Today marks 5 years since I first created dartsweb. That time has seen a lot occur in the world of darts. Stars have emerged and faded. The BDO has endured turmoil and indeed collapse. And a whole lot of arrows have been thrown. It has been my pleasure in that 5 years to conduct numerous interviews, produce reports on some of the greatest and most enticing matches in the sport’s history and tackle some of the big issues affecting darts in opinion articles. To commemorate half a decade of writing about the game I love, I thought I’d look back at some of the moments that have defined the last 5 years, ‘through dartsweb’.
It would be hard not to include a moment that so many fans up and down the country and around the world savoured. Glen Durrant went into the 2017 BDO World Championship as the established best player in the BDO and with the history of heartache from the previous two competitions. There were few who were going to begrudge the man from Middlesbrough a first world crown. His final encounter with Danny Noppert had came after his classic round two match with Paul Hogan (which could have just as easily been the moment I had selected) in which he had survived match darts. It was fantastic to see Glen get over the line against the Dutchman and, as we all know now, two more BDO world titles would follow before Duzza made his way onto the PDC. He remains a player I love to watch and report on and I think he has plenty more stories left to make in his cannon.
Boiling beneath the surface in 2017 was the story of Rob Cross. Slowly but surely he was catching the attention of the committed and casual darts fan and it was fabulous to get the chance to interview him. Few of us imagined at the time that a world title was just months away and Cross is now of course a well-known name in the game. At the time, he told me, “My aim is to keep winning, and keep improving and eventually be world number one – second best just isn’t good enough.” Although he is yet to reach the top of the PDC world rankings, he is on an elite list of players to reach the pinnacle of World Championship success, and at just 30 years of age, has a lot left to give.
One of the humbling things about writing about a sport like darts and having the privilege and access to speak to some of its leading stars is broaching sensitive issues. When Andy Hamilton agreed in 2018 to discuss his difficult decision to step away from the game, I was incredibly determined to get the tone of the article right and do ‘The Hammer’ justice. I remain very proud of this interview and grateful to Andy for answering my questions, and it has been fantastic to see Hamilton do so well in the last few years, including getting back on the PDC tour at the start of 2020. All the very best to Andy in the future.
In my time writing about darts, I have always tried to cover a range of different forms of writing and cover news of all kinds. When former Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen sadly died in 2018, I was keen to write something which looked back on his large contribution to the sport through the programme. I had never written an obituary before but did my best to put together a few words about the man, with the kind help of John Lowe who very graciously contributed his experience of knowing Jim to the piece. Bowen is greatly missed and the legacy of Bullseye remains strong all these years since it was first broadcast.
In the last 5 years, one of the ongoing stories in the world of darts has been the turns and turmoils of the BDO. That has involved covering everything from dramatic World Championships, TV deals and indeed changes in the governance of the organisation. The BDO and indeed the face of grassroots darts is something which makes a lot of fans deeply passionate, and in the couple of pieces of selected I did my best to cover the situation as I saw it for the BDO. They are often the articles which produce the most responses and different ideas, and everyone even to this day has their own views on what went wrong for the BDO and what they would do if trying to forge a future for the lower levels of the game. In fact, many are indeed now trying to forge that future through new organisations like MAD Darts and the UKDA, and no doubt in the future their work will offer an interesting focus to write about. Nonetheless, I have been pleased to offer my perspective on an issue which has indeed defined the last few years.
Q-School remains one of the marvels of our game which has attracted attention from international newspapers as well as lovers of darts. It has always been something I have enjoyed writing about, both through covering the games live as I did in 2020 and by interviewing some of the players facing the event down. I was incredibly pleased to write the article linked and try to get into the minds of some of those participating in the event, and long may its drama, twists and turns continue.
There are so many stories which I have enjoyed following and writing about in the last 5 years but one of them is undoubtedly Gerwyn Price’s. With Gerwyn, you are never short of selling points – an ex-rugby player with a fantastic on-oche character who has the game to tear through opponents and the physique to scare them off. The very first dartsweb article I actually wrote was a short news piece about his first Players Championship title, and in the time since there have been many highlights for the thrower from Wales. The two I have selected were his incredible defence of the Grand Slam title in 2019 and, of course, his World Championship crown earlier this year. After all the events of 2020, it was wonderful to be able to watch live sport over Christmas and Price’s successes were marvellous to watch.
I have loved writing about darts in the last 5 years and have enjoyed engaging with people across the game, those involved and not involved. I would like to thank everyone for their support with the blog so far and look forward to writing about the game more on this blog and over at Darts World going forward. Happy 5 years!