Documentary (8+ mins)- Why is Darts Big in Stoke-on-Trent?

A film chronicling why the city Stoke-on-Trent is seen as the home of darts. Features exclusive interviews with PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) players Phil Taylor (16-time World Champion), Adrian Lewis (2-time World Champion) and Andy Hamilton (World Championship Finalist) – all from Stoke-on-Trent. This is the edited and unlisted version for the purposes of this website. Film was originally produced in April 2013.  Please click link to enlarge.

With 3 of the top 10 PDC world ranked darts players from the area of Stoke-on-Trent, what is it about this city that is the hub of darts? Indeed, it had always fascinated me as to why a distinctly high concentration of elite players from a single sport derive from such a relatively small geographical area, and it was a story I wanted to tell and one that I felt deserved to be.  So in April 2013, I set out to do so (note: some rankings may have changed since then).

This exclusivity has always been present- a mystique whereby when you think of Stoke and The Potteries, you automatically think of darts and to a large extent vice versa.

It’s a chronological path that starts in The Potteries post-war and, as recently as 2012, the PDC World Championship final was an all-Stoke affair with  26 year-old Adrian Lewis beating local rival and fans favourite Andy Hamilton.

If you thought the darts boom couldn’t get any bigger, well, it almost busted. And with the influence of Phil Taylor more players have been inspired by the 16-time World Champion- who won his latest world title as recently as 2013.

The 53 year-old, undoubtedly the greatest darts player of all time and originally from Burslem- one of Stoke’s six towns which ignites the local rivalries so associated with arguably the best county leagues in Britain- was mentored and even sponsored by a person ironically from a place called Stoke Newington in London, and a man known very well in Stoke-on-Trent.

The ‘Crafty Cockney’ Eric Bristow’s presence in Stoke has been widely attributed as one of the main factors as to why darts- an already huge sport-grew even bigger. Fate perhaps then…

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Shane Ryan