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Dreamy darts at the Lakeside

Ben Dirs | 03:27 UK time, Monday, 12 January 2009

I've often wondered if Ted Hankey rues the day he looked in the mirror and said to Mrs Hankey, "you know what love, I actually look a bit like Dracula, I think I'm going to call myself 'The Count'".

Nicknames can become a terrible burden (it can't be easy attempting to focus on the biggest darts match of your life when you're wondering where you've left your rubber bats and cape) but you've got to respect the silliness.

That's not meant as a jibe, for silliness is a much underrated quality in sport. And one we don't see enough of. True, Andy Murray's meteoric rise has been mightily impressive - but a smile now and then would be nice.

Hankey's thrilling victory over Tony 'Silverback' O'Shea in the BDO World Championship final on Sunday had its fair share of silliness, but it was also the most entertaining thing on our tellies over the weekend.

Ted Hankey

It easily trumped Man Utd's one-sided win over Chelsea and Murray's victory over Andy Roddick in the final of the Qatar Open. As for the Masters snooker, even Ronnie O'Sullivan's got the hump with that. And he's the favourite to win it.

"I feel like I'm in a sport that has had its good days and is on a downward spiral," said the world champion following his first round victory over Joe Perry at Wembley.

"If someone like Barry Hearn came in and started doing with snooker what he has done with darts and made it interesting and lively that might make coming to tournaments and [my] enthusiasm to play a little bit different."

The irony, of course, is that Hearn, who is the genius behind the wildly entertaining PDC World Darts Championship on Sky, was the man who did most to make snooker sexy back in the 1980s.

During snooker's heyday, it was often said that it was the perfect TV sport. A game to make tea to, a game to run a bath to. A game to doze to. From a modern standpoint, it was the perfect TV sport for all the wrong reasons. As my housemate put it, "there'll always be snooker fans about, mostly old people who can't find the remote control".

In stark contrast, you couldn't take your eyes off Hankey v O'Shea, not from the moment 'The Count' appeared on stage in a puff of dry ice and started swishing his cape about to the strains of DJ Zany.

In darts, every leg is a potential mini-classic, and - this is the best bit - it's as exciting when players are scratching around missing doubles as when they're weighing in with back-to-back 180s.

For a while at the Lakeside on Sunday, it looked like Hankey, despite sweating like a vampire in a French restaurant, was going to romp it, with O'Shea struggling with his doubles ("It's amazing how often Tony's third dart goes in," noted BBC commentator David Croft. Over in the PDC event there's a Peter 'One Dart' Manley. Tony 'Three Dart' O'Shea doesn't sound anywhere near as intimidating).

But having forged into a 4-2 lead at the interval, despite looking furious with the oche-side snappers (Hankey, rather appropriately, appears to have the hearing of a bat), he started to let things slip.

Perhaps he had seen the interview during the break, the one where his wife Sarah said she thought he was "quite sexy", while Ted was slouched in the background apparently picking his nose. Or perhaps it was Mrs Walton announcing that her husband John, the 2001 world champion, had a nice backside.

Whatever it was, O'Shea came roaring back, largely due to Hankey's sudden inability to finish. Leading 6-4, Hankey needed single 12 to leave double top for the match, but hit single nine instead. O'Shea took the set before beating his chest like a gorilla. The terrible burden of the nickname once again.

Hankey then contrived to miss six doubles for the title in the next set as O'Shea brought the match back to all square. The Lakeside crowd, sensing a meltdown, went mental.

But Hankey, who's been known to lose it in the past (last year, he exited the Lakeside in a hail of controversy after rowing with members of the crowd and punching the board, before threatening to quit the sport for good) held his nerve in the decider to secure his second world title, nine years after his first.

Dracula never struck me as an emotional kind of bloke, but that didn't stop Hankey from shedding a few tears. In fact, for a moment, it looked like O'Shea had flashed him some rosary beads. Had he lost after missing so many doubles, you suspect he'd have retreated to his coffin and closed the lid for good.

In the post-match interview, Hankey revealed his darts mates had collared him last year and told him to sort his life out. As part of his regime change, he now goes on stage with three pints inside him, instead of 13.

Some might scoff and say "darts isn't a sport, that's still three pints too many". But 'The Count' could have been drinking pints of human blood on stage and I wouldn't have minded. Why find something to complain about when the entertainment's that good?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Nice Blog but let's be honest. To say that this farce of a final was more entertaining to the self-destruction of Chelsea at Old Trafford is typical BBC self-delusion. If people missing doubles is exciting, give me and my mates a programme and we'll sweep the board at the BAFTA's!!
    Sorry but the BDO has no atmosphere and is about as much fun as snooker at present. A lack of skill is not fun and hitting 9 when needing double 12 for the championship is ridiculous. Taylor, Barneveldt or even Manley would murder them.

    Sorry but this was the least enteraining thing of the weekend and it's about time the BBC stopped deluding itself. No one else is being fooled.

  • Comment number 2.

    Please please please lets not go down the PDC v BDO debate.

    PDC better players but god bless the BDO.

    Well done Ted unlucky Tony. Brilliant spectacle and long live Darts on the BBC.

    And dont rubbishing his achievement anybody - you can only beat those in front of you.

    FACT - more people will recognise Hankey in the street that the 15 time world PDC champ Taylor and that saddens me but is true.

    Right down to the pub to practice!

  • Comment number 3.

    this final was fantastic viewing - i am as critical of the BDO standard as anyone but the atmosphere was good - the darts were ok (alright not mid 100 averages) but as a spectacle this was a cracker i was jubilant when o'shea pulled it back to 6-6 as i dislike Hankey especially with his antics - he is up his own bottom, but he played great darts in patches and arguably was a worthy winner - unlucky Tony but lets see how well Ted does in the grand slam if he enters (he probably will as £2000 for competing will entice him - i would say he wont get far
    great stuff bbc and i would say it was far more exciting than Man united beating Chelsea !!

  • Comment number 4.

    the bbc coverage has a certain charm to it, and who could say that they don't like bobby george's gold laden contributions? electrifying.

    that said, sky's coverage of the PDC is for me, flawless: better players, better crowds and better comentary - who's that overly excitable northerner? get him on the snooker and the rocket would soon shut up!

    sorry bbc but it looks like you're the real bridesmaid here!

  • Comment number 5.

    It's funny how Hankey was narked at the crowd and photographers at the start when it was nip and tuck. Near the end, even when O'Shea was coming back at him, there was a lot more noise in the hall which didn't seem to annoy Hankey at all. That suggests to me that his earlier gripes were an act of gamesmanship designed to unsettle O'Shea.

    In interviews in the past Hankey has tried to come over as 'poor, misunderstood me'. With his antics last year and now this, it's pretty obvious why the crowd were shouting 'Tony Tony Tony' when Hankey was holding the trophy aloft. Yes, it was an interesting final but I feel Hankey still has a bit more 'sorting out' to do.

  • Comment number 6.

    The final was brilliant, this article is not. In an attempt to try and be witty, you have exposed yourself as a lazy journalist, as so many at the BBC appear to do so now.

    Your final sentence:

    "Why find something to complain about when the entertainment's that good? "

    Yet, earlier in your editorial masterpiece:

    "True, Andy Murray's meteoric rise has been mightily impressive - but a smile now and then would be nice."

    So, it only applies to Darts then? A poor effort, Ben Dirs. Hopefully you will acknowledge the hypocrisy of your article and amend it accordingly.

  • Comment number 7.

    Ben, why are you doing this to yourself again? I'd have thought 350 posts on your previous blog might have sated the BBC's appetite for people rubbishing the BDO and uncritically praising the hype-machine of the PDC.

    Great final, great competition, great tournament, great champion.

  • Comment number 8.

    Have to agree with the previous comments re- the level of players and coverage as such but that isn't something that stopped me watching, what was, and apologies for being really picky, was the ridiculously loud noise every time a dart hit the board, please sort that out for next year.
    Well done Ted by the way!

  • Comment number 9.

    I've been to the BDO at Lakeside a couple of times and think it is a great night out. The atmosphere is relaxed, you can mingle with the players, and people are generally very respectful. It can get a bit rowdy at times but the officials are usually quick to deal with the unacceptable.

    The PDC event has more the atmosphere of a city centre Kebab House in the early hours of a Sunday morning. Players are jeered (Manly often comes to the oche wearing ear plugs) and there is far less respect for the pro's. I'm also fairly sure they don't mingle amongst the punters well.

    Everyone knows the top 4/5 players in the PDC are head and shoulders above the BDO but who cares? It is like comparing the old Division 1 with the Premiership.

    I love the BDO for all its failings, that is the beauty of it. It is also worth noting that most of (if not all) PDC champion's so far were BDO winners. It is the dread and butter of the sport and here to stay.

  • Comment number 10.

    Man Utd vs Chelsea was terrible -watching a team of players which are 'world class' getting a combined salary of +£1million a week performing to my sunday league team is probably about as exciting as watching paint dry - The BDO final on the other hand had my missus and I screaming at the tv in every leg. What a match. Best sporting event on TV in an age!
    The prize for the BDO World Champ is less than a weeks salary for Micahel Ballack. how on earth that poster says that the darts was terrible - ok hankey hit the 9 - a mistake but i bet you'd feel the pressure too. loser

  • Comment number 11.

    "Sorry but the BDO has no atmosphere"
    What a load of tripe! are you deaf? The crowd were mad for it!

  • Comment number 12.

    Enjoyable article Dirsy good stuff.

    Personally I agree, all the misses and the tension that creeped into both players game made it into a classic match. No the standard wasn't amazing but I enjoyed it far more than the processional final over at the PDC. The greatest sporting events need a bit of drama about them, and to see players going for double 4 to win a leg only to hit the 13 and let the other player nick it certainly adds drama!

    At the PDC I think Barney had a 9-dart leg at one point, in this final you seemed to have a couple of legs where the players took 9-darts to check out! But it made for fantastic viewing and I for one can't wait for next year's tournament to come round. Excellent coverage from the BBC as well, thoroughly enjoyable stuff.

  • Comment number 13.

    The darts may have been entertaining but the problem is that Hankey can now call himself the World Champion when evidently he isn't. In 2000 when he won it the first time he probably had more of an argument to be considered the Champion.

    For all the BDO/PDC arguments, there's a good article covering it - there's even a mention of Ben's article last week!
    http://sportwithoutspin.com/darts090112bdopdc.htm

    I loved the tournament, and I always do, but I couldn't help agree with the conclusion of the article - the BDO and PDC need to find a way of working together, and if they feel that they cannot, the BDO should at least drop the act that their tournaments and competitions are as meaningful as the PDC's in terms of determining who the best players in the sport are.

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't normally watch darts but got sucked in by the 2007 final and this one. I enjoy the drama and the fact that the players seem to have a lot of respect and even friendship for each other. The entrance each player makes gets the crowd pumped up and I think it made for good entertainment: even my children were hooked at the end!

  • Comment number 15.

    It was utterly compelling. I thought the BBC coverage was great. I don't think there's another professional sport where you get such an insight into the lives of the players and their families.

    Although I thought O'Shea was brilliant (and I loved the Fitton belly bounce), I couldn't help but plump for Hankey - there was an element of car-crash TV about the whole match, with a real undercurrent of 'if he loses, it's going to break him for good.'

    I'm in awe of Phil Taylor's achievements, but there's always an air of crushing inevitability about his matches. It's no fun watching someone get annihilated.

  • Comment number 16.

    Sounds like Ben Dirs himself works for Sky, as this is literally an advertisement for the Sky coverage.

    Dont bite the hand that feeds you Ben.

    As for darts, a true darts lover enjoys watching both the BDO and the PDC, but the only way to come into the game is through the BDO.

    Maybe some of the money grabbers in the PDC should travel back to the BDO one day soon to 'take the title', as the PDC fans think they would, then they'd have some silverware at home to look at instead of having to pop round Phil Taylors to marvel at his collection.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am sorry but whoever wrote this review has obviously never even been near a dart board! Lets not concerntrate on the supposed "silliness" and actually focus on the fact that yet again the sport has produced another great champion, an especially moving story seeing as Ted has put so much into it this year and really re-focused.

    As for the PDC/BDO debate - you just gotta look at what darts are about to know the BDO still has it overall. If you want darts to go the same money fuelled, yob stricken sport football has turned into then yes rally yourself off to the PDC - that would be great as the rest of us who actually still want it to be about the darts can trot off to Lakeside each year without having to come face to face with money hungry second class players being watched by mentally challenged viewers.

  • Comment number 18.

    Spot on Dirsy. So much carping goes on. If you truly love darts you'll have loved this final.

  • Comment number 19.

    I watch both world champs every year and have to say I prefer the PDC because (1) the players are better (2) the coverage is better and (3) the commentators are better.

    However, I do enjoy the BDO and don't think it should be criticised.

    Also, what I do think would be a good idea is a 'Ryder Cup' between the organisations.

  • Comment number 20.

    17. At 1:22pm on 12 Jan 2009, littlemy77 wrote:

    As for the PDC/BDO debate - you just gotta look at what darts are about to know the BDO still has it overall. If you want darts to go the same money fuelled, yob stricken sport football has turned into then yes rally yourself off to the PDC - that would be great as the rest of us who actually still want it to be about the darts can trot off to Lakeside each year without having to come face to face with money hungry second class players being watched by mentally challenged viewers.
    ----------

    Don't understand. How can it be about the darts when the darts is of an inferior quality?!

  • Comment number 21.

    I was fortunate enough to be at the Lakeside last night and I wonder from some of the comments how many others have. The atmosphere is better than any other sporting event I have been to, better than Boxing Day of an Ashes Test with 90,000 others at the MCG, better than any football match I have ever been to...

    The one thing that makes Lakeside better is that atmosphere. The crowd is made up of genuine dart fans and players, not just a bunch of football fans on the lash. OK the standard may not be as good but that makes the drama all the better. At least at the Lakeside you have a different final each year, everyone says the PDC is better but take out Taylor and Barneveld and there is not much in it.

    As for the comment about Hankey hitting the 9 when going for single 12 being rubbish, unless you've ever thrown a dart for £60,000 I'm not sure your qualified to comment.

    So much of our sport is manufctured for TV it is great to see an event which is all about the sport. They could easily sell the Lakeside out 3 times over, by moving to a generic, modern, bland location, but it is not about the money it is about the tradition, the sport, the fans.

    When SKY stop making money out of the PDC when Taylor wins his 32nd consecutive title, they will drop it and it will just disappear. The BDO will live forever!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    In many people's eyes Phil Taylor has only won 2 world titles as this IS the World championship at the Lakeside. This isnt my view however, as im fully aware of Taylor & other player's achievements in the PDC. However, if you take the opinions of the casual darts fan who watches it once a year like my in-laws who i watched it with last night, Ted Hankey is the World champion. End of story.

    The PDC desperatley need to exhaust their partnership with ITV if they want the general public's apriciation of the darts they host.
    The Grand Slam of Darts is just the start, the players championships at Purfleet later this month on ITV is another step forward, but unfortunatly while the PDC hides away on Sky Sports then the WDF/BDO will always be the general public's world championship.

  • Comment number 23.

    What a great final last night! I get confused with al the PDC/BDO arguements. Yes the scoring is better in BDO - thats a fact. But people seem to be confusing quality with drama. For a match to high high drama and get people really rallied up it doesn't have to be high quality. Football is a perfect example of this, when the top four clashes are usually the most boring games of the season. Yes Taylors win was great, but it must have been hard to drum up any exitement when you knew who was going to win after the first few sets. Whereas the final last night was all over the place, hankey looking like he had it, then OShea coming back, then Hankey throwing it away, and when you thought he'd completely had it, comes back and wins in a deciding set! It was great to watch, a close final beats a super one sided final any day!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Re #13
    "The darts may have been entertaining but the problem is that Hankey can now call himself the World Champion when evidently he isn't. "

    If I'm not mistaken, the competition at the Lakeside is the BDO World Championship - therefore it has every right to call its winner a world champion.
    We have different organisations in boxing, and each of their belt holders is referred to as a world champion, so why not with darts too?

    Both world darts organisations offer something different and their matches can be equally exciting - or equally boring. Get over it and be thankful that there's a wealth of opportunities to watch darts on terrestrial AND Sky.

  • Comment number 25.

    24. At 2:11pm on 12 Jan 2009, Badger wrote:
    Re #13
    "The darts may have been entertaining but the problem is that Hankey can now call himself the World Champion when evidently he isn't. "

    If I'm not mistaken, the competition at the Lakeside is the BDO World Championship - therefore it has every right to call its winner a world champion.
    We have different organisations in boxing, and each of their belt holders is referred to as a world champion, so why not with darts too?

    ------
    Well, fair point, but I disagree. In boxing winning one belt doesn't mean you can't contest the other - in fact, you spend your time unifying the belts once you're a champion. If you're an aspiring boxer, you work your way up the rankings of all belts, and eventually contest a championship fight. It's not the same in darts.

    Even if you accept the boxing has several different world champions at the same weight with different belts, does that make it a good system?

  • Comment number 26.

    Im not sure of all of these comments about 3 dart averages on this sort of posts are really that relevant. Do they not realise that you can win a darts match with a lower average than your opponant?

    Having said that comparisons cannot be made unless you actually ahd the two players from each league playing each other. The opponent, the atmosphere and the pressure created by each determine how any player throws. Its very difficult to just play the board and not take in those things that are happening around you.

    We may indeed see that the PDC champions would beat the BDO ones, but with the top players defecting to that league its obvious that the averages will go up and the standard. As can be seen so often in darts, the players feed off of each others game, a bad throw is often followed by another, and one when player hits a big score the other will often follow it up. So with a league with Taylor and Barney you are bound to see the other players having to step up their own games to compete, but it doesnt mean that on a day pitted against a player from the BDO that they could win.

  • Comment number 27.

    "Dreamy Darts"... what?!

    From my point of view all i saw was two guys bottling it on the biggest stage they'll play on in the BDO. It was kind of embaressing to watch some of the darts that were thrown, more so when it came to crunch time...

    Some comments harp on about Taylor winning too often, it all being predictable. Why do people have to put a guy down just because he's that good? Like Tiger Woods, Taylor has added brought in more sponsors and money to the game, why knock him for it? Without him these guys wouldn't be earning the money they currently are, in both organisations as well.

    Why should Taylor be inadvertently be chastised for winning too often? It's not his fault, the other players are trying to get to that level (as Barney said "10 hours of practice a day wasn't enough", or words to that effect).

    As for Lakeside v Ally Pally. I was at the latter for the Barney v Baxter match and whilst everyone was being boisterous people weren't behaving like 'football hooligans'. Unlike Lakeside we were asked to get involved and excited, not sit around like we were watching a game of snooker.

  • Comment number 28.

    flubmosis - "Sorry but this was the least enteraining thing of the weekend and it's about time the BBC stopped deluding itself. No one else is being fooled." That's right flubmosis, apart from just about eveyone else that watched it. "Sorry but the BDO has no atmosphere". Flubmosis, I think you've lost it.

    Beethoven's Left Ear - "So, it only applies to Darts then? A poor effort, Ben Dirs. Hopefully you will acknowledge the hypocrisy of your article and amend it accordingly." There is no hypocrisy in my article. Andy Murray is a fantastic tennis player but he falls short in one key aspect: he's no fun, and if sport's not fun, there's a problem in my mind.

    littlemy77 - I wasn't "concentrating" on the silliness, I was pointing out that the silliness involved with darts only adds to the spectacle. And if you actually believe the silliness is only "supposed", then it's you who clearly hasn't been watching properly. Have you seen Bobby George's jewell-encrusted sling?

    And to whoever it was who pointed out that not all the PDC world champs had won the BDO previously, that's not actually the case. EVERY PDC champion has previously won at the Lakeside.

    Villaforlife - Hahahaha! "Sounds like Ben Dirs himself works for Sky, as this is literally an advertisement for the Sky coverage." What on earth are you on about? If you read my last blog on darts, you'd realise why your comment made me laugh, because most people on there were having a go for being pro-BBC.

  • Comment number 29.

    So what if there's 2 world champions, boxing has 4, athletics have olympic champions and world champions. It's simple one is the BDO world champion, the other is the PDC world champion. If you don't like one, don't watch it!

  • Comment number 30.

    Post 29

    So what if there's 2 world champions, boxing has 4, athletics have olympic champions and world champions. It's simple one is the BDO world champion, the other is the PDC world champion. If you don't like one, don't watch it!
    ------
    I've answered the post about the 4 boxing champions, your allusion to athletics doesn't influence the argument I'm afraid - they're two different events at two different times, and anyone can enter either or both of the Worlds and Olympics. Not the same.

    Perhaps the BDO could just call it the BDO Championship or something? Terming it the World Championship just doesn't tally with reality.



  • Comment number 31.

    #13 - Hang on a second! Weren't the BDO there first with holding a World Championship? Once the PDC broke away, it was fully entitled to hold as many tournaments as it liked but it's a bit rich asking the BDO to back down from holding the biggest championship of their year and the biggest on terristrial TV.

    Ideally, the game should unify to put all these arguments aside, because if I read another post about how the PDC have better quality players, I think I'll do myself in.

  • Comment number 32.

    Agreed i cant deal with the narrow minded who cant see passed the flashing lights and glamour girls..

  • Comment number 33.

    ThomThomTiger - Exactly. There is little doubt the standard at the PDC is higher, but the fact is the BDO has been running since 1978 - as the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. Why should they change their name just because another organisation wants to set up a rival world championship?

  • Comment number 34.

    Did read the previous article thanks Ben and noticed some of the comments.

    Maybe now this article is just to counterbalance the previous article.

    Anyway, well done for creating such a good debate.

    No matter what Lakeside will always be the original and always be more well known.

  • Comment number 35.

    "The darts may have been entertaining but the problem is that Hankey can now call himself the World Champion when evidently he isn't. "

    I understand your point, I truly do but to suggest he should not be considered a world champion is to serve a great injustice to the man. He has beaten all that has been put in front of him, you can ask for no more than that.

    Your arguement is with the governing bodies not with Hankey and his newly acquired title. He should not be punished or viewed in a lesser light beacuse of the flawed politics within the game. Yes, I would have to agree the entire system is a shambles and the same could be said of boxing, albeit to a lesser extent.
    Having two organisations within a relatively small sport such as darts is,well,stupid. It is for this reason both titles are not definitive, the PDC or the BDO's.

    The players, however, should not have their achievements demeaned because of a fundamental problem within the sport. A problem, ironically, caused by them very same people.

  • Comment number 36.

    31. At 2:42pm on 12 Jan 2009, ThomThomTiger wrote:
    #13 - Hang on a second! Weren't the BDO there first with holding a World Championship? Once the PDC broke away, it was fully entitled to hold as many tournaments as it liked but it's a bit rich asking the BDO to back down from holding the biggest championship of their year and the biggest on terristrial TV.

    Ideally, the game should unify to put all these arguments aside, because if I read another post about how the PDC have better quality players, I think I'll do myself in.

    33. At 2:47pm on 12 Jan 2009, Ben Dirs - BBC Sport wrote:
    ThomThomTiger - Exactly. There is little doubt the standard at the PDC is higher, but the fact is the BDO has been running since 1978 - as the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. Why should they change their name just because another organisation wants to set up a rival world championship?

    --------

    First of all, post 31 - don't do it, you've got too much to live for - not least next year's debate where it will all resurface!

    Secondly, just because the BDO had their tournament first doesn't mean it has perpetual legitimacy to host the event. What was there before the BDO event? The NotW Championship was probably the most significant event one could enter, and indeed the two tournaments overlapped before the NotW event was discontinued in the 80s. I'm not saying the historical angle is without some validity - history is a good part of what makes something worth winning. That said, so is the standard of your opposition. Times change.


  • Comment number 37.

    Post 35 - I agree - this is an issue for the boards more than the players, but the players too have a choice about where they choose to throw their darts. I don't question how much good the BDO has done for grassroots darts, either, by the way, both here and abroad - just that their world championship has now very little legitimacy. And despite darts thriving on a little silliness, the two boards' silliness is something we could do without.

  • Comment number 38.

    At one point Tony O' Shea hit 15. 3 5's in a row. How can this be entertaining , even players outside the top 10 of the PDC could probably have finished it before Hanky.

    Now all i know about the history of Darts is the BDO was here first but the PDC is were its at. I reckon anyone in the top 10 of the PDC could have beat hanky last night.

  • Comment number 39.

    I watched Hankey win last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. The BBC coverage was great. OK maybe the quality of darts isn't as good as that on SKY, but that coverage was awful. It's all about entertainment value afterall.

  • Comment number 40.

    There is 2 things we all agree on,

    1. we all love the sport of darts

    2. we all want one World Championship

    Its a shame the BDO and the PDC couldnt just say 'look, we both have 2 seperate circuits, thats fair enough, but at the end of the year lets meet up together and have ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!. Regardless of which governing body you allign yourself to'

    Im sure it wouldnt be that hard to do as they almost overlap each other now anyway.

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't think we'll see a combined "World Championship" any point soon, both the BDO and PDC genuinly dislike their opposite organisations (in terms of the guys running it).

    With combining the two you'd run in to problems with the seedings.. How would you seed the BDO top 10 with the PDC top 10? Poor old Wolfie Adams would probably throw his toys out of the pram because he wouldn't be amongst the top dogs (ba-boom!).

    A round-robin (Champions League-esque) would maybe work with the top 8 in the world from both organisations taking part. Then you run into which channel it's hosted on.. 'fraid it ain't gonna' happen

  • Comment number 42.

    Im not sure i do want to see it all in one tournament. Guys who are pro's, who have no other job, who play for 12 hours a day, competing against those who have full time jobs and dont get that sort of time to practice. I dont want to see taylor win everything! And i want to see a standard that gives other players hope, that makes it uncertain. Thats entertainment.

  • Comment number 43.

    Realy enjoyed the final and the bbc set up that some of you are commenting on. Was a bit annoyed that the croud somewhat ruined Ted's win. A real lack of respect for sure, for example when hes was being crowned champion all you could hear was 'tony, tony' embarrising. I did actualy want o'shea to win as well.

  • Comment number 44.

    Having said that i love taylor and love watching his darts.

  • Comment number 45.

    No 40. This would be the sensible solution but won't happen because there is no way the PDC/Sky will allow it to be shown anywhere except Sky, and the BDO are committed to their version of the world championships being on BBC.

    I don't have Sky but if I'm away on business or staying at my parents I'll always watch the PDC events on Sky if I can because they are fab. At home I'd prefer to watch the PDC; the BBC or ITV coverage is OK but it's like watching UEFA Cup footy on ITV4 or Five on a Thursday, instead of watching Champs League on Sky on Wednesdays.

  • Comment number 46.

    Easy Ben.....

    I said I believed all PDC champs had been former BDO champs although I wasn't 100% about my facts.

    I believe sooner or later some of the PDC guys will go back to the BDO (if accepted). Money aside it can't be great trying to ply your trade under the duress of 3000 fans do their best impression of a stag weekend.

  • Comment number 47.

    @post 46

    "I believe sooner or later some of the PDC guys will go back to the BDO (if accepted)."


    This has already happened.

    Mike Gregory switched back to the BDO shortly after switching to the PDC with the original defectors.

    More recently however:-

    simon whitlock
    steve coote
    robbie green

    have switched from the PDC to the BDO that i know of.

  • Comment number 48.

    "At one point Tony O' Shea hit 15. 3 5's in a row. How can this be entertaining , even players outside the top 10 of the PDC could probably have finished it before Hanky. " TonyDuffy

    To be honest, I would like to see you contesting for a world championship title, and then see the pressure and nerves you are under. In sports that has very small movements, the slightest twitch, or even sweat can cause a movement to go wrong.

    The atmosphere at the Lakeside is fantastic, I have been twice now, and is of much more interest than the PDC. The BDO has been around far longer, and the PDC was only formed due to a fall-out between players. All the people at the lakeside, both players and fans are pleasant, and united in their love for the game, unlike some football thugs who only seem intent of beating the hell out of each other, those fans and players alike could learn a lot more from sports such as Darts.

  • Comment number 49.

    Like some other posters I am fed up with the "PDC is brilliant because..." and the constant slagging of the BDO.

    Fine if you like the PDC but some of us only watch darts on terrestial TV and love it whether it's BDO or PDC Grand Slam which I love.

    Despite the BDO's failings I don't like the Murdoch media's treatment of BDO events which is to attack or ignore it. The Times have run pieces rubbishing Lakeside and Sky Sports News completely ignored it last night with a North East PDC qualifier being publicised in their news ticker. The PDC even have it's own award ceremony with a Hall of Fame which like Sky and Premiership football means that darts history or football history only began when Sky got involved in it.

  • Comment number 50.

    Indeed I think the '15 scored' comment a tad harsh as this was at an incredibly critical point in the deciding set and he followed it up by a 140. It happens - its called pressure....Tony's scoring had been strong in the run up to the final and he didnt let himself down in the final.

    Go on then, say it, Phil Taylors average blah blah blah....point taken.

    However Tony came back to make it 6-6. Thats spirit. He never gave up...a great final that I thoroughly enjoyed.

  • Comment number 51.

    It makes me laugh when I read all the comments about BDO crowds being made up of "real darts fans" only and the PDC attracting football type fans.

    The reality is that no sport will prosper if it only attracts hardcore fans. It has to attract the masses, to generate revenues, attract sponsors, etc. The hardcores won't ever like it, but its the reality of life and the world we live in.

    Not so long ago I was at a UFC event. The people behind me clearly had no clue what was going on but had bought into the hype. The sport cannot regularly sell out 10,000 seater arenas if it only attracts hardcore fans. The UFC gets that, and clearly the PDC gets it too. Cricket still doesn't fully get it, and that is why it barely registers interest other than during the Ashes and the odd 20's match. The BDO either doesn't get it, or doesn't want to.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm a massive fan of the PDC and have watched as it pulls away from the BDO in terms of quality darts, entertainment and money to be earned.

    It was strange to see two world finalists only averaging in the low 90's, but i have to say, i did quite enjoy the drama of those missed doubles and the match going one way then the next.

    Some of these BDO players do have the potential to challenge PDC players... they just need a shove in the right direction and some decent competition!

  • Comment number 53.

    "I agree - this is an issue for the boards more than the players, but the players too have a choice about where they choose to throw their darts"

    It would seem the only thing everyone agrees with is the ridiculous situation of having two dart's organisations.

    From a strictly sporting stand point it could be concluded that it is incumbent upon sports men to seek the greater challenge and test themselves against the best the sport has to offer. In this case, the PDC, however the decision is far from black and white as it would seem.

    Players, like fans, have their own allegiances. One's born from individual preference that go far deeper than a purely sporting aspect. The history, prior experiences and the darting community they are surrounded in to name a few. The acrimonious manner in which it split and how it is now run has further driven a wedge between the two factions.

    Debating the relative merits of each organisation is a fruitless and time consuming act. One with no defined answer and one which seems PDC fans are unable to grasp. That being- It's not just about the quality of the dart's!

    Embrace both organisations or pick one and stick with it. Trying to demean one over the other serves to accomplish what?

    "just that their world championship has now very little legitimacy"

    I don't agree but for reasons mentioned earlier I won't get involved. A very large can of worms this has proved to be, 350+ comments on the previous blog large.

  • Comment number 54.

    There have been alot of people speaking of their desire to see one world championship...in all but name, it already exists. It features all the top players from both bodies, and therefore surely the winner of that is the best darts player in the world?

  • Comment number 55.

    It's a shame darts got divorced but the BDO was a truly shambolic organisation in the early 90s. It had comprehensively failed to recognise that looking after its stars was key to generating the revenue to run a decent national darts association. It allowed sponsorship to drift away (snooker had the same problem) by presuming the gravy train would never end. Not surprisingly the players rebelled against the blazers and set up on their own. The PDC was inevitable so long as the BDO focused on pub players. In snooker it was a close run thing but the players stayed put.

    The best darts player in the world throws in the PDC and has done from the start. To that extent the BDO event is the subordinate competition. I don't understand why the longer history of the BDO event is really significant. It started in 1978 not 1878 for heavens sake and the PDC is only fourteen years younger..

    However apart from it being preposterous to suggest the BDO have enough quality to stage a world championship the split does work quite well.

    The BDO develop players through their system and then when, or if, they are good enough they go and play in the PDC. I like Hankey and Wolfie but both would get creamed in the PDC and only poor players have ever crossed back. The PDC operates like a top division into which you can be promoted if you are good enough.

    The BDO always wanted to concentrate on the amateurs and it still does while the PDC doesn't want to be burdened with running the grass routes of the game.

    So the status quo probably works for darts - just not at World Championship time.

  • Comment number 56.

    Even my wife, who hates darts, was moderately interested in the final couple of sets - so it must have been brilliant.

  • Comment number 57.

    Never quite sure what to make of the BDO championships, it always seems quite anachronistic really. I don't agree with the comment that noone would recognise Phil Taylor whilst everyone would recognise Ted Hankey. But thats because Taylor is a phenomenon. That being said, the overall standard of the PDC right now is streets ahead of the BDO. The question is how much of that is due to 'The Power'. What happens when Taylor slips away into deterioration or retirement? Does the money of the PDC keep it as the premier form of darts? How can Hankey really think of himself as the best if he isn't tested against the best player the world has ever seen? And having won his title averaging well below the standard at Ally Pally?

    Hearn calls the BDO 'Amateur Darts' and to be fair that sits about right with me, in its relationship with the PDC at least, if not in a technical sense. But all the best talent and best players are with the PDC.

  • Comment number 58.

    the poster going on about the 9 instead of the double 12, compare that with John Terry missing a penalty in Moscow or any other prima donna footballers, i've never watched darts before the last week and its addictive fun viewing, and the pressure last night made it all the better.

  • Comment number 59.

    Thought the darts was great.
    Yes there is a gap in quality with the BDO and PDC but its not as big as all these BDO haters make out. It was proven so when BDO players knocked out some PDC players in the Gran Slam Of Darts.

    I do have one major complaint with the BBC coverage and that is the commentators are extremley boring ( especially Tony Green).

    I love darts but the were times when the commentators fell asleep or starting mumbling about nothing interesting.

    Stick 2 exciting commentators on the BBC coverage and the viewing figures would be a great deal more.


  • Comment number 60.

    The classic BDO PDC debate, as all darts blogs eventually end up turning to. PDC much higher quality, commentators much better (tony green is so boring) and the atmosphere is much better.
    And when you say about hankey missing double 12 and hitting single 9, that is unbelievable. True about the football players missing penalties however if you told a player to take penalties all day a fair few would inevitably be saved. Its not really the same sort of thing, it occurs less frequently than missed penalties so it cant really be compared. To miss double 12 by as much as he did was ridiculus.

  • Comment number 61.

    captaincam-man - Hankey didn't miss double 12, he was going for single 12 to leave double top.

  • Comment number 62.

    A couple of small points to make....Sid Waddell is absolutely genius on the microphone at PDC and the players might prefer the PDC because the crumpet that walks them up to the stage is different class!!!! :-)

  • Comment number 63.

    but unfortunately while the PDC hides away on Sky Sports
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Rich20166, did you take a look at the ratings? It was an anverage of 890,000 who watched the mateh, peaking at 1,000,000. For a pay TV channel, that is fantastic.

    However, well said on your 2nd comment.
    No Worries, Our Vic :)

  • Comment number 64.

    I can't watch Sky, but I think that the criticism of the BBC commentators isn't fair, I like Tony Green and David Croft. The tone used by #62 seems to be the exact sort of complaint with the lack of class in PDC that I'm reading about here.

    It's true that the standard of player in the BDO is lower (as has been pointed out to death) but if you like, the winner is the champion semi-pro, which is in itself no mean feat, and has credibility because it is still on the BBC and doesn't appear to have sold out to the masses.

  • Comment number 65.

    We all agree that the PDC has the better standard of darts, but the BDO is by no means an "amateur darts" competition.

    I also want to take issue with these spurious remarks that Ted Hankey would be "creamed" by the top 8 in the PDC. The man was ready to quit darts this time last year and has done incredibly well to turn it round. Plus, when he won his first BDO in 2000 he absolutely ripped it and took the opposition apart. If that year there had been a joint tournament between the BDO and PDC you would've been hard-pushed to stop him - yes, even if you were Phil Taylor.

    The end of the day we'll never know what could have happened in 2000 but the point is although one is superior to the other and can be considered the all-time great, on his day Ted Hankey could play well enough to earn the title 'world champion' outright. Just because the final went down to the wire with low outshots does not a poor player make.

  • Comment number 66.

    #64 - Quite right. I refer you to my post on a previous blog;

    I have to say I like the BBC commentary. OK, it's not for the hardcore darts fan and it can be quite esoteric but that is what it needs on the BBC to appeal to the non-darts fan. Take it all with a pinch of salt. I find it is all part and parcel of the show - the dressing up, the crowd atmosphere and the entertaining darts action. Again, it's not about the hype, but the heart.

    My girlfriend nows nothing about darts but she finds the commentary makes the coverage more accesible for her. It's not dry, technical stuff about averages and checkouts; it is about personality and gems of a soundbite such as "Hasn't he got a lovely face" and discussing some bloke dressed as a Stormtrooper in the audience.

  • Comment number 67.

    As a darts fan, I thoroughly enjoy both the PDC and BDO offerings. As I'm sure others have pointed out, the PDC could not be where it is now without BDO.

    The main difference between the two is depth. PDC has many many more average-good players. None of these are better than the leading BDO players but at a PDC tournament only players playing near their best get to later stages and this means a higher overall standard.

    This depth has largely come from the players moving accross from the BDO with the offer of more cash for the tournaments they play in. What is particularly effective for the PDC is that through the BBC coverage of the BDO most of these players have a name, a profile that is marketable. And the PDC have been excellent in marketing their events. On TV the atmosphere at the Ally Pally looked exceptional and on the whole they were there to cheer on good darts and were not too partisan. Yes it was a bit more lively, a bit more rowdy even. The best comparison for me is the difference between Lords and Edgbaston for a test match. Both good but in different ways.

    Anyway, I'm sure things will continue as they are with a steady drip of players to the PDC where they can really be pros, while the BDO plods along finding the new young talent and slowly trying to expand the game around the world. Now I think the PDC can succeed without the BDO but 5 years ago, I'm not sure it could.

    As a final point on the coverage - what I like about the BBC is that they focus on the players, try and give you an insight into their characters and their families. I think it is easier this way to feel warmth for your favourite players. Sky (the genius that is sid waddell excepted) spend a bit too much time over-analysing three dart averages.

  • Comment number 68.

    I've spent the last few weeks watching the PDC and BDO versions of the World Darts Championship. There is a lot of rubbish being written on here about the quality of the BDO. I should start by saying that there is no question that Phil Taylor is the best darts player on the planet. It would be foolish to suggest otherwise.

    There have been and still are some fantastic players in the BDO tournament. Darryl Fitton held the highest 3 dart average for a full televised match (113.91 in 2007) until Taylor beat him in 2008 with 114.53. Tony O'Shea hit magnificent 9 darter in 2007 against Adrian Lewis in the International Darts League. Gary Anderson and Mark Webster are also class player when they are on top form.

    Leaving the phenomenal Taylor out of the equation there is no divide in class between the top BDO and PDC players. They don't play each other too many times in tournaments but when they do the BDO players are always competitive. By way of example look at the results from the 2007 International Darts League and World Darts Trophy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_International_Darts_League

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Darts_Trophy

    The 2007 IDL featured the top players from both organisations. There were two 9 darters, one from Taylor against Barney and one from Tony O'Shea against Adrian Lewis. The final was contested by Anderson and Webster, and in the earlier group stages Darryl Fitton topped a group featuring Taylor and Barneveld.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_International_Darts_League

    The top BDO players have the ability to hit the big averages but in any case as someone on here as correctly pointed out a player can lose a match despite averaging higher than his opponent. Adrian Lewis beat Darryl Fitton in the IDL quarter final with a 3 dart average over 2 points below Fitton's.

    People forget that only 4 players have ever won the PDC tournament. All 4 had won the BDO version first. The Lakeside is the home of darts and the BDO produces great champions. Barneveld proved this when beating Taylor to be the 2007 world champion in the first year after his switch.

    Look at the top performers at this years PDC tournament. Aside from Taylor the players who impressed me most were van Barneveld, Klaasen and King who were all playing in the BDO version until 2006/2007.

    The next generation of top players will inevitably come through the BDO system.

    The PDC may be seen as the marquee brand at present but when Taylor decides to call it a day or loses form then things could change as they have been relying on players switching from the BDO to provide Taylor with competition.

    Personally I hope things get sorted and we can crown a single unified champion back at the Lakeside televised on the BBC, the home of darts.

  • Comment number 69.

    In terms of the difference in standard between the two organisations, I really think that Taylor is a huge factor.

    If he wasn't there averaging 106 per match, there would be no incentive for the other players to attempt to get to that level. If you can win with an average in the low 90s, why does it need to be higher? Look at the PDC final last year, the only one Taylor hasn't got to, Part won with an average in the low 90s.

    Also, take King, who moved over and got to the semi finals. I think there are a number of BDO players who would produce even higher averages if there were a Taylor-like figure on that tour.

    Finally, regarding missing the 12, James Wade missed a single number twice in the same match in the PDC championship just gone...not a criticism at all, just shows that it happens throughout darts.

  • Comment number 70.

    Thoroughly enjoyed a riveting Lakeside final. Yes, undoubtably the best sporting event of the new year to date. Great stuff.

    Irrespective of the eternal BDO/PDC wrangling all would agree that the Lakeside is THE spiritual home of darts.

  • Comment number 71.

    #67 - I can't disagree with any of the points you made there, especially in the difference of BBC and Sky coverage.

  • Comment number 72.

    “Sorry but the BDO has no atmosphere and is about as much fun as snooker at present.”

    A different view from someone who was at the final

    http://blogs.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/ianwylie/2009/01/world_darts_final_a_night_at_t.html


  • Comment number 73.

    I'm another chap who hates the BDO/PDC argument. I play on the BDO Circuit, and if it weren't for the BDO, the PDC wouldn't have very many players. As Ben rightly said, every PDC Champion first won the BDO version.

    As far as atmosphere goes, the PDC has the "better atmosphere" because the crowd is much bigger, aided by more microphones, and thus louder.

    However, the BDO tickets go to true darts fans. The tickets go on sale during a BDO Tournament, where there will be true fans there!

    The Hankey v O'Shea match was a classic, and just because Ted missed a single 12, or Tony scored 15, or their averages weren't over 100 doesn't mean it wasn't a classic match! It had me on the edge of my seat and was a joy to watch!

    The BDO is where the true sport of darts calls home. They do more for players at grass roots level than the PDC could ever imagine doing. The BDO has so many different levels from Pub League, Super League, Counties and Internationals. The BDO's open tournaments are very popular, with roughly 3000 expected at next month's Dutch Open. If 6 guys were to defect to the PDC, there's 6 guys waiting to step in. The PDC make sure their big stars are happy, and stuff the rest, it is extremely difficult to make a big breakthrough after moving. The biggest impact this year was made by Robert Thornton, he moved in the early summer of 2008, starting at the bottom of the rankings, he is now 14th.

    One criticism I have of the PDC is what they have done to the Legends. Guys like Eric Bristow, Bob Anderson and co, who were the foundation of the PDC, had their memberships taken from them because they took part in Setanta's League of Legends. Bobby George was in the Legends League. Did the BDO tell him he wasn't welcome? No!

    In my opinion, The BDO is the sport side, the PDC is the sports entertainment side.

  • Comment number 74.

    Come to this thread a little late, but as one to watched both finals (PDC and BDO) I would say that the PDC was better quality - another Taylor masterclass - but that the BDO final was a deal more exciting, simply because, whatever the quality of the players, averages, ton-eighties etc - the players were most closely matched.

    However many more of the early round matches in the BDO tournament were a bit dire, qualitywise. There were also a few in the PDC version - mostly contributed to by one James Wade!

  • Comment number 75.

    Only 74 posts....looks like the PDC v BDO debate is over for another year. Phew!

  • Comment number 76.

    I can’t believe all the negativity going on here. Its just a bit of fun and is highly entertaining to boot. Ted Hankey is a complete darts genius! Yes he uses gamesmanship to beat his opponents but isn’t a lot of sport about using tactics?
    Boo you the Silverback fans chanting 'Tony' when Ted Hankey had the trophy in his hands.
    The better man won and it took some bottle (probably several budweisers) but who’s counting.

  • Comment number 77.

    very good week, some matches were as good as the pdc event but i like bdo thats what my family play in, the structuitre is brilliant, super league then county and even the top players take part, last year mark webster played for his county the sunday after winning it and it was good to see him down on a level with all players. yeh he was good and yeh he won.

    shame the BBC cant get more live darts especially on the interactive system

  • Comment number 78.

    Why do many people feel the need to insult the BDO? What have they done to you? To those who say the players there aren't as good, then how is it Phil Taylor and Ray Barneveld - the two best players in this year's PDC both came from this competition?

    For me, the world darts, both of them, are the most exciting sports events of the year. Great crowds producing a tangible atmosphere...and every year the matches are thrilling.
    I've never once felt disappointed and bored like when watching Liverpool draw 0-0 (5 times I've suffered that this season). These are sportsmen who play with passion and commitment - and the crowd love them for it.

    I think SKY have got it right in their coverage - they whip you into a darting frenzy with the high-energy music, tongue-in-cheek commentary and boozy fans.

    But the BBC coverage has it's place - more subtle, laid back and with a touch of gentle humour.

    But both do what they aim to, which is entetain!!

    I've played darts with Tony O'Shea, and trust me this guy can play some serious darts...as well as being down-to-earth, friendly, and a true gentleman. As a sports journalist myself, I hope you'll trust me when I say this is a rare case with top-level sports people from any sport.

    Love the darts, admire the skill. Soak up the atmosphere...and stop complaining.





  • Comment number 79.

    Hi,

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but darts is a game of averages, i think all darts fans would like one world championship, its fair to say that the PDC average 85-88 3 dart average, the top 5-8 at the BDO average 98- 110 - only Taylor, Barneveld, Wade et all. Personally I find it very disrepectful about people slagging off both versions, surely Olly Croft can see this and Barry Hearn is the right man to lead this, thank god he has been appointed Chairman of the WPBSA. - Chris

  • Comment number 80.

    Comparing the PDC with the BDO is like comparing the Premier League with the Championship or Division 1 OR men's darts with women's darts.

    The BDO is kind of rubbish tournament really where reject dart players would sooner take the easier route to winning a lesser competition than mix it up with the big guns in the PDC.

    It's no wonder why many true dart's players have moved across to the PDC, i.e. Barneveld. The rest are just looking for an easy ride

    Debate over

 

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