A Real Diamond? White’s Humour Shines Through.

Stoke-on-Trent’s Ian ‘Diamond’ White is not often thought to be one of darts’ natural entertainers. But those you know him, and his many twitter followers, often witness a different side to the likable major finalist. .

The crowds can look forward to Ian White’s dab celebration should he be victorious in the Matchplay!

Talking exclusively to Darts World, White revelled in discussing his quirky humour and where it comes from:

My era was Morecambe and Wise and it was like their sketch of Eric walking off at the end of the show

In his earlier days, playing in the BDO, Ian formed a successful partnership with fellow thrower Andy Bolton. Known as ‘A & Ian’ they would entertain as much with ‘madcap antics’ as with their impressive darts.

Ian added:

I’m a good character at exhibitions and on Twitter, everyone sees how much fun I am.

‘Whitey’ tends to show less of this personality on the big stages or during competitive Pro Tour days. As a former factory worker, he is well aware of his privileged position and knows that its his skill with tungsten, rather than his ‘sparkling wit’, that pays the bills.

He remarked:

But when I’m up on stage I’m up there to do a job. I don’t jump around the stage.

I might give it large if I win the game, that’s the extent of it though.“I know people went on about my quarter-final thing but at the end of the day I’ve got the best job in the world….


Pix: L Lustig / PDC

Read Phil Lanning’s full and exclusive conversation with Ian here.

Van Gerwen To Dominate for a Decade!

MIGHTY Michael Van Gerwen has blasted that he’s still “hungry” to dominate for another DECADE.

The mean, green winning machine opted out of the lockdown online PDC Home Tour to dedicate time to his new son and practice. In his absence, there’s been an awful lot of chat from rivals that his rule at the top of the sport could be on the slide. But MVG has dismissed any such talk.

He told the Sky Sports podcast:

“Of course I want to play darts but I didn’t really fancy it.

That is my own opinion and everyone thinks differently about it. Other people like to do it, but I don’t.

“I practice a lot with Vincent van der Voort, who is a very good friend of mine. We had a lot of battles and I think for myself, that’s better preparation than the Home Tour, so that is why I chose not to play the Home Tour. It’s for myself and nobody else.”Practice has been going well, really good to be fair. Lots of people competed in the Home Tour so you know if they’re playing well or not so well, but nobody knows anything about me, but I can tell you now, nothing has changed, trust me.

“Of course I’m going to come back with a bang. What I noticed is that I really missed playing on the highest level and that was a good sign to myself.

‘Hey, I’m still hungry to win more titles.’ I still want to be the best for another five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years.”

This charming Dutchman, ever the consummate professional has been an incredible leader for the sport. He removed Phil Taylor from the throne of World No.1 when he became World Champion in 2014.

MVG is undoubtedly the man to beat, the yardstick, racking up 54 televised titles and 77 other ranking events.Yet he was still under huge scrutiny when he switched to Winmau at the start of the year until he won the last major player, the UK Open.

He added: “There was a lot of talk about me. I moved over to Winmau, my new sponsor and darts manufacturer. There were a lot of question marks behind my name until I played the UK Open.“I played a phenomenal tournament over there, smashed everyone up and that gave me a lot of confidence. You need to believe in your ability, to know where your strengths and weaknesses are. I don’t have many weaknesses I know that.“

“I always say you need to invest in something and you need to give yourself some time and that is exactly what I did and it worked out quite well.”

It was announced on Friday that five Players Championship events are set to be held behind-closed-doors at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena from July 8-12, subject to the UK Government’s quarantine policy on overseas visitors. With the World Matchplay also set to go-ahead on July 18, it also seems increasingly likely that it will be held at the Marshall Arena rather than the iconic Winter Gardens.

Incredibly, Van Gerwen has failed to go beyond the quarter-finals at the Matchplay since winning in 2016. He added: “At this stage, nobody knows if you are going to play with a crowd or without a crowd. If I had to gamble I would say it will be without a crowd.

“This is bigger than the darts. This is about what is going to happen for the rest of the world. I am just a person in this scenario.

“If I can travel, I will be there. I didn’t perform well in the last two years at the World Matchplay. I have got nothing to defend at all so I think I might be hungry for that title.”


Record Prize Money On Offer In 2017

From Bullseyes to Bubbles – Darts Opts For Self Confinement!

DARTS is going from bullseyes to bubbles to get the sport back onto the big stage. Professional Darts Corporation bosses revealed a fortnight ago that the World Matchplay would go ahead from July 18, the first major after lockdown.

Record Prize Money On Offer In 2017
Photo; Lawrence Lustig / PDC

However, it seems almost certain that it will be temporarily moved from its traditional and iconic Winter Gardens home in Blackpool.It is likely to be relocated next month to the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes which has just successful hosted the behind-closed-doors Championship League, also under the Matchroom Sport umbrella.

The PDC yesterday revealed that they will be hosting the PDC Summer Series from July 8-12 at the Marshalls Arena.The Series will see all 128 Tour Card Holders given the chance to compete in five one-day Players Championship events, played behind closed doors at Marshall Arena, subject to the UK Government quarantine policy on overseas visitors.

As with all 2020 Players Championship events, prize money will stand at £75,000 per event, with all winnings counting towards the relevant PDC Orders of Merit.

Official PDC Logo

PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Throughout the challenging times of recent weeks we have continuously explored different ways of getting players back on the oche and live darts back on fans’ screens. 

“I was proud of our players and staff who broadcast 43 nights of live remote darts through the innovative PDC Home Tour, which thrust darts into the limelight in a unique way at a time when almost all other sports were unable to provide any form of competitive action.

“Prior to the Home Tour, I outlined the three-stage plan for the return of darts, starting with events played remotely, followed by events played behind closed doors, before events can be played in front of crowds.“I am delighted that we are now able to move on to the second stage of that plan, and hopefully, we will be able to safely welcome crowds back to our events in the not-too-distant future. 

Cross will defend his title, although its looks likely the venue will be different.

“The PDC Summer Series will provide a welcome return of live darts for both players and fans alike, and I’m sure the event will whet the appetite for the prestigious Betfred World Matchplay. “We appreciate the patience of our players in recent weeks as we worked to secure these events, and further details will be confirmed to them in due course.”

The PDC has also told Darts World they are working closely with players union PDPA in an attempt to unravel a hugely complicated future around the ranking prize money dilemma. With so many tournaments wiped out this year because of the coronavirus crisis, it has been a minefield for bosses to decide on how to freeze ranking money, if that is the fairest way forward for all 128 tour cardholders.


Aspinall Admits Future Rankings “One Hell of a Headache.”

DARTS is ready to go from bulls to bubbles to get the sport back onto the big stage. In our DW story earlier, PDC bosses revealed a fortnight ago that the World Matchplay would go ahead from July 18, the first major after lockdown.

The Asp knows that ranking tables, and other issues, are going to get serious, very soon. (Pic: Taylor Lanning)

However, it seems almost certain that it will be temporarily moved from its traditional and iconic Winter Gardens home in Blackpool. It is likely to be relocated next month to the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes which has just successfully hosted the behind-closed-doors Championship League, also under the Matchroom Sport umbrella.

The player’s association will be heavily involved in discussions with the PDC about the path forward.

But The PDC has also exclusively revealed to DW they are working closely with players union PDPA in an attempt to unravel a hugely complicated future around the ranking prize money dilemma. 

With so many tournaments wiped out this year because of the coronavirus crisis, it has been a minefield for bosses to decide on how to freeze ranking money, if that is the fairest way forward for all 128 tour cardholders. Nathan Aspinall, who won the unique lockdown Home Tour event last week, admits it’s a real dilemma that all players are concerned about.

He said: “I would not like to be Barry Hearn or Matthew Porter. Because they are going to please people with what they decide and annoy some people.”

The Asp continued “The situation that we are in, it’s going to be impossible to please all 128 tour card holders.”

“I do think it’s how they deal with people defending prize money on the rankings. They need to think about that carefully. I have no idea how they are going to decide that. “In an ideal world we’ll play every single event that was scheduled but in a short space of time but I don’t think that’s going to be possible.“All I know is that it’s going to be one hell of a headache for them all.”

The Asp is still hoping that the Matchplay could go ahead at his “local” venue in Blackpool, just a short distance from his Stockport base. He said: “Obviously the Matchplay being the second biggest tournament of the year I think that’s a great way to kick it all back off.“ Personally I hope it goes ahead in Blackpool because the reception I got last year was phenomenal, even though I got beat first game. It’s my home tournament, I’m only 45 minutes away from Blackpool.

“Fingers crossed we can have some kind of audience there, even if it’s only 500 people, that’s better than nothing.“We have played in some European events on a stage with very little fans and we had the UK Open in Minehead a couple of years back.

“But any TV event you need that buzz, that adrenalin and that comes with the atmosphere, the crowd being loud.

“It will definitely be different but we’re professionals and play ProTours week-in, week-out behind closed doors.

I think the walk-on will be the weird one, just walking straight down, no high-fives or anything.

“It’ll be strange but at least we’ll be playing on that stage. A couple of games into it we’ll probably forget there is no one there.”


Late decisions on venues and event confirmations are likely over the next few weeks, keep an eye across the Darts World platforms for the latest news and updates.

Featured pic: L Lustig/PDC

Marshalling The Matchplay – Venue Change Looking Likely.

Despite the overwhelming desire of most players and fans, it is looking less and less likely that the World Matchplay will be held at its traditional home. Although it has not yet been completely ruled out, The Winter Gardens will pose many challenges that can be solved by alternate, more self-contained, venues.

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens may not host the 2020 World Matchplay. (Pic:PDC)

Speaking to ‘Online darts’, Matt Porter (PDC Chief Executive) extolled the virtues of the Marshall arena in Milton Keynes. It is clear that the snooker event played there recently, also under the Matchroom management, and that the PDC has been closely involved with such event planning.

Matt confirmed to Online Darts:

“I worked very closely with the guys at World Snooker. They are following a very similar model to what we intended to.”

It’s clear that Matchroom, the PDC, and World Snooker have put a huge amount of effort into envisaging how closed-door, “bubble-style”, events could be made to work.

Porter concluded:

” The Marshall arena is the perfect location to create a bubble venue. Hotel onsite….excellent transport links and centrally located”

“We get on very well with the management team: they are fully on board with what we are trying to achieve”

From the above and signals coming from Barry Hearn, and others, it seems, barring a late and dramatic change in the regulations that the Marshall Arena team are in pole position to hold this iconic event for the 2020 staging.


The Asp & Snakebite To Displace MVG As No.1? Aspinall Confident.

NATHAN ASPINALL believes that Michael van Gerwen can finally be toppled off the World No.1 spot over the next year. Stockport star Asp reckons MVG’s six-year reign on the throne could be ended by Peter Wright in the coming months.

Nathan Aspinall is climbing the rankings at a rapid pace, can he make the top spot?

Aspinall, PDC Home Tour champ from a week ago, is then wanting to follow World Champion Scot Snakebite to the top of the sport. He revealed on the Target Darts podcast:

“That is my target. Obviously Van Gerwen has been there for as long as my kids have been alive! 

“He’s been there a long time and it’s time for someone to knock him off.”

I think it could be Peter (Wright) if he has a good year and another good World Championships. I do think that Peter could take that No.1 spot in the next 12 to 18 months.

The Asp get serious!

“ it’s not going to be in the next year or two, I doubt it, but I do believe that I can be the World No.1 and a World Champion.“But it’s believing in it and I’ve got to do it. At the moment I am doing it and proving that these wins that I’ve had, these good runs, aren’t just lucky tournaments. I’m doing well and I do believe in the next five years certainly I can get to that No.1 spot which would be a dream come true.”

Aspinall, a World Championship semi-finalist two years in succession, is also hoping that the World Matchplay goes ahead in Blackpool from July 18. The tournament will definitely be the comeback to the big stage on TV for the sport but the PDC has been unable to confirm whether it will be at the legendary Winter Gardens.

He added: “To be fair I was itching to get back after two weeks. It’s been nice to spend some time at home doing things around the house that I wouldn’t have done if lockdown hadn’t happened. I’ve done all my garden up and spent some good time with the kids.

“It’s hard work for me because I’m not used to manual labour, I was originally an accountant. Digging and stuff isn’t my cup of tea!

“Obviously the Matchplay being the second biggest tournament of the year I think that’s a great way to kick it all back off.” “Personally I hope it goes ahead in Blackpool because the reception I got last year was phenomenal, even though I got beat the first game. It’s my home tournament, I’m only 45 minutes away from Blackpool.“Fingers crossed we can have some kind of audience there, even if it’s only 500 people, that’s better than nothing.”

Aspinall was also delighted to land the Home Tour title, defeating Gary Anderson, Jonny Clayton and Jelle Klaasen in the final group.He said: “It was a tough night, some quality players involved. So hopefully the first and only ever winner of the lockdown event. Even though it was nice to win it, I don’t want to have to retain it. Hopefully I’m the one and only.

“It was hard. The key part of it being hard was the rhythm, looking in the other player’s eyes, getting their reaction.

All you hear is the scores and the occasional comments.

“Luckily for me I did the trial run so going into the third group game I kind of knew more than anyone what to expect.“But I’d also played in a few online games with my mates in Stockport, I wasn’t doing particularly well. 

“I did find it tough but I think it was my fifth night involved when I won the final. So I’d got used to the format and how to play the game differently.”

————-


Pictures by Taylor Lanning

Record Prize Money On Offer In 2017

Quarantine Exemption For Darts? Hearn Pressing UK Government.

PDC Chairman Barry Hearn is hoping that darts players can follow Formula One stars and be exempt from quarantine. Last week the PDC announced that the World Matchplay would be taking its place on original dates July 18-26.

Official PDC Logo

But that could still be yet behind closed doors or at another venue rather than the iconic Winter Gardens. News is expected this week that the ProTour has resume in the coming weeks prior to the Matchplay. But one of the main obstacles is the UK Government mandatory 14-day quarantine for those entering the country.

But Hearn told RTL News in Holland:

“Of course I have daily contact with the British government and sports minister and I tell them my story. 

I ask them for an exception for professional athletes.” 

“Not only darters, but also snooker players and Formula One. Formula One has already received an exception, so they are on the right track.

Barry Hearn
Barry Hearn has lead from the front despite a recent heart scare. (pic:PDC)

“But what do we do when the athletes are indoors? We will develop the most advanced and safe method, as we have done with snooker.

“We created a bubble there. Everyone is tested before entering and if you are negative you can go in and not out. Everything has been cleaned 72 hours in advance, so the entire building is safe. We hope the government recognises that this measure does not require quarantine.”


Cross ‘Over The Moon’ – Matchplay Defence Is On!

ROB CROSS admits he’s “over-the-moon” that he will get to defend his Betfred World Matchplay in July.

The PDC have confirmed this afternoon that the prestigious major will definitely go-ahead from July 18-26. The prestigious 32-player tournament is set to be the first fully televised PDC tournament to take place following the suspension of events due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

Following discussions with host broadcaster Sky Sports, the original dates of July 18-26 have been confirmed for the event to be staged. The PDC are continuing to work with the UK Government and other relevant parties to be able to stage the event at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens with a crowd, subject to any relevant regulations.

A decision will be made by Saturday, July 4 if the tournament is able to proceed with a crowd at the Winter Gardens. Should this not be possible, then the tournament will be staged behind closed doors at an alternative, appropriate venue.

Final details for ticket holders will be confirmed once a final decision is made in relation to being able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with or without a crowd.

Reigning champ Cross said: “It’s great news, I’m over-the-moon. I know that the PDC has been working so hard to keep the sport ticking along despite such difficult circumstances”.

“It’s fair to say we are all desperate to get back to the big stage if it is safe to do so for all players”.

“It will be tough to come back and straight into a major event like the Matchplay. But it’s a sign that life is getting back to normal hopefully.”

The PDC also revealed that fans who have purchased tickets for the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay can obtain a refund from their point of purchase should they wish*. Should the event take place in 2020 behind closed doors, then fans will be entitled, following July 4, to defer their ticket purchase to the 2021 Betfred World Matchplay.

PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter said: “It is still our intention to be able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with a crowd and we remain in talks with all relevant parties in a bid to achieve this.“We have worked hard with the venue, our broadcast partners and other parties to look at alternative dates later in the year, but with no guarantees of how restrictions may be lifted we have taken the decision to retain the original dates so that the Betfred World Matchplay can play a major part in our sport’s return to action.

“Giving fans the chance to apply for a refund for this year’s tickets or to retain their booking will give them a chance to make their own decision in relation to the event either immediately or when a final announcement is made in the coming weeks.

“The Betfred World Matchplay will be broadcast in full by Sky Sports as well as the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners, and with or without a crowd we’re working as hard as possible to make the 2020 tournament as special as ever.”

The PDC are also finalising plans to resume ranked Players Championship events from July onwards, subject to Government approval and clarification on any quarantine restrictions for overseas-based players. Further details will be announced in due course.


Pix: PDC

Official PDC Logo

PDC World Matchplay To Go Ahead – As Scheduled!

The PDC can confirm that the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay will take place from July 18-26.

ROB CROSS WINTER GARDENS (Pic: Christopher Dean)

The prestigious 32-player tournament is set to be the first fully televised PDC tournament to take place following the suspension of events due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

Following discussions with host broadcaster Sky Sports, the original dates of July 18-26 have been confirmed for the event to be staged.

The PDC are continuing to work with the UK Government and other relevant parties to be able to stage the event at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens with a crowd, subject to any relevant regulations.

A decision will be made by Saturday July 4 if the tournament is able to proceed with a crowd at the Winter Gardens.

Should this not be possible, then the tournament will be staged behind closed doors at an alternative, appropriate venue.

Final details for ticket holders will be confirmed once a final decision is made in relation to being able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with or without a crowd.

However, fans who have purchased tickets for the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay can obtain a refund from their point of purchase should they wish*.

Should the event take place in 2020 behind closed doors, then fans will be entitled, following July 4, to defer their ticket purchase to the 2021 Betfred World Matchplay.

“It is still our intention to be able to stage the Betfred World Matchplay with a crowd and we remain in talks with all relevant parties in a bid to achieve this,” said PDC Chief Executive Matt Porter.

“We have worked hard with the venue, our broadcast partners and other parties to look at alternative dates later in the year, but with no guarantees of how restrictions may be lifted we have taken the decision to retain the original dates so that the Betfred World Matchplay can play a major part in our sport’s return to action.

“Giving fans the chance to apply for a refund for this year’s tickets or to retain their booking will give them a chance to make their own decision in relation to the event either immediately or when a final announcement is made in the coming weeks.

“The Betfred World Matchplay will be broadcast in full by Sky Sports as well as the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners, and with or without a crowd we’re working as hard as possible to make the 2020 tournament as special as ever.”

The PDC are also finalising plans to resume ranked Players Championship events from July onwards, subject to Government approval and clarification on any quarantine restrictions for overseas-based players. Further details will be announced in due course.

* Fans wishing to request a refund can do so via SeeTickets’ Customer Services team. Please note that refunds take up to 28 days to be processed. Fans who would still wish to attend the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay if possible or defer their tickets to 2021 should do nothing at this stage, with further details to be announced in due course.

Ando’s Gunnar Do It!


GARY ANDERSON is ready to do a ‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ and come off the bench to be a sensational PDC winner.

Anderson is ready to ‘do a Ole’. LFC fans might prefer to think of their own ‘Supersub’ David Fairclough!

The Flying Scotsman went viral after The Sun newspaper exclusively revealed on April 17 that a lack of strong WiFi signal made him pull out of the Home Tour.

However, thanks to that story a local firm sorted his broadband and now the double World Champ is unbeaten in nine matches. Ando goes into the final tonight (Friday) aiming to go out in a blaze of glory in Solskjaer style, who famously came off the bench to win Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United the Champions League in 1999.

He said: “I could be the first name on the Home Tour trophy – and I hope I’m the last.“If we are playing this tournament again in 2021, we’ll know the virus is still around. “I’m still getting used to the set-up because I’m useless with technology. I had to get Rachel to help me on the first night. “Playing at home over the internet, using screens and tablets to find out how the other guy is doing, has been weird and I’ve found it quite difficult at times”.

“But now I’ve come this far, it would be nice to win it – and maybe, in years to come, we’ll look back at 2020 as the summer we were locked down.

“I was the first winner of the Phil Taylor Trophy when it was named after him at the World Matchplay, so maybe this is a chance for another ‘first’. But I’m really looking forward to getting back on stage – I want the hunger back.”

The PDC are ready to reveal their plans for the World Matchplay which was set to be played at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool from July 18. It is likely that will be played behind closed doors, possibly at a different venue.

There may be a lot for Gary to ponder over the coming months?

Anderson added: “It’s always a laugh at Blackpool because the start of the tournament coincides with the start of the kids’ school holidays in Scotland, so there were always loads of Jocks in the crowd.

“The Winter Gardens is always a great place to play, but if we have to hold it behind closed doors this year it will be very different”.

“As it stands, the players coming from overseas will have to go into quarantine for two weeks when they arrive in the UK. “Even if you are only coming over from Holland, that means you have to spend two weeks in a hotel before you come out to play darts – and not many hotels are open yet. Where are they going to stay? “And how are players based in Britain supposed to get to the venue if there are no hotels available? Do we drive ourselves to the venue? There are lots of things to sort out”.

Double World Champion, and the first winner of the Phil Taylor Trophy, would miss the ‘Jocks’ in the crowd at Blackpool.

“If they move it to later in the year, so be it – but there is already going to be a heck of a lot of darts at the back end of the year already, and you wonder if there will be enough hours in the day for all of it.”


Pix: Taylor Lanning