Wizards Wizdom

Red Dragon Darts

I suppose you might call this extra ‘Wizard’s Worldly Wizdom’. Strangely, I have mixed memories of the PDC World Championships. I suppose you could say that my first appearance at them was a career highlight, but then….. 

Reaching the Qtr final while overcoming players of the calibre of Wes Newton, Kevin Painter, and Roland Scholten, before being edged out by a prime Andy Jenkins (4-5), was hugely satisfying at the time.

The Circus Tavern was iconic and it was fantastic to play there, the crowd was brilliant and it had a very low ceiling amplifying the noise. No bad points at all. Sad to have only played there once. But the game had to move on, it was growing fast and ‘the Tavern’ was simply outgrown.

For the next couple of years, the boot was on the other foot. In 2009 it was Vincent van de Voort who ran riot, but a Free Copy (Signed) of DW 581 goes to the first person on mine or Darts World social media to name the player who had dumped me out the previous year!

2010’s Battle of the Wizards (actually originally fought in the Grand Slam) saw a very hot Simon Whitlock remove me and a whole host of other names, before being brought up sharp by Mr. Taylor. The following year was a different story but in some ways summed up Ally Pally for me:

It is a massive venue and superb in a different way. The stage is also enormous, both of these two things often caught out new players and it could be very daunting for them.

I had a  first-round encounter with Chris Thompson who I did not allow to fully settle. Round two was one of those awkward encounters with a friend and neighbour in Jabba Caven. Jamie didn’t fire at all and I was in good shape going through convincingly. Next was Raymond Van Barneveld.

Some games ebb and flow, some go past in a rush and others kind of creep away from you.

I led often but somehow I never quite got on top enough and RVB had been around too long to stay cowed. Losing 4-3 was painful and could be seen as the start of what turned out to be a creeping decline. 

But, at the time it seemed like a solid tournament performance, a few £££s in the bank and a decent boost to the rankings. One bit of Wizardly Wizdom to pass on the current crop of contenders. Relish every moment of it, prepare properly, and don’t let any of it pass you by.

For this year the new generation’s flag will be flown by Josh Rock, but if you want a ‘One to Watch’ then Raymond Smith might be your man. In superb shape at the MODUS Super Series, last week and is more experienced at the top level now.

I could see Cullen going very deep whilst Smith, Price and Snakebite will have to get past MVG who is edging back to his best and has some of that fear factor back. 

Wishing you all a fantastic festive season and a happy, healthy and successful 2023!


Grab a copy of the 50th Anniversary Darts World 581 here (while stock lasts) or the new Issue 582 here :

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