The Darts Show podcast: PDC chief executive Matt Porter and Mark Webster – Sky Sports

Watch all seven days of the World Grand Prix on Sky Sports – coverage begins on Tuesday October 6 at 6pm

Last Updated: 03/10/20 7:38am

With the World Grand Prix about to get underway, Mark Webster joins the latest episode, while there is an extended interview with chief executive Matt Porter on the challenges that lie ahead over the coming months – and news on venues.

Worlds away from Ally Pally ‘a long shot’

Alexandra Palace is the home of the World Darts Championship

With the Premier League Play-Offs, the Players Championship Finals and the Grand Slam of Darts joining the World Grand Prix in being confirmed to take place in Coventry, speculation continues about where this year’s World Championship will take place.

Alexandra Palace is the now legendary Christmas and New Year home for darts’ biggest showpiece, but with crowds in attendance at sporting venues in the UK now looking unlikely, and the PDC successfully hosting fans in safe, controlled environments in Austria and Germany, a possible alternative has emerged.

“It’s the event that people who don’t follow darts through the year know about, and it’s the World Championship – it deserves a crowd. If it can’t get one in London, but it can get one somewhere else, we’ll consider it but at the moment it’s a long shot,” said PDC chief executive Matt Porter.

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‘Van Gerwen entitled to a dip in form’

Mark Webster says he is unconcerned by Michael van Gerwen’s recent dip in form, and has backed the Dutchman to return to his best.

MvG has been imperious as the dominant force in darts for much of the last decade, but has shown in recent months than even he is human.

World Grand Prix – Tuesday’s First round matches

Adrian Lewis vs Chris Dobey
Danny Noppert vs Ryan Searle
Mensur Suljovic vs Dirk van Duijvenbode
Jose De Sousa vs Devon Petersen
James Wade vs Mervyn King
Rob Cross vs Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen vs Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael Smith vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
best of three sets

Live World Grand Prix Darts

October 6, 2020, 6:00pm

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Van Gerwen marked his return to action by winning two Players Championship events in July, before losing to Simon Whitlock in the second round of the World Matchplay and then missing out on the Premier League playoffs for the first time in his career after two wins, five defeats and a draw in Milton Keynes over August and September.

“You’ve got to remember Michael van Gerwen has pretty much been the world No 1 since 2012 so it’s got to be the first, I wouldn’t say crisis, but it’s the first long-standing blip where there is cause for concern,” Webster said on The Darts Show Podcast.

“But do you know what, is he entitled to it? I’d say so. He’s been dominating the sport, he took the sport to new levels and a lot of these players have jumped on the back of him and looked to him and they’re producing their best performances now.”

Does Barney still have the hunger?

Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld confirmed last week that he will enter Q-School in January, as he seeks to regain a PDC Tour Card.

The news came as a surprise to many after Barney had retired after a second round exit at the World Championship in January, but he admitted he misses the game too much.

We asked our trio of experts, including Wayne Mardle, Mark Webster and Colin Lloyd for their opinion and Lloydy admits the hard work is on just about to start.

“Only Raymond can tell you if he is ready for it or not. Good luck to him. Is the hunger still there? I don’t know. I wish him the very best, and if he does get a tour card, his hard work really starts there.

“He’s got to go to all the places that he’s always said he never liked going. He’s got to go to the Pro Tour events.”

Darts returns to Sky Sports in October with the World Grand Prix and the Premier League Play-Offs. Follow us @SkySportsDarts to stay up to date with all the news.