Every year between mid-December and early January, my family transforms into avid watchers of the PDC World Darts Championship, the “arras”. The TV goes on for the afternoon sessions, and again in the evening when the big seeds of the darting world go up against each other. No other televised sport is watched with such dedication in our household.
This year, the World Championship ran between the 15 December 2021 through to the 3 January 2022. Alexandra Palace, which has been home to the event since 2008, saw ninety-six players compete for the Sid Waddell trophy over ninety-five matches. Thousands of darts fans packed into the Palace, sat (but mostly standing/dancing/jumping around, etc…) along rows of narrow tables behind the stage.
My personal favourite is by russ bray whose voice can only be described as sandpaper meets darth vader
The audience is an integral part of the darts, particularly at the World’s, which has a unique and electric atmosphere created by singing, dancing, shouting, chanting fans in fancy dress costumes from the cast of Star Trek TNG, to full body rhino suits, and Toy Story characters. This year featured classic chants such as “stand up if you love the darts”, “go Michael van Gerwen”, “Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary Anderson”, “walking in a winter wonderland”, and “hey baby (I wanna know if you would be my girl)”. There were also some new ones including “stand up if you hate Boris Johnson”.
Of course, whenever a 180 was hit by a player on stage, the crowd would leap up cheering and waving to the sound of the referee bellowing 180 in their own distinctive way. My personal favourite is by Russ Bray whose voice can only be described as sandpaper meets Darth Vader. All of this was commented on by a rotating host of former darts players turned commentators. As my dad remarked, you knew it was a big game when they rolled out the dynamic duo of John Part and Wayne Mardel.
Fallon sherrock and lisa ashton continued to lead the way for women in darts, giving me hope that one day i’ll see a woman lift the SID WADDELL TROPHY
Despite a number of disruptions from COVID, including the withdrawal of three major players after testing positive for the virus, the tournament was a record breaker with three nine-dart finishes, never before seen in a single PDC World Championship. Other highlights included “The Aubergine Farmer” Dirk van Duijvenbode’s signature walk on where he pumped his fists in the air for a full two minutes, and a persistent wasp which interrupted the play on a number of occasions. Fallon Sherrock and Lisa Ashton continued to lead the way for women in darts, giving me hope that one day I’ll see a woman lift the Sid Waddell trophy.
Peter “Snakebite” Wright went on to defeat “Bully Boy” Michael Smith 7-5 in the final, in blue and hot pink leopard print trousers, red mohawk, and a snake bedazzled on the side of his head. As John Part predicted in an earlier round, Wright truly lived up to his “air of destiny”.
I can’t wait to see what surprises the World Darts Championship brings in 2022/23.