A Year in Review – By Sky Presenter, Polly James

Can you sum up this year in darts?

Not sum up exactly, there is SO much to talk about, but I guess the big one for me is that we are in a new era of darts where there isn’t just one name dominating anymore. We keep seeing new winners and it’s fantastic. The field is open, and everyone is hungry for titles because they believe they can. No one is untouchable.


The biggest surprise?

I loved it when Stowe Bunts (the American) turned up at the Grand Slam of Darts and upset a few players on his way to topping the group which included Peter Wright and Stephen Bunting. Hoping he can upset a few of the big boys at the Worlds albeit being the difficult side of the draw.


Your best game?

Technically, the final at the Worlds, MVG v Bully Boy ‘and the most perfect leg of darts you will ever see’ because that was in 2023, but if we move away from that it has to be from the UK open. It was a shocker as well. Andrew Gilding was 200/1 at the start of the UK Open, then comes from 8-5 down against Mighty Michael van Gerwen to win his first major at the age of 52! It was edge of your seat stuff. Could he really do it? Yes!


Your stand out player?

It’s got to be Luke Humphries once again; his rise has been phenomenal. We always knew it was a case of ‘when and not if’ and soon as he won the World Grand Prix the floodgates opened. Some people are calling him the new MVG and to watch this space for a new ‘Cool Hand’ era of domination.


The best checkout?

The one that I vividly remember was when Luke Humphries was about to take his first PDC title at the World Grand Prix. He beat Gezzy Price quite convincingly 5-2 and with a 138! Imagine winning your first major title with a 138 checkout. A thing of beauty.


Your favourite moment?


There have been so many brilliant darting moments throughout the year. For me on a personal note, and for Wales, was a seeing Gezzy and Jonny win the World Cup of darts once again. ‘He’s a great guy, brilliant captain, fantastic dart player and we get on really well, so every tick is in the box’. That was what Jonny said of The Iceman straight after the pair led Wales to a second World Cup of Darts title – the stuff of dreams!


Your favourite interview?


I’m so very lucky to be part of the team at Sky Sports. Their production department is super creative and always love to spend time and effort on the pre-interviews so the viewers get to know more about a certain player doing well at that time. I’ve been up the Blackpool Tower with Damon Heta and riding a steam train with Martin Schindler, to name a few things. It’s lots of fun and a way to get some great conversations out of the players, whilst showcasing some of the landmarks of different tournament locations. It hasn’t aired yet, but I had a lovely sit down interview with Luke Humphries a few days before the Worlds, in which he is favourite for. We had a lovely time chatting in his house about some of the struggles he’s experienced on his rise to the top and also his reason ‘why’. I love the one-on-one interviews in a chill environment where we can get down to the nitty gritty.


And finally, who should we look out for in 2024?


Beau Greaves is gonna be dynamite and she is doing it her way. Opting out of the PDC World Champs, she decided to defend her WDF World title instead, and it proved the correct decision. A two time world champ! It’s incredible that she did it with such ease too. Crucially, she’s only blinking 19 years old. If she can throw like that at 19 and really push the likes of Aspinall (like we saw at Grand Slam) to the wire, I’d argue that if she continues to improve, she’s the safest bet for a women to take a PDC Major TV title. If you take a glance at her list of honours, it’s as long as your arm.


Luke Littler looks exciting for me. He is nicknamed ‘The Nuke’ and will have the opportunity to showcase his talent at Alexandra Palace this month when he makes his highly-anticipated debut.

He has also secured his PDC Tour Card for 2024-25 when he will pit his wits against the world’s best on the professional circuit for the next two years. He enjoyed a breakthrough campaign on the Development Tour, scooping five titles to finish second on the overall Order of Merit and most recently capping it off when he won the World Youth championship. He will turn 17 in January 2024- this boy is the real deal, for now I just hope he keeps up the momentum and has good people around him!


What a year – very much looking forward to 2024 in the world of darts.