The Snapshot Review: Unicorn Gripper 6. The Beresford Barrel.

Not many amateur players are asked to produce their own barrel design by a major manufacturer. Fewer still see that design released onto the market and be available for general sale. Darts World contributor Tom Beresford is one of that select group.

Tom’s design was modelled on two of his favourite players, Joe Cullen and Krzysztof Kcuik and their distinctive barrels.

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)
  • Brand: Unicorn
  • Model: Gripper
  • Tungsten: 90%
  • Edition: 22g
  • Price: 35-60

Overview and First Impressions:

The barrels were originally marketed with Tom’s name and previous logo associated with them but are also part of the extensive ‘Gripper’ range. The ‘Beresford Barrel’ is the 22g version. The dimensions are relatively conventional at 45mm x 7mm, but its the grip sections that make the dart stand out. The dart has the same basic shape as the Cullen arrow but the front grip section is far more aggressive and has more in common with Kcuik’s Weapon of Choice’.

Open the Box:

  • One set of 3 90% Tungsten Barrels – Unicorn engraved.
  • One set of 3 Gripper Zero Degree’s Shafts
  • One set of 3 Gripper Flights
  • One set of 3 Finger Grip Points (Fitted)

These combinations of grip patterns give the dart a direct and aggressive look and feel. The slightly shorter, than Joe’s, dimensions are good for those who might describe themselves as ‘a bit wristy’. At 90% tungsten, they are a high-quality dart that will be long-lasting.

The price tag varies between 35 – 60 and is quite high for a ‘range dart’, best value can be obtained by hunting online. The finger grip points, supplied, are a nice touch and give the player a variety of options and ways for the dart to feel secure.

Test Results:

The testers found that both middle and rear grip players could get good performance from the dart. No front gripping player appeared comfortable.

“It took a while to really get the best from these, but they grew on me…..”

All the testers found the dart appealing and were eager to try them. The concept of a hybrid dart appealed to some who thought it may solve their personal needs.

Unicorn Gripper 90% Tungsten Darts 20g Designed With Tom Beresford
A180 still feature Tom’s logo as well as the Gripper branding. click to buy

Counterintuitively it was the players with the lightest grip who found the Gripper easiest to adapt too. They liked that they could feel it in their hand without having to actually ‘grip it’. The supplied set up is a very good place to start and the supplied accessories and spares are handy. However, a ‘Rockstar’ set up was very effective!

Downsides:

The split-grip proved awkward for more than one of our testing group. Those who persevered managed to find a manageable grip but it was not an easy task. However, more than one simply could not use the dart functionally.

Cullen himself simply said he had tried them

“but they were not for me”

Marks: 8/10

Overall this dart got 8/10. One tester marked very highly and one could not offer a mark. It seems that it could be thought of a marmite dart! An improving player in need of more grip may get on well with these if their technique suits.

SnapShot:

A highly specialised dart, popular with some testers and throw styles. Durable and interesting as well as superbly engineered and manufactured. A highly individual dart that may suffer from being the combination of two styles rather than a single vision. A definite ‘try before you buy’ dart, not recommended for a beginner who is yet to settle on his/her grip or throw style.


Review and testing carried out by AIM: for an on behalf of Darts World Magazine.

CDC Round-Up: Championship League Success & Next Gen Showcase.

As the coronavirus pandemic has left the world with a real shortage of live sport, the Championship Darts Circuit has ‘moved with the times’ as the North American-based darts corporation set up their very own darts at home league, the CDC Championship League. 

Gary Mawson returned to prominence via the online Championship League (CDC). (Pic: PDC)

Canada’s Kiley Edmunds picked up the inaugural title, defeating Gary Mawson in the final. Despite finishing fourth in the Canadian Division and seven points adrift of Matt Campbell, who topped the league phase from a Canadian perspective, the CDC Tour event finalist took full advantage of the tournament’s criteria.

Following the CDC Championship League, it was announced on social media that the third weekend on the CDC tour, due to be played in Denver, Colorado, was to be cancelled. 

The CDC’s CEO, Peter Citera released the following statement:

“Due to the continued uncertainty affecting North America surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the decision to cancel the upcoming events originally scheduled to be held in Denver July 10th – 12th.

“All outstanding registration fees from Tour Card Holders will be refunded via cheque by the end of June. 

“We are currently exploring the possibility of holding two event weekends (one in each country) in late summer or fall. More information on the remainder of 2020 will follow in the coming weeks. Please watch www.champdarts,com and follow all of our social media properties as we will share information on all the CDC tours (Main, Junior, and Evolution) when it becomes available.

“In the meantime, we look forward to bringing you Series #2 of the CDC Championship League that will feature seven US and Canadian players in a seven-week season with one weekly featured match from each country; details will be announced in June. Additionally, we’ll continue with our giveaways of dart-related merchandise and memorabilia made possible by the generosity of our wonderful sponsors. 

“Thank you for your continued support of Championship Darts Corporation and the Championship Darts Circuit. Please stay safe and healthy, we look forward to seeing you on the oche and the Livestream just as soon as circumstances allow.”

On the back of Mr Citera’s statement that leaves a degree of excitement prior to the Championship League announcement in a few weeks time. But, in the mean time, the CDC already have something else up their sleeves.. 

Keeping North America entertained, the CDC announced the ‘Next Generation Showcase’ featuring some of the most talented young players in North America, kicking off on June 3. 

Separated into two divisions, CDC Junior Division & CDC Evolution Division, Kaden Anderson, Jamison Merritt, PJ Stewart, James Butler, Keifer Durham, Gavin Nicoll, Jacob Womack and Joey Lynaugh will battle it out for a place in the play-offs. 

Match format

Junior Division: Best of 10 legs, a win earns two points, with a draw earning a point. 

Evolution Division: Best of 12 legs, a win earns two points, with a draw earning a point. 

Notable dates

  • Week one: Wed June 3
  • Week two: Wed June 10
  • Week three: Wed June 17
  • Week four: Wed June 24

Aspinall To ‘Open’ Darts World’s ‘Player’s Lounge’. Live from 7.30pm Tonight.

Former UK Open Champion Nathan Aspinall will be our first ‘Players Lounge’ guest, tonight at 7.30 pm. ‘The Asp’ with be chatting with Darts World’s Tom Beresford over on our facebook page. The popular Stockport player will be talking all things darts, and maybe having a bit of fun.

The Asp is a thoughtful, but fun, guy.

Fresh from his recent Home Tour success ‘The Asp’ is focused on the upcoming Betfred World Matchplay and hoping to climb the ranking over the next year or so. Nathan is a down to earth level headed guy, who not so long ago could barely afford a new dartboard.

It seems he has not forgotten his earlier tour struggles and he has spoken out about the difficulty facing those ranked outside the top sections of professional darts and the difficulties that lie ahead with regard to ranking tables and the restart of the PDC tours.

All-in-all, he is the ideal guest to open Darts Worlds new ‘Players Lounge’ and we hope you enjoy the first of many ‘Facebook Live’ events.


Pix: Taylor Lanning

Darts World Team: SportsJourno Tom Joins Up.

Sports journalist Tom Beresford, 32, has become the latest member of the Darts World team. Tom will be joining as a writer, and contributor, offering his knowledge and experience across a range of areas.

Thanks to recent new investment, Darts World is aiming to provide our readers with original and varied content across a range of media and platforms. Tom is an experienced journalist with a background football and darts.

He has written for various magazines and newspapers as well as interviewing some of the world’s best dart players. He has appeared on BBC Five Live on several occasions. In addition, he has hosted podcasts assisted darts management teams with various tasks and even commentated on live darts.

Tom will also add considerable playing ability to the “Darts World All-Stars” he is a very keen player who throws to quite a high level. Indeed, he reached the L16 of a recent Rileys’ UK Open Qualifier!

All the Darts World family would like to take this opportunity of welcoming Tom and wish him every success as he builds his new role.


Legends Of The Oche: New Light Through Old Windows?

Sports journalist, and Darts World contributor, Tom Beresford, recently launched a new podcast aimed at capturing the spirit of darts’ first golden era. Tom aims to bring a contemporary take to darting tales of yore and seek the insights of some of the game’s biggest and most influential characters.

Alongside Tom, for the debut edition is Bobby George. It’s not a stretch to say that Bobby brings decades of anecdotes, memories, and serious darting knowledge to any conversation.

Dr Linda Duffy is expected be a regular contributor. Her insights, both academic and affectionate, are always insightful.

Darts World would wish every success to Tom and the team behind this new venture. Crediting our sport’s modern founding, enjoying it, and learning from it seems a sure-fire winner for darts fans everywhere.

The King of Bling, a certainty for stimulating conversation? We would think so!

The Rise Of North American Darts – CDC Goes from Strength to Strength.

As the growth of the North American darts scene continues to rise, Florida’s Daniel Baggish, Philadelphia’s legendary figure, Darin Young and Ontario’s ‘Ginga Ninja’ Matt Campbell represented North America amicably at the 2020 PDC William Hill World Darts Championship in London prior to the festive break.

Before we delve into the World Championship itself and the plaudits that the three North American representatives deserve, let’s just offer an overview as to just how much the profile of the sport in the North American region has grown over recent years.

Championship Darts Circuit: The growth of the North American game

The growth of the Championship Darts Circuit, a tour that was set up around five years ago by a group of four partners – Peter Citera, Anthony Eugenia, L.David Irete and Jeff Goode. This particular team of darts enthusiasts shared a vast knowledge of the sport and a long-term vision – to pasture together the best players that North America has to offer and to raise the bar in terms of standard on a consistent level, with rewards to match those who can play at the highest level.

Like any new business plan, the CDC did take time to generate interest and build. The Dart Connect system coincided with the launch of the CDC tour, allowing darts fans on a global scale to keep up-to-date with all events and individual performances.

A year or two into the existence of the CDC, tournaments were able to view using online streams and gradually, the Championship Darts Circuit consistently gathered in large viewing figures in each of their events.

Hard work, rewarded

Following the consistent hard work and high-quality players emerging from the CDC tour, in 2018 – the CDC’s efforts were recognised by the PDC and after months of meetings and communication with the PDC, Barry Hearn and Matthew Porter rewarded the CDC’s efforts by offering three spots at the 2019 PDC World Championship, those three places were allocated to the highest-ranked USA player on the CDC tour, whom at the time was Arizona’s Chuck Puleo, the highest-ranked Canadian (Jim Long) and the winner of the North American Championship in Las Vegas, which was none other than Jeff Smith.

Following the 2019 World Championship, both Puleo and Long were rewarded further as the Professional Darts Corporation awarded places to the pair in the USA and the Canadian team at the PDC World Cup of Darts in Germany. Puleo pairing up with the ever-present Darin Young and Long accompanying Dawson Murschell. The Canadian duo performed superbly with a great run to the quarter-finals, just losing out to the Netherlands 2-1, with Murschell enjoying a memorable win over Michael van Gerwen en route.

After an impressive 2019 from a North American perspective on both the CDC tour and in at the PDC World Championship and the World Cup, the growth of the sport and the opportunities that were on the table to the top players in the North American region, more and more ‘new’ players emerged out of the region as the 2019 CDC Tour kicked off on March 30.

Darin Young made a great start to the year on the CDC tour after agonisingly missing out on the PDC World Championship spot in the final event back in 2018. Young won two out of the first three events, reaching the final in all three. Ontario’s Matt Campbell came into some great form midway through the season, reaching four consecutive finals, winning two of them and threw his name into the hat for a place at Alexandra Palace.

The Canadian Burst onto the scene midway through the 2018 CDC tour, reaching the final on-tour in just his first CDC weekend – reaching a final after coming through the qualifiers, producing 23 maximums over the course of the event and just losing out to an on-song Darin Young in one of the greatest finals we’ve seen since the CDC’s inception.

After Young and Campbell continued to reach finals and win events, it came as no surprise to see the pair clinch their places at Alexandra Palace. Campbell, who just missed out on a place at the North American Championship, deservedly booked his debut at the PDC World Championship.

Joining Young and Campbell at the PDC World Darts Championship was none other than Florida-based star, Danny Baggish – a player that’s been taking North American darts by storm over the course of the year, winning events left, right and centre, travelling to tournaments all over North America and producing some breathtaking displays, breaking average records.

Baggish stormed his way through the qualifiers at the North American Championship in Las Vegas. Baggish recorded several averages in the one hundred-and-teens en route. In the North American Championship itself on the PDC stage, Baggish defeated Elliott Milk, Leonard Gates and Jeff Smith to secure his place at Alexandra Palace and setting up an opening round tie with Daryl Gurney in the PDC US Darts Masters.

Ahead of Baggish’s clash with Gurney, it was a tie that excited darts fans, not only in North America but on a global scale, given the quality of Baggish’s performances in 2019. Despite losing out 6-1 to the Irishman, who’s of course a two-time major winner, Baggish certainly won over several fans, globally.

So, as the Championship Darts Circuit tour came to a close, Baggish made the decision to compete in the final two CDC events via the qualifiers. The Florida thrower stormed through the first qualifying event, averaging a whopping 110.5 in both of his victories, sealing qualification with a 111.2 average in a 3-0 win over Mike McClain.

During Main event nine, Baggish produced several impressive displays as he reached the third round, before losing out to an in-form Danny Lauby. Baggish notably saw off three-time world champion John Part in a crushing 5-0 win with a breathtaking 112.2 3-dart average.

As expected, Baggish successfully came through the qualifier for the final CDC event of 2019 and after tasting defeat in the previous event, Baggish successfully stormed through the field in Philadelphia and won his first CDC title at the second time of asking. Baggish enjoyed a series of victories over the likes of Paul Burns (5-0), Joe Chaney (5-2), Dave Richardson (5-1), Jeremiah Millar (6-1), Chuck Puleo (6-2) and Joe Huffman (6-2) in a blistering series of performances to end the CDC season.

So, as the 2020 PDC World Championship kicked off at Alexandra Palace, first-up from a North American standpoint, Ontario’s Matt Campbell came up against former BDO World Championship finalist, Mark McGeeney.

2020 PDC World Championship

Campbell put in a solid performance and matched McGeeney in the scoring stakes, in the end, McGeeney’s stage experience proved to be a telling factor as he pounced on every single error from the Canadian. Campbell fell to a 3-1 defeat, but there were plenty of positives to take from his performance – his scoring was consistently heavy, if his timing was better and grasping the chances more ruthlessly, then he really can be a handful to any player in the PDC ranks. Will Campbell decide to give PDC Qualifying School a go, who knows?

Ever-present USA darting star, Darin Young was involved in an emotionally-charged first round tie as ‘Big Daddy’ completed a memorable 3-1 victory over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in a result that ended the Dutch legend’s final World Championship campaign.

For Young, it was a result that filled him with confidence and although the night was surrounded by the aftermath of the Dutchman’s career coming to a close, Young remained upbeat as he moved into round two.

“Raymond’s been on the front-line for the best part of 15-20 years, it’s excitement for me, but honestly, I feel bad for Raymond.” said Young after the win. “I was always the underdog as far as the crowd was concerned, but I kind of played that to my advantage, I think. I’ve put a lot of practise in, my preparations been good and you never know when it’s going to be your last match.”

Darin Young in a celebratory mood after the win over van Barneveld. (Pic: PDC)

“There’s no pressure on me whatsoever, everyone in this place was expecting me to lose this match. What I think happened for me is that all the years of experience, all the years of being here and the age I’m at now and the practice that I’ve put in this year, I haven’t put in since I was a young lad is paying off. If I can keep that rhythm going then I don’t really care who I play.”

Following Young’s heroics over van Barneveld, the Philadelphia star almost recorded a Dutch-double. Young moved within a leg of a 3-1 win, before Jeffrey de Zwaan produced heroics of the highest order to force a deciding set. The American moved ahead in the fifth set and missed a match-dart at D8 to stun the ‘Black Cobra’ but de Zwaan used his stage experience to secure a place in the third round of action at the Ally Pally.

It was another impressive showing from Young, who used his experience to carry himself through the tournament and despite defeat, there are many positives to take from another decent World Championship campaign.

Thirdly, it was time for the much-fancied Florida star, Danny Baggish to make his PDC World Championship debut. Baggish used his spare time in London to perfect his preparations as the USA ace sharpened up with the likes of 13-year old star, Leighton Bennett at Target Darts HQ and John Scott alongside the Middlesex super league team.

Baggish was tipped for big things ahead of the action at Alexandra Palace, and it’s fair to say that he won over plenty of fans in the United Kingdom due to his professionalism and his high-quality levels of performance.

Despite Baggish’s great year in terms of his form across North America, questions were asked how would he be able to handle the pressure applied from the PDC professionals, well those fears were soon put to bed as Baggish dug in deep to secure a hard-fought 3-2 win over Andy Boulton in his opening match.

Coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 behind, Baggish really had to remain mentally calm and composed on the oche as he withheld early pressure from Boulton and the Florida ace’s quality shone through as he moved into the second round of the competition.

Danny Baggish had a superb 2019 (Pic: PDC)

Following the win, Baggish was full of confidence and expressed his delight as he spoke to a jam-packed media room at Alexandra Palace.

“I feel ecstatic,” said Baggish. “Everyone that’s here, want to be here and to be able to play here for the first time and win is unbelievable. 

“I found another gear from 2-1 down and after I made it 2-2, I felt like it was ‘my time’. 

Baggish admits that playing darts in London earlier in the week really helped him. 

“It’s unbelievable. Where I’m from, there’s no steel-tip leagues, it’s all electronic and soft-tip. What you guys have here is fantastic and I’ve loved it [London]. 

Baggish was also quick to praise the CDC, insisting: “I wish we could play events every weekend.” 

“The CDC is the best thing going right now. If we’re going to continue to bring the best players in North America against each other, then it’s only going to help darts in North America.”

In terms of the possibility of attending PDC Qualifying School, Baggish was quick to admit that he will be there.

“I’ll be at Q-School.” Said Baggish. “If I can play well at a solid pace, then I’ll stand every chance.”

In the second-round, Baggish came up against the much-fancied UK Open champion, Nathan Aspinall. Many wrote Baggish off before a dart was thrown, and the American responded to that as he took the opening set, although he expected a backlash from Aspinall.

As anticipated, Aspinall battled back as the pair continued to trade blows with moments of real quality being produced in what was a fascinating spectacle. Baggish created an opening in the third set, and of for large parts looked like he was heading for a 2-1 lead, but Aspinall really showed his class as he wrapped up a 3-1 win.

Despite defeat, Baggish really showed a glimpse of his potential and even Aspinall was full of praise for the American, insisting that it won’t be the last time that Baggish will appear on the biggest stages in world darts.

On a continual scale, darts in North America is on the rise, massively. it’s certainly going to interesting to see how many North American’s head over to PDC Qualifying School in January.


This is a modified version of the Tom original article, photos and social media content has been removed.

Original version here.