This month’s UWDR is all about big changes following the biggest tournaments on both sides of ‘the tungsten curtain’ – the respective world championships, of course – and Phil Taylor, who performed poorly by his standards in the PDC version, has lost almost half of the nearly 20,000 point lead he enjoyed last month.

Some of this eroded advantage will inevitably be recouped when the Power’s victory in the recent Players Championship Finals is factored into next month’s UWDR, but his dismal performance in the Premier League (which does not reward UWDR points) confirms that all is not well with the game’s greatest ever player, and Taylor might be facing a very uncomfortable 2011, with, potentially, his no.1 ranking in jeopardy!

Meanwhile, Martin Adams, the oldest flinger in town, retains the no.2 slot following his third BDO World Championship triumph at the grand old age of 54.  Remarkably, Adams is almost a year older than Eric Bristow, who captured his first world title in 1980 when Adams was, essentially, a pub league player.

Thereafter, slowly, but surely, Adams climbed the professional ladder, but when Jelle Klaasen, nearly thirty years his junior, won the 2006 BDO World Championship it seemed as though a new generation of darts players had arrived, sweeping the likes of Adams aside.  Wolfie finally achieved his ambition 12 months later, however, and, like Marco Materazzi, the persistent Adams is an inspiration to any sportsman, or sportswoman, who might not enjoy much success early in their career.

Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson, two other players who seemed to wait an eternity in the wings, are now ranked 3 and 4 respectively, enjoying a climb of 7 and 3 places in turn, following their spectacular performances in the PDC World Championship.  The scoring power of these two men now, almost certainly, poses the biggest threat to Taylor’s supremacy.

Positions 5-9 are filled out by a quintet of ‘usual suspects’ – James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock, Terry Jenkins and Scott Waites – whilst the top 10 is rounded off by a man who could barely have imagined being in such exalted company 12 months ago.  At this point Dean Winstanley was merely a BDO journeyman, barely inside the UWDR top 150.  Remarkably consistent floor results throughout 2010, however, culminating in a spectacular run to the final on the Lakeside stage have elevated Over the Top close to the top.

But, realistically, how much further can he go?  As the UWDR awards bonus points for very high averages Winstanley will have to up his scoring power significantly, in addition to producing top performances in the BDO World Championship and World Masters and the Grand Slam of Darts, if he is going to overtake any more of the game’s elite.

 

Two Welshman, and world semi-finalists both, Martin Phillips and Mark Webster, are now nos. 14 and 15 respectively.  Whilst Phillips, who climbs 4 places this month, may be one place ahead of his compatriot for the time being, Webster, who is up 14 spots, is the coming man.  The 2008 BDO World Champion defeated Taylor en route to a second successive PDC World Championship semi-final, earning a Premier League wildcard, and his averages are now up with the very best.  It would be some surprise if Webby was not in the UWDR top 10 by the year’s end.

Conversely, Tony O’Shea, no.2 as recently as September, is now down to no.20!  The UWDR places a huge emphasis on recent form, to identify the hottest players in darts, and Silverback’s desperately disappointing performances in the BDO World Masters, and especially in the World Championship, have taken their toll.

Vincent van der Voort, the Fastest Player in the World, accelerates from no.32 to no.23 after reaching the last 8 of the PDC World Championship.

Anderson’s former partner in crime Gary Robson is up 15 places to no.37 following yet another quarter-final defeat at the Lakeside, whilst another beaten quarter-finalist, Ross Smith, is up 7 places to no.54.

Stephen Bunting picks up valuable UWDR bonus points after some impressive scoring in the first two rounds of the BDO World Championship, before running out of steam against Winstanley.  The Bullet fires into the top 50 at no.50, up 9 places.

Perhaps the most romantic story in either of this year’s world championships was the journey of 20 year-old Dutch qualifier Jan Dekker to the Lakeside semi-finals, a performance which guarantees him at least two trips to the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, to contest the Grand Slam of Darts.  In the meantime, the business and economics student enjoys a profitable market fluctuation, as his UWDR ranking soars from no.103 to no.51!  Garry Thompson, who missed nine doubles to defeat Dekker in the quarter-finals, can at least console himself that his ranking is up to no.44, from no.51.

The colourful Peter Wright climbs to no.60, up 28 places, following his run to the last 16 of the PDC World Championship, whilst Mark Hylton, who reached the same stage of the tournament, is up from no.138 to no.83.  Both Snake Bite and Mile High demonstrated some useful scoring at the ‘Ally Pally’, and it seems more than likely that these two players will continue to head northwards over the course of 2011.

Also reaching the last 16 of this tournament, defeating James Wade in the process, the Serbian-born Austrian Mensur Suljovic reaches no.101 in the UWDR, up 83 places.

In contrast, Wayne Mardle, a Premier League player just two years ago, continues his miserable decline, down (albeit just 1 place) to no.113 this month.  Mardle’s downturn emphasizes not only the fluidity of the UWDR, but the fickle nature of darts, and the fine margins of form and confidence.  As in football, no-one is ‘too big to go down’ in this game.  Mardle did reach a Pro Tour semi-final last November (losing only 6-5 to Mark Walsh), to provide a ray of hope, however.  Needless to say, darts would benefit enormously if Hawaii 501 could rediscover his game.

Stay tuned to DartsMad for the only accurate assessment of both PDC and BDO players: the Unified World Darts Ranking.

DartsMad Gareth

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