The Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship began in 1978 where it was staged at the Heart of the Midlands nightclub in Nottingham. In 1979 the event moved to Jollees Cabaret Club in Stoke and there it remained until 1985.

In 1985 the tournament moved to the Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green in Surrey and has been there ever since, establishing itself as the spiritual home of darts.

The Lakeside tournament has been organised by the BDO for its entire life and was commonly known as the Embassy World Championship due to its Imperial Tobacco sponsorship. These days it is known simply as the Lakeside tournament and is only contested by BDO players due to the split that occurred in the early nineties.

The Lakeside tournament is still broadcast on BBC (the only other tournament that BBC have stayed loyal to is the Winmau World Masters) and pulls in 3-4 million viewers every year – far more than Sky receive for the PDC version.

The first winner of the Embassy in 1978 was Welshman Leighton Rees. He was followed in 1979 by John Lowe who went on to win the title in three different decades. Two other Welshman have followed in Rees’ steps – Ritchie Burnett in 1995 and most recently, Mark Webster in 2008.

Phil Taylor is by far the most successful world champion, winning his 13th title in 2006, but only two were in the BDO version. Eric Bristow won 5 Embassy world titles making him the most successful player of the period before the split. Raymond van Barneveld is the only other player to rival that record with all his five titles coming in the post-split era.

In 1983 an unseeded Keith Deller became the youngest ever world champion and caused one of the great darts upsets in beating the seemingly invincible Eric Bristow. It wasn’t until 2006, when Jelle Klaasen shocked van Barneveld, that somebody so young would win it again. 2008 champion Mark Webster is another youngster – he and Klaasen sandwich the oldest ever winner, Martin Adams, who won a thriller in 2007.

To date only three players have defended their title – van Barneveld (1999) and Bristow who was champion in 1980 and 1981 and won it three times running from 1984 to 1986. Martin Adams achieved the feat in 2010 and 2011.

When Leighton Rees won the first ever title in 1978 he won £3000. 30 years later Mark Webster won £85,000 with beaten finalist Simon Whitlock earning himself a £30,000 payout. In 1988 Bob Anderson won £16,000 and in 1998 van Barneveld’s winners cheque was for £40,000. The 2014 champion, Stephen Bunting, took home £100k.

In 1990 American player Paul Lim hit the tournament’s only ever perfect 9-dart finish in the second round against Irishman Jack McKenna to win a bonus of £50,000 which was more than the eventual champion.

Lakeside Roll Of Honour