The featured image is from Darts World Magazine (Issue 579) we thought it important to mark the remarkable resurgence of the sport of darts. Following the return of the Lakeside, there were a ‘Magnificent Seven’ dart World Champions.
First up was PDC World Youth Champion Ted Evetts.
We included an exclusive Darts World interview with Ted in our Darts World Extra-The Worlds inaugural issue in March:
‘Super’ Ted Evetts soared to victory in Minehead in December 2021, defeating Nathan Rafferty to be crowned 2021/22 PDC World Youth Champion.
In a high-quality final, it was the immensely talented 24-year-old Evetts who was victorious, defeating his Northern Irish opponent 6-4.
Now above the age threshold, it was Ted’s last shot at picking up the prestigious title. And he didn’t disappoint, pipping the brilliant Rafferty to the line in a pulsating encounter.
After a colossal fourteen PDC Development tour titles, no one could begrudge the Warwickshire man finally becoming the World Youth Champ.
Thirty-two of the world’s top fledging tungsten talents congregated in Butlins to compete for the ultimate prize in youth darts.
The participants were separated into eight groups of four. Drawn in a quartet alongside Keelan Key, Niko Springer, and young Pole Sebastian Bialecki, Evetts impressively won all three of his opening games.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. The weekend hardly got off to the ideal start, as Evetts explains.
“One of my points on my darts broke on Friday during my final practice session before I left for Minehead. That is never ideal. I’d only been using them for about ten days and they were starting to feel comfortable”, he said.
“So in the end, I decided to return to the set I was using about a fortnight earlier. Then the journey to Butlins was fraught with snow so the journey was longer than it should have been.
“Anyway, I had a good night’s sleep and felt really fresh on a Sunday morning ready to compete.
“I was practicing with Keane Barry and we were both playing superbly – taking out big checkouts and hitting some decent scores. I felt good.
And Evetts emphatically proved it. He swiftly found himself out top of the group and into the knockout stages.
In his last sixteen match, Super Ted blew Neils Zonnerveld away with distinct ease, completing a whitewash 5-0.
Waiting in the quarter-finals was Keelan Kay. Yet, with another magnificent mid 90s average, Evetts disposed of him 5-3.
One more win and Ted would be appearing in his first a television final just before the climax of the Players Championship finals.
And he cemented his place with another majestic performance, brushing aside the gifted young Dutchman and stable mate Kevin Doets 5-1 to progress.
Evetts added: “It’s always awkward with Kevin because we share the same management company and are good mates – I love him to bits.
“Maybe Kev tried a little too hard in that match. I’m not sure – he might say differently. We definitely both struggled at the beginning but as soon as I relaxed and got ahead, I ran away with it.”
“After the semi-final, I went back to my room to just relax, stayed hydrated and watched a bit of the Manchester United v Chelsea match.
“Then about 6pm, I headed back over to the venue. I knew we were on about 9pm so had a little practice and got myself mentally prepared for the final.”
The Minehead crowd were then treated to a spectacular starter before the main course as the two starlets put on a stunning display.
In a match of extreme excitement and quality, it was Evetts who was eventually victorious, running out a 6-4 victor.
Speaking with pride, Evetts said: “As soon as I got up on that stage, I said to myself that no one will ever remember a runner-up.
“I had already qualified for the World Championships and by virtue of reaching the final of this – the Grand Slam of Darts next year.
“But to be honest, even without all those things and the £10,000 prize money, I just wanted the trophy and the title.
“I’ve been trying to win this for nearly a decade now so it meant so much to finally get my hands on it.
“When I look at some of the names of players who have lifted the PDC World Youth Championship – as well as reached the final – it’s a great achievement to win it.
“Afterwards, my manager, Mac Elkin said how proud he was of me. That meant so much. He is someone I have always looked up to – even before I joined his management company.
“Daryl Gurney and Willie Borland were also backstage and congratulated me. That meant a lot too – not because they are part of Nathan’s stable, MDA but they are good friends too. Before I joined The Sportsman Management Company, I always sat with Daryl on the circuit.
“Then Matthew Edgar tweeted something that made me chuckle. Nathan walks on to Delilah by Tom Jones and I have Country Roads. Matt mentioned the songs are older than both of us!
“It was just so loud in the arena. I have walked on to that song a good few times but it’s never been as deafening than on that night.
Actually, speaking of your song Ted – why that one?
“Well”, he explains. “It was always on the jukebox in the pub I first started playing darts – the Crown in Stockton. Almost like an anthem in there! My family all love it too so I decided to adopt it as my walk-on song.
However, Nathan Rafferty shouldn’t be too despondent with second place.
History shows us that just like in the X-Factor, winning or finishing runner-up in the PDC World Youth Championships is equally as rewarding.
Former champions include Dimitri Van den Bergh, Michael Smith, and Luke Humphries.
On the flip side of the coin, Michael van Gerwen and Nathan Aspinall have both tasted defeat in the final – in fact, the mercurial Green Machine lost twice and it hasn’t done him much harm!
What is for certain though, both players are definitely set for a prosperous and successful career in this business.
Keep an eye out for six more pieces focusing on the Magnificent Seven!
A version of this article (the interview within) was published in the inaugural Darts World Extra in March 2022 Read or download Darts World Extra – The Worlds here
Images: PDC and Tip Top Pics (Lakeside)
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