Who is the greatest darts player of all time? It’s a debate that rages throughout forums and social media on a regular basis, but now you have the chance to decide, as we prepare for the Fantasy World Darts Championship.
We’ve been bereft of darting action due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, therefore we thought we’d devise a competition to determine who is the world’s greatest arrowsmith. We’ve selected 32 players – past and present – with a multitude of major titles between them.
16-time world champion Phil Taylor will be an obvious contender for the title having scooped over 100 major televised titles during his astonishing career, while five-time world champions – the late Eric Bristow and Raymond van Barneveld will also be highly fancied.
World number one Michael van Gerwen boasts the record for the highest televised average and although he surely won’t exceed Taylor’s haul of World Championship titles, there is an argument to suggest that ‘The Green Machine’ has taken the sport to new uncharted heights.
The legendary John Lowe is one of several players to be crowned a three-time world champion, but ‘Old Stoneface’ enjoyed incredible longevity throughout his illustrious career – winning his World Championship titles in three separate decades.
John Part – the first non European to win the World Darts Championship, also became the first man to win the sport’s holy grail at three different venues, and he’s accompanied in the draw by three-time BDO world champions Martin Adams and Glen Durrant.
There’s a mixture of legends and current stars in the 32-player field, with two-time world champions Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis among the modern greats. Peter Wright, the reigning PDC world champion, is also included after his sensational New Year’s Day success at Alexandra Palace.
They’re joined by 2018 PDC world champion Rob Cross, two-time Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price and nine-time major winner James Wade. Simon Whitlock – a major champion and a world finalist in both codes – has also been selected.
Steve Beaton is still producing some terrific darts on the PDC circuit – almost 25 years on from his World Championship success at the Lakeside in 1996, and ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ is joined in the draw by former BDO world champions Richie Burnett and Andy Fordham.
One of the sport’s great characters was the late Jocky Wilson. The enigmatic Scot claimed two World Championship titles during a golden era for the sport, which saw him come up against fellow world champions Keith Deller and Bob Anderson, who also feature in this event.
Bobby George contested some memorable battles with the aforementioned trio and despite not lifting a world title, ‘The King of Bling’ was still an iconic figure within the game, having famously competed in the 1994 BDO World Championship final against Part with a broken back.
Leighton Rees was the first ever world darts champion in 1978, therefore the Welshman was a guaranteed inclusion. However, Dennis Priestley became the first to triumph in the PDC World Championship following the split in 1994, with ‘The Menace’ thrashing Taylor 6-1 in a dominant display.
Priestley previously lifted the BDO World Championship in 1991 and the amiable Yorkshireman will compete in the Fantasy World Championship alongside a fellow two-time world champion and one of the sport’s pantomime villains – Ted Hankey.
Rod Harrington became the first player to win successive World Matchplay titles in 1998 and 1999 and ‘The Prince of Style’ is joined in the competition by his fellow Sky Sports expert Wayne Mardle – a five-time World Championship semi-finalist and recent Walk-On World Cup winner.
Mardle’s close friends Colin Lloyd and Peter Manley also make the cut. Lloyd was a former PDC number one and lifted World Matchplay and World Grand Prix titles, whilst Manley appeared in three World Championship finals and prevailed in the Las Vegas Desert Classic in 2003.
There’s also female representation in the draw, in the shape of Lisa Ashton, Trina Gulliver and Fallon Sherrock. Four-time women’s world champion Ashton made history in January by becoming the first ever female to secure a PDC Tour Card via Qualifying School.
Gulliver has lifted the Women’s World Championship title on a record ten occasions, whilst Sherrock became the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Championship in December, defeating Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic to parachute herself to global stardom.
The draw for the competition took place via my Twitter account on Saturday afternoon and the full draw can be viewed below. It was an open draw, with none of the 32 players seeded.
We are also offering you the chance to win a Josh’s Dartistry mug if you can correctly guess the four semi-finalists. If more than one of you correctly predicts the final four, one winner will be chosen at random.
In similar style to the PDC’s Walk-On World Cup competition, the results of the competition will be determined purely via social media polls and the tournament will get underway on Sunday, with the opening round split over the course of two days.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Fantasy World Darts Championship – Draw Bracket
Gerwyn Price vs Ted Hankey
John Lowe vs Andy Fordham
Raymond van Barneveld vs Jocky Wilson
Bobby George vs Dennis Priestley
Colin Lloyd vs Peter Wright
Peter Manley vs Martin Adams
Gary Anderson vs Rob Cross
Eric Bristow vs Rod Harrington
James Wade vs Lisa Ashton
Fallon Sherrock vs John Part
Michael van Gerwen vs Keith Deller
Richie Burnett vs Glen Durrant
Phil Taylor vs Leighton Rees
Trina Gulliver vs Wayne Mardle
Bob Anderson vs Simon Whitlock
Steve Beaton vs Adrian Lewis