2003 PDC World Darts Championship

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Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
Tournament information
Dates 27 December 2002–4 January 2003
Venue Circus Tavern
Location Purfleet, Essex
Country England, United Kingdom
Organisation(s) PDC
Format Sets
Final – best of 13
Prize fund £200,000
Winners share £50,000
High checkout 170 England Les Fitton
170 Netherlands Roland Scholten
Canada John Part
«2002 2004»

The 2003 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship was the tenth World Championship organised by the Professional Darts Corporation since it split from the British Darts Organisation in 1993. Ladbrokes (who sponsored the 1996 event with their Vernon's brand) took over sponsorship of the event from Skol.

The field at the televised stages expanded for the first time since 1999. An extra qualifying round was introduced increasing the total number of players from 32 to 40. John Part defeated the defending champion and number one seed, Phil Taylor, in the final to end two incredible runs by Taylor - eight successive World titles, and 44 successive victories at the Circus Tavern.

This was Part's second world championship having also won the 1994 BDO Championship (the first tournament after the split).


Prize money[edit]

  • Winner: £50,000
  • Runner-up: £25,000
  • Semi-finalists: £12,500
  • Quarter-finalists: £7,000
  • 2nd Round: £4,000
  • 1st Round: £2,500
  • Nine-dart finish: A Diamond, worth a six figure sum, will be mounted in the bulls eye of a championship dartboard as a unique prize (not won).


First round[edit]

All matches are the best of 7 sets.

Av. Player Score Player Av.
80.10 Mark Holden England 4-3 England Dave Smith 81.66
83.10 Bob Anderson England 4-0 England Al Hedman 76.35
81.57 Reg Harding England 4-3 England Mark Robinson 83.79
86.76 Mick Manning England 4-2 England Lee Palfreyman 81.12
85.14 Simon Whitlock Australia 4-2 England Paul Williams 84.87
87.84 Steve Brown United States 4-2 England David Platt 88.05
93.00 Wayne Mardle England 4-0 United States Ray Carver 82.71
89.85 Shayne Burgess England 4-2 Netherlands Arjan Moen 84.06
Second Round (best of 7 sets) Third Round (best of 9 sets) Quarter-Finals (best of 9 sets) Semi-Finals (best of 11 sets) Final (best of 13 sets)
1 England Phil Taylor 103.44 4
United States Steve Brown 89.16 1
1 England Phil Taylor 98.70 5
England Wayne Mardle 93.69 3
16 England Peter Evison 91.29 3
England Wayne Mardle 96.96 4
1 England Phil Taylor 100.38 5
8 England Dennis Smith 94.47 3
9 England Denis Ovens 86.40 4
England Alex Roy 82.05 1
9 England Denis Ovens 93.45 1
8 England Dennis Smith 91.44 5
8 England Dennis Smith 92.97 4
England Dennis Priestley 84.54 1
1 England Phil Taylor 95.61 6
4 England Alan Warriner 86.70 1
5 Netherlands Roland Scholten 84.69 4
England Shayne Burgess 81.84 1
5 Netherlands Roland Scholten 87.78 5
12 England Dave Askew 84.24 0
12 England Dave Askew 85.23 4
England Steve Beaton 84.48 3
5 Netherlands Roland Scholten 87.99 2
4 England Alan Warriner 90.87 5
4 England Alan Warriner 85.53 4
England Rod Harrington 79.77 2
4 England Alan Warriner 88.77 5
England Les Fitton 87.93 4
13 England John Lowe 72.48 1
England Les Fitton 80.91 4
1 England Phil Taylor 99.98 6
2 Canada John Part 96.87 7
2 Canada John Part 88.68 4
England Cliff Lazarenko 85.41 1
2 Canada John Part 96.69 5
Scotland Jamie Harvey 92.58 3
15 Scotland Jamie Harvey 85.08 4
England Mark Holden 83.25 1
2 Canada John Part 95.49 5
England Chris Mason 88.32 0
7 England Colin Lloyd 86.37 4
England Bob Anderson 92.49 3
7 England Colin Lloyd 92.82 1
England Chris Mason 96.78 5
10 England Andy Jenkins 84.01 2
England Chris Mason 90.90 4
2 Canada John Part 93.21 6
14 England Kevin Painter 89.46 4
6 England Peter Manley 86.34 1
Australia Simon Whitlock 87.63 4
Australia Simon Whitlock 87.69 3
11 Wales Richie Burnett 88.59 5
11 Wales Richie Burnett 91.68 4
England Keith Deller 87.93 3
11 Wales Richie Burnett 83.58 2
14 England Kevin Painter 90.78 5
3 England Ronnie Baxter 96.90 4
England Mick Manning 86.37 1
3 England Ronnie Baxter 87.93 3
14 England Kevin Painter 87.54 5
14 England Kevin Painter 86.49 4
England Reg Harding 86.34 1

Highest three-dart checkout: 170 Roland Scholten, Les Fitton.

Tournament 180s scored: 277 in 818 legs

Most 180s scored, individual: 27 John Part, 22 Phil Taylor, 18 Richie Burnett [1]

Tournament Review[edit]

Day One - Friday 27 December[edit]

Steve Brown, the 1994 World Championship Semi-Finalists would become the first man through to the draw proper with a 4-2 win over David Platt. Platt a wild-card who had qualified via a competition in the People Newspaper, - one of the tournaments key partners didn't disgrace himself at all, and when leading 2-0 it looked good that he would move onto meet Phil Taylor in the second round. However Brown's experience told when he levelled the scores and would move through the next two sets to win.

Australian Simon Whitlock would also be in round two following a 4-2 win over Paul Williams. Having trailed 2-1, Whitlock won nine of the final 14 legs to book a date with number 6 seed and 2002 Finalist Peter Manley in round 2. Shayne Burgess, the former world no.3 who had recovered after a disastrous run of form in 2001 and 2002 including a 10-0 loss to Taylor in the World Matchplay 2002 would also move on to the second round following a 4-2 win over Arjan Moen, who had been toe-to-toe at 2-2.

Wayne Mardle, the new boy to the PDC circuit having been in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals of the BDO event would also begin clinically, dropping 2 legs as he swept aside American Ray Carver by 4 sets to 0.

Also going into round 2 on the first day in Purfleet was Reg Harding, one of the perennial qualifiers who never seems to get beyond the opening round, - this time he did, just! Mark Robinson took a commanding 3-0 lead against Harding before the Englishman fought back, sneaking the sixth set 3-2 to draw level at 3-3. The decider would go all the way as Harding moved on to a match with 14th seed Kevin Painter in the second round, Mark Holden would also go through in the 7th set, beating Leeds' Dave Smtih 3-1 in the deciding set.

Day Two - Saturday 28 December[edit]

The First round would conclude with two matches today before the second round started. Bob Anderson, winner of the World Title in 1988 would be in terrific form as he lost just four legs in a 4-0 win over Al Hedman to move easily into round 2 and a match with 7th seed Colin Lloyd. Mick Manning, unlucky not to reach the last 16 in 2001 when he lost a sudden death leg to Dave Askew would take the final last 32 place in a 4-2 win over Lee Palfreyman, the hero of the 2002 Las Vegas Desert Classic.

The Second round then opened up - matches still best of 7 sets - best of 5 legs; Dennis Smith seeded 8th moving straight into the third round with a 4-1 win over former champion and four time beaten finalist at the Circus Tavern Dennis Priestley, whose ranking had seriously deteriorated in the previous year since his first round exit as fifth seed twelve months ago. - Priestley took the first set 3-2, but only took three other legs as "Smiffy" moved quickly onto a match with either 9th seed Denis Ovens, or Alex Roy.

Mark Holden's hopes of the title ended today with a 4-1 loss to "Bravedart" Jamie Harvey from Scotland. Harvey seeded 15th would now face 2nd seed John Part or Cliff Lazarenko in the third round and hopes of a return to the quarter-finals of 2001 were still alive.

Wayne Mardle produced his first ever epic comeback at the Circus Tavern, against 16th seed Peter Evison, Mardle took the first set 3-1, but then proceeded to lose 9 of 13 legs as Evison moved on to take a 3-1 lead after four sets, six in a row from Mardle, including checkouts of 115 and 144 saw Mardle get back on terms as the match moved into the deciding set. Evison took the first, but folded as Mardle took three legs on the bounce for a total of 9 in 10 as he moved to the third round stage on his debut at the Circus. - The winner of the next match between Taylor and Brown being Wayne's opponent.

Top seed Phil Taylor began his campaign for an 11th World Title and a 9th in a row with a 4-1 win over Steve Brown. Taylor bossed the match from start to finish averaging 103 and taking 6 of the first seven legs to go 2-0 up. Brown recovered with a 3-0 set win to close the gap to 2-1 but they were to be his final legs, Taylor took 6 more on the bounce to move into round 3 and a match with Mardle in the last 16.

Day Three - Sunday 29 December[edit]

Six more third round places up for grabs as the first weekend concluded. Denis Ovens, would be the first man to move into the third round on Sunday with a 4-1 win over Alex Roy; Ovens pretty much had total control throughout in building a 3-0 lead and only just losing set four 3-2 for what could have been a 4-0 win. However Roy was only really delaying what was inevitable, and Ovens took set five 3-1 to win 4-1, winning the match with a 157 checkout, Dennis Smith in the third round for "The Heat".

"It's rotten to play bad here". Those were the words of John Lowe as the 13th seed was soon dispatched from the World Championship, 4-1 by Les Fitton, who led Phil Taylor in 2001. Fitton was brilliant in taking control of the scrappy sets and barely allowing Lowe shots at doubles to win legs, Fitton would win 14 legs to Lowe's 8 as he moved on to a match with either Alan Warriner or Rod Harrington.

The man most people tipped to be the only threat to Taylor; 2nd seed John Part would start his World Championship here with a 4-1 over Cliff Lazarenko. Lazarenko, 50 years old and with the support of much of the crowd fell 3-0 down before taking the fourth 3-2. Part won the 5th to progress to a match with Jamie Harvey, though wasn't happy with his form.

Rod Harrington's ranking had slipped worse than Dennis Priestley's and when the draw for the second round was made, both he and Alan Warriner could curse their misfortune to draw each other early. Two years ago this was a potential quarter-final, this year one wouldn't make it beyond the New Year. The "Iceman" seeded fourth took a 2-0 lead before Harrington took set three to close the gap, Warriner moved 3-1 ahead with a 3-0 set win before Harrington took the fifth. However the home crowd were to be disappointed as Warriner moved on to round two by winning set six 3-2 for a 4-2 victory.

Dave Askew had been to both the 2001 and 2002 Semi-Finals before losing 6-0 to Phil Taylor. In the 2003 World Championship he began his campaign with a nervy 4-3 win over 1996 BDO World Champion Steve Beaton. Askew led 1-0, trailed 2-1, led 3-2 before Beaton hauled himself level with askew at 3 sets each. Askew took the 7th set 3-1 to move into the third round and a date with either Roland Scholten or Shayne Burgess.

It would indeed be Scholten. Seeded 5, Scholten took the first set 3-2 against Shayne Burgess. "Bulldog" levelled up by winning the second set 3-1. However it was one way traffic from there, Scholten winning 9 legs in a row to move through by four sets to one.

Day Four - Monday 30 December[edit]

The second round would conclude today as the tournament moved towards its break for New Year's Eve. 7th seed Colin Lloyd, one of the other "Home" players from Essex was given the fright of his life following a nervy 4-3 win over Bob Anderson who had recovered from 3-1 down to level at 3-3 and in the end Lloyd would be relieved to see the final double nailed as he won through to face Chris Mason who beat 10th seed Andy Jenkins 4-2 in a tight game early on before Mason, twice a BDO semi-finalist won through.

Mick Manning also went out, 4-1 to the number 3 seed, Ronnie Baxter. Hopeful that he can go one step further than his 1999 and 2000 World Championship final losses, 6-5 to Barneveld and 6-0 to Hankey in the BDO and become the 2003 Ladbrokes.com World Champion. Baxter will now be linking up with 14th seed Kevin Painter who went through 4-1 against Reg Harding. Though Painter would be relieved to go through when he did, as Harding was beginning to battle back and get near Painter.

The final third round pairing would be decided as Richie Burnett won through 4-3 against Keith Deller, 3-1 in the Final set, "The Prince of Wales" hopeful of a second World title to add to his BDO world crowns. - Then came the first shock of the World Championships 2003.

6th seed Peter Manley was blown away 4-1 by Simon Whitlock of Australia, Whitlock coolly under pressure took the first three sets in deciding legs to go 3-0 up when it could have been 3-0 Manley or 2-1. Manley sneaked home in the fourth to close the gap to 3-1 but he never looked like a winner, a clearly shellshocked Whitlock taking the 5th set 3-0 to win 4-1.

Day Five - Wednesday 1 January[edit]

Following the traditional New Year's Eve break, the World Championships resumed in 2003 at the third round stage. Matches now had been extended to best of 9 sets, so the first man to five goes through to the quarter-finals.

First man through to the Quarter-Finals today would be Roland Scholen, who swept past 12th seed Dave Askew by 5 sets to nil. Scholten took the first set 3-2, the second 3-0 and then the third 3-2 to go 3-0 up and effectively end the contest. The fourth set was won 3-0 and the fifth in another decided to secure the Dutchmans' passage into the Quarter-Finals again. His opponent would be Alan Warriner who had a real battle with Les Fitton. Fitton led 4-2 before Warriner levelled at 4-4. The set went 2-2 so the tie-breaker came into operation, 3-3 and 4-4, before Warriner squeezed home 6-4. Had it been 5-5 then the sudden death leg would have taken place for the second time in the 2003 event.

Dennis Smith would also be through, the 2000 semi-finalist sweeping home 5-1 against Denis Ovens in what was a cruel scoreline for "The Heat" as four of the six sets went 3-2 and the other pair 3-1. Smith would now meet Taylor or Mardle.

The first of many classics between the pair was upon us.

A 152 checkout from Mardle in the first leg set the tone for a strange game but a classic match. - 6 legs in a row from the "Power" saw him go 2-0 up and at 2-2 in the third set, could have gone 3-0 up. Wayne did win that said to close the gap. Taylor edged the fourth 3-2 to go 3-1 in front before Mardle edged sets five and six 3-2 to level the scores at 3-3. However Taylor took the seventh and eighth sets 3-1 and to his and wife Yvone's clear relief, he was in the quarter-finals.

Day Seven - Thursday 2 January[edit]

Joining him would be number 2 seed John Part who had a tough time against Jamie Harvey of Scotland, Harvey led 3 sets to 2 before Part recovered to win the final three sets and keep alive the possibility of a Final with Taylor on Sunday. Part's opponent would be Chris Mason who ended the Essex crowd's hopes of a home world Champion. Chris in honest was ruthless taking 5 sets in a row after Lloyd had gone one-nil up.

Simon Whitlock's Purfleet adventure ended with a 5-3 loss to 11th seed Richie Burnett, who should have won with more to spare as he quickly went 4-1 up, Whitlock closed the gap to 4-3 but the Welshman took set eight 3-0 to set up a tie with 14th seed Kevin Painter, who shocked Ronnie Baxter 5-3.

Day Eight - Friday 3 January[edit]

A week ago, 40 players lined up, now eight remained, Quarter-Finals were still best of 9 sets and the first man to five would take a spot in the Semi-Finals on Saturday.

John Part kept his hope of a Final with Taylor alive following a high-quality 5-0 drubbing of Chris Mason. Part made no mistake on dealing swiftly with Mason and dropped just four legs, winning 15 as he moved into the last four. 14th seed and surprise package Kevin Painter would be his opponent after "The Artist" brushed aside Richie Burnett to move to the Semi-Finals, two more matches for the masterpiece. - Four sets in a row from Painter to win 5-2 against Burnett who said he'd had a terrible season.

Part wasn't the only one desperate to meet Taylor. 4th seed Alan Warriner claimed a 5-2 win over Roland Scholten and then stormed out of his Sky Sports interview to tell Taylor who was practicing, "if you beat Smiffy, I will sort you out"

Warriner would get his chance, though just, for the second time this week Taylor had been extended and had to use his experience of getting through the tough matches in previous years to beat Dennis Smith 5-3, Smith led 3-2 and when 4-3 behind was 2-2 in legs. Taylor seeded 1st, again looked relieved to be through.

Day Nine - Saturday 4 January[edit]

Semi-Finals night, and with three of the top four seeds plus an excellent player left in, it could be high-quality final lined up tomorrow. Matches had been extended to the Best of 11 sets so 6 sets and you're into the final.

The road ended for Kevin Painter. The 14th seed whose stature had risen immensely during his run to the Semi-Finals (it would again in 2004) - was beaten 6-4 by Part in a tight match. The first three sets went 2-2 and Part took a 2 sets to 1 lead, it was just 8-7 in legs. Painter won the fourth 3-1, before they shared 2 three-two sets to make it 3-3. The leg count now 15-14 to Painter showing how tight the match was. Part won the seventh 3-2 but Painter would the eight 3-0 to level again, was this a turning point?

Part would sneak the final two sets 3-2 to win 6-4, In the end Painter could count himself unlucky as he took the most legs 24-21 but still lost 6-4. The buildup to the Taylor v Warriner Semi-Final was massive with Sky living on the storm out that Warriner could beat Taylor. In the end it was a damp squib. Taylor soon went 2-0 up in 6 straight legs. Warriner won the third 3-1 but Taylor took the fourth 3-0 and the fifth 3-2 to go 4-1, six legs in a row soon ended the contest, Taylor winning 6-1 and 19-5 in legs.

Day Ten - Sunday 5 January[edit]

The final would again be the best of 13 sets. The last time these two had met, Part had squeezed home, and Taylor breezed through the night before, It had led to a 7-0 for Taylor conceding three legs.

Any inclinations of a match like that were soon ended as Part nailed a 121 checkout for the opening leg, then hit double four and double ten to take the opening set 3-0. At 2-2 in set two, Taylor missed double seven, enabling Part to take this set too. Taylor took the first leg of set three, but Part nailed the next three legs to go three sets up.

A 122 checkout from Taylor helped him to take his first set of the match, but Part soon restored his three-set advantage. Then Taylor stepped up a gear, taking 12 of the next 14 legs, and all of a sudden 'The Power' had a 5 sets to 4 lead.

Part, however, recovered brilliantly and took the tenth set 3-1, then edged the eleventh 3-2, to move within just one set of victory. Taylor, though, fought back to take the twelfth set 3-1, forcing a deciding set.

First blood in the decider went to Part with a 72 checkout, before he missed double 15 for a 110 finish that would put him just one leg away from the title. However, Taylor missed double 16, thus giving Part another opportunity to make it 2-0, which he took. It meant Taylor needed to take a minimum of four legs, if Part wasn't to win another.

Taylor closed the gap to 2-1 with a 98 checkout before, in the fourth leg, he needed to hit 121 to force a tie-break. He hit 17 and treble 18 before narrowly missing the bull. It left Part with three darts for a 77 finish and the title. Under enormous pressure he hit 19, 18 and finally double top to end Taylor's runs of eight successive World titles and 44 matches unbeaten at the Circus, and take his second world championship in all, after a truly thrilling final.