Who are the best team to never win the World Cup of Darts?

The World Cup of Darts was supposed to start in mid-June, but the ongoing Coronavirus situation has seemingly halted our dreams of watching what is always one of the year’s most entertaining tournaments.

It’s short format creates the opportunity of massive upsets each and every year, and colourful characters from across the world make for brilliant viewing. The likes of John Norman Jr with his incredibly bullish celebrations or Wenge Xie and his famous 171 against England are some of the most entertaining players I’ve ever seen on Sky Sports, and we only really get to see them at this event.

Away from all the fun of the World Cup, there is serious business to attend to when it comes to lifting the prestigious trophy, and to nobody’s surprise the tournament has been dominated by two nations.

England and The Netherlands have won eight of the nine competitions, while last year Scotland became the third country to get their hands on the trophy.

That isn’t to say their hasn’t been a gluttony of talent coming from across the globe, and today we’re going to look at the most talented nation to never win the World Cup.

A look at the finals over the past nine years would have you believe that Wales are the best team to never win darts’ equivalent of the Jules Rimet trophy, and there certainly is a case to make there.

Mark Webster and Barrie Bates made the final of the first ever competition, losing to Raymond van Barneveld and Co Stompe, while Webster teamed up with Gerwyn Price in a losing effort in the 2017 final.

Unfortunately, Wales have suffered from a bad case of timing, 2009 was much too early for The Iceman to be a PDC player, while Mark Webster was sadly past his best by 2017, failing to get past the fourth round in any major, and even then the only time he made it that far was during the UK Open.

Australia are the team that have come closest to getting their name on the roll of honour, with both Paul Nicholson and Simon Whitlock missing match darts back in 2012.

Whitlock and Nicholson would go on to make another semi-final in 2013, while The Wizard would once again make the semis in 2017 with a new partner in the shape of Kyle Anderson.

Australia have certainly produced some brilliant darting talent over the years, and they came within a whisker of being World Cup winners, so there would be a fair argument to make that they’re the best team to never win this tournament.

However, despite the fact that he did great things for Australian darts, and he deserves great credit for developing the game down under, Paul Nicholson remains one of the most Geordie men I have ever seen in my life, therefore, it’s hard to hand Australia this title.

Away from Wales and Australia, the team of Steve Lennon and Willie O’Connor made the final last year, with a run of fantastic performances, while there are other nations set up for great runs in the future.

The German duo of Max Hopp and Martin Schindler should be able to have a real go at this in a few years time, while Keane Barry could be the man to take Ireland one step further once his game develops.

However, this article was made to commemorate one classic World Cup team, and they are, in our opinion, the best pair to never win this competition.

Kim and Ronny Huybrechts are undoubtedly the best pair of brothers to ever step foot on a PDC stage, and while they have only ever made one final, two semi-final appearances and a string of classic performances earn them this honour.

The Belgians play their best stuff when they’re together, whether that’s due to have the support of a sibling, or wanting to one up your brother doesn’t really matter, the facts are that Kim and Ronny save their best stuff for when they’re wearing their Belgian colours.

The highest average we’ve ever seen in this competition was thrown by the younger Huybrechts as Kim put up a massive 121.97 in 2017 against Paul Lim, and the man he knocked off top spot was his big brother who threw an incredible 115.62 average just a few days earlier in a game against Greece.

Dimitri van den Bergh may be the future of Belgian darts, and they could win a World Cup in the near future if he fulfils his potential, but the Huybrechts brothers are World Cup legends, and surely the best to never stand victorious in this tournament.

Who are the most affected players on the PDC Order of Merit due to the Coronavirus crisis?

The PDC Home Tour has brought about a nice bit of sporting respite as the coronavirus pandemic has kept us all stuck indoors for the foreseeable future.

Darts will go on, and while the Home Tour is still being played, the order of merit will still update week in week out.

With the World Matchplay likely to be delayed or postponed, there will be huge shifts in the order of merit, and there will be some players who are hugely affected by the cease in proceedings.

Gary Anderson

The Flying Scotsman has plummeted down the order of merit over the past 12 months due to his ongoing back problems meaning that he has missed a whole host of pro tour events.

Fortunately, the two-time world champion has still been able to show his class in the major events, reaching the semi-finals of The Masters and going deep into the UK Open.

However, he’s not made a final since 2018, and if his £115,000 Matchplay winnings are wiped from his ranking money, he will drop out of the top 10 for the first time in a long while.

Mensur Suljovic

It seems a little too easy to point a finger towards the runner-up of the 2017 Matchplay, but the Austrian hasn’t had the best of times over the past 12 montsh so he’s defending a lot of money this year.

Of course, the £55,000 from the Winter Gardens will be a huge blow, but the Danish Darts Open win in 2018 was also worth £25,000 for The Gentle add into that the £10,000 he netted from his semi and quarter final runs in the Austrian and Dutch Masters events and he is due to drop off quite a bit.

Glen Durrant

Duzza is in an interesting position on the order of merit as his position certainly doesn’t reflect his actual skill level.

The world number 19 isn’t defending any money after earning his tour card in 2019, and while almost every other player on the tour will take a hit on the order of merit, the Boro-born dartist’s £240,500 will still be eligible as ranking money.

Michael van Gerwen

As if MVG needed any more help to extend his stranglehold on the world number one spot.

A rare first-round exit in the 2018 Matchplay looks likely to be struck from MVG’s record, while his perennial rival Peter Wright will lose £30,000 worth of ranking money from his run to the semi-finals in Blackpool.

Of course, Mighty Mike wins enough Pro and European Tour events to still be negatively affected by this delay, but the 2018 Matchplay being wiped from the ranking calculations will certainly be music to the ears of the Dutchman.

How many future world champions currently hold PDC tour cards?

The PDC World Darts Championship may be a competition that has run for almost 30 years, but during that time only eight men have managed to get their name engraved on the roll of honour and call themselves world champion.

The 2010s saw more new world champions than any other decade with no fewer than four players earning their maiden world title, but how many future champs are already strutting their stuff in the PDC?

You have the players who have come close time and time again only to never get over the line such as James Wade and Simon Whitlock, and while they have every chance of still picking up the Sid Waddell trophy one day, it has to be said that they don’t look like threatening anytime soon, and with both players entering the twilight of their careers it’s hard to pick them out as future world champs.

There are also a handful of players who are relative newcomers to the top table of world darts, who seem to just be one step away from making a real go at winning at Alexandra Palace.

Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price and Nathan Aspinall are all future world champions in my opinion, and they’ve shown that they can do it on the big stage, with Smith being a one-time runner up while The Iceman and The Asp have both reached semi-finals, and it just seems a matter of time before one of them picks up the title.

Daryl Gurney is another player with enough talent to win such a title, after all, he is a two-time major winner, but he’s only ever gone further than the third round once at the world championships, so I’m not confident enough to call him a sure fire future world champ.

Glen Durrant is a funny case, he’s already a three-time world champion in the BDO, and the Premier League table-topper is showing that he has the talent to beat any of the top players, but at the age of 49, time isn’t on his side, and with competition being hotter than ever, it’ll be tough for him to win a world championship in the near future.

Then you have the future stars of the game.

Dimitri van den Bergh, Max Hopp and Jeffrey de Zwaan are three immensely talented young players, and if they continue to improve at the rate we’d hope to see they will be there or thereabouts for years to come.

Of the three aforementioned players I’d say that De Zwaan has the greatest chance of being a future world champ, he has such an air of confidence on the oche that is only ever really seen from the PDC’s elite, and if he can be a bit more consistent he will get there one day.

However, perhaps the young player with the best chance of becoming a future world champions is Luke Humphries.

Cool Hand Luke has made back to back quarter-finals at Ally Pally, so we know he has what it takes to go far in the tournament, and if the 25-year-old can continue to improve he will get there one day.

In my view there are five current tour card holders that I’m confident will become world champions in the future, but there are 10 that I feel have a strong chance of getting there.

I’m certain that Van Gerwen, Peter Wright and Rob Cross aren’t done with winning world titles, and you never know what Gary Anderson has up his sleeve, so it’d be daft to write him off.

The five most crucial missed doubles in modern darting history

Score for show, double for dough. The old saying rings true in the PDC with 501 being the prevailing format for the world’s biggest tournaments, and over the years we’ve seen some infamous cases of double trouble that has cost players huge titles or changes a players entire career trajectory.

We all know about Mike Gregory’s missed double to win the world title or Jocky Wilson missing double 18 for the first nine darter in televised history back in 1983, but we’re going to look at the most crucial misses from the last 10 years.

So, we’re going to have a go at ranking of the biggest missed double opportunities in modern darting history.

Michael van Gerwen vs Rob Cross (2018 PDC World Championship Semi-Final)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 17: Michael van Gerwen (l) of The Netherlands shakes hands with Rob Cross of Great Britain after winning their semi-final at the Betway Premier League Darts Play-Offs at The O2 Arena on May 17, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Cross vs MVG at Alexandra Palace has to go down as one of the greatest games of darts we’ve ever seen at any tournament.

Cross, the relative newcomer was vying for a place in a world final at the first time of asking, while the Dutchman was desperate to set up a showdown with Phil Taylor in what would be The Power’s final bow.

With the game tied a five sets each, the two still couldn’t be separated as the final set went into overtime.

Van Gerwen finally got his chance to put Cross away, he was 5-4 up in the leg and he’d left 70 to break throw, and win the match.

The treble 18 was pinned, but the world number one, missed double 8 three times, before missing double 4 twice, Cross took out 52 to send it into a sudden death leg.

MVG then missed the bull, while Cross hit a 25, earning the throw in the final set that he would go onto win.

Peter Wright vs Michael van Gerwen (2017 Premier League Final)

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – MARCH 27: Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands competes against Peter Wright of Scotland during day one of the 2019 Unibet Premier League Darts on March 27, 2019 at the Ahoy in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

For the longest time Peter Wright couldn’t beat Michael van Gerwen in a major final.

The Scot had tried and failed on three occasions by the time he met the Dutchman at the O2 in 2017, and this time it looked as though it was going to be different.

Snakebite had worked himself into a 10-9 lead, and he’d left 32 after nine darts.

He had one hand on the title, with three clear darts at double 16, he came inside with the first before missing double 8 twice.

Fortunately, van Gerwen couldn’t tidy up the 92 that he had left, but Wright squandered another three at double 8, and from there on MVG did what he does best and won the Premier League 11-10.

James Wade vs Adrian Lewis (PDC World Championship semi-final 2012)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: James Wade of England and Adrian Lewis of England complain about the conditions of play during the World Darts Championships Semi Final Match at Alexandra Palace on January 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

James Wade may never get a better opportunity to win a world title than the opportunity he was presented with back in 2012.

The Machine had a relatively easy run to the semis, beating three unseeded players, before overcoming 27th-seed John Part in the quarter finals.

A clash with Adrian Lewis was set up in the last four, and he knew that if he could overcome Jackpot he’d be favourite for the title with 17th-seed Andy Hamilton awaiting him in the final.

All seemed to be going to plan, he raced into a 5-1 lead, and despite being pegged back to 5-2 he was still in a comfortable position.

At 2-2 in the eighth, Wade had the throw, and he’d left 108 for the match.

He went the unconventional route of T5, T19, D18, but the double 18 was missed, and Lewis cleaned up 98.

From there on, Wade didn’t win another leg, while Jackpot would beat Hamilton in the final to claim his second world title.

Noel Malicdem vs Peter Wright (2020 PDC World Championship second round)

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 20: Noel Malicdem reacts during the round 2 match between Peter Wright and Noel Malicdem on Day 8 of the 2020 William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on December 20, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Peter Wright was a worthy world champion this year, but it all could have ended so differently for him.

In 2018 and 2019 he was fell at the first hurdle losing to both Jamie Lewis and Toni Alcinas respectively, and it almost happened for a third year in a row.

Filipino arrowsmith Noel Malicdem put on one hell of a showing against Wright taking the game to a fifth and final set, and it looked as though Snakebite was once again going to capitulate as he went 2-0 down in the decider.

Malicdem squandered a huge chance to win 3-0 after failing to get a dart at double, despite having six from 96, but he wouldn’t make the same mistake in the next leg.

Malicdem went off 140, 180 before hitting 60 to leave 121.

Wright hit a vital 162 to pressurise, but Malicdem still managed to hit the treble 20 and single 11 to give himself a shot at the bull to eliminate the former UK Open winner.

The shot at the bull was missed, and Wright cleaned up the 140 checkout, forcing the final set into overtime, and the rest was history as the Scot beat everyone in his path to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time.

Who knows who would have won the world title this year had Malicdem pinned the bullseye at the vital moment.

Michael van Gerwen vs James Wade (2013 PDC World Championship semi-final)

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 30: Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands celebrates throwing a nine dart leg during his semi final match against James Wade of England on day fourteen of the 2013 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace on December 30, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

Another world semi-final involving James Wade, but this time it wasn’t a double that decided the fate of the match that we’re talking about.

Van Gerwen was playing some of the best darts we’d ever seen in this match, and it seemed almost inevitable that a nine-darter was on its way.

The Dutchman duly obliged, throwing a perfect leg in the fifth set, but what was to follow was something we’d never seen before, and may never see again.

After hitting the nine, van Gerwen went off with another 180, before firing in another three treble 20s.

141 was left for back to back televised nine darters, T20 flew in, T19 followed, but Mighty Mike missed the double 12 to make history the like of which we may never see again.

In the end this missed double didn’t affect the match too much, Wade would actually go on to win that set, but if MVG had hit back to back perfect legs, we’d be talking about undoubtedly the greatest moment in the history of the sport.

Keegan Brown should be Sports Personality of the Year after NHS commitment

2020 looked set to be a landmark year in British sport.

Tyson Fury won the World Heavyweight title in February, getting the year off to a good start, and it looked as though the UK’s good fortune was going to continue.

There were high hopes for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions in the summer at the Euros and Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics, while Lewis Hamilton had his eyes on Michael Schumacher’s record and Johanna Konta will have been hoping to become the first British woman since Angela Mortima to win Wimbledon.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, those events now won’t be taking place this year, and that leads to a huge question about the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Of course, this award is the last thing on anyone’s mind at the moment, but during a year where the whole country has to band together and come through adversity, SPOTY has a chance to take on a whole new meaning.

A case can be made for Fury to win the award after beating Deontay Wilder, and it’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t be a worthy winner, but this crisis means that it’s time for those type of accolades to take a backseat.

Under any normal circumstances, the frontrunner in the darting world would be Peter Wright after capturing his first World title on New Year’s Day, and while we’d love to see Snakebite honoured with such a prestigious award, this year’s incarnation has to be given to someone who has gone above and beyond in the fight against the biggest threat this country has faced since World War II.

Amir Khan would be a worthy winner after offering usage of a 60,000 square foot property in Bolton to help the NHS.

Gary Neville would also be a deserved candidate after allowing his hotel to be used by NHS workers who aren’t able to go back to their families.

However, amid all the big names such as Neville and Khan, there is a relative unknown who deserves all the recognition in the world.

Many darts fans will know who Keegan Brown is, after all, the world number 30 is one of the most talented young players in the game, but if you’re not an avid follower of the PDC you may not know all too much about this man’s story.

Brown works for the NHS, and in order to try to help combat the current epidemic, he’s actually upped his hours in order to aid the health system in their time of need.

The 27-year-old is literally putting his life on the line by continuing his work for the NHS during such a pressing time.

After winning £169,750 in prize money over the past two years, Brown could easily have self-isolated like the rest of us and taken this time to practice his darts, but he’s chosen to not only plough on with his NHS responsibilities but actually upping his hours in order to help those in need.

All of us have been clapping at 8PM on a Thursday night for the past couple of weeks, and while we all want to acknowledge every NHS worker during this time, the Sports Personality of the Year award going to Keegan Brown this year would not only be a way to say thank you to the man, but it would also act as a wider form of recognition from the sporting world for the work every worker has done throughout this crisis.

Hopefully, by December normality will have resumed and the SPOTY ceremony can go ahead as usual, and if it does, we would love to see the darting world campaign for Keegan Brown to get the recognition he deserves.

Sky vs ITV vs BBC: Who puts on the best darts coverage?

Darts has always been a sport about rivalries.

Whether that’s Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld, John Lowe vs Jockey Wilson or even the PDC vs the BDO, there may not be a sport more built on rivalries than darts.

Away from the oche, there is also an ongoing battle between broadcasters.

It should come as no surprise that many different channels are all vying for the right to present the PDC’s premier events, after all, darts is the second-most watched sport on Sky in the UK.

The BBC, Sky and ITV all put on events throughout the year, and we’re wondering who is the best.

The three are absolute giants of broadcasting, and we’re going to analyse who’s the best when it comes to televised darts.

Tournaments

Due to their connections with PDC chief Barry Hearn, it should come as no surprise that Sky get the premier events, with the World Championships, Matchplay, Grand Prix, Premier League and Grand Slam all being broadcast by the satellite provider.

However, ITV also have a brilliant stable of smaller tournaments, with the UK Open, Players Championship Finals, European Championships and The Masters all appearing on ITV.

The BBC aren’t so involved these days, losing the rights to the BDO World Championships, but they do still show the Champions League of Darts, which is a fantastic event.

The three are absolute giants of broadcasting, and we’re going to analyse who’s the best when it comes to televised darts.

Commentary

One thing that is vital when it comes to televised sport is commentary.

We may have lost arguably the best of all time in Sid Waddell a few years ago, but the sport is still blessed with a number of brilliant analysts and commentators.

Sky have arguably the greatest roster with the likes of Wayne Mardle, John Part and Rod Harrington providing insight from their time as arrowsmiths, while Rod Studd, Stuart Pyke and Nigel Pearson are fantastic broadcasters in their own rights.

Sky also aren’t shy of handing out opportunities to up and comers who want to try their hand at commentary with Devon Peterson and Mark Webster getting chances over the past couple of years.

ITV also have a solid stable, with John Rawling heading up their commentary team, usually accompanied by Alan Warriner-Little or Chris Mason.

However, despite only hosting one event a year, the BBC’s commentary has to be considered the best, and that’s purely down to the fact that they allow the brilliant duo of Dan Dawson and Paul Nicholson to take the lead, and there probably isn’t a better commentary partnership in all of sport at the moment, with both men having an immense knowledge of the game and brilliant chemistry to go alongside it.

Atmosphere building

Darts isn’t just popular for what happens on stage though, the fans play a huge part, and each broadcaster plays up to this by playing music throughout the arena before every ad break.

ITV choose to go with The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger, which is a banger that’s bound to get any fan singing along.

The BBC also go with a classic party song with DJ Otzi’s Hey Baby, which we already hear plenty throughout the year due to the fact about 5 PDC players use it as their walk-on.

However, neither of these come close to matching Sky’s usage of Chase The Sun, which is probably been sung by every pub player in the country after pinning a winning double at some point or another.

Presentation

Sky are the kings of putting on a show, and that’s no different when it comes to darts.

Cheerleaders, fireworks, strobe lights, smoke machines, Sky Sports spare no expense when it comes to making their shows feel like big events.

Alongside that you’ve got Dave Clark, who is undoubtedly the best darts presenter on TV, and they’ve been doing this for year so they’ve got the technicalities such as camera work down to a fine art.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the BBC, they missed plenty of doubles throughout last year’s Champions League including the tournament winning double from Michael van Gerwen.

Overall, all three broadcasters do a great job when it comes to showing this sport off, but with Sky you get what you pay for, and their coverage of darts is the best in the land, for now at least.

Who would represent Great Britain if darts was an Olympic sport?

Earlier this week we discussed why darts should be an Olympic sport, but in a hypothetical world where we saw the stars of the PDC headed to Tokyo for the upcoming event, who would represent Team GB?

It’s no secret that the UK is a hotbed for dartists, with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all producing top talent throughout history.

If darts was allowed to join in on the world stage, the qualifying process would need looking at, and it seems that the best method would be to follow golf’s system of allowing a maximum of four players from each country to be entered into the competition.

Of course, the ideal scenario would be to play qualifiers, but if we were hand-picking our representatives we’d have a real job on our hands.

One man with probably the biggest claim for being picked would be Peter Wright.

The Scot is the current world champion and according to the current order of merit he’s the number two player in the word, so he’d certainly be worthy of a spot.

That leaves three open slots, and you don’t have to look much further down the world rankings to see who should be next up.

Gerwyn Price is a man who divides opinion, but he’s amongst the best players in the world, and he’s perhaps the most watchable darts player at the moment.

If you’re showcasing this sport on the world stage, having a character like Price there could only be a good thing, his antics will resonate with people from every nation whenever their man does battle with him, and if he won a gold medal that would hugely help to increase his rising popularity back in the UK.

The third and fourth spots are incredibly tough to choose, as the order of merit is a who’s who of British talent.

Do you choose someone like Gary Anderson who has been out of form for a little while now.

Do you pick the current Matchplay and European champion Rob Cross? Who has more than earnt the right to get a spot

Does Daryl Gurney get in to be a Northern Irish representative?

There are three big contenders right there without even considering the likes of Premier League leader and three-time world champion Glen Durrant, two-time world champion Adrian Lewis, former world finalist Michael Smith or the up-and-coming Nathan Aspinall.

For us, Rob Cross would have to be the pick of the bunch just because of what he’s won over the past couple of years, but that could all change, with the event being pushed back to 2021.

Now, for the final spot you still have all the above names to choose from, but we think that it would only be fair to offer first dibs to a man who doesn’t even play anymore.

Indeed, Phil Taylor may not say yes, but the question would need to be asked in our opinion.

He’s arguably the greatest sportsman the UK has ever produced, and he’s the best ambassador this sport has ever had.

If darts was an Olympic sport for as long as the likes and archery and shooting have been, Taylor would have been one of Britain’s most decorated Olympians, but he’s unfortunately been robbed of that honour.

It would only be fair to give The Power the chance to claim a title he’s deserved for years, and if he was picked, we certainly wouldn’t write him off.

Why Darts deserves a spot at the Olympic Games

Darts may be one of the most popular things broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK, but war still rages on about whether or not it actually deserves the moniker of being a sport.

There are arguments to be made on either end of the spectrum.

For many, sport is about physical exertion and moving around a lot, and with all due respect, it’s hard to look at a man like Andy Fordham or John Henderson and say that they are sportsmen if that’s your definition.

However, we’re still yet to hear any arguments being made about golf not being a sport, even though John Daly was one of the premier players in that game despite not being in the traditional shape you’d expect from a sportsman.

For one reason or another, the Olympics have neglected darts for years, but they’ve happily allowed sports like shooting and archery to have spots at the prestigious events, and if we’re breaking it down to basics, those two sports are just darts but on a bigger scale with less skill.

No disrespect to archers or shooters out there, they’re supremely talented at what they do, but their fields are much simpler than what we see in the PDC as they only have to aim for the bullseye, while a game of 501, requires a number of different skills with scoring, set-up shots and finishing all being just as important as one another.

An argument could be made that darts isn’t popular enough internationally to be deemed worthy, as the game is largely dominated by British and Dutch players.

However, the World Cup of Darts already shows that this is a game that is played all over the world, and to a high standard, and the growth of darts is now also being seen on the biggest stages.

Just look at the last World Championships for evidence.

American Darin Young ended the career of five-time world champ Raymond van Barneveld, and Filipino ace Noel Malicdem was mere centimetres away from dumping eventual winner Peter Wright out in the first round.

This is an international sport that will only grow further in the future with the PDC Asian Tour becoming more and more popular and the stars of the tour taking to Madison Square Garden in the near future to show their stuff in the world’s most famous arena.

If archery and shooting are in, then darts should be too, and we can only hope that the IOC  consider their stance on this in the coming years.

Who is the best darts player to have never appeared in the Premier League?

The pinnacle of darts is obviously becoming a world champion, but one accolade that every dart player dreams of is being handed a place in the Premier League.

Playing at some of the best venues in Europe week in week out against the world’s top talent is nothing but a pipe dream for many, but if you manage to prove yourself worthy a place in the Premier League awaits you.

However, it’s not quite as simple as that.

The PDC’s system means that sometimes the best players in the world are snubbed as there are a number of invitational slots in the competition, meaning that some of the world’s top talent is often left out.

Today, we’re going to look at who is the best player ever to never earn a spot amongst the World’s elite.

The best place to start is probably in this year’s Premier League.

With the challengers making a return, somebody was going to miss out, and we feel that Ian White has been overlooked for far too long now.

The Diamond is undoubtedly one of the world’s top dartists, sitting ninth in the Order of Merit, while also reaching four European Tour finals last year, winning two of them.

Unfortunately, as has often been the case, White’s TV performances have let him down more often than not, but he did make his first televised semi-final this year in Minehead at the Players Championship finals, where he lost to Michael van Gerwen.

However, due to the fact White could still get a spot in the Premier League in the near future, we’re not going to bestow him with this crown.

Another man who can feel a bit miffed by consistent snubs is Vincent van der Voort.

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact year that the Dutchman should have had a spot in the Premier League, but he does have the most prize money of any player to not play in the competition since its inception, and you can’t make a much clearer argument than that.

Van der Voort has a real case to make, but there is still one player who has more of a right to feel aggrieved, and that man is Paul Nicholson.

The Asset remains the only player to win a major without getting a spot in the Premier League, and it was just a matter of poor timing from the adopted Australian.

Nicholson won his Players Championship Final’s crown back in 2010, when the tournament was hosted in January, but nowadays the competition is held in November, and you have to think that had he won a major two months prior to the PL lineup being announced rather than a few weeks after, he would have been in.

Fingers crossed The Asset can come through Q-School next year and come back with a bang, rightfully earning the Premier League spot he should have had a decade ago.

The five Dart players ready to make a name for themselves in the future

Darts is the second-most-watched sport in the UK on Sky Sports, but despite the game being so widely available to view, there are plenty of talented players who are yet to put together a real run on the big stage.

Indeed, while the likes of Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright are household names these days, there are a plethora of talented dartists that the wider public may not have seen or heard of, so here are five players that you may not know about that could soon make a big impression in the PDC.

Damon Heta

The Aussie won a tour card for the first time this year, and it has to be said that he absolutely deserved it.

Heta is already a winner on the PDC circuit, winning the Brisbane Darts Masters in 2019, beating none-other than former world champion Rob Cross in the final.

Perhaps Heta was buoyed by being the fan favourite in his native Australia that day, but to win a PDC tournament without even having a card is some feat, and if he can replicate that form more often going forward, we could see him make some serious runs on TV this year.

Jose De Sousa

You may be familiar with the Portuguese number one due to his hilarious miscounts on the oche that have gone viral over the past 12 months, but what you may not realise that he’s an incredible player.

The clip of him taking out 39 by going 5, D16, D1, is undoubtedly brilliant, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he beat Daryl Gurney 6-2 that day, averaging 100.63.

He also won a tour event last year beating Gerwyn Price 8-1 in the final, but he’s yet to put together a serious run on TV, but when he inevitably does, he will be an immediate fan favourite.

Kai Fan Leung

Another man who earnt his tour card this year, this man’s A-game is up there with the best of them.

He’s already put up two ton-plus averages on the Pro Tour this year, and the fact that he was able to average over 107 twice in one day under the immense pressure at Q-School shows just what a class act he is.

Ciaron Teehan

Teehan may be more of one for the future, but he definitely deserves a bit of recognition.

He pushed Mervyn King to the brink of elimination at this year’s World Championships, and you don’t do that unless you’re a supremely talented player.

The Irishman is just 21, but he’s already claimed some big scalps on the circuit, boasting wins over the likes of Stephen Bunting and Dimitri van den Bergh this year.

Harry Ward

The 22-year-old from Burton is primed and ready to make a big impression in the PDC.

He’s already won £17,500 in prize money this year, and when he’s at his best he’s amongst the best of them.

Player’s Championship 11 last year was where he shined brightest, putting up a 106.13 average in a 6-1 rout of Willie O’Connor, banging in a nine-darter to finish the Irishman off.