The thirteenth to the twentieth of October has included some exceptional moments in darting history. Perhaps the greatest of all such moments was produced by John Lowe (MBE) in 1984.
‘Old Stoneface’ had looked like the most likely candidate to hit the first televised 9 dart leg and claim a slice of sporting immortality. That unemotional demeanour and fluid but steady style seemed unrufflable.
The platform was the MFI World Matchplay. One of the many TV events that had sprung up during darts’ first golden era (the 1970s – late 1980s), the MFI featured many of the worlds best and winning it was a tough road.
The sponsors had offered £100,000 for the first televised perfect leg and, in his match vs Keith Deller, Lowe delivered. His route of 180, 180, T17, T18 & D18 was one not seen since. Have another look at it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3M4p1LFcxSk
Not wanting to be seen as lucky, John vowed to win the event, which he duly did. Lowe claimed the £100,000 plus £4k for the highest checkout as well as a winners cheque of £12,000. A combined total of £116,000 not bad in 1984!
Daryl Gurney first rose to prominence during this week in 2012. ‘Superchin’ claimed the Tom Kirby memorial event in the corresponding week seven years ago. The TK is a very taxing event to win, with the final being played during the World Grand Prix, and carries a place in the PDC world champs as a testament to its standing. Winners have often gone on to great success.
Gurney’s victory brought him to the attention of the MDA management team, who thought he may have what it took to play on the PDC tour. Despite a slow start, they turned out to be correct! Gurney has claimed two major TV titles, a plethora of other crowns and a place in the worlds top five.
Perhaps this years winner Kean Barry will go on to emulate Gurney or match Micheal Mansell, another Kirby memorial winner, who has also had great success on the PDC tours.
This week also marked a milestone in what would prove to be the purple patch of Bob Anderson’s storied career. In 1987 Bob claimed the first major, The MFI World Matchplay, of what turned into a superb run. In defeating Cliff Lazarenko (Qtr), Mike Gregory (Semi) and John Lowe (Final) Bob won twelve sets and dropped only two.
The ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ was having a decent year already, reaching multiple finals and semis, but this victory was the turning point. During the next three months, he went on to retain the World Masters and then storm to a superb World Championship triumph early in 1988.
Over the next few years, Anderson claimed almost every available title, was ranked No.1 in the world, helped form the PDC and assured his place as one of the true legends of darts.