Things can get pretty heated up on the oche you know.
Darts has not been short of fun-loving, good humoured characters over the years, whether it be Wayne Mardle dancing about in Hawaiian shirts or Peter 'Snakebite' Wright dying his hair on a weekly basis. This month at the Alexandra Palace crowds were even treated to Daryl Gurney's impromptu rendition of 'Sweet Caroline', and whilst the delivery of the song bordered on excruciating, it was all good-natured none the less.
However, it's not all smiles and singing up on the stage. The sport has seen its fair share of feuds and fallouts over the years, and a riled up crowd can not only encourage players, but often serve to goad them into the odd confrontation as well.
Here, we look at seven famous feuds between players – including Michael van Gerwen – intertwined with a few tasty incidents where the 'non-contact' aspect of darts went out the window.
'The Crafty Cockney' makes a joke out of Jocky
Few sporting rivalries carry more weight and tradition than England v Scotland, and there was no shortage of needle when Jocky Wilson and Eric Bristow were battling it out for supremacy in the 1980's.
It was Englishman Bristow who undoubtedly had the better of the feud, beating Wilson 16 times in 25 matches, but when he won or lost, 'The Crafty Cockney' was rarely gracious about it.
And it was the 1983 BDO Grand Master final where Wilson was left humiliated on and off the stage.
During a pre-game interview with both players, Bristow riled his rival by arrogantly declaring "I played him here two years ago and I beat him 5-0" before proceeding to take the trophy for the third successive year.
He wasn't exactly humble post-match either, bragging he'd played "bloody magic" before being heckled by the crowd, at which point Bristow pointed and one fan and said "If brains were taxable you'd get a rebate'."
Mercifully, relations between the two stars softened post-careers, and in 2012, after Wilson died following a prolonged period of ill-health, his old foe attended his funeral and told reporters "Jocky and I were enemies when we played but we always shook hands and went for a drink after – and he always won that.”
Bristow himself died six years later, but the legacy left by both players, arguably the sport's first high-profile stars, lives on.
Taylor's celebrations turn sour
Like with Bristow and Wilson, there was a time when Phil 'The Power' Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld were the two leading lights in professional darts.
Therefore, it was perhaps inevitable that a flash point would one day come.
Ahead of their 2013 PDC World Championship semi-final, 'Barney' infuriated Taylor by publicly stating he didn't fear him, and the Englishman responded by suggesting otherwise.
As if to make a point, after prevailing 6-4 'The Power' proceeded to celebrate exuberantly in front of the Dutchman, and then seemed to misinterpret his rival's attempt at a congratulatory embrace.
It led to an unsavoury exchange and Taylor, who would go on to win the final and capture his 16th – and last – world title, was later forced to apologise, conceding "Raymond's a big lad and he has a strong handshake, and when he pulled me, it hurt me.
“I reacted wrongly and I'm ashamed of that because I really like Raymond I'm gutted about what happened."
Worsley pushes it too far with MVG
Slow play, putting off an opponent, obstruction – all are now familiar causes of a dispute between two darts players.
Rarely though, will you hear of players nigh on coming to blows over clothes.
That's what happened during the 2014 PDC Winter Series though, after Jonathan Worsley was ticked off for wearing a shirt that contradicted the dress code, after claiming he'd spilt drink on his original top.
Instead of accepting his warning, the Welshman countered with a claim about opponent Michael van Gerwen, citing that he had seen someone marking for him in jeans and a T-shirt – also breaking protocol.
What's you most memorable sporting feud? Let us know in the comments section.
The spat escalated to the point where Worsley shoved the Dutchman, and was kicked out of the tournament as a result.
Not done there, he would later brand 'Mighty Mike' a "f****** cry baby" on Facebook, while van Gerwen himself admitted to frequently calling Worsley a "rat' during their altercation.
It all gave the event ample publicity – albeit for the wrong reasons.
Michael's tears tell the story
If Van Gerwen's fallout with Worsley bordered on pettiness, his disdain for Jelle Klaasen derives from anything but.
After beating his compatriot in a thrilling World Championship encounter in 2014, the three-time world champion admitted post-match he "hated' his opponent, and later revealed why.
An emotional Van Gerwen said "We were best friends and we were really close when we were young. But something happened in the past which is why I can’t stand him anymore". Klassen had in 2012 been accused of sending naked photo messages to a then 15-year-old family friend of Van Gerwen.
His punishment was 16 hours of community service and a fine of 327 euros, not to mention a bitter rival for life.
“He got his punishment but it is hard for me to give this a place. I will never be able to forgive him," added van Gerwen.
After the accusations came to light, Klassen said in a statement: "I would like to apologise to everyone. I made a mistake, I am deeply ashamed and I will accept the consequences."
Lewis exits stage left
Listing every spat involving Adrian Lewis would merit a book in its own right, but arguably, his first major flash point still represents his most dramatic.
Five years before he won his first PDC world title, 'Jackpot' made it to the quarter-finals where he faced Peter Manley, and became infuriated by what he perceived as mind games from his opponent.
Trailing 3-1, and having been goaded by Manley one time too many, Lewis reached breaking point and stormed off stage.
A rowdy crowd lapped up the hilarity of the situation, and referee Russ Bray had to fetch the then 20-year-old Lewis from the backstage area.
Manley would later admit he overstepped the mark, and smoothed things over with Lewis by taking him out for dinner.
Anderson aghast at farting accusations
As accuses for sporting defeats go, 'my opponent was deliberately breaking wind' is up there with the most unique of them.
That's what happened two years ago though at the Grand Slam of Darts, when Wesley Harms accused Gary Anderson of leaving "fragrant smells" which duly affected his concentration.
Anderson, who won the match 10-2, denied the heinous allegation, hinting it should be Harms deemed responsible.
"I had a bad stomach once on stage before and admitted it. So I'm not going to lie about farting on stage.
"Every time I walked past there was a waft of rotten eggs so that's why I was thinking it was him."
The serious sincerity with which Anderson spoke made the whole affair as strange as it was amusing.
Gerwyn pays a big price
He's fallen out with Adrian Lewis, he's clashed with Peter Wright, but there's no doubting who current world champion Gerwyn Price shares his most intense rivalry with.
It that man Anderson again, and this time it has nothing to do with odd smells.
The feud was ignited at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts final, where Price fought back from 11-8 down to win 16-13 and claim a first major PDC title.
The result didn't tell the story of a volatile affair though, with both players clashing throughout as Anderson frequently complained about Price's slow play and exaggerated celebrations.
Anderson seemed to be backed up by the crowd, who roundly booed 'The Iceman' to no avail.
Price was later given a suspended ban and fined £12,000 for his behaviour, and judging by Anderson's reaction to losing to the Welshman in the 2020 World Championship final – where he declined to congratulate him – the wounds are far from healed.
Source: Read Full Article