An Article by The Suit

When we first looked into professional darts (PDC), at the end of 2009, one of the things that convinced us to back players we believed in was a strong sense that the time had come for a changing of the guard.

Together with the new challenges of the Pro Tour Card, as with all sport, some players had been plateauing for a while and others were already dipping from their previous levels.

Add in to that the mental baggage carried by many who had spent careers being battered by The Power and Barney and it seemed that new, professionally minded, fresh and extremely talented players might blaze a trail.

The nature of the PDC system, regular format 2 year Order of Merit and superb playing conditions, also seemed to lend itself to the idea that non stereotypical players could become professionals and make a real impact.

No longer would a top BDO background or high level international & TV experience  be essential…

A look at the PDC order of merit from January 2010 reveals the following:

1-8:

Taylor, Barney, Wade, T Jenkins , King, Baxter, Lewis & LLoyd.

9-16:

Priestly, Osborne, Hamilton, Tabern, Walsh, Thornton, Painter, Van de Voort.

17-24:

Whitlock, Stompe, Beaton, Dudbridge, Part, Mardle, Jones, Newton.

25-32:

Ovens, Klassen, Manley, Smith, Caven, Webster, Van Gerwen, Anderson.

In November 2012 it looks somewhat different:

1-8:

Taylor, Lewis, Wade, Anderson, Newton, Whitlock, Hamilton, Van Gerwen.

Five players from eight have slipped out and in some cases both in and out!

9-16:

T Jenkins, Webster, Pipe, Barney, Chisnall, King, Painter, Nicholson.

Only Hamilton moved up here to top 8, 6 more fell out of this elite group. Only Kevin Painter stayed (despite being both out of the top 16 and in the top 8 during the 2 years!) Three of the players were outside the top 32 or not in PDC in 2010 & Mark Webster was 30th.

17-24:

Thornton, Baxter, Van de Voort, Dolan, Walsh, Smith, Lloyd, Part.

Only John part has stayed within this group, again it should be noted he has also fallen outside the top 32 as well during the interim. Three have left the top 32 completely, Two have sailed higher and Wayne Jones has been in the top 16 and also low as 32. Only Dolan has crashed this group from a lowly position.

25-32:

Burnett, Wright, Huybrechts, Osborne,Ovens, Beaton, Caven, Jones.

Two players retain their place in this group, both have reached higher plains during the time but remain essentially unchanged. Three players are here after not featuring in the 2010 top 32. Richie Burnett has completed a superb turnaround and Wright and Huybrechts make their initial appearances. 

Steve Brown & Mark Hylton have the dubious honour of both entering and exiting the top 32 during this time, thus appearing on neither list. The fastest plunge was Dennis Priestly who fell 36 places to number 45, although his form this year suggests a resurgence!

Others include Ozzy falling 19 places, Co Stompe 20 places and former world no.1 Colin Lloyd falling 15 places, all three have had horrid times and have struggled to retain places in the elites groups.

Seven players have slipped out of the top 32 over the two years : Priestly, Stompe, Mardle, Manley, Tabern, Dudbridge & Klassen. They have been replaced by : Pipe, Chisnal, Dolan, Wright, Nicholson, Burnett, Huybrechts.

An even handed summary would admit that although the guard has changed, it has been a slower process than expected, some newcomers have grasped the nettle and taken advantage while others have fallen at the final hurdle. Some established players have resisted admirably and  adapted to the changing game.

The famed class of 2010 has threatened without yet converting to consistent success, while the contrasting styles of Pipe and Chisnal have so far claimed the available opportunities with most aplomb.

It may be that the 2013 sees the biggest changes in the lower sections of the top echelon, whereas the top section has seen its turmoil for a while.

With two majors to go in 2012 it looks like Ian White will enter the Top 32 strongly, while a few  will be looking over their shoulders at the start of 2013, with the likes of Scott Rand, Dean Winstanley and others awaiting their tilt at the top.

About The Author