The News of the World Individual Darts Championship
was one of the first major organised darts competitions, which began in 1927. It became England's first national darts competition from 1947 until its demise in 1990. There was also a brief revival of the event in 1996/97, but it is now discontinued.
Before the tournament was established, darts competitions were held in various different forms around the England - often as friendly matches between pubs. After World War I, pub breweries began arranging darts leagues which began to sow the seeds for the establishment of a national darts competition.
The tournament was first organised in the 1927/28 season thanks to the help of the staff on the News of the World newspaper and other volunteers, who helped set up the competition.
There were around 1,000 entries in the first event, which was held in the Metropolitan area of London. The tournament then began to expand around the different counties in England. By 1938/39 there were six different regional events - London & South England, Wales, Lancashire & Cheshire, Yorkshire, the North of England and the Midland Counties.
The total entrants in the competition in 1938/39 was in excess of 280,000. Enormous interest was created that year by the London and South of England championship. A record crowd of 14,534 spectators filled the Royal Agricultural Hall, London in May to witness the final between Jim Pike (representing the Windmill Club, Southwark) and Marmaduke Brecon (Jolly Sailor, Hanworth, Middlesex). Brecon ran out the winner by two games to one.
There was, however no national champion of the event until after World War II. It was revived as a national competition in 1947/48, and continued to be described as ‘the championship every dart player wants to win’ until its demise in the 1990s.
The News of the World was the first nationally televised darts event as ITV
broadcast the championship from 1970 onwards (with the exception of the 1986 event which wasn't broadcast due to a technician's strike).
But as quickly as darts tournaments began to appear on television throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, the bubble burst and competitions such as the British Professional Championship, the British Open, the British Gold Cup and the team World Cup event had all disappeared from the screens by 1988.
No reason was ever given for its cancellation, but television coverage of the sport continued to decline to such an extent that it possibly came as no surprise that the News of the World Championship also ended in 1990. Ironically, 1990 was also the first year that separate competitions were held for men and women.
After the tournament ended, it left the World Professional Championship as the only televised tournament. This situation left some players frustrated by the lack of opportunity to make a living, that within two years they formed their own organisation to start up their own tournaments (see main article: Professional Darts Corporation).
The News of the World Championship made a one-year reappearance in the 1996/97 season, when Sky Sports
and the News of the World resurrected the competition.
In his autobiography, Phil Taylor says that his mentor, Eric Bristow always mocked him for never having won the competition and that it was the tournament that everyone wanted to win.
Taylor put the record straight by beating Ian White in the final. However, the overall response to the competition was disappointing and the News of the World decided against running it again. The tournament remains discontinued.
The tournament was arranged on a regional basis from 1927 until 1939. The National Championship began in 1947-48
- 1947-48 Harry Leadbetter (Windle Labour Club, St Helens) beat Tommy Small (Sth Durham Steel & Iron SC, West Hartlepool) 2-1
- 1948-49 Jackie Boyce (New Southgate SC) beat Stan Outten (Dr Johnson, Barkingside) 2-1.
- 1949-50 Dixie Newberry (Albert, Hitchin) beat Ronnie Ridley (King Edward Hotel, Newcastle-u-Tyne) 2-0.
- 1950-51 Harry Perryman (Home Office SC, Greenford) beat Laurie Runchman (Feathers, Felixstowe) 2-0.
- 1951-52 Tommy Gibbons (Ivanhoe WMC, Conisbrough) beat Jack Wallace (Low Seaton BL, Workington) 2-0.
- 1952-53 Jimmy Carr (Red Lion, Dipton) beat Ernest Greatbatch (Horse Vaults Hotel, Pontefract) 2-0.
- 1953-54 Oliver James (Ex-Servicemen’s Club, Onllwyn) beat Johnny Bell (Sun, Waltham Abbey) 2-0.
- 1954-55 Tom Reddington (New Inn, Stonebroom) beat Johnny Bell (Sun, Waltham Abbey) 2-0.
- 1955-56 Trevor Peachey (Black Fox, Thurston) beat Les Campbell (Boot, Dinas) 2-0.
- 1956-57 Alwyn Mullins (Traveller’s Rest, Tickhill) beat Len Baker (Corporation Hotel, Cardiff) 2-0.
- 1957-58 Tommy Gibbons (Ivanhoe WMC, Conisbrough) beat Eric Moss (Railway Tavern, Harleston) 2-0.
- 1958-59 Albert Welsh (Horden Hotel, Seaham) beat Frank Whitehead (White Rose Hotel, Rossington) 2-1.
- 1959-60 Tom Reddington (George Hotel, Alfreton) beat Dai Jones (Cambrian Hotel, Aberystwyth) 2-1.
- 1960-61 Alec Adamson (Prince of Wales, Hetton-le-Hole) beat Eddie Brown (Magpie, Stonham) 2-1
- 1961-62 Eddie Brown (Magpie, Stonham) beat Dennis Follett (Cadeleigh Arms, Cadeleigh) 2-0
- 1962-63 Robbie Rumney (Waterloo Hotel, Darlington) beat Bill Harding (Globe Hotel, Aberdare) 2-0
- 1963-64 Tom Barrett (Odco SC, London) beat Ray Hatton (Flower of the Valley Hotel, Rochdale) 2-0
- 1964-65 Tom Barrett (Odco SC, London) beat Norman Fielding (Station Inn, Swannington) 2-1.
- 1965-66 Wilf Ellis (Brookside WMC, Upton) beat Ron Langley (Arlington SC, Harlow) 2-1.
- 1966-67 Wally Seaton (Swan, Parson Drove) beat Brian Quarterman (Ivy Inn, North Littleton) 2-0.
- 1967-68 Bill Duddy (Rose & Thistle, Frimley Green) beat Gerry Feeney (Unicorn Club, Workington) 2-0.
- 1968-69 Barry Twomlow (Red Lion, Chesterfield) beat Paul Gosling (William IV, Truro) 2-0.
- 1969-70 Henry Barney (Pointers Inn, Newchurch, IoW) beat Alan Cooper (Plough, Filton) 2-0.
- 1970-71 Dennis Filkins (Barrow, Hepburn & Gale SC, Bermondsey) beat Derek White (Ship, Weymouth) 2-0.
- 1971-72 Brian Netherton (Welcome Home Inn, Par) beat Alan Evans (Ferndale Hotel, Rhondda) 2-0.
- 1972-73 Ivor Hodgkinson (Great Northern, Langley Mill) beat Ron Church (Royal Alfred, Shoreditch) 2-1.
- 1973-74 Peter Chapman (Bird in Hand, Henley) beat Paul Gosling (Portscatho Club, Truro) 2-1.
- 1974-75 Derek White (Belvedere Inn, Weymouth) beat Bill Duddy (Frimley Green WMC) 2-1.
- 1975-76 Bill Lennard (Cotton Tree Inn, Manchester) beat Leighton Rees (Ynysybwl USC, Pontypridd) 2-0.
- 1976-77 Mick Norris (King of Denmark, Ramsgate) beat Bob Crosland (Blackamoor Head, Pontefract) 2-0.
- 1977-78 Stefan Lord (Stockholm Super Darts Club) beat John Coward (White Hart BL, Sedbergh) 2-0.
- 1978-79 Bobby George (King George V, Ilford) beat Alan Glazier (George & Dragon, Wetherby) 2-0
- 1979-80 Stefan Lord (Stockholm Super Darts Club) beat Dave Whitcombe (Naval Club, Chatham) 2-0
- 1980-81 John Lowe (Willow Tree, Pilsley) beat Mick Norris (Earl St Vincent, Ramsgate) 2-0.
- 1981-82 Roy Morgan (Wheel o’ Worfield, Worfield) beat Jim Hughes (Parcwern Country Club, Ammanford) 2-1.
- 1982-83 Eric Bristow (Foaming Quart, Norton Green) beat Ralph Flatt (Old Red House, Carlton Colville) 2-0.
- 1983-84 Eric Bristow (Milton Hayes BC, Stoke-on-Trent) beat Ian Robertson (Bell, Marston Moretaine) 2-0.
- 1984-85 Dave Lee (Ivor Arms, Pontllanfraith) beat Billy Dunbar (Woolwich Infant, London) 2-0.
- 1985-86 Bobby George (Old Maypole, Hainault) beat Rick Ney (US Darting Association) 2-0.
- 1986-87 Mike Gregory (Stones Cross Hotel, Midsomer Norton) beat Peter Evison (Halcyon/Spikes, Peterborough) 2-0.
- 1987-88 Mike Gregory (Stones Cross Hotel, Midsomer Norton) beat Kevin Spiolek (Cambridge Squash Club) 2-1.
- 1988-89 Dave Whitcombe (King’s Head, Ipswich) beat Dennis Priestley (Horseshoe, Rotherham) 2-1.
- 1989-90 Paul Cook (Gorse Hill WMC, Swindon) beat Steve Hudson (Oakworth SC, Keighley).
- 1996-97 Phil Taylor (Cricketer’s Arms, Newcastle-under-Lyme) beat Ian White (Dockside Inn, Runcorn) 2-0.
- 1989-90 Lynne Ormond (George, Alford) beat Jane Stubbs (Roebuck Hotel, Northwich)
- 1996-97 Linda Jones (Seven Stars, Chorley) beat Melanie Saunders (Railway Inn, Abergavenny) 2-0.
No player has ever won the national title three times, seven players managed two wins each.
2 Tommy Gibbons (1951-52, 1957-58)
2 Tom Reddington (1954-55, 1959-60)
2 Tom Barrett (1963-64, 1964-65)
2 Stefan Lord (1977-78, 1979-80)
2 Eric Bristow (1982-83, 1983-84)
2 Bobby George (1978-79, 1985-86)
2 Mike Gregory (1986-87, 1987-88)
- 1948-49 Empire Pool (Wembley Arena), Wembley
- 1950-58 Empress Hall, Earls Court
- 1959-62 Empire Pool (Wembley Arena), Wembley
- 1963-77 Alexandra Palace, London
- 1978-84 Empire Pool (Wembley Arena), Wembley
- 1984-85 Empire Pool (Wembley Arena), Wembley
- 1997 Aston Villa Leisure Centre, Birmingham