Mike Gregory (darts player)
|Full name||Mike Seward Gregory|
16 December 1956 |
Bath, Somerset, England
|Playing darts since||1983|
|Walk-on music||I've Got a Brand New Combine Harvester by The Worzels|
|Organisation (see split in darts)|
|PDC||1992-1993 (Founding Member)|
|BDO majors - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Runner Up: 1992|
|World Masters||Runner Up: 1983, 1992|
|Other tournament wins|
|WDC Lada Classic
Unipart European Masters
Australian Grand Masters
Best Old Major Results
News of the World
MFI World Matchplay
Butlins Grand Masters
|Updated on 19 November 2007.|
Mike Seward Gregory (born 16 December 1956 in Bath, Somerset) is a former professional darts player, who reached the final of the Winmau World Masters twice and also reached the final of the Embassy World Darts Championship in 1992 – losing to Phil Taylor in a match regarded amongst the greatest matches ever played.
Gregory was one of the top ranked players from the mid-1980s through to the early 1990s, having been seeded in the top four at the World Championships on seven occasions – although he never won the World title.
His major breakthrough was beating John Lowe in the semi-finals of the 1983 British Open in which he finished runner-up to Eric Bristow. He lost again to Bristow in the final of that year's World Masters tournament. He made his World Championship debut in 1984 and reached the quarter-final, losing heavily 0–5 to Jocky Wilson. Gregory would stumble at the quarter-final stage in 1987, 1989 and 1993. He made his first semi-final in 1990, losing to Eric Bristow and his only final appearance came in 1992 – when he lost an epic match 5–6 in sets to Taylor. Having missed six darts for the title – two each for double 20, double 8 and double 10, which he has since jokingly referred to as the Bermuda Triangle – the match went all the way to a tie-break leg, which comes when the players reach 5–5 in both sets and legs. It was the first time this had happened in the World Championship's 14-year history and the match is often mentioned in discussions about the greatest darts match ever played; Taylor himself still lists this as his greatest ever match. Gregory won the bull-off to throw first in the decider, but had a bounce-out on his first turn and Taylor comfortably sealed the win. To date, Gregory remains the only man to have lost a World Championship final having had a dart at double to win, and one of only three men - along with Robbie Green (twice) and Darryl Fitton - to have lost any major televised final after missing a dart to win.
Whilst he was never a World Champion, he enjoyed success away from the big event becoming one of only seven players to win the News of the World Darts Championship twice (in 1987 and 1988 joining Tom Barrett (1963/64 and 1964/65) and Eric Bristow as the only other players to win in consecutive years). He also won the 1984 Unipart British Professional Championship beating John Lowe in the final after putting out reigning champ Jocky Wilson in the semis and the 1995 Unipart European Masters.
Mike Gregory was a controversial figure in a dispute which threatened darts during 1992–93. Darts had enjoyed a boom-and-bust period during the 1980s and 1990s. At first, sponsors and television companies could not get enough of the game with many major tournaments appearing on the screens. Despite the number of tournaments, the game had a poor image in the eyes of many – players were allowed to smoke and drink alcohol on stage during matches. This poor image, combined with the BBC axing TV coverage of almost all tournaments as the 1980s went on, the decision of ITV to scrap both their World of Sport Saturday afternoon show (which covered darts on a regular basis) in 1985, and then ITV withdrawing from darts coverage altogether at the end of 1988, left the World Championship on the BBC as the only darts tournament still being broadcast on television by 1989.
The players formed the World Darts Council (WDC – now known as the Professional Darts Corporation) in January 1992 with the intention to promote the game more on television and enhance their earnings which had severely diminished in the previous few years.
The top 16 players including all the former World Champions stuck together in the WDC and Gregory won their first ever tournament, the 1992 Lada Classic which was televised regionally on Anglia Television. The players wore WDC logos on their sleeves during the 1993 World Championship as a show of solidarity – but the governing body, the British Darts Organisation (BDO) told the players to remove them. The players issued an ultimatum that if the BDO didn't allow them to run additional tournaments, they would withdraw from the World Championship for the following year.
Gregory won the second WDC Lada Classic in 1993, and the WDC had signed a contract with Sky Sports to broadcast its own World Championship and World Matchplay, starting in 1994. In late November 1993, Gregory had a change of heart and decided to return to the BDO. Chris Johns was the other player who had gone back to the BDO (before Gregory), but the other 14 stayed united. Gregory's decision to jump back to the BDO caused controversy, as the WDC players felt as if he had let them down. The BDO players were not too keen to welcome back the player who had defected.
Gregory was ranked number two at the time of the split and it was possible that the BDO wanted to keep a high-profile name as the game continued its internal battle.
After the split
The last BDO tournament in which the "rebel" players competed was the 1993 Finland Open in April 1993. Gregory's return to the BDO was in time for the 1994 British Open, which was staged on New Year's Day, and he reached the semi-finals. He wasn't able to compete at the Embassy World Darts Championship in 1994, as the tournament draw had been made before he decided to return to the BDO. Later in 1994, he won the Norway Open and Belgian Open.
In 1995, he returned to the Lakeside for the first time since the split as the number five seed. He reached the quarter-finals, losing 4–5 to Martin Adams. He suffered first round defeats in each of his next three appearances in the tournament – 1996, 1997 and 1999. Since 1999, Gregory has failed to qualify for the competition.
His other BDO titles came in 1995, winning the Swiss Open and the Belgian Open, but then his form slowly faded. Other than a quarter-final appearance at the 2001 Welsh Open and a defeat to Davy Richardson in the final of the 2003 Scottish Open, he hasn't featured in the latter stages of Open events since 1999, and he no longer competes on the darts circuit, with his last appearance at a major WDF event being the 2005 Scottish Open when he reached the last 16.
Gregory still plays County darts for Somerset where he averages 90 per match, and also plays for Radstock in the Somerset Super League where he plays with PDC Player Steve Grubb. Rumours of comebacks arose for the second BetFred League of Legends and the 2010 Lakeside World Championship, but neither happened.
Gregory is currently working for a council contractor as a traffic management operative. Gregory currently lives near Bath and is father to children, Lee (33), Kelly (31), Louise (23), and Daniel aged 14
World Championship results
- 1984: Quarter Final (lost to Jocky Wilson 0–5)
- 1985: 1st Round (lost to Bobby George 1–2)
- 1986: 1st Round (lost to Keith Deller 0–3)
- 1987: Quarter Final (lost to Jocky Wilson 3–4)
- 1988: 1st Round (lost to Chris Johns 0–3)
- 1989: Quarter Final (lost to Jocky Wilson 3–4)
- 1990: Semi Final (lost to Eric Bristow 2–5)
- 1991: 2nd Round (lost to Eric Bristow 0–3)
- 1992: Final (lost to Phil Taylor 5–6)
- 1993: Quarter Final (lost to Bobby George 2–4)
- 1995: Quarter Final (lost to Martin Adams 3–4)
- 1996: 1st Round (lost to Les Wallace 0–3)
- 1997: 1st Round (lost to Roland Scholten 2–3)
- 1999: 1st Round (lost to Martin Adams 1–3)
- Gregory Profile Dutch Darts Import website
- Biography -Phil Taylor website profile
- "Major darts tournament winners". Superstars of Darts. Archived from the original on 16 December 2009.
- "Alan Warriner-Little on Darts split". Theiceman.co.uk. 1 July 2007. Archived from the original on 23 June 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2011.