Decadia: The Menace Bridges the Codes

Darts World Magazine has regularly contained a supplement or ‘pullout’ since its redevelopment in July 2020. For DW577 we looked back at 6 decades of World Championships:

Dennis Priestley 1991 & 1994 

Imagine winning the now legendary World Professional Darts Championship Trophy (BDO) at the first attempt. Only three years later you add the inaugural holding of a brand new association’s (PDC) World Championship in an event featuring every living and active World Champion.

“It felt fantastic,” said The Menace of his first title in 1991.

“To beat the three best players in the world, at that time, in my first attempt and to whitewash Eric in the final….”

As was customary Dennis celebrated with the Lakeside after event meal before returning to Mexborough.

“I celebrated back at home with my own people, we carried on into the early hours of the morning in a local pub, the Red Lion, it was fantastic”.

It would be difficult to begrudge the Mexborough man a hearty celebration. In claiming that title he brought the era of the four musketeers ( Lowe, Bistow, Wilson and Anderson) to a close and emphasised the changing of the guard started by Taylor the year before.

Drubbing Bristow in the final concluded a threesome of superb performances. The semifinal had seen him outgun Bob Anderson but it was his quarter-final clash with Taylor that took the breath away.

“ That was my hardest world championship match. He was 3-1 up in sets and I had to take out some very big finishes to stay in it.”

Both men averaged over 95 in a thrilling match that lives long in the memory. Dennis slips in that another game was tougher but not in the World Championship. That’s a story for another day.

As you may expect from this straight speaking Yorkshireman Dennis found being a World Champion to be “an absolute pleasure” although he does note that as the years past there was pressure to maintain his World Champion standard.

Unusually The Menace selects, the first professional World champion, Welshman Leighton Rees as his favourite:

“A superb champion and an absolute gentleman who set things up for those who came later, He would have won more titles had they not changed the throwing distance”

1994 saw Dennis demolish another dominant figure to ensure his place in darting history. Although not quite a whitewash his 6-1 defeat of Phil Taylor ensured his name was first on the honour role of the new code.

Recently retired from public darts Mexborouh’s Menace is in many ways the link between the first two era’s of modern darts. A champion rooted in the amateur traditions of county and BDO darts who also formed part of the bridgehead toward the truly professional age of the WDC/PDC.


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