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The Wonder of Ward!

Monday, 20 May 2019 09:08:12 Europe/London

What a day, what a moment, what a win!
 
Team Unicorn youngster Harry Ward has claimed a magical maiden senior PDC title as he won a thrilling final against Max Hopp to win Players Championship 16 in Barnsley.
 
Just four months after winning a Tour Card at Q School, Ward held his nerve to show once again why he is going to be a big hit in the world of darts.
 
He won a brilliant final 8-7 against German Max Hopp.
 
“It is unreal,” he admitted. “I can’t quite believe what I’ve achieved in such a short time.”
 
It was a dramatic final. Ward started with a 133 finish, went 2-0 up, extended his lead to 5-3 and 6-3 before Hopp hit back. The Unicorn ace then missed three darts to win 8-6, only for the German to force a last leg decider.
 
Ward though kept his cool and a 68 finish handed ‘Big H’ a landmark career victory. He’d earlier beaten Vincent Kamphuis, Unicorn stablemate Madars Razma and James Richardson.
 
In the last 16, a fantastic 145 check-out saw him win a last leg decider against Michael Smith. He also won 6-5 against Nathan Aspinall in the quarters, before a 7-4 victory over Jose de Sousa in the semi-finals.
 
“I rode my luck but it has just been the best day!”
 
Harry is pictured shortly after claiming the title at the Barnsley Metrodome, holding the match board, which will be a prized keepsake for the 21-year old from Swadlincote!
 
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And it was also a special weekend for another Unicorn youngster as Chris Dobey moved into the top 32 in the World for the very first time. Dobey reached the quarter-finals of both PC events, losing to Michael van Gerwen and Robert Thornton, but it all added up to a landmark day.
 
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After the disappointment of this year’s Premier League campaign, Michael Smith’s form is looking better. A good weekend at Barnsley at the Players Championship and he also qualified for the next two European Tour events....the Dutch Darts Masters and Danish Darts Open.
 
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Kyle Anderson was certainly refreshed after a break back home in Australia with the family. He also qualified for the tournaments in Zwolle and Copenhagen.
 
Harry Ward and Keegan Brown won through to the Dutch event, while Dobey will play in Denmark.
 
Story by STUART PYKE
Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Wade chasing Premier League glory

Friday, 17 May 2019 08:45:13 Europe/London

James Wade is through to the Premier League play-offs at the O2 Arena.
 
The Team Unicorn star actually knew he had made the semi-finals before his clash with Rob Cross in Leeds. Mensur Suljovic’s defeat to Michael Van Gerwen guaranteed Wade’s spot in those play-offs.
 
In the end though, he did it in style as he beat Cross 8-6 to guarantee a 3rd place finish. Wade’s victory also denied Cross top spot in the league. That honour went to defending champion Van Gerwen for a 7th consecutive year.
 
But it also means Wade and Cross will clash again in a semi-final showdown in London as the Unicorn man chases another Premier League crown.
 
It’s 10 years since Wade won the Premier League but he has a great opportunity.
 
“This result doesn’t mean much,” Wade said. “If anything it may boost Rob because I cost him 25 grand for not topping the table! But don’t write me off. I’m playing well and I’ve been there and done it before.”
 
It was a disappointing end to a disappointing PL campaign for Unicorn’s Michael Smith as he was beaten 8-3 by Daryl Gurney. It was a result that saw Gurney qualify for the semi-finals, where he will face Van Gerwen.
 
The Dutchman ended Suljovic’s hopes with an 8-5 win.
 
UniBet Premier League semi-finals:
 
Michael Van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross v James Wade
 
By STUART PYKE
 
0 Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Unicorn continues to invest in the future as Rydz signs on

Thursday, 16 May 2019 14:15:00 Europe/London

He is one of the top young talents in the sport and Callan Rydz is now a member of Team Unicorn.
 
The 20-year-old Geordie has been earning rave reviews this year and has just claimed a first PDC title.
 
“It has been like a whirlwind for me” he said. “To sign with the biggest name in darts is incredible and with their support, I really think I can achieve great things.”
 
Rydz is good friends with fellow Unicorn stars Chris Dobey and Adam Hunt and despite being unlucky twice to miss out on a Tour Card on count back, the young man is learning his trade and is destined to succeed.
 
His landmark first win came last month when he beat Luke Humphries to win on the PDC Unicorn Development Tour. And earlier this month, he was pipped at the post in a last leg decider by Darren Beveridge in the final of a PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour event.
 
Unicorn Player Liaison Manager Matt Rankin said: “Callan has had a great start to 2019 showcasing his talent on the Development and Challenge Tours. He is destined for bigger and better things and we will be with him every step of the way.”
 
Mark Pritchard from the Rydz management team echoed those thoughts: “All of us at Darting Promotions are delighted that Unicorn have given Callan this opportunity. Their knowledge and help will play a crucial part in his darting development.”
 
Rydz reached the semi-finals of the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship last year and is hitting 100+ averages regularly on tour. 
 
Remember the name!
 
Story from STUART PYKE
0 Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Finally it’s all White on a European night!

Monday, 13 May 2019 09:27:26 Europe/London

It was a case of third time lucky for Team Unicorn ace Ian White who has won the European Darts Grand Prix.
 
After losing back-to-back Euro Tour Finals to Michael van Gerwen, White finally got over the line on a dramatic night in Germany.
 
He survived a match dart to beat Peter Wright 8-7 to claim a second European tour title in Sindelfingen.
 
“I am thrilled,” he said. “I have been playing really well and Peter was back to his very best. It is a relief to get over the line but I feel I can really kick on from here.”
 
It did look like the Unicorn man was heading for a third straight European Final defeat as Wright took out 104 to break throw, lead 7-6 and throw for the match. But after Wright had missed one dart to win, White hit back and held his nerve to win the deciding leg on D16.
 
White hit a 170 finish in the final and it got a bit edgy after he missed a chance to go 4-1 up, however he found the big shots when he needed them to take the title.
 
His run to the final included a blistering 111 average to win an all Unicorn affair against Keegan Brown 6-3, victory in a Unicorn quarter-final 6-1 against Jeffrey de Zwaan, then a comeback semi-final win to edge out Steve Beaton 7-5.
 
In fact, he actually came close to falling at the first hurdle! In yet another all Unicorn showdown, Dimitri van den Bergh missed match darts in a deciding leg.
 
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De Zwaan had finally managed to beat Rob Cross before firing in a 106 average in a 6-4 last 16 win over Michael Smith as his stock continued to rise. The young Dutch star has now rocketed into the elite of World's Top 32 on the PDC Order of Merit.
 
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And it was a good European Tour debut for Mark McGeeney. He took out Josh Payne, then won a deciding leg in an all Unicorn clash with Joe Cullen. His run was ended 6-4 by Jamie Hughes in the last 16.
 
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Meanwhile Team Unicorn’s Cameron Menzies was a winner on the latest weekend of the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour in Wigan.
 
The Scot was a 5-2 winner over Andrew Gilding in event six.
 
The other players to secure victories were Darren Beveridge, Spain’s Jesus Noguera and Stephen Burton.
 
Photo credit - Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe
 
Story by STUART PYKE
 
Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

White goes close again in Graz!

Monday, 6 May 2019 14:59:30 Europe/London

Team Unicorn star Ian White continued his excellent run of form as he was by edged out by World no.1 Michael Van Gerwen 8-7 in the Austrian Darts Open final in Graz on Sunday night.

White took an early 3-1 lead as he followed up two 14-darters with a 138 checkout, only for Van Gerwen to win three in a row and move 4-3 up.

The pair then traded the next four legs before a 13-dart break of throw from Van Gerwen saw him open up a 7-5 lead and move to the brink of victory.

Legs of 14 and 15 darts from White saw him take the contest all the way, but Van Gerwen - with the advantage of throw - produced a brilliant 13-darter to secure yet another triumph.

White had followed up Saturday's win over Jamie Hughes with a big 6-1 win over Keegan Brown in round three, and landed a ten-darter during his quarter-final with Steve Beaton before sealing a 6-2 win with a 126 bullseye finish.

White then defeated stablemate James Wade 7-4 in the semi-finals, with the first eight legs being shared before the left-hander's miss at tops allowed him in for a key 11-darter before he pulled clear.

"It's been a good weekend again," said White. "I had my chance of winning it but you know what Michael's like, he'll take it out.

"We were both in the final last week and this week and I hope we can get a few more fights on the oche together in finals. It would be nice."

Wade's run to the semi-finals surpassed his quarter-final appearance in March's European Darts Open, as he defeated Premier League rivals Mensur Suljovic and Gerwyn Price on Sunday before coming unstuck against White, who has now made back-to-back finals on the European Tour and is closing in on a return to the World's Top 10.

The PDC European Tour continues next weekend with the European Darts Grand Prix from May 10-12 at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen, where 48 players will be competing for £140,000 in prize money.

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Lowe's Greatest Day

Friday, 3 May 2019 09:07:50 Europe/London

EXCLUSIVE: Unicorn World Champion Ambassador John Lowe gives a fascinating behind the scenes insight, as he visited Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE

Going to Buckingham Palace to receive my MBE was and will be one of the most memorable days of my life, I have long time been an admirer and supporter of the Royal Family, I used to imagine going through those gates into the Palace with hundreds of people looking through the railings, never did I realise one day I would drive through into the quadrangle in 301 UP. 

I was not disappointed, it was indeed the start of a truly amazing experience, the gates opened the security banner lowered and the guard waved us through. I was accompanied by Karen, my wife, Adrian, my son, and Karen my daughter in law, we was separated on arrival, guests into the Ballroom were the inauguration would take place, recipients into a large waiting room were majestic paintings adorned the walls, many of them Rembrandt's.

A short briefing took place and then we chatted freely, people who had never met before, all here for the same reason, recognition for their contribution to many different walks of life, I found myself in the company of David Dein, Arsenals Vice Chairman for many years, Nicholas Mason, Pink Floyd's Drummer said Hi, Richard Stanton, the guy who was part of the rescue of those trapped in the flooded cave in Thailand joined us, Imelda McGucken from Ireland came to say her father was a big darts fan, and supported me for many years, then it was time to slowly make the walk to the entrance to the Grand Ballroom.

From the door you could see the Duke of Cambridge just a few feet away attaching the awards and then having a chat with the recipient, I have to say I was not one little bit nervous, in fact I have been more nervous walking to the stage at Lakeside, it was my turn, "Mr John Lowe to be given the MBE for services to Darts and Charity" I walked forward bowed to the Prince, and an extended chat began.

He was very personal, wanting to know my involvement with charity, I told him I had my own golf day in Tenerife which raised funds for AMATE Breast Cancer Care Tenerife, and back home I have been involved with Macmillan, I told him I new his good friend Graham Craker (he was the bodyguard to the Prince's for many years) and he asked me to pass his good wishes to Graham, he then said to me "I am pleased that you have been recognised for your darting contribution" we shook hands, I bowed and left with a great feeling of pride.

Proud for my Family, my Friends, Unicorn, who really are Family, and for the sport of darts, I am sure this honour will help cement the reputation and recognition for the sport of darts not just in the UK, but Globally. 

 
John Lowe MBE.
0 Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

De Zwaan races to Players Championship triumph

Thursday, 2 May 2019 08:55:12 Europe/London

The brilliant Jeffrey de Zwaan looked imperious as he won Players Championship 14 on Wednesday.
 
It is a second senior PDC title for the Unicorn star as he fired in a succession of 100+ averages and thrashed Stephen Bunting 8-2 in the final at Barnsley.
 
The young Dutch star is now up to No.36 in the world rankings and his stock continues to rise. He also hit three of the top 10 averages over the two Pro Tour days in South Yorkshire.
 
What a way for De Zwaan to celebrate one year as a Unicorn player! He averaged over 100 for the tournament, including a 106.5 av in beating Unicorn stablemate Michael Smith. 
 
“I just felt good all day,” he said. “Confidence has a lot to do with it and winning on the Unicorn Development Tour a couple of weeks ago certainly helped with that! I am learning how to handle the pressure and it is going to be another good year.”
 
De Zwaan hit big averages in beating Dave Chisnall and World Championship quarter-finalist Ryan Joyce. Then came a 103 average as he swept aside Arron Monk 7-3 in the semi-finals
 
Against Bunting, De Zwaan raced into a 4-0 and 6-1 lead with the help of two 11 dart legs. He won it in some style with a 12 darter and 107 finish. 
 
It was a superb performance from a man who is tipped for the very top in the sport. By the way, De Zwaan also reached the quarter-finals of PC 13 on Tuesday. 
 
 
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There was another terrific display from Team Unicorn youngster Harry Ward. He reached the quarter-finals beating Peter Wright a long the way. Joe Cullen was also a quarter-finalist while Jelle Klaasen’s upturn in form continued with a run to the last 16.
 
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The Players Championship Double-header in Barnsley also saw the long awaited return of Gary Anderson to competitive darts. Not surprisingly he was a touch rusty after being on the sidelines with that long-standing back problem, but the form and the results will come.
 
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It’s congratulations to Team Unicorn’s Ian White who reached the final of the German Darts Open at the weekend. He lost 8-3 to Michael Van Gerwen who won a 31st Euro Tour title. White beat Rob Cross, Adrian Lewis and Darren Webster on his way to another final.
 
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Unicorn’s Australian ace Kyle Anderson is taking a well-earned break back home with the family. He will return for the next Players Championship events later this month.
 
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And talking of Australia, Team Unicorn referee Russ Bray is back Down Under taking charge of a series of events on the DPA circuit.
 
Report from STUART PYKE
Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

De Zwaan shows his class

Tuesday, 23 April 2019 09:45:01 Europe/London

The darting world has caught another glimpse of the talent that is Jeffrey de Zwaan.

The Dutch ace swept to a sensational victory as the PDC Unicorn Development Tour resumed in Wigan.

He won event 5 in some style, producing an incredible SEVEN consecutive ton plus averages!

The Unicorn ace was unbeatable. In a semi-final whitewash of Ciaran Teehan, he averaged 112 and then followed up with a 110 average in beating Geert Nentjes 5-3 in the final.

De Zwaan looked set for a double but lost a last leg decider to Luke Humphries in the quarter-finals of event 6, which was won by Australian Corey Cadby.

PDC Unicorn Development Tour 8 and 9 were won by Ryan Meikle and Callan Rydz.

Team Unicorn’s Harry Ward reached the semi-finals of event 7 before losing a last leg decider to Meikle.

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Meanwhile Team Unicorn youngster Ted Evetts enjoyed his best run at a European Tour event.

He reached the quarter-finals of the German Darts Grand Prix in Munich and came within an ace of one of the biggest wins of his career. Evetts came from 2-5 down to force a last leg decider against Michael van Gerwen but ultimately lost 6-5.

Van Gerwen went on to win a 30th Euro Tour title as he beat Simon Whitlock 8-3 in the final.

Evetts saw off Mark Wilson, Jonny Clayton and Ricky Evans en route to the last eight.

There was another Euro Tour quarter-final for Joe Cullen. He eventually lost 6-1 to Whitlock.

Kim Huybrechts made the last 16 where he was beaten 6-3 by Max Hopp

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James Wade is locked in a thrilling battle to claim a Premier League play-off spot.

‘The Machine’ is currently in third spot on leg difference ahead of Gerwyn Price and Mensur Suljovic with all three on 14 points. Daryl Gurney is also in the mix just two points behind.

Sadly Michael Smith’s race looks to be run. His defeat to Price in Cardiff leaves him well adrift.

Round-up by STUART PYKE

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Wonderful Wade seals double success!

Monday, 15 April 2019 09:10:24 Europe/London


There’s little doubt that James Wade is one of the best in the business and the Team Unicorn star showed his class again with a brilliant Players Championship double triumph.

Wade won two all Unicorn finals against Jeffrey de Zwaan and Michael Smith in Barnsley. His victory in PC 12 on Sunday came in his 50th Pro Tour Final.

But both De Zwaan and Smith will be kicking themselves as Wade found a way to win, coming from behind in both finals to take the honours.

And of course it is an incredible three Players Championship wins in eight days for ‘The Machine’!

On Saturday in PC 11 he beat Michael Smith yet again, as he completed an 8-6 win from 2-4 down and 24 hours later Wade saw off De Zwaan 8-5.

Remarkably the Dutchman had led the final 4-0 and missed two darts at ‘tops’ to go 5-0 in front. That was the signal for Wade’s terrific fight back.

Wade again beat Smith....this time in the semi-finals on Sunday 7-4.

De Zwaan averaged over 100 in sweeping past Steve Beaton, Glen Durrant and John Henderson en route to the final.

In the final on Saturday, Smith led 4-2 and missed three darts to force a last leg decider to allow Wade to win the title on D2. Wade had won a close all Unicorn semi-final 7-5 against Ian White.

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There was a landmark moment for talented Unicorn youngster Harry Ward in Barnsley. He banged in a brilliant 9 darter in his victory over William O’Connor....a further show of the big future ahead for Big ‘H’

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And there was some long overdue good news for Jelle Klaasen. The Dutch ace reached his first competitive quarter-final for six months on Saturday. Hopefully this will hand Klaasen a much needed boost as he strives to return to top form

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Meanwhile there will be a healthy Team Unicorn contingent at the 5th and 6th Euro Tour events of the year.

Keegan Brown and Chris Dobey both enjoyed double success as they qualified for the Austrian Darts Open in Vienna and the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen next month.

And there was also double success for Dutch dynamo De Zwaan.

Devon Petersen and Kim Huybrechts were qualifiers for Austria.....Mark McGeeney, Madars Razma and Dimitri van den Bergh won through to the European Darts Grand Prix.

By STUART PYKE

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

John Part reviews the first 10 weeks of the 2019 Unibet Premier League

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 09:46:58 Europe/London

Unicorn World Champion Ambassador & Sky Sports Darts pundit John Part reviews the first 10 weeks of the 2019 Unibet Premier League from a Team Unicorn perspective, which included judgement night and looks ahead to what maybe in store over the next set of fixtures

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin
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