The Weekly Dartscast with Jonathan Hirst, Alex Hughes, Melbourne and Sweden Reviews, Perth Preview and more!

The Weekly Dartscast is back with two guests this week. Here’s a rundown of what’s on the show:

Co-hosts Alex Moss and Burton DeWitt recap a big weekend in the BDO, which saw Mark McGeeney move to number one on a week that Scott Mitchell added another title to his locker.

The team also discuss Lorraine Winstanley’s third triumph in Sweden, in addition to the cut-off for the Finder Darts Masters qualification.

Over in the PDC, Burton and Alex talk about Phil Taylor’s seventh win in Australia from eight World Series events, as well as discuss what next for two of his opponents, Peter Wright and Corey Cadby.

The team are joined by two guests. First, 11-year-old Irish sensation Alex Hughes talks about his qualification for the Champion of Champions this weekend in Cardiff.

Then, BDDA number one Jonathan Hirst discusses his first season on the circuit and his aspirations to become World Master at the first attempt.

Subscribe to the Weekly Dartscast on iTunes here. Listen to the show via Libsyn here.

Three-time UK Open qualifier and former PDC tour card holder Davey Dodds passes away aged 46

Former PDC tour card holder Davey Dodds has passed away at the age of 46.

Dodds was a highly-regarded player from the North East and qualified for the UK Open three times, most recently in 2014.

“Dodgy D” qualified for the major affectionately known as ‘The FA Cup of Darts’ for the first time in 2011, winning through a qualifier in Middlesbrough, and was drawn against then world number four James Wade in the first round.

The Co Durham said in an interview with Sky Sports ahead of the game: “You could have been thinking ‘why couldn’t I get an easier draw?’ but at the same time everyone’s there to be beaten.

“I’ve played darts for a long time and it won’t faze me much. I think I’ve played just about every dart player other than Phil Taylor through the years.”

Dodds lost 4-2 to “The Machine” to bring an early end to his first taste of playing in a PDC major, but was back the following year and enjoyed wins over Alan Casey, John Jukes and Stuart White, before being drawn against Gary Anderson in the last 64.

The match, which Anderson won 9-3 and was on the main stage at the Reebok Stadium, is most memorable for featuring a nine-dart finish. In the third leg, Anderson hit back-to-back 180s and then checked out 141 for the perfect leg.

After missing out on a tour card at Q-School in 2013, Dodds won a two-year tour card to play on the PDC circuit at the start of 2014 when he finished high enough on the Q-School Order of Merit.

A deciding-leg win over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in the UK Open Qualifiers helped Dodds qualify for the UK Open for a third time, this time at Minehead, where he beat David O’Brien before losing to Benito van de Pas 5-3 in the second round.

Dodds continued to play on the PDC circuit up until March of 2015, before turning out for Q-School the following year and then competing on the BDO circuit as recently as May this year.

Since news of his passing surfaced on social media late last night, tributes have been pouring in from players and fans.

World number two Anderson, who hit the nine darter against him in the UK Open, tweeted: ‘RIP Davey Dodds a great player. Thoughts go out to his family & friends!’

Former major winner Paul Nicholson posted: ‘Speechless this morning after hearing of the passing of Davey Dodds. A lad I’ve known for ages, and someone I had so much respect for.’

World number 39 and Northumberland-based thrower Chris Dobey tweeted: ‘Horrible news to wake up to this morning RIP Davey Dodds great guy and one hell of a darter! Shocked!! Fly high mate!’

The Love The Darts team would like to send our condolences to Davey’s family and friends at this sad time.

 

Melbourne runner-up Peter Wright vows to bounce back: ‘Next week in Perth that title is for me’

Peter Wright has his sights set on landing a first World Series of Darts title in the Perth Darts Masters next week.

The world number three lost out 11-8 to Phil Taylor in the final of the inaugural Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters in Australia earlier today, in what was his fourth defeat in a World Series final.

After falling 8-5 behind, Wright hit back to level up at 8-8 before Taylor reeled off three straight legs to get the better of the Scot in a TV final for the second time in three weeks, having lost to the 16-time world champion in the World Matchplay final late last month.

“I can’t wait until he retires,” Wright joked. “I wish he’d hurry up, retire early please!

“No, obviously I missed a few doubles and Phil punished me. Phil’s not going to give a trophy away, so you’ve got to fight for it.

“I’m going to learn from the beatings he keeps giving me and I’m going to come back a lot stronger and entertain these amazing crowds that we’ve got here and next week in Perth that title is for me.”

Picture: Tim Murdoch/PDC

Phil Taylor ‘loving every minute’ of his final year on the tour as he wins eighth World Series of Darts title

Phil Taylor says he is ‘loving every minute’ of his last year on the tour after winning the inaugural Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters.

The 16-time world champion is retiring from the PDC circuit at the end of the current season, and added an eighth World Series of Darts title to his collection with victory in Melbourne earlier today.

Taylor defeated Peter Wright 11-8, in a repeat of last month’s World Matchplay final, which Taylor also won, to become the first name on the trophy of the newest tournament on the World Series circuit.

“I love it over here in Australia, the crowd are brilliant and I’m loving every minute of it,” the 57-year-old said.

“I’ve not got many tournaments left in me so I want to win as many as I can before I call it a day.

“I’m so proud to see the sport growing in this part of the world, I’ve been lucky enough to see it all over the years, but we never believed it would get this big.

“Barry Hearn has done such a brilliant job and here’s to many more years of this sport getting bigger and bigger.”

Picture: Tim Murdoch/PDC

Phil Taylor beats Peter Wright 11-8 to win inaugural Melbourne Darts Masters and eighth World Series of Darts title

Phil Taylor became the first winner of the Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters after beating Peter Wright 11-8 in the final at the Hisense Arena earlier today.

The 57-year-old, who won the World Matchplay for a record 16th time in Blackpool last month, continued his recent run of success in Melbourne as he claimed an eighth World Series of Darts title, and a seventh in Australia.

In a repeat of the World Matchplay final, Taylor took on world number three Wright in the decider of the inaugural Melbourne Darts Masters, and at 8-8 the match looked evenly poised.

However, Taylor reeled off three straight legs to seal an 11-8 victory and ensure Wright’s wait for a first World Series title continues.

Earlier in the day Taylor had ended home hopes with an 11-4 thrashing over Australian number one Simon Whitlock in the semi-finals.

The 16-time world champion produced a run that saw him win nine of the last 11 legs, with the victory secured with a 144 finish as Taylor finished with a 57.89 per cent success rate on the doubles.

Wright had earlier booked his place in a fourth World Series final, and a first in Australia, with an 11-4 win over Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney.

The Scot fired in a 101 checkout on his way to establishing a 4-1 lead and, despite not hitting any maximums in the contest, he pinned 55 per cent of his attempts at doubles to book his spot in the final.

Taylor had only ever tasted defeat once in the World Series in Australia and began the final in nervy fashion, missing three darts at doubles in the opening leg to break the Wright throw.

The pair traded holds of throw until the sixth leg, where Taylor missed double 19 for a 158 checkout before Wright took out 81, finishing with double 17 and double 20 for a break.

However, the next three legs saw the reigning UK Open champion spurn a total of 12 darts at doubles, which allowed Taylor back in and to gain control of the final.

Wright then produced another double-double finish in the 11th leg to close the gap to one, this time checking out 81 with the help of two double 18s.

Wright was unable to capitalise though, as Taylor then broke again to open up a three-leg cushion at 8-5, before the comeback came with the Premier League runner-up winning the next three legs to level the score up at 8-8.

But once again though, Wright could not regain the lead as Taylor broke the throw to move 9-8 in front, before a 112 finish and then another break sealed the title for the current world number four.

Picture: Tim Murdoch/PDC

Aussie rivals Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson to clash in first round of Melbourne Darts Masters

Australia’s number one and two Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson will lock horns for the third time in four weeks after being drawn together in the first round of the inaugural Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters.

The newest event on the World Series circuit starts at the Hisense Arena tomorrow, with the draw for the first round having been completed in Australia a few hours ago.

Former major winner Whitlock defeated Anderson 10-5 when the Aussie pair met in the opening round of the World Matchplay in Blackpool on July 24, before Anderson saw off Whitlock 10-9 in the quarter-finals of the Auckland Darts Masters last Saturday.

Anderson went on to beat James Wade, and then Corey Cadby, to claim his first TV title in Auckland last week, and he will renew rivalries with his World Cup of Darts partner on Friday.

Elsewhere in the draw, reigning world youth champion Cadby, who lost out to Anderson in a last-leg decider in the Auckland Darts Masters last weekend, has been drawn against five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.

Melbourne-based Cadby recorded wins over Peter Wright, Michael Smith and Phil Taylor on his way to reaching a first senior TV final in Auckland on Sunday.

Taylor will meet emerging Kiwi star Cody Harris in another interesting first-round tie, while top seed Gary Anderson faces DPA Qualifier Justin Thompson, who is making his debut in front of the cameras in Melbourne this weekend.

Another newcomer to the big stage, Sutherland-based real estate business owner Dave Marland, has drawn Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney, while third seed Wade faces New Zealand-born Koha Kokiri.

Reigning UK Open champion Wright plays Hoppers Crossing’s Rhys Mathewson and Smith goes up against Perth-based qualifier David Platt.

Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters
Draw Bracket
Gary Anderson (1) v Justin Thompson
Daryl Gurney v Dave Marland
Peter Wright (4) v Rhys Mathewson
Michael Smith v David Platt
Raymond van Barneveld (2) v Corey Cadby
Phil Taylor v Cody Harris
James Wade (3) v Koha Kokiri
Simon Whitlock v Kyle Anderson

Schedule of Play
Friday August 18 (7pm)
First Round
Daryl Gurney v Dave Marland
Peter Wright v Rhys Mathewson
James Wade v Koha Kokiri
Michael Smith v David Platt
Phil Taylor v Cody Harris
Raymond van Barneveld v Corey Cadby
Gary Anderson v Justin Thompson
Simon Whitlock v Kyle Anderson
Best of 11 legs

Saturday August 19 (7pm)
Quarter-Finals
Order of Play TBC
Best of 19 legs

Sunday August 20 (7pm)
Semi-Finals
Final
Best of 21 legs

Kyle Anderson targets more success on the big stage after winning first TV title in Auckland

Kyle Anderson says he is not content with winning only one TV title in his career.

The Australian clinched his maiden TV title with victory in the Auckland Darts Masters in New Zealand last weekend, beating his fellow Aussie Corey Cadby 11-10 in the final.

The world number 28, who had only won his first PDC title a couple of weeks earlier when he was victorious in Barnsley in Players Championship 17, has his sights set on more glory in front of the cameras ahead of competing in the inaugural Melbourne Darts Masters, which starts on Friday this week.

“It was my first time playing in Auckland and I loved every minute of it,” Anderson said.

“I felt sick in my stomach after the game because of the elation of getting that double four. I’m happy, I’m proud and I’m looking forward to Melbourne.

“it’s the first tournament in Melbourne and I’m looking forward to that one. I’m rapt with the way I’m playing, it’s all in the doubles and the doubles are going in.

“I don’t want one more (TV title), I want a whole load of them. I know I’m good enough, but it’s a matter of on the day when you play.

“I’m not going to come out and say that I’ll win every title because it’s not going to happen, but I’m going to come out and get as far as I can, and if I win one then I win one.

“I know I’ve got the capability and I’ve just got to put it together. If I get the doubles and scoring together then I should be fine.”

Anderson was priced as a 50-1 outsider ahead of the Auckland Darts Masters last week, with his odds for claiming back-to-back titles on the World Series circuit in Melbourne this weekend slashed to 25-1.

Despite their early exits in Auckland, top seed Gary Anderson and world number three Peter Wright are among the favourites to be the first name on the trophy of the newest tournament on the World Series calendar at 5-2 and 10-3 respectively, with recent World Matchplay champion Phil Taylor also a 10-3 shot.

The draw for the first round of the Melbourne Darts Masters is due to take place tomorrow, with eight of the PDC’s top players set to take on eight regional qualifiers on Friday.

PDC chairman Barry Hearn believes Kyle Anderson’s Auckland win has given darts in Australasia a massive push

PDC chairman Barry Hearn believes Kyle Anderson’s surprise win in the Auckland Darts Masters last weekend has given the sport in Australia and New Zealand a massive push.

Anderson defeated reigning world youth champion Corey Cadby 11-10 in an all-Aussie final on Sunday to claim his first TV title.

And Hearn thinks the win can inspire the Perth-born thrower, who now lives in the UK, to more titles and also boost darts in Australasia.

“Simon (Whitlock) was the first flag bearer for Australia, Paul Nicholson also had some success,” Hearn said.

“Over the years we’ve watched local players come through the ranks, Kyle Anderson, Corey Cadby – this young, precocious talent – and who’d have thought that the final of the Auckland Masters would be between two unseeded players.

“This gives the game in Australia and New Zealand a massive push. The event showed that people can change their lives through darts, and here it was in the raw.

“All we can do is give them the opportunity and fund the change in lifestyle. Kyle Anderson has earned over £30,000 in the last couple of weeks, but what does it lead to? Whitlock became a Premier League player and one of the world’s elite and he’s still there.

“We’re very excited and we’re looking to the future, because who know’s what’s going to happen in Melbourne this week? Will we see more Australian success? The fans are in for a treat, the TV viewers at Fox are in for an extravaganza.”

The Auckland Darts Masters last week kicked-off a triple header of World Series events down under this month, with the inaugural Melbourne Darts Masters getting under way on Friday, before the Perth Darts Masters takes place next week.

The World Series, now in its fifth year, aims to spread top-level professional darts around the globe, and this year events have already taken place in Dubai, Shanghai and Las Vegas.

“Five years ago now we had the idea that we were making such huge progress in the UK and Europe, but there’s another world out there that we have to go to, because there’s dart players everywhere,” Hearn said.

“We launched the World Series to go out and find local talent, to encourage them, to show them the opportunity they have in their career and also to take the world’s best players out there to entertain a new legion of darts fans.

“I’m feeling pretty happy because it’s working. We’ve got seven World Series events this year, we’ve just come back from the best tournament we’ve ever done in America at the US Masters and we’ve got a massive event coming up in Germany in October.”

Darts tops poll as the highest integrity sport in the UK

Darts has been given a stamp of approval by the British public after topping an independent poll as the UK sport with the highest integrity.

The UK Sports Integrity Index by Portland Communications polled over 2,000 members of the general public in June to measure the perceived level of integrity of the top 12 professional sports in the UK.

The poll looked at how far people had judged sports to be affected by four key issues: match, point or race fixing; players, racers or athletes using performance enhancing drugs; financial corruption; and cover-up stories and scandals.

Darts was perceived as the sport with the highest integrity by the most people in four age categories from 18-54, and as the least likely to be affected by performance enhancing drugs or cover-up stories.

PDC chairman Barry Hearn, reflecting on the report, said: “This independent report is a big thumbs-up for the sport of darts during a time of amazing growth at a professional level both in the UK and worldwide.

“PDC tournaments are amongst the most-watched sporting events on British television and our worldwide circuit will offer a record £12m in prize money this year – figures that could hardly have been dreamed of 10 years ago.

“We work with the Darts Regulation Authority (DRA) to implement both Anti-Corruption and Anti-Doping programmes, while the Darts Integrity Unit offers a confidential way of reporting any potential irregularities.

“Whilst this report is a massive boost, we have to continue to be vigilant in our development as a professional sport if we are to retain this standing with the most important people; the general public who both watch darts on television and buy tickets to attend PDC tournaments in-person.

“They’re seeing wonderful characters battling it out on the oche, but the real beauty is that darts players are ordinary people with an extraordinary talent for their sport.”

To see the full report click here