Mike Gregory (darts player)

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Mike Gregory
Personal information
Full name Michael Gregory
Born (1956-12-16) 16 December 1956 (age 60)[1]
Bath, Somerset, England
Darts information
Playing darts since 1983
Darts 22g
Laterality Right handed
Walk-on music I've Got a Brand New Combine Harvester by The Worzels
Organisation (see split in darts)
BDO 1983–1992, 1993–2005
PDC 1992–1993
BDO majors - best performances
World Ch'ship Runner Up: 1992
World Masters Runner Up: 1983, 1992
Other tournament wins
Tournament Years
WDC Lada Classic
Unipart European Masters
Australian Grand Masters
Belgium Open
British Open
Canadian Open
Finnish Open
Norway Open
Swedish Open
Swiss Open

Best Old Major Results
News of the World
MFI World Matchplay
British Professional
Butlins Grand Masters
British Matchplay
1992, 1993
1995
1986, 1992
1994, 1995
1991
1991
1984, 1987
1994
1989, 1992
1995


1987, 1988
1986
1984
1984
1984
Updated on 19 November 2007.

Mike Seward Gregory (born 16 December 1956 in Bath, Somerset[2]) 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.

Darts career[edit]

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 lost at the quarter-final stage of the World Championship 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 sudden death 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.[3] 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 darts at double to win.

Whilst he was never a World Champion, he won many televised titles of the era, including the 1984 Unipart British Professional (beating both Jocky Wilson and John Lowe), the 1986 MFI World Matchplay, as well as 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 (1983 and 1984) as the only other players to win it in consecutive years.[4]

Major controversy[edit]

Main article: split in darts

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. The decision of ITV to scrap their World of Sport programme after September 1985 was the first serious blow, as the programme had covered darts on a regular basis. In the summer of 1988, both the BBC and ITV decided in quick succession to axe all their coverage of darts from the start of 1989, with the exception of the World Championship on the BBC. This massive slump in television coverage, combined with the poor image of darts to sponsors, made it very difficult for professional dart players to make a living from the sport.

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.[5]

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 UK Masters which was televised regionally on Anglia Television, with Gregory defeating Dennis Priestley in the final. The players planned to wear 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. Later in the tournament, the WDC players issued a statement, saying that they would only participate in the 1994 World Championship, if it came under the auspices of the WDC, and that they only recognised the WDC as having the authority to sanction their participation in darts tournaments worldwide.

Gregory won the second WDC Lada UK Masters in November 1993, defeating Bob Anderson in the final, and the WDC had just 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, mainly as he had not told them of his decision in advance.

After the split[edit]

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 was not 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 3–4 to Martin Adams.

His other WDF titles came in 1995, winning the Swiss Open and the Belgian Open. Gregory then won his last televised title in September 1995, when he won the Unipart European Masters tournament, which was held at Lakeside and broadcast on the BBC. In the semi-final, Gregory defeated the reigning BDO World Champion, Richie Burnett, and beat a rookie Peter Manley in the final.

After Gregory's Unipart European Masters triumph, his form quickly faded. He suffered first round defeats in each of his next three appearances in the BDO World Championship at Lakeside – in 1996, 1997 and 1999. Since 1999, Gregory has failed to qualify for the competition. 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 has not 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 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.

World Championship results[edit]

BDO[edit]

Career finals[edit]

Independent major finals: 2 (2 titles)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1987 News of the World Championship (1) England Peter Evison 2–0 (l)
Winner 2. 1988 News of the World Championship (2) England Kevin Spiolek 2–1 (l)

Performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
BDO World Championship DNP QF L32 L32 QF L32 QF SF L16 RU QF DNP QF L32 L32 DNQ L32 DNQ
Winmau World Masters RU L32 QF L32 QF SF QF QF L16 RU DNP L16 QF L32 DNP L32 L128
British Professional DNP W QF QF L16 L16 Not held
MFI World Matchplay NH L16 QF W SF QF Not held
News of the World ??? W W ??? Not held DNP Not held
Performance Table Legend
DNP Did not play at the event DNQ Did not qualify for the event NYF Not yet founded L# lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals SF lost in the semi-finals RU lost in the final W won the tournament

References[edit]

  1. ^ Birthdate
  2. ^ Gregory Profile Dutch Darts Import website
  3. ^ Biography -Phil Taylor website profile
  4. ^ "Major darts tournament winners". Superstars of Darts. Archived from the original on 16 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Alan Warriner-Little on Darts split". Theiceman.co.uk. 1 July 2007. Archived from the original on 23 June 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 

External links[edit]