Winter darts schedule jam-packed with tasty top events
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | October 18, 2015
October 2015 – January 2016 live darts schedule
European Championship – Oct 30th-Nov 1st (ITV4)
Grand Slam of Darts – Nov 7th-15th (Sky Sports)
World Series of Darts Finals – Nov 21st-22nd (ITV4)
Players Championship Finals – Nov 27th-29th (ITV4)
World Youth Championship Final – Nov 29th (ITV4)
PDC World Championship – Dec 17th-Jan 3rd (Sky Sports)
A winter of darting heaven
After a relatively quite autumn on the darting calendar that saw a mere two major events shown on live UK television since the World Cup in June, the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix, fans are in for a treat this winter.
No less than six tournaments will be on our screens from late October until early January, and here is why there is plenty to look forward to starting in the coming weeks.
While the ninth and final European Tour competition of the season in Sindelfingen, Germany, has just been completed, with Kim Huybrechts taking the title, it is not long until the players make the short trip to Belgium for the European Championship major.
World number one Michael van Gerwen is the defending champion of this tournament that was held in Germany the previous four years. However, there could be a couple of surprises to look forward to as Australia’s Simon Whitlock enjoys this event and Belgian Huybrechts could be spurred on from his recent success in front of his home crowd.
The Grand Slam of Darts is the big competition of November, though, and is the only one televised that sees stars from both the PDC and BDO fight it out on the same oche.
This year in particular is one to watch, as three legends of the game will surprisingly travel to Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall in early November.
The Viking is back where he belongs on the big stage
All eyes will be on Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham (500/1 title outsider with Coral), in particular, after he emerged from a field of almost 200 at the BDO UK Qualifier in Hull. It is a remarkable achievement for the 53-year-old who is making a comeback after seemingly overcoming personal issues.
The 2004 world champion said: “It’s been a long road, incredibly tough at times, and of course you wonder if you will ever get back to playing on stage in one of the majors.”
“It would be amazing if I came up against Phil [Taylor] at the Grand Slam – maybe he would offer to finish the game we started in 2004 (which The Power was leading 5-2 before Fordham had to retire after falling ill).”
Along with The Viking in Wolverhampton, will be the first ever World Matchplay champion American Larry Butler (200/1 title shout). The Bald Eagle may be 58, but was the other player to qualify alongside Fordham in Hull.
Fellow veteran Martin Adams, meanwhile, has finally decided to take part in his first Grand Slam tournament at the tender age of 59, having previously snubbed the offer. Wolfie, who is a three-time world champion, is 66/1 to claim the title.
It is very difficult to see past reigning champion Taylor (3/1), winner of six of the eight Grand Slams so far, and fellow PDC stars Van Gerwen (7/4 favourite) and Gary Anderson (13/2), though.
Inaugural World Series of Darts Finals promises to excite
Following that event, darts fans will be allowed a six day breather, before the World Series of Darts Finals at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena on the 21st across two days.
Taylor will yet again be the man to beat, after he continued his invincible run in Australia this August, to follow up from his World Series success in Japan. But the likes of Raymond van Barneveld, Peter Wright and James Wade will be looking to go one step further after reaching Masters finals this year.
Eight top names qualified automatically, while a number of exciting international stars have also been invited with qualifiers set to follow.
“The World Series of Darts has been a hugely popular introduction to the worldwide circuit in the past three years, and November’s inaugural Finals are an exciting next step for the concept,” PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said.
“This line-up has the perfect balance of youth and experience and an incredible amount of talent.”
The Players Championship Finals takes place at the end of the month, where Anderson will attempt to defend the title at a competition that has seen shocks before. While on the same day as the final (29th) and at the same event at Minehead, there will be a duel for World Youth Championship, which rising star Keegan Brown will be hoping to retain.
PDC World Championship is almost upon us
That is most certainly not all, as there will be a brief calm before the storm that is the 2016 PDC World Championship – the most prestigious tournament in darts.
Make sure that your diary is wiped clean over this two week plus event, that takes place over the festive period. So, grab a mince pie, sit down and make sure you catch the action over Christmas and the New Year.
This is a tournament 16-time world champion Taylor has not managed to get his hands on in two years, and he knows he is up against it with younger opponents prowling around the Sid Waddell trophy.
But the old master is not yet done after a decent year, and The Power is still the 7/2 second-favourite. Title holder Anderson is priced at 11/2, while 2014 winner Van Gerwen is a 13/8 shout at the Alexandra Palace.
So, if you are still with us after overcoming the excitement of the above action, make sure to follow Taylor, Mighty Mike, Barney and co, and place a bet or two with Coral, throughout a wonderful winter of top tungsten tension!
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Coral’s top tip: Taylor loves proving he is the best in the world at darts, and the Grand Slam of Darts is the only place to show it. Back The Power at 3/1 to see off stars from both the PDC and BDO to defend his crown.