January 2012

Vincent van der Voort heads to the World Cup of Darts with every intention of clinching his first major title.

‘The Dutch Destroyer’ is representing defending champions The Netherlands with Raymond van Barneveld, and van der Voort says he will do his best to ensure that his homeland retains the title.

He said: “Raymond won the tournament with Co Stompe last time so maybe there is a little bit of pressure because we can only do worse than that. It’s a new tournament for me but I will do the best I can, and if we are both at our best I’m sure we can win it.

“Raymond is a fantastic player and the reason why darts is so big in Holland. He could easily be number two or three in the world again this time next year. He has so much quality and he is a great friend of mine, which is also important when playing as a pair.”

The closest that van der Voort has come to winning a major title so far was at the UK open in 2007, when he was runner up to ‘Barney’. The world number 14 believes he should have won a major by now and hopes to rectify that in Hamburg this weekend.

He said: “Winning a major is something I’m gunning for. I think I have been a little bit unlucky in televised tournaments at times. For example, I lost out very narrowly to Andy Hamilton at the World Championship and he went on to reach the final. It is definitely something that I’m aiming for this year, hopefully this weekend.”

The 36 year old is regarded as the fastest player in the world and has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity. The Dutchman is delighted with the way that crowds have taken to him.

He said: “It’s unbelievable, I changed my walk-on song and all of a sudden everyone is singing my name and cheering for me. It was actually quite hard to deal with at first because I wasn’t used to that level of support. Now I have gotten used to it, I find it a massive help. It is fantastic.”

Van der Voort hopes that potential success at the World Cup can act as a catalyst for him to fulfil his long term ambitions.

He said: “Every darts player wants to play in the Premier League and I am no different. It is the biggest, most entertaining show in darts and if there is a player that doesn’t want to play on that stage then there is something wrong. If I have a good year on television this year, hopefully I’ll get the chance to take part. That would be amazing but it will take a lot of hard work to make it happen. I have just moved house and got a great practice room so as long as I put the work in, this could be my year.”

By Chris Murphy

James Wade performed consistently well in the first two Players Championship events of the year, showing encouraging form ahead of the 2012 Premier League.

The Machine stormed through to the semi-final of Sunday’s Spanish Darts Classic before being edged out by eventual winner Michael Smith. The world number Three also reached the last 16 of the Spanish Darts Trophy on Saturday.

Wade produced two 6-0 whitewashes en route to the last four on Sunday. He also claimed an impressive 6-1 victory over reigning Players Champion Kevin Painter.

The seven-time major winner hit a brilliant 161 finish in the semi-final, but was unable to see off in-form youngster Smith, who won 6-4 before beating Justin Pipe in the final.

The Machine will now focus his attention on preparing for the opening night of the Premier League in Manchester on Thursday 9th February.

By Chris Murphy

Paul Nicholson carried his excellent floor form into 2012 with a run to the final of the Spanish Darts Trophy on Saturday.

The Asset saw off Co Stompe, Steve Beaton and Mark Walsh before losing out to Justin Pipe in the final.

The world number 17 was again denied by the eventual winner on Sunday, as Michael Smith overcame the Aussie on his way to victory in the Spanish Darts Classic.

Nicholson’s form in the first two Players Championship events of the year was encouraging and excellent preparation for the World Cup of Darts, which starts next Friday.

The Asset, who is in pursuit of his second major title, will represent Australia with Simon Whitlock in Hamburg.

By Chris Murphy

Nicholson with Hulk Hogan

It really was ‘clobberin time’ for Paul Nicholson on Thursday night, when the bad boy of darts met some of his heroes at TNA Wrestling’s Impact event at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham.

‘The Asset’ is renowned for bringing his passion for wrestling into darts. His CM Punk walk-on antics have caused something of a stir and his attitude as a sports-entertainer has helped bring another dimension to the game.

Nicholson watched on as some of his favourite wrestlers oozed the charisma and bravado that have become synonymous with him.

Top of the bill was wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, who was making his return to the UK after 18 years.

He was joined by some of the sports’ other superstars including Sting, who made his last ever UK appearance, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode.

Nicholson watched the action from ringside and was over the moon to meet some of his idols backstage.

He said: “The night was amazing. To see so many legends in one ring at one time was spine chilling. Even the wrestlers were humbled. To meet the people and the characters was the best. Meeting Hulk Hogan was a lifetime dream satisfied, and then to meet Sting and Kurt Angle too was absolutely mind blowing.”

The Asset will retake centre stage next week when he represents Australia in the World Cup of Darts in pursuit of his second major title.

Before travelling to Hamburg, Nicholson will be fighting it out in Benidorm this weekend in rounds one and two of the Players Championship.

By Chris Murphy

MODUS are delighted to represent more exciting talent in the form of the two highest ranked players in Spain, Antonio Alcinas and Carlos Rodriguez.

The pair have enjoyed successful careers in the PDC so far and have both defeated some highly ranked opponents over the last few years.

Their most notable scalp came when they joined forces to represent their country in the inaugural World Cup of Darts in 2010, where they beat an England team containing the two highest ranked players in the world. They went on to reach the semi-finals of the competition.

Spanish number one Alcinas has been playing his trade in the PDC since 2010 and has already appeared in eight major tournaments.

His most recent televised appearance came in the 2012 World Championship, where he was unlucky to lose to eventual runner up Andy Hamilton after posting the third highest average of the first round.

The 32 year old, who is nicknamed El Dartador, is also an established soft-tip darts player and he won the 2010 Soft-Tip World Championship.

He said: “I want to thank MODUS for trusting me, and helping me in my professional darts career. I will give the best I have and I hope I won’t disappoint them. Once again thank you MODUS and I hope this will be the beginning of a long and successful relationship together, starting in Benidorm.”

Rodriguez, who is nicknamed The Assassin, joined the PDC in 2007 and has appeared at six televised majors.

The Spanish number two, who is the same age as his compatriot, triumphed at the 2007 Gibraltar Open.

Rodriguez said: “I am very happy with signing for MODUS. I appreciate all the support and trust they have placed in me, enabling me to fulfil my dream as a full time professional darts player. This is a great opportunity to be among the best players in the world and the best dart managing company. I can assure you that it is an opportunity that I will not miss.”

Alcinas and Rodriguez will be in action at the Players Championship in Benidorm this weekend and will once again form the Spanish team for the 2012 World Cup, which takes place next week.

MODUS are excited at the prospect of working with both players as the PDC continues to expand across Europe.

By Chris Murphy

Mark Webster is sponsoring 2012 PDC Youth World Championship finalist James Hubbard, who will be managed by MODUS.

The 19 year old will face Michael van Gerwen in his pursuit of the prestigious title later this year.

Hubbard’s run to the final, coupled with his impressive form on the youth tour, has led to him being given a place on the professional tour for 2012.

He has already appeared at a televised major tournament. He took on Phil Taylor in the 2011 Grand Slam of Darts.

Hubbard is delighted to be under the guidance of Webster and MODUS. He said: “This means everything. For a player like Mark Webster to have such faith in me is fantastic and it’s great to be associated with him. Being sponsored and managed takes a lot of pressure off me and means I can concentrate completely on playing darts.

“To be given the opportunity to do this as a full time job is a dream come true. I had been working with my dad as a painter and decorator but was always itching to get home and practice. To be able to do it everyday and compete as a professional most weekends is an amazing opportunity and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.”

MODUS are thrilled to be working with such a talented young player and hope to help him follow in the footsteps of current Under-21 World Champion Arron Monk.

He added: “Being with MODUS will no doubt help me in my preparation for the youth final. They have the right people around to give me advice about playing in front of such a huge crowd and I hope to deliver the goods on the night. Mark has been there and done it and I’ve known Arron Monk since we were about eight years old and our careers have mirrored each other’s, so it would be nice to go up there and follow in his footsteps in that respect too.”

Hubbard will play in the Youth World Championship final on the night of the Premier League final at the O2 Arena in May.

By Chris Murphy

World number three James Wade is sponsoring exciting prospect Chris Aubrey for 2012, enabling the youngster to compete as a full time professional.

MODUS are pleased to provide management for the 20 year old, who is currently ranked seventh on the PDC Youth Tour. He has enormous potential and is one of the brightest young talents in darts.

Aubrey hopes to emulate the success of his sponsor who has won seven major titles, making him the second most successful player in the history of the PDC.

Aubrey said: “It means the world to me to be sponsored by James. For somebody of his calibre to think that highly of me is a fantastic feeling. I am over the moon about it. It means everything to be sponsored these days and I’m very happy to be managed by MODUS. It is a brilliant reward for a good year and I want to go out and play well and do everybody proud.

“Having this kind of support spurs me on even more and I think I can achieve as much as anybody else. My aim this year is to win a youth title and qualify for some more major tournaments, hopefully including the World Championship. I can’t thank James and MODUS enough because this deal will give me the freedom to fulfil my ambitions.”

By Chris Murphy

Andy Jenkins ensured that he will take his career as a professional darts player past the twenty year mark, by securing his tour card at the PDC qualifying school.

Jenkins faced the possibility of not taking part on the professional circuit this year after dropping out of the top 64, but Rocky showed his class at the Barnsley Metrodome with consistent performances over four days to retain his card.

The 40 year old finished third out of over 200 competitors in the Qualifying School Order of Merit. That high placing means he will retain his tour card for two more years.

Jenkins, who has been with MODUS for 15 years, proved his worth by progressing through an extremely strong field of players, winning 12 matches out of 16.

He will be aiming to take that form onto the tour in the coming months as he bids to climb back up the world rankings.

By Chris Murphy

Simon Whitlock made an appearance at Leyland Paints headquarters earlier today to celebrate the company’s recently agreed sponsorship deal with him and Mark Webster.

The deal with Leyland was announced before the World Championship and Whitlock travelled to West Yorkshire to meet their employees, and spent the day playing darts against the workforce.

The Wizard, who is currently ranked fifth in the world, was only too happy to be involved in the event.

He said: “Sponsorship is so important for us dart players and to be sponsored by a company as big as Leyland is an honour. I’ve enjoyed the day. I met some really nice people and came up against some very good darts players.”

There was an air of excitement at the Birstall venue as Whitlock took to the oche, giving his opponents the chance to win some of his darts, signed memorabilia and other Leyland goodies.

Sharon Hendry, Leyland Marketing Manager was pleased with the success of the day and expressed the company’s pride at sponsoring The Wizard.

She said: “It means everything to have two World Class players associated with Leyland. Both Simon and Mark are fantastic players and the exposure that they give us is brilliant. We’ve already had a taste of that in the recent World Championship, where Simon did exceptionally well to go so far with his injury. It was fabulous for us in terms of the coverage we have already received so early on the sponsorship.

“Today has been a great opportunity for us to formally launch the partnership to the local community and our employees. The response has been tremendous, everyone was really excited to get the opportunity to play against, and have their photo taken with Simon. We are all very grateful and everyone that has met him today commented on how nice he is.”

By Chris Murphy

John Henderson loves every minute of life on the PDC circuit after an excellent first year. ‘Highlander’ won a tour card at last year’s Qualifying School and hasn’t looked back since.

The Scotsman qualified for five televised major tournaments in his first twelve months, including a run to the quarter finals of the World Grand Prix. Henderson is delighted with his progress.

He said: “My aim for the first year was to make it to the UK Open and the World Championships. To do that as well as making another three major tournaments has been brilliant. I think it has been an absolutely tremendous start for me.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a longer format from what I used to play in the BDO and that really suits my game. Obviously, there are financial benefits that come with that but I love playing the game and it really is a dream come true for me. It’s been a fantastic first year and coming over to the PDC is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Henderson believes that winning the tour card this time last year was both the hardest and most rewarding moment of his career. Another batch of hopefuls will be battling it out at the Barnsley Metrodome over the next four days.

Henderson said: “There were some very good players that didn’t even get a tour card at last year’s Qualifying School. It is one of the hardest tournaments I have ever had to play in. There is so much riding on that one weekend. If you don’t get your tour card you don’t know where your future lies in darts.

“It was an amazing experience but it was also very hard. I don’t envy those players that are taking part over the next few days. There are some big names but they are not going to find it easy. You need to be able to cope under a lot of pressure and be at the top of your game. It took a lot out of me last year but I enjoyed it when I got my card.”

‘Highlander’ has battled back from a bizarre injury when his arm was paralysed in his sleep and is now looking to build on a strong start to his PDC career.

He said: “It was the morning of the Grand Slam qualifier in Crawley. I woke up and I couldn’t move my arm at all. I was paralysed from the right shoulder right to the tips of my fingers. The doctor said that I had tweaked a nerve by sleeping on it for a long period. It took a while to heal but its fine now and I’m trying to get it out of my head and looking forward to another good year.

“If I could just match what I achieved last year, then that would be another very successful return but the aim is always to go one better. Hopefully I’ll make at least five majors again and maybe go a little bit further in each one. It would also be great to break into the top 32 and I think that it is within my grasp.”

By Chris Murphy