The Top 5 Darts Matches Of All Time

The Top 5 Darts Matches Of All Time

Top 5 Darts Matches Of All Time

Darts has gone from being a pub game to one of the most entertaining, if a tad silly, sports in the world.

Despite its lowly status, it’s become a real money-spinner for the TV companies as well as its organisers and is today one of the most-watched sports on the telly with millions of people around the world tuning in every week to watch.

Darts is also one of the most bet on sports in the UK and globally too and, increasingly, we are seeing more and more participants from a growing number of different countries.

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But how did we get here?

Well, for one thing, it is a great laugh, but otherwise to answer that, here, in no particular order, is our collection of the top five darts matches of all time.

Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld (2007)

Ask most darts fans what they believe is the greatest darts match in history and they will probably say the 2007 PDC World Championship final between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld.

Not only was it an epic, but it was also the last year the Circus Tavern hosted the World Championships before proceedings relocated to the Alexandra Palace where they famously remain today.

Here, Barney was playing in his first PDC final after moving over from the BDO, where he had been a four-time champion. 

His opponent, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor was already a 13-time world champion, and it was Taylor, looking to continue a 21 match winning streak at the Circus Tavern, that was to race into a three-set lead.

Taylor had held the trophy since 2004, racking up a 21-match unbeaten run prior to this match but, with a whitewash looking increasingly on the cards, van Barneveld turned the match on its head starting with his, and the tourney’s, first 170 checkout.

Barney went on to take the next three sets to bring the match to 6-6, forcing a deciding set in the process.

The drama didn’t end there. With Barney missing three match darts, the first 10 legs of the decider went with throw before van Barneveld once again failed to take his chance.

Even then, Taylor couldn’t take advantage leaving Barney to eventually hit tops for the title and secure a debut PDC World Championship victory.

Adrian Lewis vs Phil Taylor (2013)

At the 2013 Grand Slam of Darts, we were treated to one of the most exciting matchups in living darts memory.

The reason that it has gone down in legend is that there aren’t many matches that manage to contain a stunning 32 maximums thrown inside of 25 legs.

It’s hard to recall now because his drop-off has been so considerable, but there was a time when Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis was a true king of the darting world. 

He is a two-time, back-to-back world champion after all, banking the big one in both 2011 and 2012.

In his 2013 Grand Slam clash with fellow Potter Phil Taylor, who has claimed this was the best he ever played, Lewis finished the match with a 110.99 average with his opponent posting 109.46.

In a sign of things to come, Taylor opened with 180 with his first three darts of the match and would go on to finish the game with a 16-9 triumph over his own darting protégé.

By the end of the match, the triple 20 was completely destroyed such was the quality the two Stoke chuckers showed on the night.

To this day, there has never been more 180s hit in a PDC match and never has anyone with such a high average as Jackpot posted that night finished on the losing side.

Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross (2018)

Going into the 2018 World Championships, no one had really heard of Rob Cross.

Only a year earlier, Voltage, as the former electrician is known, was watching the event on TV like the rest of us while he was still a member of the Challenge Tour.

Having been encouraged by his uncle to have one last shot at pro darts, Cross set off on his first season with the PDC, where he cashed over £300,000 in prize money and banked four tournament wins.

Nothing could prepare him for what was to follow, though. 

Making it to the Alexandra Palace, Cross went more than deep, reaching the semi-finals, where he was to face the world number one, Michael van Gerwen.

While this was supposed to be a banker for MVG, Cross stayed with his man, helped admittedly by Mighty Mike missing un unlikely 58 doubles during the match.

Unfortunately for the world number one at the time, five of his missed doubles came in the deciding set with the match at 5-4.

With the match firmly in the balance in the sudden-death leg, Cross missed a double 16 for what would have been a 140 checkout.

MVG then repeated the trick which allowed Cross to finally keep his composure and land double eight for the match and complete a remarkable victory. 

Even more remarkably, a retiring Phil Taylor awaited in the final for a fairy tale finish to a glittering career only to be upstaged by Cross, who would finish his first year on the tour as the world champion. 

Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen (2016)

Although Taylor was still playing in 2016, and in fact still had another Ally Pally final in him, darts was by now under new command.

Its new number one was the Green Machine, Mighty Michael van Gerwen. 

In the season building up to that year’s World Championships, MVG had taken down The Masters, the UK Open, the World Darts Matchplay, the Grand Slam of Darts, the European Championship and the Players Championship.

On top of this, he was also unbeaten in more than two months and in 25 televised darts matches overall.

In short, van Gerwen was the heavy favourite going into the 2016 PDC Darts World Championships.

However, he was to meet a compatriot in the third round where that year’s title challenge would come unstuck.

That compatriot was, of course, Raymond van Barneveld, who boasted 11 defeats in 14 meetings with fellow Dutchman MVG.

And yet, van Barneveld won 4-3 in sets, despite Mighty Mike boasting an average of 105.78 on the night.

The turning point came in the fifth set when MVG, on whose throw it was, landed a 180 on his way to, what he hoped would be, a cruise into a 3-2 lead in sets.

At this point, van Barneveld needed 304 and somehow duly dug out a maximum, followed by a 124 finish on double 11 to turn the set, and eventually the tie, in his favour and bring an end to van Gerwen’s unbeaten run.

Phil Taylor v Eric Bristow (1997)

Two of the most famous darters of all time went head to head in 97 when the master took on his apprentice.

True their eras of dominance never really collided, and everything pointed to the young Taylor, then coming into his peak years, comfortably seeing off the challenge of his former mentor, who was, by then, some way past his own prime.

As loved as The Power was, and is, the sporting romantics couldn’t help but hope for one last show from the veteran Crafty Cockney

Think along the lines of Tiger’s Masters win in 2018 but considerably more low-key.

Sometime earlier in the 90’s Bristow had been diagnosed with Dartitis, a repetitive strain injury that had left his game compromised, hence Taylor going into the game as the heavy favourite in the darts betting that year.

As a little background, it was Bristow who had discovered the young Taylor back in Stoke, seeing in him instantly the raw talent that would later see The Power unquestionably go on to become the greatest darts player of all time.

The setting was the Circus Tavern in Essex, which back then hosted the World Championships and we’re at the semi-final stage.

And, while Taylor did lead for most of the game, the former protégée was unable to shake off the threat from his close friend in a first to five format match.

Things looked like they were going the way of The Power as he moved ahead 4-3 in sets and 2-1 up in legs.

Requiring only one more leg for victory, Taylor’s visit left a double four hanging, and with Bristow on 141, up stepped The Crafty Cockney to work his way down to 24, where he pinned the double 12 to take things to a deciding set.

Although Taylor would later end up winning the match – despite missing three darts at 32 – it was one last show of defiance from the legendary Bristow, without whom not only would we not have Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor but who was also behind the reinvention of darts as we know it today.

Of course, come the final, Taylor would become world champion once again.

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Michael van Gerwen Makes Winning Start To Darts Premier League

Michael van Gerwen Makes Winning Start To Darts Premier League

MVG Darts Premier League

Michael van Gerwen put his early-season shaky form behind him to beat world champion Peter Wright 7-5 in a thriller of a World Championship rematch on Premier League opening night.

Wright followed his Ally Pally triumph by winning the season’s first tourney, The Darts Masters, last week and initially looked in good shape in front of the Aberdeen crowd. Snakebite raced into an early 2-0 lead thanks to a 14-darter and a 120 checkout but will rue not making it three after he missed a hat trick of darts at tops to let the world number one back into the game.

Wright repeated the trick in the fourth leg which proved to be the only invitation the Dutchman needed to get back on level terms. The game then went with throw as both players produced high-quality darts before Mighty Mike took out the remaining two legs to get his campaign off to a winning start.

A review of Night 1

In the night’s opener, debutant Glen Durrant got off to a winning start with a 7-3 victory over 2018 runner-up Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith. Duzza had been a part of the previous season’s league as one of the nine challengers but has this year been promoted to a full-time Premier League player. His one game last season also happened to be in Scotland when he lost to Daryl Gurney in Glasgow. There were no such problems this time around as he landed nine doubles while Smith, who lost in the Masters final a week ago, wasted five of his eight attempts.

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The Flying Scotsman made his return to DPL action on Thursday after missing out a year ago. Much to the delight of the 7,000-strong crowd in Aberdeen, Gary Anderson managed to turnaround a potential defeat when he fought back from a 5-4 deficit against Daryl Gurney. Superchin was the subject of boos which seemed to work after he missed eight darts at a double plus later on another shot at tops for what would have been a point. These dropped shots allowed Anderson to level the match with a 13-darter before scooping the remaining legs also.

Another debutant took part in the night’s fourth fixture as Nathan Aspinall took on this week’s contender John ‘The Highlander’ Henderson, playing in front of his home crowd. This was a crowd that would leave disappointed, however, as The Asp ran out a 7-3 winner in front of 7,000 fans in Aberdeen. Last year, Henderson managed to bag himself a 6-6 draw with Michael van Gerwen but such a result – and payday – wasn’t to be this year as the UK Open champion was simply too good.

Gerwyn Price just about managed to salvage a draw from his 6-6 draw with Rob Cross. It was a match that never looked like it would get away from The Iceman as he landed three successive legs in just 39 darts, including a brilliant 124 checkout, to take a 4-2 lead. This preceded Voltage securing four legs on the trot including a 100 checkout in a 12-darter to go 6-4 up. The Grand Slam of Darts champion then forced and won a deciding leg to take a point.

Darts Premier League Night 2 Betting Tips

Thursday sees the second round of Premier League games, brought to you from the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. Dubbed the Sherrock of Nottingham, Fallon Sherrock, who became the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Championships in December, will this week become the first female to play in the Darts Premier League, if only as a local challenger. As ever, the games will all be broadcast live on Sky Sports and the action gets underway from 19.00 GMT.

Durrant vs Aspinall

As we stand, the two new boys – Glen Durrant and Nathan Aspinall – are out in front, although with one match played each so far this isn’t saying much. The Asp is one of the first out on the night as he takes on Rob Cross who recorded an average of 100.10 during his 6-6 draw with Gerwyn Price in Aberdeen. Aspinall banked a decent win but only hit a low average of 89.19 which surely won’t be enough against Voltage.

He is capable but will definitely need to up his game against Cross who I believe will record his first win in the league this season.

Price vs Smith

Match two pits Gerwyn Price against Michael Smith in a match The Iceman will surely look on as a must-win. Price can be happy with the manner of his draw with Rob Cross a week ago, even if he probably should have won. Bully Boy, however, blew his chance against Glen Durrant and could be heading for two defeats in as many matches.

Anderson vs Wright

It’s an all Scots affair for match-three where Gary Anderson meets Peter Wright. Anderson already has a win under his belt after he critically dismissed Daryl Gurney. Wright, however, chucked his chance of a win away when he had MVG on the ropes a week ago.

Snakebite can at least take heart from winning five legs and actually outperformed Anderson in most of the key stats in Aberdeen, hitting the most 180s and having the highest checkout at 6.00, which is enough to tempt me to get behind the world champion this week too.

Sherrock vs Durrant

It’s time for Fallon Sherrock next in a match her opponent, Glen Durrant, admits he is dreading. Duzza should be expecting the crowd to back the underdog and so knows that the crowd will be against him but it shouldn’t impact his ability to take maximum points here.

Duzza should win but for Sherrock fans to find value, back Sherrock to once again produce the highest checkout, as she did in all three of her World Championship matches. For fans of the Queen of the Palace, such an outcome is worth 13/8 at Bet365.

Gurney vs van Gerwen

Daryl Gurney and Michael van Gerwen close out the night in a match that it is hard to see the Dutchman losing. Gurney was off his game last week in his defeat to Anderson which is not the form you’re looking for with MVG incoming. Hope can be found in the fact that Mighty Mike lost both of his league matches with Gurney last season before knocking Superchin out in the semi-finals and much the same should be expected this week in Nottingham.

  • (13/8) Rob Cross (7/2) Nathan Aspinall (6/5)
  • (10/11) Gerwyn Price (7/2) Michael Smith (11/5)
  • (13/8) Gary Anderson (7/2) Peter Wright (6/5)
  • (3/10) Glen Durrant (13/2) Fallon Sherrock (13/2)
  • (11/2) Daryl Gurney (5/1) Michael van Gerwen (4/11)

QUICK GLANCE AT DARTS PREMIER LEAGUE NIGHT 2

Venue: Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham

Dates: 13.02.2020

Format: Max of 12, best of 19, 21

Current Champion: Michael van Gerwen

Where To Watch: Sky Sports

When To Watch: (1900 GMT)

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Masters Darts 2020 Betting Tips

Masters Darts 2020 Betting Tips

2020 Darts Masters Betting Tips

With a month passing since Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright was crowned world champion, the players return this weekend for the 2020 Darts Masters, made up of the top 16 players on the PDC Order of Merit. Play takes place from January 31-February 2 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes and we now know the full draw and schedule for the event which will be broadcast live on ITV 4.

Michael van Gerwen, still the world’s number one, will be shooting for six in a row here as his customary way of opening the season. The five time defending champion banked an easy 11-5 win over James Wade in last year’s final but defeat in the final at the Ally Pally one month ago will only serve as extra motivation and, with a month off, the Dutchman will be fresh to take on all comers this weekend. Mighty Mike will take on the lowest-ranked player in the field, Wales’ Jonny Clayton in his opener and is an outright price of 11/10 at Betway.

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World number two Gerwyn Price went into the World Championships as many people’s favourite, looking likely to provide the biggest threat to the tournament favourite Michael van Gerwen. Despite a very strong end to 2019, such a challenge at the Worlds wasn’t to be after being out-thought in the battle of the mind games that was the semi-final against Peter Wright. Similar to Wright, it will be interesting to see what 2020 holds for in store for The Iceman. It will clearly be a big year for him and this tourney represents the ideal opportunity to lay down an early-season marker. Despite a first round exit twelve months ago, a much deeper run is expected of him this time around. 11/2 is his quoted price at Betway.

World champion Peter Wright recently enjoyed by far the biggest moment of his career, so far at least, shaking off his perennial choker’s tag in the process when he won at the Alexandra Palace. What this all means is that he will enjoy a flood of bets of his success now as the pressure mounts on the Scot to carry on winning. It’s an interesting question to ponder, what the season ahead holds for Snakebite.

After all, last year was almost one his worst ever seasons but, in true Peter Wright style where nothing is straight forward, right on his last throw of the season, it ended being his best on record. Snakebite was a losing semi-finalist last time out here and prior to that a quarter-finalist four years in a row. On the back of his Ally Pally victory he has been installed as the third favourite at 6/1, again with Betway.

James Wade
is the only player in the line-up other than Michael van Gerwen who has been to more than one Masters final. After winning in 2014, he lost out in last year’s final to MVG and is considered to be a 33/1 shot to go one better this week. Anyone interested in Gary ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Anderson returning to the top of his sport in 2020 will be tempted by the 10/1 on him getting the new season off to a winnings start, just ahead of Rob Cross’ 12/1 which follows his disappointing World Championships.

Elsewhere, debutant Nathan Aspinall’s stock continues to rise following back to back semi-final appearances at the PDC World Championships. The Asp has even qualified for next month’s Darts Premier League and this could prove to be the breakout year for the 28-year-old who is rated as a 20/ shot with the online bookmaker Betway to win in Milton Keynes.

Friday February 1

First Round (Best of 19 legs)

  • Michael Smith v Mensur Suljovic
  • Nathan Aspinall v James Wade
  • Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
  • Rob Cross v Adrian Lewis

Saturday February 2

First Round (Best of 19 legs)

  • Daryl Gurney v Dave Chisnall
  • Gary Anderson v Ian White
  • Peter Wright v Joe Cullen
  • Gerwyn Price v Simon Whitlock

Sunday February 3

  • 4x Quarter-Finals (Best of 19 legs)
  • 2x Semi-Finals (Best of 21 legs)
  • Final Winner (Best of 21 legs)

QUICK GLANCE AT MASTER DARTS

Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keyne
Dates: 31.01.2020 – 02.02.2020
Format: Best of 19, 21 legs
Current Champion: Michael van Gerwen
Where To Watch: ITV 4
When To Watch: (1200, 1945 GMT)

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