After what was a hugely entertaining Players Championship Finals, with big finishes a plenty and shock results generously sprinkled over the competition, there has been an issue that has left a bitter taste in the mouth of some of the bigger name players.

The two highest ranked, and widely recognised men in the tournament, Phil Taylor and James Wade both went out of the competition surprisingly early, and both have put their premature exits down to issues with the crowd and with their opponents over-celebrating.

These issues, especially that of crowd noise, could potentially be genuine reasons for poor performance, but in this case it just seems that the toys are being thrown out of the pram more than anything else.

Both men were strongly fancied to reach the final of the tournament, and both were ousted by un-fancied opponents. Instead of taking defeat in the manner you would hope from icons of the sport, they have clutched onto the first excuse they could think of like the proverbial straw for a drowning man.

This was especially disappointing from Wade whose conqueror Scott Rand was competing in his first televised quarter-final and had just two guests in the crowd with him.  If a man is ever entitled to celebrate it was Rand as he picked up the victory of his life, and if anyone was likely to have less fans making noise it was Rand who was a virtual unknown before the tournament.

The sour grapes become even more pungent when you look back at Wade’s performances on stage in the past.  How he can complain about over celebrating when he reacted to hitting a double like this is beyond me:


It was clear in Rand’s mind that he had done nothing wrong, and heard nothing out of the ordinary from the crowd: “I didn’t hear anything,” he said, “So long as I’m not doing anything while the other players throwing it’s fine, what gees me up gets me going and I’m going to continue doing what makes me a good darts player.”

The ironic thing with the complaints from Wade and Taylor is that there was genuine trouble with crowd noise earlier in the tournament as Justin Pipe was put off throwing for the match against Mark Webster by a rogue shout which enraged the man known as The Force:


Webster was sympathetic but acknowledges that it is a part of the game saying: “You’ve got to blank it out, I felt for Justin who copped it a lot during that game but he’s going to grow more experience and next time he’ll blank it out and put that double away.”

As the World Championships approach, where crowds will reach the ten thousand mark, players will have to take Webster’s advice and learn to ignore the inevitable noise that comes as part and parcel of a sport intrinsically entwined with drinking countless pints of lager.  One thing that will undoubtedly be the case, as it was in Doncaster, you will only ever hear the losers complaining.

Phil Haigh – Twitter follow @philhaigh_