Andy Hamilton

  • Last Updated: November 21 2014, 15:49 GMT

The third of the 'Stokies' in the upper echelons of the rankings along with Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis, Andy Hamilton is a regular in the final stages of big tournaments.

Andy Hamilton: Made the final in 2012

A former Cheshire county player, the 46-year-old's rise to prominence is all the more remarkable given he quit playing the sport competitively at 20 before returning nearly 20 years later.

His breakthrough season came in 2007 when he reached the final of November's Grand Slam of Darts, losing to Taylor 18-11, before he enjoyed an excellent run to the last four of the World Championship.

Fact box

  • Date of birth: 16.03.67
  • Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent
  • Nickname: The Hammer
  • Major titles: None
  • World Championship best: Runner-up (once)
  • Walk-on music: Can't Touch This

'The Hammer' couldn't reach those same heights over the following few years but enjoyed a great run to the World Championship final in 2012, the spark for a season that saw him produce career-best efforts in four majors.

In reaching the 2012 final, Hamilton secured himself a wildcard for the Premier League - and despite being a big outsider he made it through the league phase before exiting in the semi-finals.

Hamilton made the quarter-finals of the last World Championship, but could not live with Taylor as he won just two legs during a 5-0 whitewash while Taylor also took his scalp in the final of the 2013 UK Open.

One of the hardest fighters on the circuit, Hamilton is never beaten and can seemingly grind out a win from any position in a match - write him off at your peril.