Three-time world champion John Part brings you his Oscars-style review of the Premier League Darts season.
The season started out with 10 of the world's best players back in February but on Thursday we reach a crescendo with the final four - Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith, Gary Anderson and Rob Cross.
So, as ever, three-time world champion John Part joins our darts expert Chris Hammer and host Dom for the final round of predictions and best bets as we look to end the season on a winning note!
But to add some extra spice into proceedings, we stage our very own version of the Oscars, with Darth Maple dishing out a host of awards for the following categories (drum roll please)...
Best match of the season
- Anderson 3-7 MVG, Night 3 in Newcastle
Both averaged 110 and there was ‘that’ leg where MVG just missed a nine darter before Anderson took out 170!
- Wright 6-6 Anderson, Night 4 in Berlin
Both averaged 105, Anderson came from 6-3 down with the help of a 150 checkout
- MVG 5-7 Barney, Night 13 in Rotterdam
Well, it was just fantastic wasn't it?
Most memorable leg
- MVG just missed a nine darter before Anderson took out 170
- When Suljovic missed three darts at double only for Barney to take out 167
Our Chris Hammer compares this to a famous scene in Game of Thrones believe it or not!
- Whitlock missing 22 darts at doubles, including 13 in one leg then takes out a 164 in the next
Best night of the season
- Rotterdam part one
- Rotterdam part two
There was a debacle in the envelope opening due to some mixed memories!
Shock of the season
- Wright beating MVG in Rotterdam (Night 12)
- Barney beating MVG in Rotterdam (Night 13)
- Whitlock thrashing Cross 7-1 (Night 2 in Leeds)
- Smith beating Barney 7-0 (Night 10 in Liverpool)
- Whitlock beating Anderson 7-5 (Night 14 in Manchester)
There ends up being a bit of a twist with this award!
Player who has surprised the most
- Michael Smith
Finished second despite being an 80/1 outsider at the start
- Daryl Gurney
Superb campaign despite missing out on the play-offs in his tournament debut, throwing more 180s than anyone else and just playing fantastically
Player who has disappointed the most (more of a Razzie than an Oscar)
- Peter Wright
Last year's runner-up never got himself in play-off contention
- Gerwyn Price
Finished bottom without a win to his name
What will be the lasting memory (aside from what happens in the final)?
- No nominees - it all boiled down to John Part.
So to find out all the award winners and those all-important Premier League Play-Off predictions...
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Previous Sporting Life Darts Podcast Episodes
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Who would come out on top in their prime - Eric Bristow, Phil Taylor or MVG? John Part and our darts team discuss this plus there's more Premier League predictions.
They had 23 world titles between them, largely spanning three different eras of dominance. But if you could take each one of them at their absolute best and matched them up in a three-man series, who would come out on top?
Three-time world champion John Part discusses this fantasy tournament before getting back to reality and delivering his predictions - and treble - for Thursday night's Premier League Darts in Aberdeen.
Our darts expert Chris Hammer also gives a more upbeat assessment of his own game after last week's advice from Darth Maple!
Our darts expert Chris Hammer is downbeat about his game as he aspires to go round the board in 20 darts - so what better tonic is there than some helpful words of advice from Darth Maple?
More importantly, the team discuss the state of play in Premier League Darts with just two rounds of regular season matches remaining while John, as ever, brings you his predictions for Thursday's action in Birmingham...and his treble!
What on earth happened to Michael van Gerwen in Rotterdam? How magical was Raymond van Barneveld and his Barney Army?!
Darth Maple joins our darts team to discuss the latest thrills and spills from the world of darts plus he brings you his latest round of Premier League predictions for Thursday's action in Manchester.
We pay tribute to the late, great Eric Bristow in a special edition of the Sporting Life Darts Podcast with three-time world champion John Part and our Chris Hammer.
Last Thursday night we sadly lost the first superstar of darts. The man whose character and special talents at the oche helped revolutionise his sport and make it as prominent and lucrative as it is today.
Tributes have been flooding in for the five-time world champion from not only the world of darts and wider sport but also from many other walks of life - such was the way his presence managed to transcend popular culture.
Three-time world champion John Part has experience of playing Bristow back in the early 90s as well as working with him as a pundit and, most crucially, being part of a generation of players who benefitted most from the Crafty Cockney's impact on the sport.
In this week's special edition, Darth Maple reflects on Bristow's incredible career and discusses what made him such a box office star both on and off the oche.
Along with our darts expert Chris Hammer, the pair look back on his classic world championship finals against the likes of Bobby George and Keith Deller and agree that he can effectively be described as the "Pele of darts".
We discuss yet another title for Michael van Gerwen, the return to form of Peter Wright ahead of Judgement Night, mental tips to handle bad runs of form at the oche and an update on the SEVEN horses that all darts fans will want to follow this summer.
It's the most varied show yet of the series as the team discuss the three horses that all darts fans (well, the ones who like to have a bet) will want to follow this summer, throwing a few 'arras' at the Aussie cricket team and how classic matches inspires one of our listeners in the gym.
Not to mention Chris' brand new practice game (as promised in the podcast, the rules are written below!) and Darth Maple's predictions for Thursday's Premier League Darts action in Belfast.
Chris Hammer's Immunity Challenge Practice Game
In a nutshell, what is it: Immunity Challenge is basically a glorified version of round the board which has varying levels of difficulty and a handicap system when playing opponents of different abilities.
Object of the game: If playing alone, it's to get round the board to 20 (in the method outlined below) in fewer visits than you've ever managed before.
If playing against opponent(s), it's to get round the board to 20 before they do.
ONE PLAYER VERSION, level one (beginners or novices): You start on number 10. You throw three darts at it. If you hit any part of it twice, you move onto the next number for your next visit. In this case it would be 11. If you hit 10 once you stay where you are. You hit it zero times, you drop down a number for your next number. In this case, to nine.
If you hit it three times, you move up but you’ve also earned an 'Immunity' chip in the bank. So if you ever miss all three darts at a future intended target, you can cash in an immunity chip to stay where you are. But once you've used it, it's gone. However, you are able to collect more than one Immunity chip.
The object is to get to 20 and clear it in the fewest visits possible. And then you have a PB to go for.
Level two: Exactly the same game as above but you are aiming at doubles, starting with double 10. Hitting the single or treble counts as a miss. You'd have to hit the double three times to get an immunity chip.
Level three: As you might have guessed, it’s trebles.
TWO PLAYER VERSION: Same game but obviously it's a race to 20 to see who gets there first.
If there's a difference in playing abilities, then the better player should aim at doubles, for example, and the lesser player aim at singles.
Extra variations: Of course you don't have to start on 10. You can start on 1 but obviously if you miss all three darts at the part you are aiming at, you can't go any further down!
Feel free to throw in the bullseye as your winning mark.
Doubles – it’s just head to head – whoever reaches 20 and clears it first is the winner. If someone is a lot better, you handicap it by saying they aim at trebles and you can go for the singles etc etc.
There's a new segment to the show entitled 'Check Out with Doctor Darth' in which the wise old sage gives you hints and tips to improve your own game at home or down the pub.
Find out how our Chris, who lays down his aspiration to win some kind of darts trophy at any level, has been getting on with John's number one practice drill and a top opponent it helped him defeat.
Fresh from our big trip to last Thursday’s Premier League event in Leeds, where our resident expert Chris Hammer tried to impress three-time world champ John Part with his accuracy on the oche, you can now listen to episode SEVEN of the Sporting Life Darts podcast, featuring those aforementioned two stars - plus host Dom!
You can find out if Darth Maple thinks Chris has a future in the sport plus more relevant topics such as Gary Anderson's stunning recent form and predictions for this week's action in Nottingham.
Darth Maple's return to the major TV stage for the first time in three years captured the imagination of the darting world during what was an unforgettable UK Open in Minehead this past weekend for many reasons!
In the sixth episode of the Sporting Life Darts Podcast, the three-time world champion joins our darts expert Chris Hammer and host Dom to tell us about his Storm Emma-defying journey from Canada (think Planes, Trains and Automobiles!), what it was like playing in the eerie atmosphere of an empty venue and the buzz of being at the centre of attention once again.
There were huge shocks, many underdog stories and a popular winner in Gary Anderson - so listen to John's account from the eye of the Storm.
Darth Maple talks about his return to the major televised stage at the UK Open in Minehead this weekend. He'll be facing a stone mason from Wolverhampton!
John also answers your questions, which this week include whether Premier League nights need to be mixed up a bit with the format and the process players go through to pick their walk-music - not to mention changing it if they select a stinker.
Darth Maple talks about the prospect of crushing the dreams of a stone mason at next month's UK Open!
John, continuing in his dual-role of 'Darts Agony Uncle', also answers your questions, which this week include whether you should copy a pro's technique to get better and how youth players should try to make their way in the game.
Darth Maple modestly takes our praises for his qualification for next month's UK Open!
John, in his dual-role of 'Darts Agony Uncle', also answers your questions, which this week involve bad sportsmanship and how to finally hit your first 180 - or get better at hitting more than one a year!
Darth Maple reflects on Adrian Lewis' suspension for his oche altercation at the weekend as well as a landmark achievement for the phenomenal Michael van Gerwen, who has now won 100 tournament titles.
John, in his dual-role of 'Darts Agony Uncle', also answers your questions, which this week involve drinking coffee on the oche and how to beat the mental block against certain players in the pub.
Rockin' on the oche, great bodies in darts and crowd intimidation. Not to mention plenty of bets and predictions from the legendary three-time world champion John Part, who graces us with his presence on the airwaves for the first ever Sporting Life Darts Podcast!
Darth Maple's thought-provoking observations ahead of the new Premier League Darts season, which starts on Thursday in Dublin, are complimented by our very own resident darts expert Chris Hammer, who is dining out on recently tipping Rob Cross to win the World Championship at 16/1, and host Dom Newton-Collinge.