Free Darts World: Souvenir Edition

By JR Lott 28/03/2021

STARTING to write for Darts World in 2019 was, it's fair to say, no picnic. Within weeks the author went from a gentle, stress free article here and there to joining an all-hands-on-deck operation to continue to produce a magazine during the peak of what is now known as the first wave. Along the way, the magazine was purchased by new owners and forged a relationship with a new publisher.

Yet, the year started superbly and with no hint of what lay ahead. Glen Durrant was gracious enough to grant me an interview to discuss his remarkable 2019 and his recently announced Premier League selection. Who would have imagined that before the end of the year Darts World would be reporting on his triumph in the same event? 

During the same interview, Glen intimated that he might be open to changing his equipment in order to gain the small percentages needed to triumph in the PDC. Later we would see his change to kite-shaped flights tested in the heat of battle.

The decline of the BDO seemed to be happening in slow motion. Several times I started work on articles to investigate and summarise the situation on behalf of fans and players within that system. Every time I thought I had a handle on the circumstances another calamity was announced or another controversy enveloped them.

By the time Darts World was ready for its first 'post lockdown' edition, it appeared that there was little hope that the BDO could survive. The green shoots of a 'brave new world' were visible if you looked closely enough. Steve Brown was hard at work developing MAD and UKDA was in the process of gathering support for its vision. It was exciting in some ways to be be close to 'the future'.

Issue 570 was launched in late July and I was immensely satisfied to feature alongside a crop of famous names and skilled writers that had joined our merry band. PDC boss Mathew Porter as well as TV names such as Jacqui Oatley and Nigel Pearson contributing their efforts and their support at a vital time. 

The World Matchplay was the point at which the world could see how well darts had coped and the fact that a young, charming fresh face captured the title seemed to fit the times. Dimitri van den Bergh was locked down with Peter and Jo Wright earlier in the year and spent months working with the new World Champion. It had paid off. 

Darts had demonstrated it could survive, thrive and entertain during the worst circumstances for professional sport. Manufacturers, TV companies, sponsors, players, and yes even bookies were delighted.

The next few months were a rush of new champions; Jose de Sousa claimed the Grand Slam and Duzza clinched the Premier League. Devon Petersen was also having a superb summer. Even more good news was coming from within the industry itself manufacturers were reporting bumper sales, new media outlets were investing in the game, and players and management seemed to be settling down to the realisation that Covid could be managed and any negative effects minimsed.

Darts World prepared and published two more issues before the end of the year, one focusing on the uplift to the women's game and another prefacing the World championships. Competitions were held, video interviews conducted, and overall we felt a strong foundation had been laid for the future.

New, more gifted, writers took my features to the next level with 'Unsung Heroes' and or 'Legends Legacy' pieces in each issue, this enabled more thought to be put into new features for upcoming issues and the development of larger content projects during 2021/22.

Soon the World championships were upon us and Gerwyn Price produced a calculated looking effort to claim the trophy in style. No doubt as to what the first Darts World cover of 2021 would look like. Sadly there would be no BDO/WDF equivalent due to the eventual BDO collapse, Covid-19, and the infancy of the new bodies. Many expressed sympathy for reigning champion Wayne Warren who spent his World championship year in lockdown after not being fully paid for his win and now would not get to defend his trophy properly.

573 was published in February and has proven the most successful since the post lockdown (1) relaunch. Shortly after its release, I was asked if I minded contributing a couple of my 2020 pieces, to a scrapbook style special issue, to mark what had indeed been a year like no other.

We decided to select a variety of stories to reflect both the 'normal' and horrendous aspects of 2020 and collate them together in 100 pages that tell the full story. 2020: The Good. The Bad and the Unforgettable:

NEWSLETTER

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