceedings, which will also include live score graphics on screen.

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.

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 Nine Fixtures
Saturday April 25

Michael Smith v Martijn Kleermaker
Harry Ward v Matt Clark
Martijn Kleermaker v Matt Clark
Michael Smith v Harry Ward
Harry Ward v Martijn Kleermaker
Matt Clark v Michael Smith
 
Group Ten Fixtures
Sunday April 26

Nathan Aspinall v Steve Brown
Ryan Joyce v Simon Stevenson
Steve Brown v Simon Stevenson
Nathan Aspinall v Ryan Joyce
Ryan Joyce v Steve Brown
Simon Stevenson v Nathan Aspinall

Group 11 Fixtures
Monday April 27

Simon Whitlock v Mike van Duivenbode
Kirk Shepherd v Alan Tabern
Mike van Duivenbode v Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock v Kirk Shepherd
Kirk Shepherd v Mike van Duivenbode
Alan Tabern v Simon Whitlock

Group 12 Fixtures
Tuesday April 28

Max Hopp v Mike De Decker
Keegan Brown v Conan Whitehead
Mike De Decker v Conan Whitehead
Max Hopp v Keegan Brown
Keegan Brown v Mike De Decker
Conan Whitehead v Max Hopp

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.

Dart’s World Readers Fill The Vacuum: A Review of The German Darts Grand Prix.

This weekend was scheduled to host the third event of the 2020 PDC European Tour – the German Darts Grand Prix. This tournament, as well as the European Darts Open, was rescheduled as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. It has been tentatively rescheduled for July 31st – August 1st. So with the lack of professional darts to keep us entertained this weekend, here is a look back at the 2019 instalment.

Simon Whitlock took on MVG in last years final.

The 2019 German Darts Grand Prix final saw World Number One Michael Van Gerwen take on Australian Simon Whitlock at Zenith, Munich. The Dutchman was seeking his thirtieth European Tour title, his opponent looking for only his second, having won the Dutch Darts Masters way back in 2012.

Van Gerwen arrived at the tournament having more trophies for the German Darts Grand Prix then Whitlock had European Tour titles in total, the Dutchman taking the titles in both 2017 and 2018. His first Grand Prix victory came after a 6-3 victory over soon-to-be World Champion Rob Cross. He backed this up the following year by overturning Peter Wright 8-5 (Euro Tour finals had been extended to best of fifteen legs in between these two tournaments).

The gulf between Whitlock and Van Gerwen was further emphasised by their head-to-head record going into the final. Of their thirty-nine career meetings, Whitlock had won just five. The previous fourteen contests had all gone in MvG’s favour; a run going back as far as October 2016.

Van Gerwen’s route to the final also showed the fantastic run of form he was in. He posted back-to-back 100+ averages against Ratajski, and then Bunting in his first two rounds. He was then pushed all the way by Ted Evetts in a 6-5 quarter-final match, before breezing past Rob Cross 7-1 in the semi-finals.

So with all this in mind, the way the final played out will not come as a surprise. MvG coasted into a 5-0 lead. He won legs in fourteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, and eleven darts respectively, breaking the Australian’s throw three times in the process.

Whitlock, clearly seeing that the final was out of his reach, began playing up to the crowd. He won three of the next four legs, to bring a clearly-annoyed Van Gerwen back to 6-3. ‘The Wizard’ then attempted a daring 145-out going for the bulls eye, treble fifteen, and bulls eye again, in the tenth leg. He unfortunately missed the second bull in the combination to claim the leg.

Van Gerwen swept in to clean up, and proceed to claim an 8-3 victory and another £25,000 cheque. Despite seemingly faltering in the middle of the match, his game average was still 106.45, showing the exceptionally high standards he has set for himself.

Unfortunately for Whitlock, despite making the final last year, when the Grand Prix is eventually held in 2020, he will not be in attendance, having dropped out of the Top 16 of the ProTour Order of Merit.

Similarly, Johnny Clayton, Max Hopp, Danny Noppert, and Darren Webster have also dropped out. They are to be replaced by Aspinall, Price, Ratajski, Durrant, and Jamie Hughes. Hopp is still set to attend as an invitee alongside Gabriel Clemens, the two being the best German players at the moment.


James Smith

Thanks to James Smith for taking to time to entertain and inform Darts World readers.

Catch up with James’s choice of the six best matches to watch during lockdown here.

Featured Pic: Kelly / PDC Europe

Practice Time – Just Can’t Get Enough? When Should You Stop?

A while back, in our ‘Coaching Corner’ we highlighted a piece from Mikko Laiho and Winmau in which they highlight the ideal time to be spent practising and some of the reasoning behind it. To help those will too much time of their hands (due to Covid-19) they have re packaged the information in a more accessible style:

Although our resident coach does not agree with every word (how many coaches does it take to change a light bulb?…….) he certainly thinks it valuable and a great starting point.


You can see the original article at winmau.com

Watch and Learn: Coach Takes Issue With Some Accepted Norms.

In many sports you may hear the refrain, from modern pundits or commentators, “the game has moved on” or ” he has raised the bar”. We all like to compare the greats, of our favoured era, with players active today. It makes for great bar-room conversation and fires up the social media ‘opinionistas’.

Bygone days? Or can much be learned from past glory? Many greats appeared unique but often their styles or skills do not come from thin air and are transferred to future generations.

Our resident ‘Coach’ takes issue with the “game has moved on cry” he says:

In darts direct comparisons with previous eras can be made. Players often cross more than one “era” and with so many statistics, information and analysis tools available the archive is a virtual complete history of the modern game. Obviously factors such as opportunity to pay, competition level and equipment, must be taken into account but much can still be learned.

More important, than the booze-fuelled debates on who was the greatest, most talented, best stylist…….etc., is that almost any player can benefit from studying what has gone before. Often, especially with beginners, you will hear remarks like, “whatever feels comfortable is ok”, “don’t copy anyone else” and other similar remarks. These are meant to encourage players to develop naturally and not try, and fail, to play like someone else.

This is all well and good, as far as it goes, but to reject the information available seems wasteful at best and arrogant at worst. Bearing in mind that everyone, especially the young, will try to emulate those that they admire, or who are in the public eye, it seems questionable if they are all trying to play like MVG or Gary Anderson.

Spot the Difference? One uses a far less side on stance, nothing is compulsory even today.

Players of almost any style and stage of development could learn a thing or two from some YouTube and or dartsdatabase.co.uk research. Some myths may be dispelled, and more confidence be found in your own method,  if you seek common cause with the greats of the game.

Coach Takes a Stance!

An excellent example is in terms of stance. If you were guided by current players you might think that standing in a side on position was almost compulsory. Taylor, MVG, Cross and many other adopt versions of this position. The more face on stance could look awkward or old fashioned. In addition, you may think the short, wristy throw is a thing of the past. Yet a quick look at the most successful players, with very long careers, over many years, offers a different story.

Bob Anderson, Legendary Champion & singular in style. (Pic:PDC)

Bob Anderson made his TV debut in 1979 and still featured in the International Darts League in 2007. Along the way, he claimed the World Championship and three consecutive World Master’s titles. Bob was unfortunate enough to have to compete with Eric, John, Jockey and then Phil all in their prime. But despite his individual style few would question his place in the elite of the game.

Aussie Simon Whitlock’s style can be traced back through darts ‘family tree’.

Overlapping, with Bob, is the career of another face on, whristy short throw, tall player. Simon Whitlock first competed in the PDC in 2004. In 2018 he was ranked back in the top ten and featured in the Premier League. Whitlock is one of the few still active, to have played in both BDO & PDC World Finals and was a major finalist as recently as 2017.

A close look at footage of both players reveals many similarities. They are tall upright men in their normal posture. Both lean in with the majority of their weight on the front foot. Both get the best results when they level the dart before release. Both are very still and deliberate in their stance but once the throw begins they are very fluid and rat-tat-tat with the three darts. Both are good at moving on the oche and their finishing can be unstoppable.

In terms of equipment both use mid length barrels, 50.8mm, medium stems and a standard shape flight. Both seem to prefer the larger surface areato the flight to get their dart to stand up in the bed.

Simon has seen the light, and now uses the tapered dart, thus both use slim fronted darts to allow superb grouping. Simon has been experimenting recently with equipment and accessories.  Bob was also keen to adapt to the times and switched to aluminium stems quite early and later adapted the grip on his signature darts due to a lessening of sensation with age. Simon has not yet turned fifty so could emulate Bob’s longevity. It may be that there is something to be said for this style even today!

So if you have a wristy throw, or face on stance, take heed of these great players. Maybe look at your darts, set up or both. Make one small change at a time, to ensure that you can tell what is helpful and what is not, and give each one a decent chance to work in all conditions.

Could you watch and learn a thing or two?

World Series Expanded in Australia – Summer Threesome Details!

Wollongong and Townsville will host PDC events for the first time in 2020 as top-class darts returns to Australia in August.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG : SIMON WHITLOCK IN ACTION

The World Series of Darts will return Down Under for a treble-header in August, with the NZ Darts Masters in Hamilton sandwiched between visits to two exciting new destinations in Australia.

The New South Wales Darts Masters will be held at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong on August 14-15 before the Queensland Darts Masters is held at the Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre on August 28-29.

The World Series of Darts’ international tour will begin in June with tournaments in New York and Copenhagen, featuring the likes of World Champion Peter Wright, world number one Michael van Gerwen and global sensation Fallon Sherrock amongst eight PDC representatives.

Damon Heta – Showed what local players can do by winning the Brisbane Masters.

Eight regional representatives will compete in each tournament – with last year having seen Australian ace Damon Heta take victory in the Brisbane Darts Masters.

Perth’s Heta has since gone on to win a PDC Tour Card, securing a place on the professional circuit alongside fellow Australians Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson.

“We’ve travelled around Australia in recent years with the World Series of Darts and it’s exciting for us to be visiting Wollongong and Townsville for the first time in 2020 to take these fantastic events to new audiences,” said PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter.

“Both are strong sporting areas and this is a great opportunity to see the world’s top darts players live in high-profile international tournaments.

“After Damon Heta’s amazing achievement winning in Brisbane last year, all eyes will be on the local stars from Australia and New Zealand to see who can grasp their opportunity to claim glory alongside the biggest names in darts.”

Fans wishing to attend the events have the chance to sign up for the FREE Priority Registration Window to receive the first opportunity to purchase tickets on Monday March 9. To sign up, please visit https://pdc.tell-us-what-you-think.com/s3/PDC-2020-World-Series-Register-Interest.

Tickets for the New South Wales Darts Masters and Queensland Darts Masters will then go on general sale on Wednesday March 11. Further information can be seen at www.pdc.tv/tickets.

2020 New South Wales Darts Masters

WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong

Friday August 14 (1900 start)

First Round x8
Table Ticket $77.77

Tiered Ticket $61.27

Saturday August 15 (1400 start)

Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals, Final
Table Ticket $87.96

Tiered Ticket $72.67

2020 Queensland Darts Masters

Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre

Friday August 28 (1900 start)

First Round x8
Table Ticket $76.50

Tiered Ticket $61.20

Saturday August 29 (1900 start)

Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals, Final
Table Ticket $86.70

Tiered Ticket $71.40

ENDS

The Devonshire Discussion – Time to Expand the Darting Safe Space?

The Exclusion Zone around and behind the Oche has been in place for some time now. It is usually clearly marked for major events and especially those on TV. A different colour carpet/flooring is used in order to remove and doubt and make it clear to the referee and watching officials.

Jackpot is a master at the art of close combat darts!
Pic: PDC

Whilst it’s been one of the better ideas that’s been introduced in the PDC over the years, we still see times where a player will celebrate, which they should rightly do, but the opponent is usually stood right on the edge of the exclusion zone, more often than not a big toe is in there. Adrian Lewis is a superb exploiter of the zone, although the DRA have disagreed at times!

The speed and fluency of many in the modern game can mean that it is almost seemless between throws. It is highly unlikely that both players are within the designated spaces 100% of the time during any match.

The Iceman has been known to get under the skin of opponents.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG GERWEN PRICE IN ACTION

Subsequently the two darters can get too close for comfort and this can cause friction and change a game when there’s no need for it. It is possible that this is what causes a build up of tensions between differing types of player or personality. Gerwyn Price vs Gary Anderson for example or Daryl Gurney vs Simon Whitlock at the WGP a couple of years ago.

Also slightly increasing the size of the zone at the back of the Oche can only help when players retrieve their darts from the board, will cut down on avoiding flying arrows too.

Eric & the other’ Founding Fathers’ did not require exclusion zones, they imposed their own!

Others at Darts World seem to feel that that darts has become more and more sanitised and that the over regulation of the playing space and clamping down on players expressing themselves is an example of snowflakery and risks eliminating one of darts key variables. The psychological combat element is and always has been a strong element of the game. No Safe Spaces seems to be their mantra!


What do you think? Let us know your view in the comments or @Darts_World Perhaps tell tell Andrew direct @A_Devonshire

Addition content by DW staff (italicised)

Featured Pic – PDC L Lustig

SnapShot Review: Red Dragon – Raptor (Points).

  • Product – Raptor (Points)
  • Brand – RedDragon
  • RRP – £8.90
  • Dimensions – 33mm (28mm exposed)
  • Features – Collared, Grooved & Barbed

Our resident coach is strongly of the opinion that “there has been little, or no, beneficial innovation in darts since the tungsten barrel”. He does, however, allow one notable exception, points!

Red Dragon Raptor Points – Perfectly paired.

Our friends at A.I.M: are currently conducting extensive tests on the various types of points on the market. Collared, coloured, grooved, coated and almost every other option available are being put through their paces. Some things have become obvious early on in the testing. The first is that Raptor from RedDragon is an exceptional product.

First Impressions: These points don’t come with flash packaging or attached to their own range of dart. However, it is immediately noticeable that they are unusual. They are plain and appear very well made indeed. They are 33mm long with 28mm exposed after fitting. The point is collared in style (to eliminate join between point & barrel), there are 4 grooves, from the collar downward, that allow for exact finger placement/grip. The lower section is slim and sharply tapered, for good board penetration and there is a small (2mm) barb for both finger feeling and board retention.

Fitting: We fitted Raptor points into three different brands of darts. The fitted easily and snuggly into all three with no complications.

Raptor’s grooves, barb and slim lower section all proved very popular.

Grooved Section: The grooves worked excellent for those who like to feel their finger in the same place but not to slip during delivery.

Lower(Smooth) Section: Testing showed that this penetrated the board well and was a good alternative resting point for those who like their finger on a smooth area.

Point Barb: Very unusually Raptor has a small, less than 2mm bard at the very tip of the point. This proved excellent in improving board retention, even the gentlest thrower had full confidence that their dart would stay in place. In addition, it proved very useful with those who naturally rest their finger at the point, Dennis Priestley style, for control.

Durability: The Raptor seems to have overcome one of the problems of newer complex points. Despite heavy usage, and a few drops, we have not broken one yet!

A.I.M: Independent Darts Consultancy

Player Quotes:

  • “Brilliant, much stiffer than my current collared point” – Serious Amateur
  • “Nice and not all flashy” – Elite level player
  • “All round winner” – Coach

Downsides: The only recorded downside was that they seem to be only available in this length. At least one player would move to them if a 30mm (external) option was provided.

The SnapShot: First impressions, and initial testing, reveal raptor to be an exceptional product, that raises the bar for modern points. The problems of over flexibility, breakability and clumsiness that affect some complex, or collared, points are solved in one go. Red Dragon have produced a superb product and the fact that it can be added, at point of purchase, to a huge range of darts, is a boon.