The 10th staging of the PDC World Cup of Darts gets under way in Austria this Friday, with 32 nations and 64 players from across the globe bidding to be crowned world champions.
Next month will mark the 10th anniversary of the very first PDC World Cup, held at the Rainton Meadows Arena, in the north east of England, in early December 2010.
The Netherlands beat Wales in the final to be crowned the inaugural PDC World Cup champions and, almost 10 years on from that success, Co Stompe relives that memorable weekend partnering Raymond van Barneveld to the title…
PDC LAUNCHES ITS OWN WORLD CUP
During the summer of 2010, the PDC announced it would be holding its own World Cup at the end of the year. From December 3-5, the three-day event would include 24 countries, each comprising of two players, and with a £150,000 prize pot.
Following that year’s World Grand Prix, the 48-player field was confirmed, with England’s Phil Taylor and James Wade instilled as the top seeds and van Barneveld and Stompe as the second seeds.
“We were used to playing pairs in league games,” Stompe said. “For us it was like playing darts every night in the local pub, where you would play pairs.
“In the pairs I was confident, because me and Raymond won the Europe Cup (pairs in 2000) and we’d won the Dutch Open a couple of times. We knew how to play that game.”
Having reached back-to-back quarter-finals in his first two appearances in the PDC World Championship, Stompe was now a familiar name among PDC viewers, as was his unique attire of wearing long-sleeve shirts at the oche.
“The PDC arrange the shirts and I always play in long sleeves,” Stompe said. “I phoned up Dave Allen, the chief press officer of the PDC and I said ‘Dave, make sure there’s long sleeves on the shirt’ and he did!”
SNOW STORM CAUSES DISRUPTIONS
The inclement weather in Europe that week provided its own problems for players travelling into the UK for the tournament.
The Czech Republic’s pairing of Martin Kapucian and Pavel Drtill were unable to travel, meaning their opponents Germany were handed a bye through the first round.
Belgium’s Rocco Maes and Patrick Bulen ended up driving to the north east of England to make it in time to play the tournament opener against Finland, while Stompe and van Barneveld were facing their own challenges in getting into the UK.
“We wanted to fly on the Thursday evening, but there was a big snow storm,” Stompe recalls. “All the flights were cancelled and we had to play early on the Friday evening.
“I thought we’d never make it in time, but I was lucky enough to know somebody working with KLM, the Dutch airline. They booked us two seats on a flight for Friday morning. That was our luck.
“We got picked up from the airport at three o’clock and went straight to the hotel, got changed and went to the venue. An hour later we were on the oche, so it was a great start!”
TOP SEEDS ENGLAND DUMPED OUT
The tournament moved into the last 16 stage on the Friday evening and, despite not having ideal preparation, the Netherlands got past the German duo of Jyhan Artut and Andree Welge 6-2.
The second seeds were through to day two, but in the very next game one of the biggest shocks in PDC history was to occur, as top seeds England were beaten in a last-leg decider by Spain.
Carlos Rodriguez and Toni Alcinas both hit a 180 each in the 11th and final leg, before Alcinas checked out 42 for an incredible 11-dart leg to send Taylor and Wade out of the World Cup.
“The funniest part is prior to the tournament Raymond said ‘this event is made for England to win.’” Stompe said. “He said ‘They’re the number one seeds and we’re the number two seeds. They’re going to win it definitely.’
“I said ‘no, I think we’ll become world champions.’ So when England got knocked out I said to Raymond ‘I told you we’d become world champions!’
“He said ‘but now we’ve got the pressure of being number one seeds.’ I said ‘we’ve just got to play our game and I bet we’ll be world champions by Sunday evening’ and the rest is history, isn’t it?”
MAKING IT TO THE FINAL
The second day of the World Cup saw the eight remaining teams split into two groups of four.
Van Barneveld and Stompe returned for the afternoon session on the Saturday, and went up against Canada, Austria and Australia.
In all three games, the points were shared in the two singles and in the doubles the Dutch pair won all three in deciding legs.
It meant the Netherlands finished top of Group A on nine points, just one point ahead of Australia, and would play giant-killers Spain in the semi-finals.
“They had beaten England, but Phil and James didn’t play their game and weren’t a team,” Stompe said.
“Me and Raymond were a team and I said to Raymond ‘no way are they going to beat us. They’ve done it once, but they can’t do it twice on the same weekend.’”
After seeing off Spain 4-0 in the first semi-final, the Netherlands then watched on as Wales and Australia contested a thrilling second semi-final which went down to a sudden-death leg.
Barrie Bates took out a 116 finish to seal a stunning victory for the Welsh team and send them into the final on the Sunday evening.
Van Barneveld got the better of Bates 8-4 in the opening singles, before Mark Webster, in red-hot form, averaged over 100 in wins over both Stompe (8-6) and van Barneveld (8-6) to put Wales 2-1 up.
With the fourth singles between Stompe and Bates locked at 5-5, Stompe ran off legs in 13, 12 and 14 darts to win 8-5 and level up the final at 2-2 going into the doubles.
Bates produced another ton-plus finish, this time a 136 to make it 4-4 in the doubles decider, but from 5-5 Stompe and van Barneveld won the next three legs to be crowned World Cup champions.
“I was really up for it,” Stompe recalls. “I was feeling so angry inside. I just wanted to win the final so bad.
“It was my best game the whole weekend, the pairs in the final. I didn’t miss anything, finishing and doubles I was hitting everything, apart from the double to win it. I missed three darts for it.
“Raymond hit the winning double and we were so happy. We all know what Raymond can be like when he doesn’t win tournaments, but he was over the moon.
“He was the number one player from Holland. I just wanted to be there to help him and we made it happen.
“I remember during the final giving him a bit of mouth. He felt like he didn’t play his best darts and was moaning and I said ‘oh, shut up and just play darts!’
“He picked it up after that and gave me a little smile as if to say ‘yeah, you’re probably right. I shouldn’t be moaning, I should be playing.”
WORLD CUP AFTERMATH
The World Cup win capped off an impressive 2010 season for Stompe, who had also reached the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay and Grand Slam.
However, by the time the second World Cup was arranged for February 2012, Stompe had been overtaken as the Dutch number two in the rankings by Vincent van der Voort and would not get a chance to defend the title.
“I was thinking about when we would be defending the title in 2011, but I’m not quite sure why they didn’t put a World Cup on that year,” Stompe said.
“They moved it to 2012 and I missed out because Vincent passed me in the rankings. That was very sad for me because I wanted to defend the title.
“I kept wearing the (World Cup) shirt because this is the best feeling you can have, being a world champion.
“You don’t get a higher standard in darts. There’s not an Olympic Games and I was over the moon.
“I kept that shirt for four years and had a couple of new ones made and sent over to Holland.
“I kept it as a memento and a reminder of what I was capable of doing.”
NEW DUTCH LINE UP FOR 2020
Since that triumph in 2010, the Netherlands have continued to be a force in the PDC World Cup.
Van Barneveld, alongside Michael van Gerwen won the title in 2014, 2017 and 2018, while this year will see van Gerwen partner up with debutant Danny Noppert.
“They are both capable of playing,” Stompe said. “Michael lost at the weekend and still had a 102 average. He’s still playing brilliant darts.
“They are two personalities which are totally opposite of each other, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.”
Co Stompe will be part of RTL7’s coverage of the PDC World Cup of Darts on November 6-8