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John Part previews the 2019 Betfred World Matchplay

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Thursday, 18 July 2019 11:30:00 Europe/London

Unicorn World Champion Ambassador & Sky Sports Darts pundit John Part previews all of the action, ahead of the 2019 Betfred World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, focussing on all things Team Unicorn.

Watch the video preview with JP below: 

 

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Wade extends Unicorn deal

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Thursday, 18 July 2019 11:00:00 Europe/London

He is a master of his craft and the man they call ‘The Machine’ has signed a new long-term deal with Unicorn.
 
It will take James Wade’s partnership with the world’s leading darts manufacturer to almost two decades.
 
The new contract comes after a stellar year for Wade which has seen him win back-to-back ‘Majors’ at the European Championship and World Series Finals.
 
“It has always been the perfect partnership for me,” he said. “Unicorn have been with me on my journey and given me incredible support.”
 
“As people will know, I’ve been through some tough times away from darts, but Unicorn has steadfastly stood by me and I will always be grateful.” Wade added.
 
Since reaching the final of The Masters this year, Wade has won four Players Championship titles on the Pro Tour in 2019, as he continues to prove just why he is one of the very best in the world.
 
Unicorn Managing Director Edward Lowy said it was a big move for everyone: “It was 15 years ago when we first started working with the extraordinary talent of James’ left arm! That arm has placed Unicorn darts in pole position in so many tournaments, including ‘Nine Magnificent Majors’ and I am convinced the partnership will continue to flourish.”
 
For Wade, there remains just one ultimate aim. “It is all about being World Champion,” he admitted. “Of course, it is great to win tournaments and big TV events, but winning at the Alexandra Palace and being called World Champion is what it is all about.”
 
Wade has reached three World Championship semi-finals, but the last one came back in 2013. “That is what drives me on. I know I have the game to win it, now it is up to me to go and prove it!”
 
Story by STUART PYKE
Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Perfect Matchplay preparation for Cullen

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Thursday, 18 July 2019 08:52:34 Europe/London

Joe Cullen reached his first PDC final for two years. 
 
The Unicorn man was beaten 8-1 by a red hot Peter Wright, who won both Players Championship events in Barnsley to add to his German Darts Masters crown at the weekend. 
 
But Cullen still enjoyed a superb day and it was the ideal confidence boost ahead of his all Unicorn clash with Ian White at the Winter Gardens. He beat the likes of Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross and Adrian Lewis en route to the final.
 
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Devon Petersen reached his first Pro Tour quarter-final for four years. A great achievement before he was beaten by Wright.
 
Also on Wednesday the Unicorn trio of Dimitri van den Bergh, Jelle Klaasen and Jeffrey de Zwaan made it to the last 16.
 
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Gary Anderson reached the semi-finals of PC 19 before losing to Wright on Tuesday but over the two days, he played eight competitive games which is perfect match practice ahead of Blackpool and defending his Matchplay title. It was all about finding that competitive edge.
 
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And Team Unicorn youngster Harry Ward provided further evidence of his immense potential by getting through to the quarter-finals of PC 19. His run was only ended in a last leg decider by Ron Meulenkamp.
 
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The latest stop in the World Series of Darts took the roadshow to Cologne and there was a semi-final for James Wade at the German Darts Masters. He was beaten by eventual winner Peter Wright.
 
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There were four different winners at the latest weekend on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour. Cody Harris, Nick Fulwell, Berry van Peer and Andy Jenkins took the honours. Team Unicorn’s Cameron Menzies lost in the final of CT 11 to Van Peer.
 
The top two in the Challenge Tour Order of Merit earn prized PDC Tour Cards for 2020 and the man who finishes top also claims a spot at the World Championship. Menzies is currently 4th. The list is topped by Stephen Burton with eight events remaining this year.
 
By STUART PYKE
 
Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Gary Anderson speaks to Stuart Pyke

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Monday, 15 July 2019 14:15:00 Europe/London

Team Unicorn double World Champion Gary Anderson talks in-depth to Stuart Pyke whilst in Las Vegas, about his recent injury lay off, his new fitness regime and his plans to return to prime form ahead of the rest of the 2019 campaign.

Listen to the full interview below:

 

 

 

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Anderson faces tough defence of Matchplay crown!

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Tuesday, 9 July 2019 16:25:17 Europe/London

It is without doubt the best World Matchplay field ever assembled, so it was always going to be a difficult test for Gary Anderson.
 
The Team Unicorn superstar will start the defence of his Blackpool title against Dutchman Danny Noppert. Victory for the Scot could see him playing newly crowned US Darts Masters Champion Nathan Aspinall.
 
Anderson is in the top half of the draw, which looks on paper to be toughest section at the Winter Gardens.
 
There is a tasty all Unicorn clash to look forward to as former Matchplay winner James Wade takes on Jeffrey de Zwaan, who of course had that brilliant run in Blackpool 12 months ago. He toppled Michael van Gerwen before being edged out by Anderson in a thrilling semi-final.
 
Also in that top half, a rejuvenated Michael Smith will face Matchplay debutant Jamie Hughes.
 
In the other half of the Matchplay draw, there is another big Team Unicorn showdown. It is Ian White against Joe Cullen.
 
Meanwhile on his World Matchplay debut, Chris Dobey will meet No.2 seed Rob Cross.
 
And Unicorn man Keegan Brown will fancy his chances after being drawn against Welshman Jonny Clayton. 
 
Draw in full bracket breakdown with Team Unicorn stars highlighted:
 
Michael Van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton
Adrian Lewis (16) v Glen Durrant
JAMES WADE (8) v JEFFREY DE ZWAAN
Mensur Suljovic (9) v Jermaine Wattimena 
MICHAEL SMITH (5) v Jamie Hughes
Dave Chisnall (12) v Max Hopp
GARY ANDERSON (4) v Danny Noppert
Nathan Aspinall (13) v Mervyn King
Rob Cross (2) v CHRIS DOBEY
Darren Webster (15) v Krzysztof Ratajski
Gerwyn Price (7) v Stephen Bunting
IAN WHITE (10) v JOE CULLEN
Peter Wright (6) v Vincent van der Voort
Simon Whitlock (11) v John Henderson
Daryl Gurney (3) v Ricky Evans
Jonny Clayton (14) v KEEGAN BROWN
 
By STUART PYKE
 
Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Smith back on track

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Sunday, 7 July 2019 17:13:54 Europe/London

He may have lost an incredible final at the US Darts Masters, but the tournament should be a 2019 turning point for Michael Smith.

By his very high standards, the Unicorn star has suffered a slump in form since the World Championship Final, but he was certainly back in business in Las Vegas. 

“I was enjoying myself again,” he admitted. “I am sure it made a difference to my game and allowed me to play with freedom.”

“I know that I can head to Blackpool for the World Matchplay with confidence and belief that I can succeed.”

“The final with Nathan was brilliant. It was great to play in and we both played our part. Congratulations to him!”

Smith lost the Las Vegas final 8-4 to an inspired Nathan Aspinall, who actually hit 15 perfect scoring darts with a bounce out at the start of the match!

The Team Unicorn man produced three superb ton plus finishes but Aspinall won four straight legs to hit the Vegas jackpot.

Smith had also beaten Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals before accounting for Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals.

It certainly augurs well for the rest of the year for the man from St Helens.

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And the World Series roadshow now shifts to Cologne for the German Darts Masters on Friday.

Team Unicorn’s defending World Series Champion James Wade enters the fray. He will face Kevin Munch in the 1st Round, while Gary Anderson plays Nico Kurz.

Anderson was pleased with the way things went in Vegas. He was starting to look good again after hardly playing this year because of those back and elbow injuries. He perhaps should have won his quarter-final against Price, missing five darts for a 7-6 lead, however you could see that glint in his eye again!

Story from STUART PYKE

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Brilliant Brown bags Blackpool spot

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Monday, 1 July 2019 12:41:05 Europe/London

Keegan Brown has secured his place at the World Matchplay!

The Unicorn star produced a brilliant run to the semi-finals of the inaugural Czech Darts Open in Prague.

Meanwhile fellow Team Unicorn ace Chris Dobey will make his Blackpool debut later this month and defending Matchplay champion Gary Anderson is seeded 4th at the Winter Gardens.

Brown beat Michael van Gerwen, Danny Noppert and Mensur Suljovic en route to the last four in Prague. He eventually lost 7-4 to Stephen Bunting, but he had done more than enough to make the Matchplay.

The tournament was won by PDC new boy Jamie Hughes. His 8-3 victory over Bunting saw him win a Winter Gardens place. It was the only result that would have seen him qualify! Unfortunately Unicorn’s Kyle Anderson was knocked out of the equation.

Ian White reached another Euro Tour quarter-final in Prague and he was edged out in a last leg decider by Hughes.....White is desperate to make a big impression at a TV ‘Major’ and he will be seeded 10th.

Gary Anderson will prepare for the defence of his Matchplay crown by trying to defend his US Darts Masters title in Las Vegas this week.

Of the other Unicorn players, Michael Smith is the No.5 seed, former Blackpool winner James Wade is 8th, while Joe Cullen and Jeffrey de Zwaan qualified through the Pro Tour Order of Merit.

Remember De Zwaan toppled Van Gerwen at the Winter Gardens last year and Cullen missed match darts to beat Anderson in the quarter-finals.

Story from STUART PYKE in Las Vegas

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Wade back in winner’s circle!

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Monday, 24 June 2019 08:49:06 Europe/London

He hadn’t picked a dart up for nearly a month but it’s back to business for James Wade!

The Unicorn star claimed a 4th ranking title of the year with an 8-5 Players Championship victory over Portugal’s Jose de Sousa in Wigan.

The win moves Wade to the top of the Players Championship Order of Merit.

In the final, ‘The Machine’ punished his opponent for missed doubles despite being 10 points behind in the averages. An 86 finish to break throw and lead 5-4 was the key moment in the final and Wade was clinical as he completed a convincing win.

After victories over the Dutch duo of Benito van de Pas and Yordi Meeuwisse, he won a last leg decider to beat fellow Unicorn star Keegan Brown.

And after a win over Rowby-John Rodriguez, Wade hit ton plus averages to beat Unicorn youngster Callan Rydz and Saturday’s winner Krzysztof Ratajski in the quarter and semi-finals.

It was a dream day for Rydz who only found out late on that he was in the tournament. An early train back to Wigan saw him rewarded with his best display in a PC event. En route to the last eight, he averaged 103 to see off Steve Beaton and 101 in beating Brendan Dolan.

And a memorable weekend for Dimitri van den Bergh and Madars Razma who both hit magical 9 darters on the tour! Dimitri lost 7-5 to De Sousa in Sunday’s semi-finals.

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Meanwhile Team Unicorn enjoyed a successful Euro Tour qualifying stint at the weekend. Chris Dobey, Keegan Brown and Ted Evetts have won through to both the Czech Darts Open this month and the Austrian Darts Championship in August.

Devon Petersen and Madars Razma qualified for the first ever Czech Euro Tour event, while Cameron Menzies, Kyle Anderson, Dimitri van den Bergh and Jeffrey de Zwaan all made it to the tournament in Austria.

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Unicorn Japanese ace Seigo Asada remains in second spot on the PDC Asian Tour after the latest weekend of action in Taipei as he closes in on a spot at the World Championship.

Asada got through to the semi-finals of Asian Tour 8, where he lost to eventual winner Lourence Ilagen......Ilagen beat Noel Malicdem in both finals and also hit a 9 darter!

And there was good news for Unicorn new boy Toru Suzuki who claimed a quarter-final place before losing to veteran Paul Lim.

By STUART PYKE

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Superb Dobey clinches Matchplay spot!

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Monday, 17 June 2019 09:00:09 Europe/London

Team Unicorn ace Chris Dobey will make his debut at the World Matchplay next month in Blackpool.

He secured his prized place at the Winter Gardens with a brilliant run to a first Euro Tour final.

Dobey may have lost the final of the Danish Darts Open to Dave Chisnall in Copenhagen, but his stock continued to rise over the weekend.

“Of course it is disappointing not to win my first big PDC title, but that will come I know. So many players have eyes on Blackpool and the Matchplay, so to achieve that goal means a lot to me,” he said.

Dobey led the final 2-0 but Chisnall was at his best and he went on to claim an 8-3 victory. Dobey’s run though sees him up to a career high 30th in the world.

The young Geordie came from 0-3 down to beat Gerwyn Price 7-4 in the semi-finals. Price has earlier averaged 110 in his 6-1 win over Unicorn’s Joe Cullen in the quarter-finals. It was a 20th Euro Tour quarter-final for Cullen.

Dobey’s was a 6-2 winner over Kirk Shepherd in the last 16 before edging out Portugal’s Jose de Sousa in the quarters 6-5.

The Unicorn duo of James Wade and Ian White were beaten in the last 16 by Jonny Clayton and Jermaine Wattimena respectively.

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Meanwhile James Wade can look forward to playing in the World Series this year. He has been selected to play in the Oceanic Triple-Header in August when the roadshow heads to Brisbane, Melbourne and Hamilton in New Zealand. Wade of course, is the current World Series Champion.

Fellow Unicorn star Kyle Anderson has already been confirmed for all three tournaments.

By STUART PYKE

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

World Cup glory for Gary and Scotland

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Monday, 10 June 2019 09:55:30 Europe/London

Team Unicorn ace Gary Anderson is a World Cup winner.

Together with Peter Wright, the pair took Scotland to the pinnacle as they beat surprise finalists the Republic of Ireland in the final in Hamburg.

It marks the perfect return to big-time darts for Anderson, who of course has been plagued by injury problems during 2019.

“This is an amazing feeling,” Gary said. “To represent your country and win a World Cup is something you only dream about starting out in any sport. We’ve come close before, so this is very special.”

“I haven’t played much competitive darts this year because of my back and elbow problems and came here not really knowing what to expect. I apologised to Peter before! But it all came right in the end.”

On a thrilling final day in Germany, the Scottish pair held their nerve as the drama unfolded around them.

The Republic of Ireland pair of Steve Lennon and William O’Connor had already seen off England and Team Unicorn’s Michael Smith. Then on Sunday they beat Austria and stunned defending champions Holland in the semi-finals as they shocked Michael van Gerwen and Jermaine Wattimena.

But they ran out of steam against Anderson and Wright in the final.

Lennon did beat Anderson 4-2 but Wright hit back to edge out O’Connor and the Scotland duo won the doubles 4-0. In the reverse singles it was a job done as Wright secured a 4-1 over Lennon and the World Cup was won!

The Scots beat Belgium and the Team Unicorn duo of Kim Huybrechts and Dimitri van den Bergh 2-0 in the quarter-finals. Anderson got the better of Huybrechts 4-2 and Wright beat Van den Bergh by the same score.

Next they ended the brave and battling run of Japan in the semi-finals. The Japanese had been brilliantly led by Team Unicorn star Seigo Asada throughout their World Cup campaign.

They cruised to a 2-0 success over New Zealand in the quarters, but Scotland proved too strong with Anderson seeing off Asada 4-2 in their singles clash. Asada and Haruki Muramatsu produced Japan’s best ever performance at the World Cup.

Anderson and Wright pocket £35,000 each but after losing two finals, it is the trophy, the title and to be called World Cup winners that really matters.

Hopefully this triumph will be the perfect pick me up and preparation for Gary as he gets ready to defend his World Matchplay crown in Blackpool next month.

Story from STUART PYKE

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin
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