Thornton Triumphs Again

Red Dragon Darts

Robert Thornton successfully defended the JenningsBet World Seniors Darts Championship on Sunday evening at the Circus Tavern.

The Thorn concluded by defeating local qualifier Richie Howson 5-2 in the final and pockets a cool £30,000 for his victory, taking his career WSDT earnings to over £70,000.

Robert Thornton during the 2023 World Senior Darts Championship at the Circus Tavern, Purfleet, United Kingdom on 12th February 2023.

Finals day started with a bang as Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor was dumped out by local hero Richie ‘The Owl’ Howson.

Taylor took the opening set as the occasion looked to be getting to the Rainham man, but in front of an army of home fans, Howson settled into the match from set 2 onwards, winning 7 legs on the spin.

The Soulger, Leonard Gates produced yet another thrilling performance on the stage and the oche as he defeated Darryl Fitton 3-1. Gates was pushed in this encounter, as Darryl Fitton raised his level from what he he’d produced in the tournament up until this point.

An impressive 8 x 180’s from The Dazzler allowed him to stay close to the US Darts Master, but his finishing allowed Gates a way back in to the match, and to take the spoils.

Next up, Kevin Painter and Mark Dudbridge served up a tasty afternoon treat that went the way of The Artist. Dudbridge was making his World Seniors debut in this event, and having already beaten Glen Durrant and Terry Jenkins on route to the quarters posed a big threat to last years semi-finalist.

The match went back and forth throughout, with every key moment being met by a loud roar from either players friends, family, and fans. But in the battle of World Championship finalists, the Essex man, Painter prevailed.

Robert Thornton rounded out the quarterfinals with a superb victory over Neil Duff, producing the highest ever WSDT TV average in doing so.

Leonard Gates had stolen the crown earlier in the week during his victory over Martin Adams, but the Scot took it back in fine fashion, defeating the reigning WDF World Champion.

As has been the case in all his matches in both of his runs to the title, Thornton took the opening set and never looked back.

In the Semi-Finals the fairy-tale run for Howson continued as he took out the man from across the Atlantic. The first three sets all went to the maximum possible 5 legs, but the Owl was the more clinical in two out of three of the deciders.

That crucially gave him the platform to go on and take the 4th set, and with it, a spot in the final.

Thornton’s record of never losing the opening set in the World Seniors Darts Championship came under serious threat by Kevin Painter in a rematch of last years Semi-final.

The Artist took out finishes of 167 and 134 to win the first two legs, before losing the next three! Ironically, Painter had lost the first two legs before winning the next three in his two previous matches.

In to the final and Thornton started the brightest, running off with the first three sets without reply in a high-quality encounter. Only one leg in the match went beyond 18 darts as both players averaged over 90 for the duration of the match.

Robert Thornton during the 2023 World Senior Darts Championship at the Circus Tavern, Purfleet, United Kingdom on 12th February 2023.

Howson deservedly got his first chalk on the board in set 4 but lost the 5th to be staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat.
The charge was stopped once again by the Owl in set 6, and he threatened to take the 7th, levelling at 2-2 in the encounter punishing multiple missed match darts by the Scottish Ace.

But the man from Ayrshire could not be stopped on his way to back-to-back World Seniors Darts Championship titles.

WSDT Word Championship


Quarter Finals

Robert Thornton 3-1 Neil Duff

Kevin Painter 3-1 Mark Dudbridge

Leonard Gates 3-1 Darryl Fitton

Richie Howson 3-1 Phil Taylor


Robert Thornton 3-0 Kevin Painter

Richie Howson 3-1 Leonard Gates


Robert Thornton 5-2 Richie Howson.


Images: Chris Sargeant / WSDT

Full match states and results:

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

The Darts World 50 limited edition set is available to order (Here) in your choice of pack/bundle.

Also Available Free: Darts World Extra 7 – Palace Prelude

Darts World Magazine ‘s fantastic value bundles:
Subscribe or purchase your copy


Latest articles

Newsletter Signup

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here