This Week – Jocky Is The Master.

This Week, the darting archives feature one of darts most loved sons, a legendary Swede from the 1970s, a lightning-fast Dutchman, a little-known major winner, and a deadly Canadian. The 14th-20th of June has been a fruitful week over the years.

The Silencer – Jeff Smith.

Forty Years Ago:

Darts first non-UK star claimed the News of the World trophy by defeating Dave Whitcombe 2-0. Sweden’s Stephan Lord deserves huge credit for his early role in widening the game’s popularity beyond the shores of the UK. Although this was to be his only major, Stephan was a superb, fluid player who reached the last four at both the World Championships and World Masters.

Jocky staked his Masters claim in 1980

Meanwhile, Jocky Wilson claimed his first ‘Scottish Masters’ title. The ‘Wee Man’ went on to set all manner of records in the long running event. To this day he is the only player to have won it three times. Wilson was also the youngest winner. He was thirty at the time!

The Masters continued, unbroken, until 2010. This thirty-three-year run featured victories for numerous Scottish legends including Gary Anderson (twice), Robert Thornton, John Henderson, and ‘Bravedart’ Jamie Harvey. The event was revived in 2014 and claimed by its oldest winner, the forty-two year old Alan Norris.

Thirty Years Ago:

The News of the World trophy featured once more. The 1990 crown was captured by the mercurial Paul Cook. Paul repeated Bobby George’s boast of winning the event without dropping a leg! ‘Cookie”s triumph brought down the curtain on the storied event’s incredible continuous run (from 1948-1990). Check-out JR Lott’s piece in our ‘Unsung Heroes’ area for more on Paul’s often overlooked achievement.

That year’s Canadian Open was captured, three decades ago, by Bob Anderson who seemed to love this event, between 1987 and 1992, ‘The Limestone Cowboy’ claimed the title twice and reached the final on four more occasions!

Ten Years Ago:

Vincent was painting his first PDC canvass in 2010.

Vincent Van De Voort claimed a PDC Pro Tour title, pipping Wayne Jones in the final. VVV’s win was the quickfire Dutchman’s second title of 2010 and part of a superb run during that year. Vincent went on to reach the Qtr-finals of the 2011 World Championships. During the Ally Pally event some Tottenham Hotspur fans re-purposed a terrace chant to the tune of KC & The Sunshine Band’s ‘Give It Up’, it’s fair to say Vincent’s receptions were never the same again!

This Time Last Year:

Dave Chisnall was underlining his title-winning ability and bringing a smile to the face of his new backers, Harrows. Chizzy seemed lifted, by the new arrangements, and produced a superb run to win the Danish Open (PDC).

Chizzy was hitting his straps in 2019. (Pic: Taylor Lanning)

On the other side of the Atlantic, Canadian thrower Jeff Smith solidified a winning run by claiming the Canadian Open (WDF) . ‘The Silencer’ had been showing signs of a return to his very best for a year or more, and his momentum was growing. Within months Jeff had reached the last 16 of the World Masters. He went on to reclaim his Pro Tour Card, and immediately reach his first Pro Tour event final, in the early months of 2020.

‘This Week’ has been a busy and eventful one over the years and it seems strange to think that we will look back to find a Covid-19 shaped blank. Yet, the success of ‘distanced darts’ and with the tentative restarting of live events, perhaps, this week will be seen as a turning of the page. I certainly hope so!


This Week appears regularly at dartsworld.com check out recent editions here.

“High Trees Take A Lot of Wind” – MVG Unconcerned By Comments.

MIGHTY Michael van Gerwen admits he doesn’t care what people say about him as he prepares for a return to the big stage. The mean, green machine World No.1 has not competed since the last Unibet Premier League night in Liverpool on March 12, having sat out the PDC Home Tour.

MVG – Bullish in his response to the remarks of others. (Pic: Taylor Lanning).

But MVG, 31, was in a bullish mood and quick to dismiss any talk that a switch of darts to Winmau, following his World Championship final defeat to Scot Peter Wright, maybe the start of any decline. Van Gerwen revealed on his YouTube channel:

“People love saying things about me. From the biggest names to the smallest names. I’ve got a big target on my back. High trees take a lot of wind I always say, it’s a big saying in Holland”.

I have to deal with it. I take it as a positive if people talk about you, it means you’re still doing quite well.“There’s nothing to complain or worry about, I need to focus on my own game. Whatever anyone says, I don’t really care.”

MVG seems to have taken the coronavirus lockdown in his stride, enjoying an unexpected extended paternity leave with wife Daphne, daughter Zoe and new baby son Mike junior who was born in early April.

He also admits that he will practice stage social distancing with sparring partner Vincent van der Voort before the TV events commence again. He added: “It’s a big hit for everyone and everyone around you. The coronavirus has hit everyone, you have to deal with it as good as possible. Try to make the most out of it. But I’m looking forward to being back on tour.

“My new little boy is doing well, at the start he was crying a lot, that was difficult. But now he’s doing really well.“ I have rumours that they try to put on the Matchplay behind closed doors, if that’s the target then we need to all hope for it and see what the Government body says of course. The only thing we can do is wait until the PDC brings out more information.

Michael is adjusting to the likely new distancing requirements. (pic:Taylor Lanning)

“I’m practicing now, I do my routine but I’m not really playing matches yet. Myself and Vincent spoke about this that there’s no point yet to play games against each other.

“It’s difficult to imitate a normal game but without knowing what the rules are going to be, it’s pointless.“We will do. But first we need to wait for more details and we can’t do anything yet at this moment. “Vincent always speaks highly of me when we talk about practice. He’s playing really good. We are starting to push each other towards a high level. That’s what you want. I hope we can do some damage again on the big stages, that’s what I love.”

Van Gerwen certainly quashed any thoughts of a barren few months without trophies by taking the UK Open and comfortably placed second in the Premier League table. He added: “In the UK Open I played some phenomenal games, only one game I lost a little bit of focus. But still, I was good enough and my form was there.

“I just need to make sure I keep my form from the UK Open. Winmau have created this monster version for me. I want to be back on the tour, I want to do well with the new darts”. 

“I’m changing darts more often but I think it’s 90 percent who is throwing the dart.

“If you give me a set of brass darts I can beat 70 percent of the field in the PDC as well!”.


Michael has offered ‘5 Top Tips‘ to help you improve your game and take it to the next level.

Phil Taylor

This Week – Our Weekly Trawl Through Darts’ Archive Nets.

This edition of our regular look back through some of darts most memorable, or significant, moments, stretches from March 15th – March 21st. We journey back as far as the early 1990’s and through to 2015. Wade, Barney, Aspinall, Hamilton and Lazarenko all feature:

29 Years Ago:

Raymond van Barneveld
The RVB legend got moving in 1991. This week 29 years ago marked a good start to a signature season.

The German Open, from 1991, was in the second year of what would prove an unbroken run until this year (lets us hope that they can rearrange 2020’s event!). It was notable for a few reasons. Raymond Van Barneveld began a season that would see him win his first ranking event. RVB had to settle for a Qtr Final here though. U.S. star Steve Brown reached the final and showed a little of what was to come. Steve finished in the 3rd place in the first PDC World Championship in 1994, defeating Peter Evison in the play off match, and was still playing elite darts into his 50’s. As with a number of overseas players it is shame that we did not witness Steve at his best, for a longer time, but the slump in darts popularity made it impossible for many to travel and earn a living. Belgian Bruno Raes claimed the title overcoming Brown in the final. Raes was a quite the home player! Between 1991 and 2009 he was the whole range of Belgian events, Belgian Championships, Gold Cups Opens and National Championships were claimed repeatedly while he seemed rarely to venture beyond his borders. Indeed the German Championship may have been his only non Belgian title. Bruno make an exception for the majors in Britain, reaching the last 32 of the World Championships (x2) and the World Masters as late as 2011.

9 Years Ago:

Vincent van der Voort
Vincent was having a good start to 2011. This week saw him reach the semi’s of the RTL7 Masters.

Speaking of 2011, that year saw the only holding of the RTL7 Masters. The Dutch TV giant sponsored a invitational event not dissimilar to the current Champions League of Darts. After a group stage, four groups of three, the semi finals featured Phil Taylor vs Gary Anderson and Vincent Van de Voort against Raymond van Barneveld (handy for Dutch TV) the sponsors were rewarded with the final they craved. ‘The Power’ took on RVB with Taylor emerging triumphant, as was usually the case, by a score of 8-3 in the final.

Another event beginning to become an established feature on the calendar, was the Torremolinos Open weekend. The 2011 tournament was claimed by young Jake Jones. Jake defeated the immortal, so it seems, Paul Harvey in the final. Jones was not yet 18, whereas Harvey was in his late forties and enjoying a very good spell of results. Jones continued an excellent junior career, but is yet to realise his full potential in the game. Harvey is still playing well and was most recently spotted at Rileys qualifier for the UK Open.

5 Years Ago:

James Wade
Often overlooked James Wade was reaching finals, and winning events, from 2002 to 2015 and indeed this very weekend!

James Wade claimed the Pro Tour event held on March 15th (A feat he came close to repeating yesterday when he was runner up to Ian White). His route to the title was one of the tougher, his defeat of Peter Wright, in the final, was preceeded by wins over a handful of superb players including Micheal Smith, Gerwyn Price, Kev Thomas and Mensur. Many undervalue ‘The Machine’s career, but it should be noted that he has been winning PDC ranking events (Pro Tour) since 2002 and is still only 36 years old! Hidden away on the same day Nathan Aspinall can be seen bowing out at the L64 stage. Nathan should be a lesson to all, it is possible to have a tough time at the highest level but then to learn, re group and step up again.

Birthdays:

Andy Hamilton
Happy Birthday to The Hammer (53).

Amongst this week’s birthdays are: ‘Big Cliff’ Lazerenko (68) and Andy Hamilton (53). Both men reached Major Championship finals, only to be thwarted by the icons of their day. In Cliff’s case Eric, John, Jockey or Bob were usually in his path. Whereas, Andy, was often prevented, from lifting trophies, by fellow Stoke-on-Trent titans Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis.

Cliff, however, did manage to lift both the British Open and the British Matchplay.


VVV Speaks – Vincent van der Voort Talks Sponsorship, Ambition and Return to Form.

Former major finalist Vincent Van de Voort has been talking about the refresh his career seems to have undergone in recent months. The 44-year-old Dutchman sat down with for Winmau.tv and covered all kinds of topics:

New Sponsor New Kit:

Despite always using a simple ring gripped, straight barrelled, dart Vincent seems keen to make a few changes while his whole kit is undergoing a relaunch. He is aiming to get more weight to the front of the dart in order to increase the visible space in the treble. It seems that they may yet be a tweek or two until the perfect VVV dart is finalised.

Practice and Performance:

One of the better things about being as experienced as Vincent is the self awareness. In the conversation he acknowledges that his rhythm must be right and that too much thinking leads to disaster. He also knows that he must get his enegy level right in order to maintain his performance.

His injury issues over the years have resulted in a stance and posture change, he is located much further to the right then previously, this seems to be working and is causing much less pain.

Form and Confidence:

Vincent seems very comfortable with his form in general but stresses that the confidence component needs to be there also. Although he is keen not to set too many targets, too soon, to gain access to the big TV events seems to be high on the VVV agenda. His current aim is to secure qualification for the World Matchplay. He is on course but there is a very competitive field just behind him!

The Passion:

The motivation to redicover his best form, and to return to the elite level, following such a tough times, is born out of a hugely competitive spirit. Vincent sees his life as a battle and his is not prepared to quit this stage of it just yet! He feels that the ability to practice more now that he is fitter, and healthier, will put him back on a level playing field with the other top players.

Outside The Tour:

Vincent has his own dart store , run by his wife, and seems to be enjoying another side to the sport. The store is a real family enterprise with Vincent’s son also helping make it a success. It seems to be improving year on year and providing a distraction from the grind of the life of a professional player.

DW Coach Comment: “Looking at this interview a few things stand out. It is clear that Vincent was very badly affected, both physically and psychologically, by his long term injury. But it is also clear that he has developed a greater self awareness and is willing to make changes that will help him sustain his career. His attitude is good and it would not be surpring if he threatened at the top level again.


Original video and interview are presented on winmau.tv on YouTube.

Anderson Eases Through – Day Four Round – Up.

Gary Anderson enjoyed a perfect start to his 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Championship campaign with a convincing 3-0 victory over Brendan Dolan on Monday at London’s Alexandra Palace.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROUND2 GARY ANDERSON V BRENDAN DOLAN GARY ANDERSON IN ACTION

Day Four of darts’ biggest event saw two-time World Champion Anderson get off to a slow start as he averaged under 80 in the opening set.

However, the Scot improved as the contest went on, piling in seven 180s and hitting a 144 checkout on his way to a straight-forward win.

“I’ve been playing really well on the practice board but I went up there tonight and I was nowhere near it in the first set because of nerves,” Anderson admitted.

“But there were some good signs there, the 180s and 140s are coming back and there were a few moments when I felt in full flow up there.

“I’ve not had a lot of stage time this year so I’m a bit out of practice and because of that I felt so nervous walking on stage.

“I’ve had four days solid on the practice board and I’ve been really happy with the way they’re going so hopefully we will see that come out in the rest of the tournament.”

Earlier in the night Keane Barry became the third youngest player to compete in the World Championship, but he was whitewashed 3-0 by Vincent van der Voort.

WILLIAM HILL PDC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2020 ALEXANDRA PALACE LONDON PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND1 VINCENT VAN DER VOORT V KEANE BARRY KEANE BARRY IN ACTION

Both the first two sets went to a deciding leg, with Dutchman Van der Voort showing his experience to hit crucial doubles at key moments to keep Barry at bay.

The young Irishman averaged 91.72 on his big stage debut, hitting three 180s but he was powerless to stop the Van der Voort assault, and he will now face tenth seed Dave Chisnall.

“It definitely wasn’t a comfortable game to play in, I’m so happy to win,” said Van der Voort.

“Keane is a quality young player with so much potential, the way he hits the treble 20 is frightening.

“But at the key moments he didn’t deliver and thankfully I managed to hit the big shots at the right moments.

“I’m known as a quick player but at one point I thought ‘I need to slow down’ because he’s playing too fast for me!

“Dave is a great player, he’s in the top ten in the world so I will be giving everything I have to win that one.”

Callan Rydz enjoyed a debut to remember as he came through a dramatic sudden-death leg with Steve Lennon.

Irish World Cup runner-up Lennon got off to the best possible start, winning the opening set 3-0, only for 21-year-old Rydz to win the next two sets without dropping a leg.

The fourth set was also won to nil by Lennon to take the tie to a fifth and final set, and after Rydz took the first two legs of the decider, Lennon produced back-to-back 15-dart legs to take the match all the way to a last-leg shoot-out.

Rydz was first to a finish but the Northumbrian wired the bullseye for a 161 finish, meaning Lennon had a chance to take out 87.

The Irishman missed two match darts at double 18, allowing Rydz a shot at 25 for the match which he took with a last dart double two.

There was better fortune for Lennon’s World Cup partner William O’Connor, who breezed past experienced Fin Marko Kantele 3-0.

Despite not being at his best, O’Connor managed to land six 180s and never allowed Kantele a way into the contest, and he will now await world number three Gerwyn Price in the second round.

The William Hill World Championship continues on Tuesday with two sessions of first and second round play, as rising Dutch star takes on Darin Young who ended Raymond van Barneveld’s career on Saturday.

Day Five will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Darts channel and through NOW TV in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

Monday December 16 (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Steve Lennon 2-3 Callan Rydz (First Round)
William O’Connor 3-0 Marko Kantele (First Round)
Vincent van der Voort 3-0 Keane Barry (First Round) 
Gary Anderson 3-0 Brendan Dolan (Second Round)

Tuesday December 17
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Ryan Searle v Robbie King (First Round)
Cristo Reyes v Lourence Ilagan (First Round) 
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Noel Malicdem (First Round) 
Krzysztof Ratajski v Zoran Lerchbacher (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Ritchie Edhouse v Boris Koltsov (First Round) 
Jose De Sousa v Damon Heta (First Round)
Ted Evetts v Fallon Sherrock (First Round) 
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Darin Young (Second Round)

ENDS

LIGHTS, CAMERA - BUT NO ACTION

Lights, Camera – But no action

LIGHTS, CAMERA - BUT NO ACTION
Photo; DG Media/PDC Europe

Five players battle to stop the rot and get back on TV

Every year in darts new stars emerge and old stars pack away their competitive tungsten for good, but 2017 is unique for the possibility of witnessing so many of the veteran PDC darts players – with whom darts fans grew up and have enduring allegiances – fail to qualify for TV events. By no means are the careers of players like Andy Hamilton and Vincent van der Voort ending, but they may be entering into a phase of their competitive life that involves fewer triumphant entrances onto televised stages and more grinding in the typical PDC floor venues of Wigan and Barnsley. The following five players, absent remarkable returns to form, are very much in danger of disappearing from the televised stage. The darts world will be saddened if they do; but there are dozens of young players currently making their mark on tour that would be all too pleased to bring the veterans’ years-long runs in major tournaments to an end.

WES NEWTON

Wes Newton played one of his most recent televised matches in December 2015, when he described a 1st round victory over Cristo Reyes at the 2016 World Championship as his “worst ever performance”, in which he won the first set of the match with a 67 average. His open and honest approach to his lapse of form has won him countless new fans, but since then he has not reached the quarterfinal of any tournament he has entered, causing him to fall from the 26th ranked player in the world to number 64 today, placing him on the brink of losing his tour card for the 2018 season. Recovery from a shoulder injury has proven difficult for the Warrior. Newton has accumulated only £2,250 in the first 16 ranking events held in 2017 and he intimated on Twitter last month that Unicorn had discontinued his sponsorship. Newton’s tour card guarantees him entry to the remaining 10 Players Championships and 7 European Tour UK qualifiers, so it is possible that with deep runs in a few tournaments Newton could qualify for the Players Championship Finals or stabilize his Order of Merit rank and mount a comeback from there. If Newton is forced to win back his tour card, he would certainly be a favorite to do so at the 2018 Q School.

ANDY HAMILTON

The Hammer described failing to qualify for the 2017 World Championship – which ended a 12-year run of appearances at that event – as “a new low point” in his career. Currently ranked 54th in the PDC, Andy Hamilton is likely to retain his tour card as he is defending very little in the way of earnings from the second half of 2015. But that is unlikely to satisfy the tenacious Stoke native, a World Championship finalist as little as five years ago, Hamilton’s form hinted at a comeback in the second weekend of last April, in which he beat three top-64 players (Wes Newton, Jamie Lewis, Ronny Huybrechts) and qualified himself for the German Open. A last-16 finish at a Players Championship has put him within a few hundred pounds of the pace to qualify for the Players Championship Finals, but other televised tournaments have fallen out of reach for him this year. Hamilton’s unique throwing action looks increasingly outmoded in a PDC stocked with technically proficient young players, but it has worked marvelously for the three-time ranking title winner in the past and he has given no indication of giving up the fight.

VINCENT VAN DER VOORT

A weary Vincent van der Voort confessed to Dan Dawson after losing to Max Hopp in the 2017 World Championship that persistent pain from a back injury was threatening to bring his darts career to a close, much to the dismay of darts fans for whom his quick throwing style and wildly popular walk-on music have been major attractions to the game. Whether back pain continues to try Vincent’s endurance in May is an open question, as Vincent has not elaborated on his hint at an impending retirement. Within three months of that interview, however, the Dutch Destroyer smashed his way through to the fifth round of the UK Open, taking out a 106 finish in a deciding leg to dump out fellow Dutchman Jelle Klaasen. van der Voort, however, is defending substantially more money earned in 2015 than he is earning this year, and has fallen to 27th in the Order of Merit. If Fast Vinny fancies another go on the Ally Pally stage, he will have to fight hard for it, as he has not advanced beyond the second round of a Players Championship event this year and is well behind schedule on earnings to qualify for the World Matchplay or the World Grand Prix.

JAMIE CAVEN

The world number 32, Jamie Caven, has clung on to his top-32 position gamely for months thanks to appearances in Blackpool and Dublin, but he will find further defense of his ranking difficult in light of the recent successes of Steve West, John Henderson and Christian Kist on and off the European Tour. Caven is not matching his successes on the 2015 European Tour with corresponding exploits on the 2017 circuit, and disappointed himself with a first round loss to Kevin Painter at Ally Pally in December. Without an appearance on the Euro Tour thus far, Caven nonetheless put forth an encouraging finish at the third Players Championship, in which he whitewashed James Wilson and secured a £1500 prize. Of any player in danger of falling under the radar of televised darts, Caven is probably most secure in his current position, as his mediocre 2015 campaign leaves him reasonable targets to meet as he defends earnings from two years ago. A 6-5 loss to Matt Clark in a deciding qualifier match for Sindelfingen suggests that Caven is close to breaking through for a good result; but the dropped last-leg decider nevertheless netted him not a single penny.

BRENDAN DOLAN

A recent glance at the list of Dolan’s 2017 ranking cashes revealed an astonishing fact – that Brendan Dolan, a mainstay of televised darts and a legendary History Maker for his throwing of the first-ever double-start perfect leg, could miss the majority of major tournaments this year. Dolan was seeded throughout his 2015 European Tour campaign, which guaranteed him a four-figure cash for every appearance he made, but this year the Ulsterman has not appeared at any European Tour event, having lost to Darren Webster and Steve Beaton in matches that would have qualified him for an outing in Germany. A mere £3,500 of ranking money earned in the Players Championships puts him nearly out of the race for Blackpool and Dublin – a great shock for a player who had acquitted himself so well at Ally Pally just months ago. Dolan is ranked 26th in the PDC – comfortably within the top 32 for the time being – but he must turn his game around quickly if he wants to stay in that position.