Looking Back to When the Darts Came to Nottingham

Words: Gav Squires
Sunday 14 January 2018
reading time: min, words

As the British Darts Organisation World Darts Championship takes place at the Lakeside Country Club in Surrey, we look back to the first ever World Championship, which was held right here in Nottingham. Get yer arrers ready


The idea for a world championship of darts came from Mike Watterson, a snooker promoter who leveraged that sport's relationship with Embassy to provide a ready-made sponsor for the darts. All that was needed then was a venue and they selected the Heart of the Midlands Club (now Rock City) here in town. - clearly choosing Nottingham after being inspired by Robin Hood's accuracy with an arrow.

And so between the 6th and the 10th of February, the  best darts players in the world assembled to play for a top prize of £3,000. The biggest shock came on the first day of the tournament as number 1 seed Eric Bristow, a man who go on the win the tournament five times,  was knocked out 6-3 by American Conrad Davies. The second day saw another seed fall as Tony Brown was knocked out by Tim Brown (no relation)

Day three and the quarter finals saw number 7 seed Nicky Virachkul defeat day one hero Conrad Davies. Leighton Rees beat fellow Welshman Alan Evans 6-3 while Stefan Lord knocked out Rab Smith by the same score. Finally number 2 seed made light work of Tim Brown, easing past him 6-1.

In the semi-finals, Leighton Rees squeaked past Nicky Virachkul 8-7 while John Lowe won his 8-4. The fourth day would also see a third place play-off, which Virachkul won, beating Lord 5-4. The follow day say number 3 seed Rees face number 2 seed Lowe. The final was close at 8-7 in the best of 21 leg match but then Rees threw a thirteen dart leg and took the next two to became the inaugural champion by a score of 11-7.

Lowe would have his revenge in the following year's final beating Rees by five sets to zero as the format of the competition changed. By then, the tournament had been moved to Stoke-on-Trent but Nottingham will always remember the first time.

The 2018 BDO World Championship takes place between the 6th and 14th of January

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