World Championship nine-darters the rule not the exception

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Since the advent of the Premier League era the quality of darts in the PDC has been reaching ever skywards, making the 4/5 about a nine-dart finish at the 2014 Ladbrokes World Championships a price to invest in ahead of the tournament.

For all the rose-tinged fondness with which the smoke-infused, beer-drenched days of Jocky Wilson, Eric Bristow and Bobby George are remembered, darts fans have never had it so good.

The darters of today are pushing back the boundaries to the extent that champagne may have to be shunned in favour of a totally new and superior liquid with which to toast their endeavours.

No clearer indication is needed than the prevalence of nine-darters at the World Championships itself, arguably the most pressurised stage in the sport.

Since Van Barneveld became the first thrower to sink the final dart of that most expedient of checkouts in the 2009 edition, at least one of his brothers in arrows has followed suit in each renewal, with the exception of 2012.

As if to ram home the point that the nine-darter shutout at Alexandra Palace two tournaments back was a blip, Dean ‘Over The Top’ Winstanley and Michael van Gerwen split the £15,000 bonus pot last term.

All four men to have previously exited a leg in nine well-placed tungsten tilts at the year-ending spectacular have booked their tickets once more in 2014.

The 25/1 Raymond van Barneveld (who has the first two of those checkouts to his name), 6/1 Adrian Lewis and 10/3 Van Gerwen are all among the top four in the outright betting.

Winstanley’s chances are given rather more charitable odds of 200/1, but his ability to deliver the perfect leg on the biggest stage of all cannot be questioned.

That’s before the name of a certain Stoke-on-Trent native has even begun to form on the reader’s lips

Having claimed his 16th World Championship on New Year’s Day, Phil Taylor, who has reasonable claims to being his country’s greatest ever sportsman, is still in search of his first ever nine-darter in the tournament.

Nonetheless his credentials cannot be doubted in this department.

The Power has thrown a record nine TV nine-darters during a career of unparalleled brilliance, including two in one match in the 2010 Premier League final and he’ll be hungry to record his first Ally Pally minimum checkout.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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