This Week on the darting calendar has varied considerably over the years. In the early days it was a barren time but by the middle of the 1980s it contained a classic event, in more recent times the PDC Pro Tour season has been underway:
35 Years Ago:
The Dry Blackthorn Masters was at its peak. The tournament was similar to ‘Masters’ events played today or those held in Snooker and other sports. Sixteen top players were invited to do battle in front of the camera’s to provide TV with a, relatively short but, high class event. The tournament’s seven year history produced only four winners, but the list tells its own story.
John Lowe claimed the first title in 1983 before losing the next two finals to Eric Bristow including this week in 1985. John then reclaimed the title once more before the ‘Crafty Cockney’ completed a hat-trick in 1987. The final two titles were claimed by Mike Gregory and Bob Anderson completed the roll of honour. Only two other players even reached the final, ‘Big’ Cliff Lazerenko and Mick Manning being the only two to disrupt the legends dominance.
10 Years Ago:
This week marked a high-point for Darts World columnist Colin Osborne. ‘The Wizard’ reached a career high, so far, ranking within the top ten. Over the previous twelve months Colin claimed the Championship League of Darts and reached the UK Open Final. The superb run of performances were matched away from the TV cameras, Colin claimed a pair of Pro Tour Players Championships and would go on to a very fruitful rest of 2010.
20 Years Ago:
At the turn of the century Bob Aldous claimed his most significant title. The Scottish Open is on of the UK’s most valued Opens, its latest holding was claimed last weekend by Jim Williams. In a battle of two Englishmen Aldous defeated ‘The Pie Man’, Andy Smith, in the final. Later in the same year Bob reached the semi-final of the Finnish Open and qualified for the World Masters. He finished this great spell by reaching the last 32 in the 2001 World Championships losing out to the legendary Steve Beaton.
Featured a remarkable rankings rise from Nathan Aspinall. This week, in Feb 2019, had The Asp ranked at number 34 in the PDC rankings, and that was after his semi final appearance at the World Championships a few weeks earlier. Fast forward twelve months and Nathan is now ranked No. 8. To move up twenty four places, at the highest end, is remarkable and to do it without a previous career in elite darts makes it unique. Along the way Aspinall has claimed his first major title, a 9 darts and floor tournament victories. It’s a testament to the rash of darting fairy tales, Rob Cross for example, that Aspinall is not regarded as the story of the recent times!