Wednesday, 20 December 2017
I seem to be on a roll at the moment with my world watches.
I singled out Rob Cross to make it BIG this year and another of my world watches Kevin Munch:
has just taken out 2x PDC World Champion Adrian Lewis in the first round of the 2018 World Championship!
With Klassen, Bunting, Lewis, Wade, Chizzy, Webster all suffering first round exits i think we could see some unexpected players going deep this year
Tuesday, 19 December 2017
That's all i can say!
Watching Paul Lim, aged 63 (64 in January) and the last active player from the 80's golden era and who made his World Championship debut in 1982 (35 years ago, before Mark Webster was even born) perform better than he had at any previous World Championship was breathtaking stuff!
Whats even more remarkable is that Lim had to play a prelim match beforehand (winning 2-0), and then to take the 5th set 3-0 at nearly midnight to win 3-2. To do that at any age is tough let alone over 60 and shows just what a legend the man is.
In doing so Lim qualified for the first round for the first time in 4 years and reached the second round for the first time in 15 years. To do it with his highest average ever in the Championship and under these conditions is quite frankly staggering!
It was fantastic seeing the crowd get behind him and his ovation at the end would be worthy of anyone winning the Championship.
In an era when age is always being sighted as a reason not to do something or be considered unable to do something Lim is for me just pure inspiration. To put things into perspective, Lim is 3 years older Nearly 4) than Eric Bristow who has been retired from the Professional ranks for 20 years, 6 nearly 7 years older than Keith Deller who retired 10 years ago and he has outlasted a number of his contemporaries and 90's counterparts.
Next up is former 2x World Champion Gary Anderson. It will be a VERY tall order but even if he doesn't get through, he gave us something special that will be remembered for years to come
Monday, 18 December 2017
Its that time of year again.
Im abit late with this, and there has already been a few surprises with Bunting, Chizzy and Klassen all making first round exits.
On paper it would seem like one of the obvious 2 to win it in Gary Anderson and MVG seeing as both have won it twice in the last 4 years.
It has been nice to See Steve Beaton and Vincent Van De Voort progress to round 2, however its the half with MVG which will be a VERY tall order for anyone.
Really want to see Paul Lim get through the prelim and face off against Mark Webster. I'm a fan of Webster however i have a soft spot for the 'older' player and Lim is the last of the 'Golden' era of 80's BDO players still active having made his BDO World Championship debut in 1982 (35 years ago).
We of course cant write off the 16x World Champion Phil Taylor, whose appearing in his last World Championship and will look to go out on a high. Everyone wrote him off before the 2017 Matchplay and look what he did there, and Rob Cross is having an amazing 2017 and seems like set play.
As usual i am going with a favorite and an outsider
Favorite: MVG to power to his 3rd World Champsionship
Outsider: Rob Cross
Lets see how it goes
I have been off the scene for abit, however i just wanted to say a BIG
to Danny Noppert who won his first BDO major in the 2017 Zuiderdiun Masters.
In doing so Noppert ended Glen Durrant's run of 2 consecutive wins and become the first Dutchman in 13 years to lift the Trophy (the last being Barney's 5-1 over Ted Hankey in 2014, when Noppert was 13)
Having reached the BDO World Final in 2017 and now adding this Major Noppy will be one to watch in the 2018 World Championship
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
It is my absolute pleasure to bring you my interview with the 2x Champion of the World, and true Legend in the sport of darts.............. Dennis 'The Menace' Priestley!
Q1: You seemed to come out of nowhere aged 40 in 1990, won the BDO World Championship in your first appearance in 1991 and then seemed to win everything. When did you start playing darts, What were you doing in darts before then and what made you turn pro (it was obviously a fantastic decision)?
DP: I had a bet on a horse called Grundy which won the derby in1976 so I bought a set of tungsten darts which were £11.20. I started playing once a week in a league an then all of a sudden I was playing everyday in different leagues, and I won local individual titles. I won McCeans open at Morecombe I think in 1983.I then got selected for Yorkshire and England I went to some tournaments and qualified for the embassy which after winning at my 1st attempt allowed me to turn professional
Q2: You use a very specific set of darts, what were the darts you used before your Winmau model and what weights have you used. It’s rumoured that you won the 1991 Worlds with a 12g set which if true is a record for lightest darts to have won a World Championship (either PDC or BDO)?
DP: My darts started at 26g copper tungsten they wore down to 11g and were this weight wen I won both world champs they eventually broke on the thread.
Q3: Bobby George tells a story of a practice match you had with him at lakeside in 1992 where you had darts at a 9 darter for the 5 legs played and you went 10-10-10-10-9 in legs which prompted him to have a large bet on you. Bobby Said it’s the greatest performance he’d seen. Can you share any details on this legend?
DP: Yes what Bobby says is correct
Q4: An obvious one but how often and for how long did you used to practice, both pre-professional and after and did you change anything up as you got older?
DP: I played everyday and after turning pro I had plenty of exhibition work which was good practice. As I got older I found that I didn’t practice much but did practice coming up to tournaments. Now the darts circuit is full and they are playing competitive darts which keeps them match fit.
Q5: This ties into Q4. What were your practice routines both pre-professional and after and did you change anything up as you got older?
DP: I used to go round the doubles and different finishes up to 80 then round off with games of 501
Q6: You have a very poised throw which was different from anyone else at the time. Was this something that came natural or by necessity?
DP: By necessity
Q7: After winning the championship again in 1994, winning everything and hitting the averages you were (100+, which then was exceptional) it must have felt like you were about to dominate darts for the foreseeable future, however the 6-1 loss lit a fire under Taylor that in effect drove him to become the greatest ever. It must have felt at times like “what have I done”?
DP: yes I always tell people that I made him the all-time best player by that 6 1 beating.
Q8: What is your favourite match outside of your majors?
DP: I once did 2 nine dart games and missed double 18 for a 3rd in an exhibition in Woolwich. I know the Winmau World Masters is a major but I had 2 of my best games I beat Alan Warriner in the semis with a 105 average and then Mike Gregory in the final with a 102 average.
Q9: You retired from the circuit in 2014 after an incredible career winning major titles, and events. What prompted the decision to call it a day?
DP: I lost my desire and also my age prompted me to call it a day, I still do exhibitions and legend nights.
Q10: How is your health now, and how do you spend your days now you are not active on the professional circuit.
DP: My health at the moment is good ,I have blood tests every year to check my P.S.A. levels as I said in Q9 I still do exhibitions when asked .
I just want to take the opportunity to thank Mr Priestley for doing me this honor, it has been a privilege
Friday, 1 December 2017
One of my fave tournaments starts the 8th of December, the 22nd annual Zuiderduin Masters!
I have a soft spot for the Dutch anyway, however this is a fantastic event and a highlight of the BDO calendar.
The trophy has been lifted in the past by such darting alumni as:
Gary Anderson (x2)
Martin Adams (x2)
Glen Durrant has won it the last 2 years in a row, and based on current form would be favoured to be the first player to lift in 3x in a row.
Mark McGeeney is having a cracking 2017 also though having won 4 opens (including the Dutch open) and getting to the World Masters final.
Im going to have to go with Glen on this one though i wouldn't be surprised to see McGeeney, Waites, Mitchell or even Fitton come out on top
The date was the 22nd of June 2015.
This was the day/date when I realised that I had what it takes, not just to be a good pub darts player but potentially a player who could make some waves at local tournaments.
It was by far the greatest darts match I had played up to that point.
It wasn't my near victory over Eric Bristow or my run to the doubles final, but a match that if it needed a headline would be called "Redemption":
We were playing against the Seagull and it was the first time that I had come up against my old team since I left.
It was 16 months in the making and it felt like a shot at redemption and the opportunity to show that I wasn’t the player they thought I was.
Now it should be stated that the Seagull were a VERY good team. They had got promoted to the top league the season I was with them (don’t think they lost) and all their players were of a good standard.
I was Captain at the time and when the draw was being done, in my head I was thinking “don’t draw their Captain, don’t draw their Captain”
Guess what………………I drew their Captain!
Now let me explain, there team was full of good players however their Captain was VERY good (didn’t lose a league game the season I was with them) and took the game seriously. I had watched him give (then) BDO top 30 player Gary Stafford all he could handle (and had darts to win) in the cup when at the Seagull so knew he had a strong game and was a better player than me.
I can remember everything clearly.
I was wearing a bright Dutch orange polo shirt , using 18 gram red dragon featherlite darts, short medium nylon deflectagrip stems in blue and Co Stompe orange Kite Flights.
I was used to ending up going on late (23:00+) however fortunately the draw was kind and I was early in the third match (about 21:00).
My heart was racing, this would be a shot at redemption for me:
He won the bull however I got off to a flyer hitting BIG scores as did he.
He hit 60, I hit 60, he hit 60, I hit 80, he hit 80, I hit 138, he hit 100, I hit 120, he hit 100, I hit 100
I took the first leg taking out D4 after some iffy D16’s, averaging around 80!
He then took the second leg in a close one.
It was now 1-1.
I won the bull to start to start the decider and i again got off to a blinder hitting
140,46, 95,100, 80, to leave myself on 40 after 15 darts and my opponent still back on 270!
At this point my heart was littering beating out of my chest and I botched D20 to end up on 5.
I took out 2-1-d1 to take the decider!
Afterwards even a lot of their team said “great darts”, which was nice.
It was a special moment for me to beat a player of that quality, in that situation, in that way and showed that on my day I could be a match for a lot of good players!
Interview with 2001 PDC Grand Prix Winner and former BDO and PDC World number 1: ' the Iceman' Alan Warriner-Little
It is my pleasure to bring to you my interview with the former 2001 PDC Grand Prix Winner and former BDO and PDC World number 1, ' the Iceman' Alan Warriner-Little:
Q1: A nice easy and obvious one but how did you get into playing darts and did you have any inspirations?
AWL: Started playing darts in a league when I was in a snooker, billiards and darts league team in Lancaster for my then snooker skills!! around 1983 (I did play at home but wasn’t in any darts teams at the time) They were short one week so put me in to play darts and I beat who was considered the best player in the league at the time, he wasn’t happy so challenged me to another game after the match for £5, which was a lot then, and beat him again. So then played Darts regularly and I won the singles the same year. My Dad who got me into this team was one of the top darts & billiards players in his time so got it from him.
Q2: You actually appeared on Bullseye as a contestant before becoming a professional player. Memories of that show?
AWL: Bullseye was brilliant, and still is, at the time it used to have an incredible following on Sundays going well into the millions, and was massive in the sense of promoting the game. I remember travelling down straight from a night shift at 7am as work wouldn't give me the night off so was pretty tired. Everyone at the show really made you welcome and having 3 shows a day you got to know a lot of other people there. We won the show, but didn’t gamble at the time as we had over £600 and most of the prizes and you gambled everything at that time. My wife now still has it on the SKY planner, with all the ones I did since when I did the bronze bully challenge ‘About 6’ she often puts them on when we have visitors, so I leg it upstairs…!!
Q3: You made an impact virtually instantly, winning the British Pentathlon in 1988 (ending Lowe’s 6 year run beating him in the final) , winning the Belgium and Dutch Opens in 89 and going to a sudden death leg with Jocky in the second round of your World Championship debut, having had 8 match darts to win. You were only mid 20’s at the time, memories of that time (if you had won it could have changed the face and future of darts as Bristow may have gone on to win his 6th title or you could have done an 83 Deller).
AWL: Yes, got into the County team very quickly, and started playing in the opens etc Was selected for England within 1 year of playing County Darts and won the 2nd open event I played in ‘Isle of Man Open 1986’ I won £1,000 for that and was only on a small wage at the time. Into 88 & 89 got sponsored off Datadart * Managed by Tommy Cox so started travelling to the World Ranked Opens and had an immediate impact, and started qualifying for the TV events. Against Jocky Wilson, I remember I was 0-3 down in sets then woke up to get back to 3-3 and lead in final set, I left 46 after 9 darts but couldn’t hit the double to win it ‘8 Darts’ and eventually lost. Could have changed everything, but at the end of the day it didn’t happen.
Q4: An obvious one but what were your first set of darts and what were your practice routines back then and as you developed.
AWL: First set of darts I got was for x-mas, were bristows darts and got a board so used to play a lot at home in my bedroom, my darts after that ‘From Datadart’ were very similar. Used to just play in a lot of leagues in the town, most nights basically and at home. As when you go out, your not just playing you play before and after.
Q5: You made the 1993 final against John Lowe, derailing Steve Beaton 5-2 in the semi-final when Beaton was running through everyone. What happened in the final with Lowe, you didn’t look like the same player, though interestingly despite the scoreline in the averages there was nothing in it.
AWL: Just didn’t happen, had loads of chances early on but made it too hard to get back.
Q6: You were Mr Consistency in the PDC for 15 years, consistently making late round in tournaments (7 quarter finals and 2 semi-finals in the world championship), were both the World number 1 in BDO and PDC and winning multiple events. What do you attribute your ability to stay at the top for so long to?
AWL: Desire to win, didn’t like losing so used to go into a game with the attitude ‘Your Not Beating Me’
Q7: The 2001 PDC Grand Prix was a Massive win for you, your first PDC major and hitting a 106.45 average on double start which stands to this day (2017). Memories of that event, you looked like you wouldn’t be denied!
AWL: Getting that first World win was ‘The Monkey off the back' scenario’s as had lost in so many semis and finals. I was so determined to win, I wasn’t going to let it go this time, my focus was incredible, I wasn’t to be denied.
Q8: If you could name your one greatest match what would it be (televised or other) – heard you posted a 9 darter in the Irish Open in 2002 (back before it was common as it is now).
AWL: Probably the semi-final of the WMP v Baxter, who was one of the top boys at the time. I just hit everything, I remember Jeff Stelling saying to me after, I spoke to you during one of the breaks and you didn’t know I was there, you were so focused. The other was an invitation open in Surrey where I beat Phil Taylor in the Final, both of us averaged over 106 which was unheard of at the time.
Q9: You retired from the Professional circuit in 2010 (think Australian Open Players Championship that August) at the young age of 47/48. What prompted the move as there still a fair few over 50 competing now?
AWL: I actually retired in 2007, I only played in the Australian Open in 2010 as I was over there with 4 other players doing a week of exhibitions work. I stopped enjoying it, and didn’t want to practice, at the same time I started doing the PDPA work which I an still doing and was asked by ITV to do the first Grand Slam of Darts as a pundit/commentator, which I am still doing so it was an easy transition.
Q10: What a typical day in the life of Mr Warriner-Little these days?
AWL: With the PDPA work I do now, it is pretty much 24/7 as during the week we have a PDPA office in Carlisle 10-4, I attend most PDC events ‘Pro-Tour, Challenge Tour, Development Tour, TV Events’ which take up most weekends, and work from home when not travelling, in the office or at events. We get a constant stream of calls, texts, emails and queries, comments and complaints from players and I also run the PDPA website by myself ‘www.pdpa.co.uk’ which has to have all the updated information on regarding rules, changes, deadlines, travel, hotels event info etc, etc on a daily basis, I am also in daily communication with the PDC & DRA on all issues so its pretty much now stop. And have a lot of PDPA Partners, I still do the odd exhibition when I can fit it in.
I just want to take the time to thank Mr Warriner-Little for taking the time to do this interview as it has been an honor and pleasure.