From another podcast milestone to Grand Slam schedule changes, ALEX MOSS gives us his darts wishlist for the year ahead…
In 2021, the Weekly Dartscast reached the 200-episode milestone and this year we’ve got our sights set on hitting the 300 mark.
Next week we will celebrate our six-year anniversary of our very first episode, back in January 2017, an achievement which Burton and I are very proud of to keep this show going consistently and for such a long time as well.
We wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of everyone that listens in each and every week, as well as all of the guests from the world of darts who give up their time to talk to us. Thanks to you, to them and to everyone behind the scenes who helps out. Here’s to episode 300 sometime in April or May this year!
128 ENTRIES FOR A WOMEN’S SERIES WEEKEND
The PDC’s involvement in the women’s game continues to go from strength to strength. Last year we saw the first staging of the Women’s World Matchplay, the first all-female event televised from start to finish by the darts leader.
The Women’s World Matchplay is on the calendar again for this year along with an extended number of Women’s Series events, rising from 20 to 24, as well as an increased prize fund too.
A look at DartConnect shows close to 200 players (197) took part in at least one Women’s Series event in 2022. Each four-event weekend regular attracts somewhere between 70 and 90 entries, but with the rise in tournaments and prize money, how good would it be to see that figure hit the 100 mark or even 128 and ensure a full line-up in the first round?
ATTEND A EURO TOUR FOR THE FIRST TIME
I’ll be honest, this one has been on my bucket list for a little while now. I’ve been fortunate to attend a bunch of events over the years, either as a fan or with accreditation, but the European Tour has alluded me thus far.
Hopefully 2023 will be the year I put that right. Once again there’s 13 weekends to choose from, in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
If any of our listeners want to suggest one event from that list in particular, do get in touch. Let me know where I should be going for my Euro Tour debut (off the oche).
SEE CO STOMPE PLAY LIVE
As most of you will know by now from listening to the Weekly Dartscast, Co Stompe is the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT). End of discussion.
Well, in my eyes anyway. I’ll first take you back to Lakeside last April. I was in the hotel foyer with Inside The WDF’s head honcho Andrew Sinclair who turns to me and says “is that Co Stompe over there?”
I looked over to reception and didn’t think nothing of it, but Andrew was right. There was Co!
It was great to unexpectedly meet my darts idol growing up and have a chat with him, but I’ve always wanted to see him chuck tungsten in person.
After he retired from the professional side of the game a few years ago I thought I might have missed my chance, but an invite to play in the World Seniors Championship next month has made it possible.
Big shout out to the World Seniors Tour, who also kindly asked me to announce Co’s inclusion in the event, and I will be at the Circus Tavern watching. Play up, Stompe!
WDF TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATIONS
When we look back on 2022 for the WDF it has been an eventful year on and off the oche. Staging their World Championship and the return of the World Masters are two important milestones they managed to tick off last year.
Off the oche, I think it’s fair to say the communication side of things from the organisation has been a disappointment. Or should I say the lack of communication.
I don’t envy the work the WDF team have had to put in over the last few years. I’m sure there’s been a lot of late nights and long days trying to organise things.
Only last month it was announced the 2023 World Championship would be taking place in December, along with a change from a one year to a two year ranking system – decisions which you envisage will work in the long run, but the months of uncertainty and radio silence did eat into any momentum they had gathered from the week at Lakeside.
With dates and a venue now confirmed for their flagship tournament, hopefully in 2023 we’ll see the WDF start to make strides again and start to push on.
ADC TO FULLY TAKE OFF
We’re now into Year 2 of the Amateur Darts Circuit (ADC) and things are moving along nicely, albeit at a much quieter pace than its predecessor, MAD (Modern Amateur Darts) attempted.
A slower build was the plan from the outset when MAD reincarnated as ADC at the end of 2021. It was a soft launch and Steve Brown and co wanted to learn from the mistakes they made the first time round and create something more sustainable and which would resonate with more amateur players.
I still think there’s a lot more to come from ADC and we’ll see more of their plans come to fruition during their second year in 2023. The ties with the Modus League is a great opportunity for more amateur players to get exposure playing on a stream and in front of the cameras.
I’ve said it before, but I do believe if the ADC can fully take off then there is a strong chance they could be the future custodians of organising the UK Open amateur qualifiers in the future.
If they can fully spread their events and ideas across the UK and get more people on board then I see the ADC as the future for providing the PDC with the “amateur” players in the FA Cup of Darts – possibly from 2024 onwards if this year is a big year for them.
VIKING CUP TO HAVE A SECOND RUN
What a day the Viking Cup was last year. A thoroughly enjoyable day spent at The O2 paying tribute to a legend of our sport, in Andy Fordham, and also getting to throw a few darts before being knocked out of the tournament at the earliest possible opportunity!
Yes, the event had a few hiccups on the day. The long queue inside The O2 to get into the Indigo venue took a long time and it meant the window for registration was extended, and play did not start at its scheduled time.
I understand there was also issues with the ladies’ and youth events, but I hope these are problems which can be easily fixed if the Viking Cup returns for a second running this year.
I’ve seen on social media this week that the event’s organiser has put the feelers out for potential sponsors for a 2023 Viking Cup, which is a good sign.
Even if it’s not WDF-ranked, I would personally love to see the Viking Cup become a regular fixture in the calendar.
PS. Did you know I hit a 140 in the Viking Cup last year?
GRAND SLAM SCHEDULE CHANGE
This has to happen soon, surely? I’ve gone on about it on our podcast and on social media for a little while now.
Having the semi-finals and final of the Grand Slam on the same day needs to change.
The sample size of recent Grand Slams is enough now to indicate playing a best of 31 legs semi-final, followed by a best of 31 legs final, on the last day is too much and not conducive to a high-quality final.
As darts fans when a tournament reaches the final we want to ideally see the two best players in that tournament go toe-to-toe and produce a memorable decider.
That doesn’t always happen, but I think for the Grand Slam to have the best chance the semi-finals need to move back to the Saturday evening, leaving the two finalists with enough of a break to rest and prepare for a final on the Sunday.
My proposal would be to start the Grand Slam earlier, on the Friday evening, and essentially push every session, apart from the final, back one spot in the schedule.
Obviously, it’s not as easy as that. You need to be able to book the venue for an extra day, television coverage needs to be possible on the Friday, so there’s lots of factors at play here, but I hope we’ll see it happen sooner rather than later.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN DARTS
I’ll finish up this list with a personal one for me and that is in 2023 I would like to open up more opportunities for myself to take on in the world of darts.
I’m not sure what those opportunities are right now (certainly not throwing darts!). It might be trying my hand at some commentary or collaborating with other media outlets or “influencers”, but I just want to try and do more if I can.
I’ve been following this sport for a long time, and been involved in the media side for a while now as well, and a piece of advice I got when I first started out in journalism was “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
So, my plan for 2023 is to see if I can knock on that door and carve out more roles or assignments or invites and see how far I can go.