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Seven biggest shocks in PDC World Darts Championship history

| 02.01.2017

Biggest PDC World Championship upsets

Darts is a sport that requires the utmost concentration and skill, and those at the top of the pile very rarely falter, especially at the most prestigious competition of them all – the PDC World Championship.

However, every once in a while even the best in the game have an off day, as we’ve witnessed at Alexandra Palace over the years, and we predict there’ll be many more underdog stories in 2017 too.

Coral, therefore, have delved deep into the history of this event since its inception in 1994, to find the seven biggest shocks…

John Ferrell v Dennis Priestley (1999)

Straight talking Priestley is sent straight walking by Ferrell.

Straight talking Priestley is sent straight walking by Ferrell.

Dennis The Menace will forever be known as the first ever PDC world champion, back in 1994, but the Yorkshireman suffered a first round shock while still at the peak of his powers in 1999.

Little-known Ferrell claimed a 3-0 win to stop Priestly’s run of three straight final appearances at the competition, but the two-time world champ was runner-up the following year, where he lost to old friend Phil Taylor yet again.

Alan Caves v Wayne Mardle (2007)

Caveman clubs colourful Mardle out of worlds.

Caveman clubs colourful Mardle out of worlds.

Crowd-pleaser Mardle may be known for his trade Hawaiian shirts on the oche, but also for being one of the best players in world during the mid-noughties.

Hawaii 5.0.1 went on a run of three-straight semi-final appearances in this event from 2004-2006, but lost to unseeded Caves, who quit the game after just seven years in the sport, in the opening round 3-2 in 2007.

Kirk Shepherd v Terry Jenkins (2008)

Relive Shepherd’s shock semi-final win over Mardle

Star names in the game were clearly thrown off in the first PDC World Championship away from Circus Tavern in Purfleet, Essex, as the likes of top seeds Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis, James Wade and Andy Hamilton all exited earlier than expected.

PDPA qualifier Shepherd was, and still is, perhaps the most shocking finalist in the tournament’s history, and he kicked off his run with a win over then-world number four Jenkins. He then knocked out other seeds Mick McGowan (29), Barrie Bates (13), Peter Manley (5) and Mardle (9), before losing to legend John Part (11) at the final hurdle.

Bill Davis v John Part (2009)

Watch the final part of Davis’ huge upset over Darth Maple

In an all-North American first round showdown, defending champion Part of Canada was expected to make light work of USA’s Davis.

However, three-time world champ Darth Maple was whitewashed 3-0, and never really recovered in his career at this event especially, with just a quarter-final appearance in 2012 being a creditable effort since.

James Richardson v Raymond van Barneveld (2012)

See Barney bowing out at first hurdle

Darting giant Van Barneveld is loved by the fans wherever he goes, but his supporters were left bemused when their man was thrashed 3-0 by debutant Richardson in the opening round.

The deadly Dutchman and five-time World Championship winner suffered a series of blips earlier that year, and has claimed just two majors since. Here’s hoping the 49-year-old can have a few last hurrahs before he finally decides to hang up his darts.

Dave Chisnall v Phil Taylor (2012)

Chizzy announces himself on the big stage

Barney wasn’t the only big name to suffer an early exit in 2012 as Taylor, who went on to win his 16th title the following year, was stunned 4-1 by a young Chizzy in the second round despite averaging over 100.

Chisnall lost convincingly 4-0 at the next stage to Hamilton, but has since established himself as one of the best in the world and is somewhat of a 180 specialist. He is 13/2 to reach the final this year.

Cristo Reyes v Wes Newton (2015)

Check out the controversial final leg again

Spaniard Reyes was one of the stories of the event last year, as he battled past two-time major finalist Wes Newton, who has since dropped way down the rankings, albeit in a controversial decider.

Another triumph followed against 2011 Players Championship Finals winner Kevin Painter, but succumbed to eventual champion Gary Anderson.


Make sure you check out more from our darts archive, ahead of the 2017 PDC World Championship!

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Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.