Issue 4 (January 22, 2016)

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Friday 22 January 2016

Darts Weekly

EXCLUSIVE: Tommy Cox lifts the lid on starting the PDC Pages 2-3


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Friday 22 January 2016 Darts Weekly

“We were called down to Sky and told if one more player drops out it was all off” Alex Moss CHIEF DARTS WRITER At the end of the recent William Hill World Championship, the PDC bid farewell to one of the most important figures in their short, but successful, history. Tommy Cox was one of three men, along with Dick Allix and the late John Markovic, to help form the World Darts Council in 1992, an organisation which would later be known as the PDC. Cox has also managed the likes of Phil Taylor, Jocky Wilson and Alan Warriner-Little and in the first part of our exclusive chat with the PDC’s former tournament director, we look back at how the sport’s flagship organisation began and how it has got to where it is today. The WDC had formed in the final months of 1992, and ahead of the BDO World Championship getting underway the following year, the 16 players affiliated to the WDC all wore the new organisation’s logo on their sleeves. “I was down there at the Lakeside on New Year’s Eve,” Cox reflects. “It started on New Year’s Day that year and I remember they actually cut Jocky’s shirt to take the WDC logo off it. “At that point we were on the verge of walking out, Eric was there as well, but I said ‘no, it’s not the right thing to do. It would be counterproductive.’ “So we held a press conference in a little town near Lakeside, saying we were going on our own and that was the start of it.” The 16 WDC players signed a statement on January 7, 1993 which said they would only play in the BDO World Championship the next year if it was run by the new organisation, and that the WDC would have authority to allow them to play in events worldwide. Cox’s first hurdle thrown in his way after the statement came later

that month when the BDO suspended all 16 of the WDC players from all of their tournaments held in the UK. “We were a little bit worried and excited about what the immediate future was going to hold,” Cox said. “To be honest the worry was there anyway because the coverage had dropped off. “It wasn’t like now where there is a tournament every week, or every other week at the worst. The only showcase for the players was the World Championship, and if you got beat first round that was basically you for the year. “It was a real struggle to start with. The BBC called us all in and when we went down to the meeting they said we should all come to a compromise, but two weeks later they said our players wouldn’t be in it because the BDO were the organisers of the event. “We were banned and I was then

"The real turning point was when Barney came over” going round the world talking to loads of people. “We were ostracised in Scandinavia, and the only place that didn’t ostracise us was America. So when we first had our World Championship it was Brits and Americans, that was it.” The WDC’s inaugural World Championship began at the end of 1993, and even before Dennis Priestley thrashed Taylor 6-1 in the final a few days into 1994 to lift the trophy, the tournament almost didn’t go ahead. “When we first started, and just before we started the first tournament we had with Sky, I got a phone call,” Cox recalls. “I was the manager of Mike Gregory and he said he was frightened and didn’t want to play in the WDC World Championship. “He thought he was going to lose

his house. That was ploughed into him and the very next day Mike was at a press conference at Lakeside saying how great the BDO were, even though it was him who won our first tournament. “I’ve never spoken to him since and never will, nor has Eric who was his best mate. He didn’t speak to him either because he sold us down the river. “We had another player, Chris Johns, a Welshman who went as well. So there was 16 originally and two of them went back. “Me and Dick were called down to Sky and told if one more player left it was all off. The BDO tried to


Darts Weekly Friday 22 January 2016

3 End of an era: PDC co-founder and tournament director Tommy Cox announced his retirement at the end of the recent World Championship

an awful lot of money into it and it shouldn’t be forgotten. “They weren’t just instrumental in the early days of playing it, they actually supported it and put their money where their mouth was.” As the money on offer on the PDC circuit continued to grow, more and more players switched across from the BDO, with 2002 marking the first year that the PDC’s total prize fund for their World Championship had surpassed the BDO equivalent. “It started to take off,” Cox said. “Sky did a great job in revolutionising the coverage for darts, and that’s what made it attractive to the public. “We got more and more viewers and eventually players started drifting over to play in the PDC. “Then the real turning point was when Barney came over. That was the major turning point for the

"Sky did a great job revolutionising the coverage of darts”

get Alan Warriner and John Lowe to go back, but they stood firm and the rest as they say, is history.” It wasn’t until the summer of 1997 that the two organisations reached an out-of-court settlement, which saw the BDO

"We were ostracised everywhere we went except America” agree that all players should be allowed to choose which open events they compete in. The WDC then renamed itself the Professional Darts Corporation, dropping its claim to be a world governing body of the sport.

governing body of the sport. “We didn’t win the case, we just got the shackles off a little bit,” Cox admits. “We didn’t think they would win because we had experts guiding us. “I actually remortgaged my house to fight that. The BDO relied on the possibility and not the probability, that we wouldn’t have the money to carry it forward and that they did. “After that was done there was still an awful long way to go. It cost us a lot of money, it cost the players a lot of money especially. “To back it up, Phil Taylor and Dennis Priestley in particular put

balance of power as it were. “The next big thing was when Barry Hearn came. He made all the difference. “We’d taken it as far as we could, having been in that industry he could take it further. Barry had the contacts and the knowledge to push the PDC on, and since he became the chairman we’ve never looked back. “The one thing I made sure to do while I was tournament director, and it’s still the same to this day, is to make sure that every tournament is different. “We’ve got a double start for the Grand Prix, there’s sets, mini leagues, round robins and myself with Barry did that because every event needs its own identity.” Next week: Tommy looks back at his time managing Jocky, the PDC’s offer to buy the BDO and the future of darts


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Friday 22 January 2016 Darts Weekly

Caven ready to push on in 2016 after starting season with nine darter at qualifiers Alex Moss CHIEF DARTS WRITER The new PDC season got underway on Sunday with UK qualifiers for the first European Tour events of 2016, and for one player in particular it certainly marked a quick return to form. In the first leg of his final qualifier for the Dutch Darts Masters, Jamie Caven produced the perfect leg of darts. Jabba finished off a 150 checkout with bull and double tops to complete a nine dart leg, and then closed out a 6-1 win over Mark Barilli to book his place in Venray in three weeks’ time. “That was the very first leg of the final match,” Caven recalled. “So to hit a nine darter in the first leg, it’s hard to keep that average up. “It’s good to do one towards the end of the game, but any time is a good time really and I finished it off with a 12 darter and a 132 finish. So I knew that I played pretty well. “You just go with how you feel. I’ve never done a nine darter on tour in the normal way before. “I’ve done them in exhibitions and practice going 180, 180, 141, but the other one I’ve had on tour a few years ago against Simon Whitlock was quite unique as well. “I started 167, 180 and then took out 154 by going treble 20, treble 20 and double 17. “That was pretty unique too, but when you block the treble you have to switch. That’s why I didn’t have any hesitation in going bull, double top and it’s always nice when they come off like that.” Caven’s nine-dart joy on Sunday was short lived though, as the world number 23 then suffered a surprise 6-5 defeat to Welshman Robert Owen in the qualifiers for the German Darts Masters. “We had the first event on Sunday and I played pretty well

and got through that,” Caven said. “I had the nine darter and things were going really good, but on the flip side in the second qualifier it was just a case of missed doubles. “I had a few that were all on the wire and I couldn’t have put them closer if I put them in the board with my hand. It was just a case of they didn’t go in. “I was 5-3 down and had come back well to 5-5, and then I missed six darts to go through. Any other time it would go in straight away. “When you miss with the fourth, fifth and sixth darts, I knew then straight away I wasn’t going to be getting another shot. “But I’m not going to dwell on that. That’s all it was, missed doubles at the wrong time.” After reaching his fifth major quarter-final at the end of the 2014 season, Caven’s progression appeared to have halted last year, with the 39-year-old suffering first

"To go on my best run at the Worlds after the year I had was bizarre" round exits in the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals. However, the former Winmau World Youth Masters winner bounced back last month and recorded his best-ever run at the PDC World Championship. Straight set wins over both Rob Szabo and Ricky Evans secured Jabba’s place in the last 16 for the first time in his career, with James Wade edging their clash 4-1. “I had quite a disappointing year,” Caven admitted. “I didn’t achieve half of what I wanted to, but then to go and have my bestever run in the Worlds was a bit bizarre really. “It gives me a platform to build on. I need to make sure I’m in as many of the big events as I can.”

Wade is after the major titles in ‘big year’ James Wade is targeting a return to the winner’s podium on the big stage in 2016 after signing a new three-year deal with Unicorn. The Machine’s association with the darts manufacturer is now set to reach the 15-year mark, and after coming to an agreement Wade has now turned his focus to


Darts Weekly Friday 22 January 2016

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the 2016 season, and a year which he hopes will see him lifting the major trophies in the PDC. “Unicorn has provided me with superb darts to do my job,” the world number six said. “Now it is up to me to repay them with more big TV titles. “The dream of being world champion with Unicorn drives me on. I have a big year coming up. “Losing badly to Gary Anderson in the quarter-finals of the World Championship was a huge disappointment, because I simply didn’t turn up for the biggest

match of the year. But that defeat will spur me on. “I have the Premier League in my sights. I know it will be tough because it is arguably the most competitive field ever assembled with the top 10 in the world taking part, but I am good enough to reach the play-offs.” Wade gets his 2016 season started a week tomorrow, when he takes on Terry Jenkins in the first round of the Masters, while he gets his Premier League campaign underway against Michael van Gerwen.

Belgium’s number one player, Kim Huybrechts, talks us through his darts memories First darts memory? That would be watching my brother and father playing in the local leagues. First darts hero? My first darts hero was Richie Burnett. First set of darts? They were a Harrows Boxer set. First darts team? The first team I played for was the DC Monty in Antwerp. First game on TV? It was while I was in the BDO and I played Steve West in the 2009 Winmau World Masters. I lost 3-1. First nine darter? I can’t remember the date but I did it while I was practicing just before I had to start a game. I then lost that game 4-0 because of all the excitement! First professional tournament win? In the PDC it would have been one of the UK Open Qualifiers I think in 2013. Before that I won a few big tournaments in Belgium. In 2007 I won both the National Championships and the Gold Cup.

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Friday 22 January 2016 Darts Weekly

County season returns with a bang after two nine-dart legs COUNTY ROUND-UP The BDO British Inter County Championships kicked off 2016 with a bang, as Berkshire’s Paul Hogan and Clackmannanshire’s John Connal both recorded ninedart legs. Hogan (right) completed the perfect leg during his 4-1 victory over Sussex’s Greg Upton on Sunday, while Connal’s proved to be in vain, with the Scot losing 4-3 to his opponent from Highland. Elsewhere, Yorkshire climbed to the top of the Premier Division table after winning 26-10 away at strugglers Cornwall. A strong Yorkshire team, which included recently-crowned BDO world champion Scott Waites, established a 13-5 lead on the first day and dropped just five games on Sunday to record a big win. Previous leaders Lancashire were knocked off the top after a 22-14 defeat to Warwickshire. Trina Gulliver MBE led the hosts to victory with a 3-0 victory on the final day, with Lakeside semifinalist Jamie Hughes also in action for Warwickshire. Essex cruised to a 24-12 victory against Cheshire to cement third place in the Premier Division, while Cambridgeshire moved into the top half following a 20-16 triumph at Devon. In the only other game in the BICC top flight, Hampshire moved off the bottom after beating Lincolnshire 22-14. Glamorgan stretched their lead

Winmau 23g Diamond 1033 darts review The darts come in a box with a lift up flap secured via a built-in magnet, writes Darren Watson. Inside is a slide out foam insert

of set six, before Anderson reeled off three straight legs to level the match once again. Jackpot's jittery finishing in the seventh set proved costly as the defending champion moved into a 4-3 lead, and another whitewash set then gave Anderson a two-set cushion for the first time. Lewis fought back in set nine, with a 121 checkout securing him the set in consecutive legs. But Anderson then returned the favour in the 10th set to move to within one set of victory. Jackpot would not give up and responded by taking the 11th set 3-0 to close the gap back to one

Vincent van der Voort on Tuesday night, and has set up an intriguing quarter-final clash with James Wade this afternoon. The Machine has also only lost one set so far in the competition, despite having yet to show his best darts in wins over John Michael, Wes Newton and Jamie Caven. With Wade yet to get over the semi-final hurdle at the World Championship, and with either Norris or Klaasen awaiting the winner tomorrow night, you feel that this is a big game for him. Although Anderson has the far superior record against Wade, with

at the top of Division One to 26 points after they eased to a 25-11 win at Surrey. Nottinghamshire remain their closest challengers as they claimed a 22-14 win at Kent, while recent Lakeside runner-up Deta Hedman inspired Oxfordshire to a surprise 19-17 triumph at home against Gwent. Elsewhere in Division One, Glen Durrant bounced back from his Lakeside disappointment with a 32.69 one-dart average, which helped him to a 4-1 victory. However, it was not enough to prevent his Cleveland side from tasting a narrow 19-17 defeat to County Durham. Dorset rose to fourth in the table with a 21-15 triumph away at bottom side Derbyshire. Over in Division Two, and

Suffolk put themselves back in the title race, with a 25-11 win at lowly Cumbria propelling them to third in the table. West Midlands still hold top spot, after they managed to see off Worcestershire 19-17. Hogan’s nine-dart leg helped Berkshire to an emphatic 25-11 victory away at Sussex, and sees them now within five points of the Division Two leaders. Elsewhere, bottom side Somerset threw away a commanding 17-9 lead as Northamptonshire won a remarkable nine of the last 10 games to salvage an 18-18 draw. Northumberland remain top of Division Three despite losing 1917 at Leicestershire, and in Division Four, Gloucestershire are the new leaders.

holding the contents. Included with the barrels is: a round alloy point protector; a set of prism polycarbonate medium stems, a set of Rhino standard shape flights and a rubber cleaning tool. The barrels have a tear drop shape with a ringed grip, covered in the diamond fusion coating which is made from 120 micron diamonds. It makes them very

sparkly and the feel of it is a kind of gritty dry feeling, similar to rough sandpaper. The barrels are 45.9mm long and 7.9mm wide and weighed 22.83g, 22.76g and 22.88g. This barrel shape makes for a very comfy dart in the grip. The coating is nice though and it certainly makes for an interesting feel. It should be good for people through! Rhys was probably the


Darts Weekly Friday 22 January 2016 Database

PDC QUALIFYING SCHOOL (legs) (Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan) Day 3 of 4 - Last 64 - J Landon 5-3 M Hylton, C Littlecott 5-3 N Fulwell, D Ladley 5-4 L Cusworth, V Kamphuis 5-2 R Harrington, M Dewsbury 5-4 G Fitzpatrick, R Campbell 5-0 J Marriott, R Eidams 5-3 L Moffat, I Walters 5-3 K Parry, S Dale 5-2 K Forrington, J de Graaf 5-3 J Bain, M Walsh 5-3 R de Vreede, S Groen 5-4 K Rooney, J Palfreyman 5-3 D Smith, S Preston 5-4 E Dootston, T Temple 5-3 M Michels, K Thomas 5-1 D Brown, N Lamb 5-4 E Hyslop, T Burkill 5-4 M van der Horst, T Newell 5-2 L Marson, M Golding 5-2 M Burgoine, J Michael 5-1 R-J Rodriguez, M Padgett 5-2 A Johnson, P Laursen 5-0 M Power, G Stone 5-2 P Dyos, J ten Berge 5-2 A Fairweather, B Woods 5-4 S Hine, T Gaweenuntawong 5-3 C Osborne, N Daniels 5-3 P Barham, A Monk 5-1 R Smith, A Alcinas 5-0 S Atkinson, T Humphrey 5-2 J Jukes, H Robinson 5-3 S Turner. Last 32 – C Littlecott 5-3 J Landon, V Kamphuis 5-0 D Ladley, R Campbell 5-4 M Dewsbury, I Walters 5-1 R Eidams, J de Graaf 5-2 S Dale, M Walsh 5-3 S Groen, S Preston 5-4 J Palfreyman, T Temple 5-0 K Thomas, T Burkhill 5-3 N Lamb, T Newell 5-0 M Golding, J Michael 5-2 M Padgett, G Stone 5-3 P Laursen, B Woods 5-1 J ten Berge, N Daniels 5-4 T Gaweenuntawong, A Alcinas 5-2 A Monk, H Robinson 5-1 T Humphrey. Last 16 – V Kamphuis 5-2 C Littlecott, R Campbell 5-4 I Walters, J de Graaf 5-2 M Walsh, S Preston 5-1 T Temple, T Newell 5-0 T Burkhill, J Michael 5-3 G Stone, B Woods 5-3 N Daniels, H Robinson 5-3 A Alcinas. Last 8 – R Campbell 5-3 V Kamphuis, J de Graaf 5-1 S Preston, T Newell 5-2 J Michael, B Woods 5-4 H Robinson.

7 E Hyslop 5-2 M Rasztovits, M Walsh 5-1 K Morley, D Place 5-4 K Rooney, J ten Berge 5-4 A Monk, Y Yamada 5-3 S Groen, V Kamphuis 5-1 J Young, J Kelling 5-4 L Watts. Last 32 – R Palmer 5-4 P Laursen, J Hendriks 5-0 K Shepherd, M Clark 5-2 L Evans, D Evans 5-4 B Claydon, M McGowan 5-3 M Power, M Barnard 5-4 C Quantock, R Smith 5-4 A Huckvale, M Kantele 5-2 P Dyos, R Meulenkamp 5-4 J Michael, D van Dijk 5-0 A Candlish, Y Meeuwisse 5-2 M Todd, S Dale 5-1 D Parody, K Dowling 5-3 E Hyslop, M Walsh 5-3 D Place, J ten Berge 5-1 Y Yamada, V Kamphuis 5-2 J Kelling. Last 16 – R Palmer 5-2 J Hendriks, M Clark 5-2 D Evans, M McGowan 5-3 M Barnard, R Smith 5-4 M Kantele, R Meulenkamp 5-1 D van Dijk, Y Meeuwisse 5-3 S Dale, M Walsh 5-1 K Dowling, V Kamphuis 5-1 J ten Berge. Last 8 – R Palmer 5-1 M Clark, R Smith 5-4 M McGowan, Y Meeuwisse 5-2 R Meulenkamp, V Kamphuis 5-3 M Walsh. PDC DUTCH DARTS MASTERS UK QUALIFIERS (legs) (Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan)

Day 4 of 4 - Last 64 – P Laursen 5-2 S Smith, R Palmer 5-1 N Daniels, J Hendriks 5-4 J Welding, K Shepherd 5-1 R Sudale, M Clark 5-4 T Burkhill, L Evans 5-0 J Brammeld, B Claydon 5-4 D Read, D Evans 5-1 W Borland, M McGowan 5-3 R Atwill, M Power 5-3 T Temple, C Quantock 5-4 E White, M Barnard 5-3 E Brown, A Huckvale 5-1 S Preston, R Smith 5-0 Z Lerchbacher, P Dyos 5-3 D Latham, M Kantele 5-3 P Barham, R Meulenkamp 5-4 K Suzuki, J Michael 5-4 J Foreman, D van Dijk 5-1 L Shewan, A Candlish 5-4 P Rowley, M Todd 5-1 S Brown, Y Meeuwisse 5-3 A Hunt, D Parody 5-0 M Dennant, S Dale 5-4 S Hine, K Dowling 5-4 M Pearson,

Second round – M King 6-5 M Frost, R Smith 6-4 S Kellett, S Whitlock 6-1 D Brand, A Boulton 6-3 A Smith-Neale, S Bunting 6-1 D Smith, S Griffiths 6-1 S Hine, R Baxter 6-4 A Norris, S Brown 6-4 J Robinson, G Price 6-0 M Malone, J Haines 6-5 D Johnston, J Lewis 6-1 C Dobey, J Bain 6-1 L Evans, J Marriott 6-4 J Murnan, K Thomas 6-5 J Bowles, J Henderson 6-0 A Kirk, C Hammond 6-1 B Ward, D Gurney 6-5 R Baillie, S Willard 6-4 M Turner, M Webster 6-0 S Head, S McNally 6-3 T Temple, J Richardson 6-3 S Beaton, N Derry 6-5 A Jenkins, J Caven 6-3 J Foreman, M Barilli 6-3 A Smith, K Brown 6-5 A Tabern, P Bilford 6-5 B Bates, A Gilding 6-4 J Clayton, R Evans 6-3 A Monk, D Pallett 6-4 T Newell, Y Eguchi 63 R Howson, J Payne 6-3 J Cullen, R Edhouse 6-4 P Nicholson, R Green 6-3 D Webster, W Jones 6-2 M Lawrence, K Painter 6-3 G Stone, M McGowan 6-2 R Modra, D Petersen 6-5 W Newton, D Winstanley 6-3 T Richardson, R Harrington 6-4 J Wilson, J Palfreyman 6-3 R Hayden. Final round – M King 6-2 R Smith, S Whitlock 6-4 A Boulton, S Bunting 6-2 S Griffiths, R Baxter 6-2 S Brown, G Price 6-5 J Haines, J Lewis 6-4 J Bain, K Thomas 6-4 J Marriott, J Henderson 6-4 C Hammond, D Gurney 6-2 S Willard, M Webster 6-1 S McNally,

with sweaty or dry fingers, as it seems to provide enough grip without being too harsh. The darts were pretty well behaved through the air, but I did get some spin after releasing them. I think that’s more my own issue what causes that, with certain grips though and they should suit any style of grip if you like short darts. I think it probably favours front

and centre grippers best. My only question is regards to the coatings longevity. It’s hard to say this early on, but it does say it’s hard wearing, so I am hopeful it will last well. Overall though they are very comfy darts to throw and I really like the coating. It is unique and provides a nice level of grip. Darren’s rating: 7 out of 10

J Richardson 6-5 N Derry, J Caven 6-1 M Barilli, P Milford 6-5 K Brown, R Evans 6-1 A Gilding, D Pallett 6-4 Y Eguchi, R Edhouse 6-2 J Payne, R Green 6-1 W Jones, K Painter 6-4 McGowan, D Petersen 6-1 D Winstanley, R Harrington 6-3 J Palfreyman. PDC GERMAN DARTS MASTERS UK QUALIFIERS (legs) (Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan) Second round – R Harrington 6-4 M King, M Barilli 6-5 W Newton, M McGowan 6-4 S Whitlock, M Walsh 6-2 P Nicholson, S Bunting 6-5 K Parry, G Stone 6-3 R Modra, A Norris 6-1 M Edgar, A Hunt 6-2 D Smith, J Payne 6-4 G Price, C Dobey 6-1 E Stevenson, J Bain 6-5 J Lewis, B Davies 6-2 D Pinhorne, A Hamilton 6-4 J Murnan, J Richardson 6-5 S Brown, S Head 6-4 J Henderson, J Bowles 6-3 T Richardson, D Gurney 6-0 W Jones, J Haines 6-3 A Smith-Neale, M Webster 6-0 L Woodhouse, N Aspinall 6-3 R Baillie, S Beaton 6-4 A Parsons, T Newell 6-1 B Woods, R Owen 6-5 J Caven, D Johnson 6-2 B Ward, S Kellett 6-0 K Brown, C Hammond 6-5 S Harding, A Gilding 6-4 R Edhouse, R Green 6-1 A Tabern, C Loose 65 D Pallett, P Hudson 6-3 C Quantock, J Cullen 6-2 R Howson, S West 6-5 J Richardson, D Webster 6-3 D Fatum, W O’Connor 6-0 J Robinson, K Painter 6-4 S Willard, P Millford 6-5 S Griffiths, D Peterson 6-2 S McNally, A Smith 6-2 A Boulton, J Wilson 6-0 M Clark, T Temple 6-5 N Derry. Final round – M Barilli 6-4 R Harrington, M Walsh 6-3 M McGowan, S Bunting 6-4 G Stone, A Norris 6-5 A Hunt, C Dobey 6-3 J Payne, B Davies 6-4 J Bain, J Richardson 6-3 A Hamilton, J Bowles 6-5 S Head, D Gurney 6-4 J Haines, N Aspinall 6-5 M Webster, S Beaton 6-2 T Newell, D Johnson 6-5 R Owen, S Kellett 6-5 C Hammond, A Gilding 6-5 R Green, P Hudson 6-3 C Loose, J Cullen 6-4 S West, W O’Connor 6-4 D Webster, K Painter 6-2 P Milford, D Peterson 6-5 A Smith, J Wilson 6-2 T Temple. BDO QUEBEC OPEN Men’s Singles: D Murschell. Women’s Singles: C Hayhurst. Men’s Doubles: D Cameron and K Edmunds. Women’s Doubles: C Hayhurst and R van Tassel. Blind Draw Doubles: M Robitaille and K Edmunds.

Now check out Darren’s video review of these darts at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=L tuwaOzXgAM


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Friday 22 January 2016 Darts Weekly

ANDREW DEVONSHIRE DARTS WRITER

The curious case of the disappearing darters The disappearing darter. We see it all too often and why, we ask ourselves. A player can be at the top of his game and winning not only tour events, but also major televised competitions, and then all of a sudden the wins dry up, the doubles are missed and the player begins to decline. Sometimes slowly and other times alarmingly quickly down the rankings. Some players from recent times who fall into this category include: former world number one and two-time major winner Colin Lloyd, Colin Osborne, Paul Nicholson and Wes Newton. So why does this happen? It’s not because of age, as those players mentioned are by no means old! Is it maybe a lack of confidence? But then usually these players have had recent success, so confidence should be sky high. It’s not only just the make-up of a certain player, but I think complacency and the good living they have has a huge amount to do with it. Darts is a highly-skilled game and practice is the key to playing consistently to a very high standard. We all know how many hours Phil Taylor puts in on the practice board and it has certainly paid off over the years! Just picture it: you’ve had a fantastic year on the circuit, won some events and banked an awful lot of money. What happens next? Certain players continue winning and thrive on this, while other players sit back, look at what they’ve won and all of a sudden get in the mind-set of ‘I don’t need to

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watch an evening of the Premier

watch an evening of the Premier

practice tomorrow’ or ‘I’ll take a week or two away from the board.’ Their focus shifts to other things and before you know it, they’ve not thrown a meaningful dart for a few weeks and there’s an event on the horizon. They lose badly, possibly to a player they would usually beat nine times out of 10, and then the next tournament comes in the blink of an eye. There’s no time to practice with all the travelling that is

Off the radar: Former major winners Colin Lloyd (top) and Paul Nicholson (below) have slipped down the rankings

There’s always a solution and players must stay dedicated involved and another defeat follows. You’re on the darting escalator and can’t step off. The rankings don’t lie, and when you’ve slipped 10 places in next to no time, sometimes it’s impossible to stop the escalator. There is no reason why a player cannot win titles on a regular basis well into their 50s. We’ve obviously

witnessed the likes of Taylor, Dennis Priestley and Martin Adams. Another reason for the disappearing darter could quite simply be that new players emerge on the scene that are better. It makes it more difficult to reach the latter stages of events, though I don’t subscribe to this. So how do you stop it? Or can you stop it? There’s always a solution to every problem. Players must stay dedicated, keep up their practice routines, and most of all, enjoy playing darts. Who will the next lot of disappearing darters be? Time will tell.