The darting holy grail, the ultimate tungsten challenge, the perfect leg of darts, the ‘9 darter’, however we chose to label it has become common place these days, running into double figures on this years PDC Pro Tour alone. The televised 9 darter is a little more of an exclusive club, but has been achieved with relative frequency in recent times (4 to date in 2011), two 9 darters in one match is even more so and solely patronised by who else but a certain Mr Taylor.

Therefore when Brendan Dolan executed his perfect leg live on our televisions screens during the 2011 World Grand Prix in Dublin, why has this author even put pen to paper or finger to key as it were? The answer lies in the format of the competition, the WGP is famed for its requirement for both double start and finish, and is coined the ‘Double in in Dublin’. This twist, whilst a staple of pub darts has been the undoing of many a player in the WGP, including the Power who has been a first round victim on a number of occasions.

Dolans achievement stands alone, not only for being the first televised perfect leg starting on the double, but also finishing on the bull, which is a necassary route to achieve this rareity. In fact ask John Lowe and he would tell you that the classy way to achieve perfection in the format would be Bull 60 60, Bull 60 60 &  60 51 Bull!

So this unassuming young man from Northern Ireland has entered himself into darting folklore, with his feat guaranteed longevity as the proverbial pub quiz question. And what was the remuneration for this achievement in front of the Skys cameras? £5k, hardly life changing, but perhaps puts the 9 dart leg into context within the modern day game. So now we have recognised Dolan’s accomplishment, let us take a walk through TV 9 dart history……

History of the Televised 9 Darter

Many a darts fan of a certain age will recount the tale of John Lowe’s perfect leg which he achieved in 1984 against a young Keith Deller. It’s certainly a night Old Stoneface will never forget, his efforts in darting consistency were rewarded with £102,000! Back in 1984 that amount of sterling was serious money, to put it into further context the average house price in the same year was around £30k. So we have the founder of the club, but we had to wait 6 long years for our next member, Paul Lim. In 1990 the USA darter of Chinese origin claimed £52,000 for the first World Championship 9 darter in his match against Jack McKenna. The current number of televised 9 dart legs stands at over 25, the bulk of which have been in PDC events.

Live Television

2002 saw a brace of perfect leg’s broadcast live on television, the first thrown by Shaun Greatbatch during the Dutch Open, with Phil Taylor hitting the second against Chris Mason in the World Matchplay. Greatbatch netted the princely sum of €200 for his TV first, where as The Power notched up £100k for his. The difference? Prestige of the event and the latter being shown on UK TV. This stark contrast highlights the inconsistency in rewards for TV tungsten perfection, which dependant on code/event has reaped rewards ranging from zero to 6 figures.

Televised 9 Dart Stats
  • James Wade has been on the receiving end of no less than 4 perfect legs
  • Predictably Taylor currently holds the record with 9 televised nine darters to his name.
  • No player has hit a 9 darter against Phil Taylor
  • Michael van Gerwen is the youngest player to hit a TV 9 darter
  • Brenda Dolan, Adrian Lewis Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade have all been on the receiving end of 9 darters, but each has tasted the glory by hitting their own.
  • Since 2004 there has been at least one televised 9 darter per annum
  • The Crafty Cockney, arguable one of, if not the, most famous darts players in history never achieved perfection on TV.
  • The majority have finished on D12 with the preferred sequence of 180, 180, T20, T19, D12
Final Thoughts

So how do we account for the proliferation of perfect tungsten in recent years? Better overall standard of professional darts players? Darts Professional is now a bonafide vocation, and many more players now dedicate themselves full time to the game? Perhaps it is the progression of dartboard technology, there is no doubt that the current offerings of diamond/blade wires offer less chance of bounce outs than the old round wire and staple boards that Lowe and Lim plied their trade on. Or is it something altogether more deliberate by the powers that be? Has the target area been increased to facilitate higher scoring? I have certainly heard that suggestion on more than one occasion, however without dredging up a 20 year old board and measuring like for like, that question (perhaps for the best) remains unanswered. Top 5 TV 9 Darters

Heres our take on the top 5 TV 9 darters, remember this is just our opinion! Comments welcome……

5. The youngest – Michael van Gerwen 2007; 174, 180, (T20 T17 D18)


4. The Second – Paul Lim 1992; 180, 180, (T20 T19 D12)


3. Double in – Brendan Dolan 2011; 160, 180 (T20 T17 Bull)


2. Twice Nightly – Phil Taylor 2010; (x2) 174, 180, (T20 T17 D18) & 180, 180, (T20 T19 D12)


1. The First – John Lowe 1984; 180, 180, 141 (T17 T18 D18)


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