Magic Darts

Dave Allen from the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) introduces some of the most unforgettable matchs from the World Championships at Ally Pally. Glory days: 

Although the William Hill World Darts Championship begins in December, it’s usually around now that we at the PDC are planning to launch the event and put the highly sought-after tickets on sale.

The current situation obviously means that plans are progressing at a slower rate than usual this year, but it’s also been a chance to reflect on some of the great Alexandra Palace memories.

Since the World Championship moved to Ally Pally for the 2007/2008 event, we’ve had so many fantastic matches and it’s now become a must-see event during the festive period.

Raymond van Barneveld’s retirement after last year’s World Championship brought back so many memories from his fine career – he reached one final at the venue and landed two nine-darters, but his best night at Ally Pally was probably the 2015/2016 win over Michael van Gerwen.

Barney won 4-3 on that night in a run to the semi-finals, defeating his Dutch rival in a classic contest.

Phil Taylor won the final three of his 16 World Championship titles at Ally Pally, including an incredible performance to defeat Van Barneveld 7-1 in the 2008/2009 final – he averaged almost 111 in an unplayable display.

Michael van Gerwen is another three-time World Champion at Ally Pally, but his finest hour came on December 30, 2012 as he came a whisker away from being the first player in history to hit back-to-back nine-dart finishes.

In the midst of a tough semi-final against James Wade, Van Gerwen scored 180 and 177 before taking out 144 to complete a perfect leg of 501 – and then returned to the oche with 180 and 180 before hitting treble 20 and treble 19, only to miss the double 12 just inside the wire.

I was in the Press Office – then a marquee within the Great Hall – and could only watch open-mouthed as we came so close to the most stunning moment of history.

I saw some of these highlights again whilst preparing archive footage for the new Matchroom Live platform, and it brought a tingle to my spine to relive these, and more, great achievements.

Our live-streamed PDC Home Tour during the current global lockdown has given fans worldwide the chance to see some darts during the suspension of most sport globally, but perhaps also made us more appreciative of the magic we get to witness each Christmas at Ally Pally.

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