The Darts World 50 – 1977

ERIC Bristow’s true pomp was probably during the 1980’s but it’s lovely to see this coverage of his triumph in the 1977 Winmau World Masters. Just think that, in the modern era, he would still have been eligible for the World Youth Championship and the Development Tour!

The article itself describes a high standard including attempts at twelve darters and a tough field. The mention of £2,000, and the noting of the respect the title would earn Eric, hint at just how quickly ‘the Masters’ was becoming a highly valued crown to win. The mention for Paul Reynolds seems warranted as it was no mean feat to reach such a final.

The pictures also tell us a story: The stance, the familiar ‘praying mantis’ throw style, and the emphatic celebration are all already in place. The package, which our ‘Coach’ asserts was both the template and aim for any professional, was almost complete. One thing missing? No mention of the ‘Crafty Cockney’ nickname.

JOHN LOWE provided plenty of copy for Darts World from as early as 1973. This year however he began a relationship that endures to this day. In 1976 John had claimed the World Masters and the British Pentathlon titles but surely even Unicorn could not foresee that nature of the partnership that was struck here.

In many ways, the above feature page sums up why Lowe was perfect for such a deal. Not only were his performances, and title-winning, outstanding but his ambassadorial demeanor comes shining through. Whether it’s on stage or the exhibitions covered here, it’s clear that he represented his brand in a professional way, long before such wide-ranging deals were the norm.

Even the fact that the product advertised here was not John’s signature barrel gives a clue as to how he was seen. “If that chap Lowe recommends it, it must be alright” may well have been the thought in many minds.

Lowe’s career and his relationship with Unicorn, now into its late-forties, both are remarkable and play a role in the development and history of our sport.

The First ‘Darts Nation’

Within 5 years, at the start of what could be called darts’ first golden age, representatives of a principality with a population of less than 3 million had claimed the seminal Indoor League twice and been runner-up on another two occasions. 

With the birth of the World Masters in 1974 and World Championships a few years later the contribution of Wales was disproportionate and outstanding. 

Alan Evans had already created the model, for the era of professional players, before becoming World Master in 1975 but the original ‘Darts Nation’ was barely getting started.

1977 saw the inaugural World Cup. Organised by the nascent WDF and held in London it is easy to imagine that an England side including Eric Bristow and John Lowe would have begun its dominance. The Welsh (as we reported in Issue 62) had other ideas:

IF THE standards achieved for the World Cup at Wembley Conference Centre, London, last month can be maintained then the event is certain to be regarded as the world’s No.1 tournament.

The organisation by the World Darts Federation, actively assisted by hosts the British Darts Organisation, was superb. And the standard of darts can only be described as “out of this world”.

The first nation to win the £4,000 solid silver trophy are Wales, who turned on a backs-to-the-wall display of rearguard darts that deserved to win for its sheer audacity.

When all seemed lost to a powerful England side, Wales came back to prove the old darts saying: “No game is lost until it is won”

Darts World Magazine 1977

The Darts World 50

Very few publications can lay claim to being “The Official Voice” of their sport. But then not many are almost 50 years old and have coexisted side by side with the object of their affection throughout the swings and roundabouts of two golden eras and at least one near collapse.

In the early 1970s, a handful of ingredients were coming together to form the recipe for the massive success of the hitherto lesser-known pub game. Darts World Magazine was one of those ingredients.

Editor, proprietor, and instigator, Tony Wood, welcomed readers to the new Darts World magazine for our November/December 1972 debut (Issue 1). The ingredients mentioned above could all be seen within those first 36 pages and then in every issue that followed.

DW has chronicled the ups and downs, the major events, and the minutiae while championing the game at every opportunity.

The Darts World 50 offers 50 highlights selected direct from our pages during what must now be thought of as the ‘Golden Age/s of Darts’.

#TheOfficialVoiceOfDarts #DW50th


Images: Darts World

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