American darts legend Rick Ney passes away after motor vehicle accident

By Alex Moss
10 APRIL 2017 • 10:00PM

American legend Rick Ney, part of the 1985 WDF World Cup winning team, has died.

Ney was one of the most successful American dart players, reaching the final of the prestigious News of the World Championship in 1986, where he lost 2-0 to Bobby George, as well as a run to the semi-finals of the 1988 World Championship.

In 1985, he was part of the American team which included Tony Payne, John Kramer and Dan Valletto, that won the team event at the WDF World Cup in Brisbane, Australia.

By the time Ney was 25 he had won the US Open three times in consecutive years between 1980 and 1982, and he also went on to make four appearances in the BDO’s World Championship.

His best result at Lakeside came in the 1988 tournament when he beat Magnus Caris, Chris Johns and Dennis Hickling to become only the third player from outside the UK to reach the semi-finals of the World Championship.

Ney, who was born in 1961, reportedly passed away following a motor vehicle accident.

World Masters to be staged in midweek in September as BDO major event returns to Bridlington

By Alex Moss
10 APRIL 2017 • 6:31PM

The BDO have announced this year’s Winmau World Masters is to be held over three midweek days in September.

The world’s oldest major darts tournament, which was won by Glen Durrant last year, will return to the Bridlington Spa later this year, following an eight-year absence.

Bridlington hosted the World Masters for eight years between 2002 and 2009, before the tournament moved to Hull, where it was held up until last year, when it was staged at the Lakeside Country Club, in Frimley Green.

The World Masters is traditionally held over a weekend, with the final stages taking place on the Sunday, however this year will see the event held from a Monday to a Wednesday.

The play-offs for the unseeded players to get through to the stage will be contested on Monday, September 25, before the following two days will see the latter rounds take place on the stage.

Then, on Thursday, September 28, the play-offs for the 2018 Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship will be held at the venue.

The move to play the event entirely midweek has received criticism on social media, with some suggesting it will be difficult for both fans and players to get time off from work to attend.

The World Masters will follow on from the Winmau British Classic and British Open, which take place at the Bridlington Spa the previous weekend, from Friday, September 22 to Sunday, September 24.

Sue Williams, chair of the BDO, said: “The board are pleased to be returning to the Bridlington Spa for the 44th Winmau World Masters.

“We are hoping for a record entry from around the globe, as many players will already be attending the Winmau British Classic and British Open.”

* What do you think of the BDO’s decision to move the World Masters to a solely midweek event this year? Comment your views below or tweet us @lovethedartsmag

Could last night really have been the last televised meeting between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld?

By Alex Moss
7 APRIL 2017 • 3:47PM

There was no post-match joint-interview between the two like there was last time, but could last night have been the final time we see Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld face one another on the big stage?

When Taylor got the better of his old rival van Barneveld when the two met in the Betway Premier League in Leeds in early February, some were billing it as the last televised ‘El Dartico’.

Few seriously predicted that either Taylor or van Barneveld would be eliminated on ‘Judgement Night’ from this year’s Premier League, thus, the two rivals would play each other again in the second phase of the tournament.

But now Taylor has prevailed once again, in their second regular season Premier League meeting last night, will the two meet again on the big stage before the 16-time world champion retires at the end of the current season?

Since van Barneveld switched over from the BDO to the PDC in 2006, the Dutchman and Taylor have faced off an average 4.5 times each season in front of the television cameras.

A total of 49 clashes in 11 years heading into this season suggests that the two will go toe-to-toe on the big stage again before Taylor puts his darts away, but when and where could their next possible meeting come?

The first opportunity would be on May 18 in the Premier League Play-Offs at The O2. After last night’s fixtures in Dublin, the two both currently occupy places in the top four and are, as of writing, on course to qualify for the end of season finale.

If the table stays as it is after the final regular season night in Aberdeen on May 11, Taylor would have to beat Michael van Gerwen, and van Barneveld would have to oust UK Open champion Peter Wright, to set up a final between the two.

While Taylor has severely reduced his playing schedule on the Pro Tour, he will still be involved in this year’s World Series, and both he and van Barneveld are in the field for events in Dubai (May 24-25), Shanghai (July 7-8), Las Vegas (July 14-15).

The line-ups for the World Series events in Auckland (August 11-13), Melbourne (August 18-20) and Perth (August 25-27) have yet to be confirmed, but it is expected Taylor and van Barneveld will both be involved, so it brings up three more televised tournaments for the two to face off in.

Before the PDC’s trip to Australasia in August, the World Cup of Darts will be staged once again in Germany in June, with Taylor and Adrian Lewis the defending champions from last year.

While Taylor is currently the fourth highest-ranked Englishman on the PDC Order of Merit, it would be a surprise if he does not partner Lewis in the England team and attempt to defend the title they have won for the last two years.

Van Barneveld is just ahead of his fellow Dutchman Jelle Klaasen, by only £3,250, as the second highest-ranked player from the Netherlands, but even if Klaasen climbs above him, it is highly doubtful that he will partner van Gerwen, instead of van Barneveld, for the World Cup.

The prestigious World Matchplay in July presents another opportunity for Taylor and van Barneveld to lock horns on TV, especially if Barney (9th) climbs up a spot in the rankings or Taylor (7th) drops down one place.

If that was to happen, the pair would be seeded in the same quarter of the draw and would face each other as early as the last 16, if they both won their first round games on the Winter Gardens stage.

Later on this year, the Champions League of Darts will return to our screens on the BBC, with Taylor hoping to defend the title he won in the tournament’s inaugural year in 2016.

The field for the new event was restricted to the top eight on the PDC Order of Merit last year, and if it remains the case for this year, Taylor and van Barneveld are both in the running to make the cut.

Then, as we enter the final three months of the season, the World Grand Prix and European Championship are both held in October, the World Series of Darts Finals, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals in November, before the big one, the World Championship, played across December and early January, which will be Taylor’s last tournament of his professional career.

Could last night have been the last time we see Taylor and van Barneveld face each other on the TV? The odds suggest not, but stranger things have happened!

Televised matches between Taylor and van Barneveld (since van Barneveld joined the PDC)
2017 – 2* so far
2016 – 5
2015 – 5
2014 – 4
2013 – 5
2012 – 2
2011 – 3
2010 – 3
2009 – 6
2008 – 4
2007 – 6
2006 – 6

Phil Taylor looking forward to renewing rivalry with Raymond van Barneveld in the Premier League tonight

By Alex Moss
6 APRIL 2017 • 10:28AM

Phil Taylor says he will relish playing fierce rival Raymond van Barneveld in the Betway Premier League tonight.

The two rivals face off at the 3Arena in Dublin this evening in what could be their final battle on the big stage, although it is expected there will be at least two or three more meetings between the duo before Taylor retires at the end of the season.

While van Barneveld heads into their latest contest in red hot form, having won his last four games in the Premier League, Taylor sits just a point behind the Dutchman after recording back-to-back wins.

“I’m going okay – I’ve got 11 points and the aim is to get into the play-offs,” said Taylor. “That’s what I’m working towards and every point is crucial.

“It’s going to be noisy in Dublin and I’ll look forward to it, especially as I’m playing Barney. I always look forward to playing Barney and I enjoy it.

“It was close when we last played and I love playing him more than anyone. He’s like Ronnie O’Sullivan or Eric Bristow, it’s special, and I love the occasions.”

Betway Premier League
Night Ten – Thursday April 6
3Arena, Dublin
James Wade v Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld

Click here for this week’s template for our Premier League Prediction League

Michael van Gerwen says there’s plenty more in the tank for the second phase of the Premier League season

By Alex Moss
6 APRIL 2017 • 10:12AM

Michael van Gerwen insists there is plenty more to come from him in this year’s Betway Premier League.

The world number one sits at the top of the table heading into the start of the second phase of the tournament tonight, which sees him take on James Wade at the 3Arena in Dublin.

The Dutchman is in a confident mood after thrashing Dave Chisnall 7-1 in Cardiff last week, a result that put him back into top spot and one point ahead of Peter Wright.

“I’m feeling good and I’m top of the table, and I want to carry on with these performances,” said van Gerwen.

“I’ve played okay so far this season but there’s more in the tank to come and I’m going to need it later in the tournament.

“I’ve got to make sure I focus on the game with James and I want to get another two points in front of a great crowd in Dublin.

“I’ve got great memories there and I want to keep believing in myself and keep my performances going.”

Van Gerwen has a perfect record in the Premier League in Dublin, with five victories from his five matches played in the capital of Ireland, including two wins over both Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld in recent years.

After taking on van Gerwen in tonight’s opener, Wade returns to the stage to face van Barneveld in the final game of the evening and the 2009 Premier League champion will need a minimum of two points tonight to keep his fading play-off hopes alive.

Betway Premier League
Night Ten – Thursday April 6
3Arena, Dublin
James Wade v Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld

Click here for this week’s template for our Premier League Prediction League

Dave Chisnall believes a win against Peter Wright tonight could spark a run to the Premier League play-offs

By Alex Moss
6 APRIL 2017 • 9:56AM

Dave Chisnall says his Betway Premier League play-off hopes are in his own hands heading into tonight’s clash with Peter Wright in Dublin.

Following the eliminations of both Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts last week, Chisnall now sits at the bottom of the pile in eighth place going into the second phase of the season.

Chizzy is five points adrift of the top four ahead of facing world number three Peter Wright, who is only one point behind league leader Michael van Gerwen in second spot.

“It’s a massive night for me,” said Chisnall. “If I can get a result I believe I can get on a good run to put the pressure on the others.

“I haven’t been playing that badly but it’s been frustrating for me, but it’s still in my hands and I’ve got to get the results.”

With players anticipated to need around 19-20 points to finish in the top four and qualify for the end of season play-offs, Chisnall will realistically have to pick up 13 points from his final seven games to stand a chance of qualifying for The O2 next month.

While Wright will be bidding to put another two points on the board, which could be vital ahead of facing the world’s top two players van Gerwen and Gary Anderson in Liverpool next week.

Betway Premier League
Night Ten – Thursday April 6
3Arena, Dublin
James Wade v Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld

Click here for this week’s template for our Premier League Prediction League

Deta Hedman and Fallon Sherrock head up list of ladies 8-0 in BICC Women’s A this season

By Alex Moss
4 APRIL 2017 • 6:32PM

Deta Hedman and Fallon Sherrock are among 11 players with perfect 8-0 records in Britsh Inter-Counties Championship Women’s A fixtures this season.

Hedman, the ladies world number one, and Sherrock have both won all eight of their matches so far this season, and are on a short list with nine other players to have also achieved the same feat this season.

Oxfordshire’s Hedman has a one-dart average of 24.14 after winning all eight of her Women’s A fixtures so far this season, while Sherrock has averaged 23.32 during her winning streak for Buckinghamshire.

Rhian Edwards (24.79) tops the averages list and also has a perfect eight wins from eight games while playing for Glamorgan, with Pembrokeshire’s Rhian Griffiths (22.50), Surrey’s Laura Turner (22.33) and Nikki Furse (22.04), of Cornwall, also on the short list.

Surrey’s Kerry Killick (20.83), Montgomery & Radnor’s Evonne Taylor (19.96), Bedfordshire’s Kerry King (18.87), Middlesex’s Margaret Sutton (18.60) and Shirley Castle (18.14), of Wiltshire, complete the list of 11 players to have won all eight of their Women’s A fixtures this season.

The final weekend of the 2016-17 BICC season takes place later this month on April 22-23, with the 11 players all hoping to finish the campaign with a perfect nine wins out of nine.

The five players in the PDC top 16 who have gone longer than Adrian Lewis’ 14 months without winning a ranking title

By Alex Moss
3 APRIL 2017 • 7:30PM

Adrian Lewis ended his 14-month PDC ranking title drought this past weekend with victory in Players Championship 5 in Milton Keynes on Saturday.

It was the world number four’s first ranking title win since February 5, 2016, but on the current PDC Order of Merit there are five players in the top 16 who have gone longer without winning a ranking event.

Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld’s last ranking tournament success came a surprising four-and-a-half years ago in October of 2013, but the Dutchman has tasted victory in the Premier League and World Cup of Darts, two televised non-ranking events, since then.

Jelle Klaasen, Michael Smith, Kim Huybrechts and Robert Thornton are the other four players on the list, with their latest ranking title wins all coming back in 2015.

Below is the current top 16 on the PDC Order of Merit and the date of their last ranking tournament win.

PDC Order of Merit (as of April 2, 2017)

Pos  Player Date of last ranking title win
1  Michael van Gerwen 02/04/2017
2  Gary Anderson 26/02/2017
3  Peter Wright 26/03/2017
4  Adrian Lewis 01/04/2017
5  James Wade 15/05/2016
6  Dave Chisnall 02/07/2016
7  Phil Taylor 12/06/2016
8  Mensur Suljovic 04/09/2016
=  Raymond van Barneveld 06/10/2013
10  Jelle Klaasen 27/09/2015
11  Michael Smith 13/09/2015
12  Kim Huybrechts 18/10/2015
13  Ian White 07/08/2016
14  Robert Thornton 10/10/2015
15  Benito van de Pas 22/10/2016
16  Simon Whitlock 12/03/2017

Scott Mitchell and Dave Parletti among short list of players left with perfect records in BICC Men’s A this season

By Alex Moss
3 APRIL 2017 • 6:37PM

England internationals Scott Mitchell and Dave Parletti are among ten players to still have a perfect record in British Inter-Counties Championship Men’s A fixtures this season.

Mitchell, the 2015 BDO world champion, and Parletti have both won all eight of their matches so far this season, and are on a short list with eight other players to have also achieved the same feat this season.

Dorset’s Mitchell has a one-dart average of 29.08 after winning all eight of his Men’s A fixtures so far this season, while Parletti has averaged 26.16 during his winning streak for Surrey.

Another England international, David Copley (28.38), also has a perfect eight wins from eight games while playing for Premier Division leaders Yorkshire, with Surrey’s Stephen Lovett (27.34) and Montgomery & Radnor’s Mitchell Butler (27.19) also on the short list.

Oxfordshire’s Sean Holley (26.27), Staffordshire’s John Burgess (26.21), Berkshire’s Terry Stubbs (25.92), Bedfordshire’s Micky Reed (25.50) and Paul Boulton (24.36), of Wiltshire, complete the list of ten players to have won all eight of their Men’s A fixtures this season.

The final weekend of the 2016-17 BICC season takes place later this month on April 22-23, with the ten players all hoping to finish the campaign with a perfect nine wins out of nine.

Yorkshire can wrap up British Inter-Counties Championship Premier Division title this weekend

By Alex Moss
31 MARCH 2017 • 3:35PM

Yorkshire could possibly retain the British Inter-Counties Championship Premier Division title this weekend.

The defending champions head into this weekend’s final home fixture of the season against Cambridgeshire with a 30-point lead over nearest challengers Lancashire.

With a possible 78 points left to play for in the final two games of the campaign, Yorkshire can wrap up the title if they win and better Lancashire’s points haul this weekend by ten or more points.

The two title rivals face off on the final weekend of the season in three weeks’ time, and Lancashire will be hoping they can keep their title hopes alive when they travel to Nottinghamshire tomorrow.

Elsewhere this weekend, Devon host Glamorgan in a pivotal clash at the bottom end of the Premier Division table.

Second from bottom Glamorgan gave their survival hopes a major boost when they beat Warwickshire last month, but they are still three points adrift of their hosts Devon heading into this weekend’s meeting.

In the other two Premier Division fixtures this weekend, bottom side Essex entertain fifth place Warwickshire and fourth place Cheshire host seventh place Lincolnshire.

British Inter-Counties Championship
Premier Division Fixtures (April 1-2)
Devon v Glamorgan
Cheshire v Lincolnshire
Essex v Warwickshire
Nottinghamshire v Lancashire
Yorkshire v Cambridgeshire

Premier Division Table
1. Yorkshire 192 pts
2. Lancashire 162 pts
3. Cambridgeshire 139 pts
4. Cheshire 133 pts
5. Warwickshire 130 pts
6. Nottinghamshire 128 pts
7. Lincolnshire 127* pts
8. Devon 120* pts
9. Glamorgan 117 pts
10. Essex 108 pts
* penalty points deducted