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  Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK
History of Embassy Darts
John 'Boy' Walton
John 'Boy' Walton clinched the title last year
It all started in 1978, when Welshman Leighton Rees beat Englishman John Lowe 11-7 in the first ever Embassy World Darts Championship final.

The winner picked up a cheque for 3,000, a sum which would be considered small in modern times.

The two would clash again at the same stage a year later and this time Lowe got revenge with a crushing 5-0 victory.

  EMBASSY CHAMPIONS
1978 - Leighton Rees
1979 - John Lowe
1980 - Eric Bristow
1981 - Eric Bristow
1982 - Jocky Wilson
1983 - Keith Deller
1984 - Eric Bristow
1985 - Eric Bristow
1986 - Eric Bristow
1987 - John Lowe
1988 - Bob Anderson
1989 - Jocky Wilson
1990 - Phil Taylor
1991 - Dennis Priestley
1992 - Phil Taylor
1993 - John Lowe
1994 - John Part
1995 - Richie Burnett
1996 - Steve Beaton
1997 - Les Wallace
1998 - Ray Barneveld
1999 - Ray Barneveld
2000 - Ted Hankey
2001 - John Walton
Although there have been more colourful figures in darts' history, Lowe remains one of the most enduring characters in the game, capturing a world title in three different decades, going on to win again in 1987 and 1993.

Lowe competed in eight finals, a record eclipsed by the 'Crafty Cockney' Eric Bristow, who ruled darts during the 80s.

He claimed the first of his five world titles in 1980 by beating veteran Bobby George and he successfully defended it the following year.

But Bristow's domination was occasionally challenged by the likes of Jocky Wilson, Lowe and Bob Anderson.

Yet one of the most famous finals of the 80s took place between Bristow and the relatively unknown Keith Deller, who had already knocked out Wilson and Lowe.

John Lowe
John Lowe: A man for the ages
Deller, given little hope, triumphed in perhaps the most exciting final in Embassy Darts history when he beat Bristow 6-5 in 1983. It would turn out to be his finest hour.

By the turn of the decade, Bristow was finding it increasingly difficult to win the tournament he had made his own. He lost three consecutive finals, one to his great friend Phil Taylor in 1990.

Taylor won two world titles during the 90s before going on to dominate the PDC version of the world title.

Dutchman Raymond Barneveld was to match Taylor's record of two Embassy championship wins.

By the end of the 20th century, darts - which had been divided by the introduction of a rival body - had become a much more competitive arena, with plenty of potential winners among the starters.

Ted Hankey became the new millennium's first champion with a 6-0 thrashing of two-time loser Ronnie Baxter in a hugely one-sided affair.

Hankey looked odds-on favourite to lift the title again in 2001, but was suffered a surprising 6-2 defeat to rank outsider John 'Boy' Walton.

The diminutive Yorkshireman's win showed that the title is very much up for grabs as the new century gets well under way.

Embassy World Darts Championship

David wins final

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Links to more World Darts Championship 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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