Leighton Rees staked his claim to darting immortality at the first official World Championships. His defeat of John Lowe, in the final, capped the early period of Welsh darting dominance. The much-loved Leighton Rees proved too strong for England’s John Lowe.
The ‘red mist’ had featured Rees, Evans, Ridler, and Obbard, among others, hoovering up major events and team titles. Rees himself was one of the game’s earliest professionals. A much-loved character and a superb ambassador for the game’s early years. There appears to be, we are sorry to say, a slightly sniffy tone to the use of the word ‘professional’.
The 1970s had become a bit of a battleground between the ‘amateur’ style, of previous decades, and a more modern structure where players could share in the rewards generated by their skills. There is a smack of snobbery to this tone, somewhat similar to the Gentlemen vs Players attitudes in Cricket and Tennis.
It speaks volumes for Rees that he transcended such concerns and was so well thought of that he may well have played a major part in ensuring such views did not gain sway.
Sadly, it’s not the last we will see of this divide. It again raises its head during the ‘blood on the carpet’ years.
With individual, team and Women’s darts all at least embryonic the pieces of the darts jigsaw were tentatively put in place.
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’.
Images: Darts World
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