The Darts World 50 – 1981

Red Dragon Darts

1981 reinforced the fact that darts was witnessing its first changing of the guard with both individual and team honours now being hoovered up, with almost monotonous regularity, by Englishmen.

John Lowe captured another Winmau World Masters title, the fifth consecutive title won by an Englishman. It would take until 1993 for a player of another nationality to lift the prestigious crown.  

Although it was Lowe who reigned as World Master due to his December 1980 win, Bristow would take that title from him later that year as well. The now 23-year-old captured the highly regarded British Open title in January, the Butlins Grand Masters, and British Pentathlon in  June before recapturing the World Master moniker in October. 

Back at the start of the year, in lifting the World professional title, Eric became the first to defend it. The Darts World report from that year’s Embassy Championship headlined the piece this way:

There’s Just No  Answer To This Man Bristow

TWENTY-three-year-old cockney Eric Bristow wrote his name in the record books clinching his second Embassy World Professional Championship darts title with a raw display of courage, grit, determination, and amazing coolness.

The North Londoner proved as England skipper fittingly defeated his predecessor John Lowe in an epic final to push himself further ahead in the world rankings. 

But the writing was on the wall right from the start of the tournament when Bristow conquered his nerves to blast out of the opening game with 135 shot.

The showdown between the number one and three seeds produced an epic struggle in the plush surroundings of Jollees nightclub at Longton in Stoke on Trent.

After eight sets of tense, nail biting and heartstopping games the Crafty Cockney was crowned King of Darts for the second year running. 

Darts World 1981 Issue 99

The England domination may have been fronted by Eric but John Lowe was playing a blinder in the supporting role. He won the coveted News of The World event and along with anchoring the England side to a second World Cup he also claimed the singles (becoming swiftly recognised as a highly valued competition) at the event. In many ways, this would set the pattern for a decade or more….

The Darts World 50

Very few publications can lay claim to being “The Official Voice” of their sport. But then not many are almost 50 years old and have coexisted side by side with the object of their affection throughout the swings and roundabouts of two golden eras and at least one near collapse.

In the early 1970s, a handful of ingredients were coming together to form the recipe for the massive success of the hitherto lesser-known pub game. Darts World Magazine was one of those ingredients.

Editor, proprietor, and instigator, Tony Wood, welcomed readers to the new Darts World magazine for our November/December 1972 debut (Issue 1). The ingredients mentioned above could all be seen within those first 36 pages and then in every issue that followed.

DW has chronicled the ups and downs, the major events, and the minutiae while championing the game at every opportunity.

The Darts World 50 offers 50 highlights selected direct from our pages during what must now be thought of as the ‘Golden Age/s of Darts’.

The Darts World 50 will be available to order (Here) from November 15th 2022 with release and delivery expected in early December


Images: Featured – John Lowe Archive and Darts World.

Available Free: Darts World Extra 6

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