Player Update April 2024

Written by
Abigail Davies

It’s been an incredibly busy, exciting, and fruitful couple of months for the Shot Darts Tribe, both on the board and behind the scenes.

The Premier League of darts continues to tick along and for Michael Smith, he is still very much in the race to qualify for the play-offs in London as the points continue to trickle in.

Having claimed victory on the opening night in Cardiff, Bully Boy has backed that up by reaching another three finals and is currently one of very few players on the planet with a positive head-to-head record against Luke Littler, having now beaten The Nuke in four of the five matches they’ve contested.

The 2023 World Champion currently sits just outside the play-off spots after 12 weeks of Premier League action and there are plenty of reasons for optimism and encouragement.

At times his scoring power has been scintillating, his rhythm remarkable, but a lot has also been made of his steely grit, determination, and ability to grind out wins even when not at his blistering best this year, a combination of attributes that will surely see him achieve a great deal of success in 2024.

Next up for Smith on this year’s darting roadshow will be a meeting with Rob Cross in Liverpool, another great opportunity to add to his points tally. Last year, Bully Boy was runner-up to Michael van Gerwen at the M&S Bank Arena, lets hope he can go one better this time around!

Young Guns Going Strong

Having acquired the signatures of a number of exciting youngsters at the start of 2024, there was great eagerness and anticipation ahead of the first block of Development Tour events of the year in Milton Keynes and it didn’t take long for one of our stars to create their own slice of history as Justin Hewitt’s 101.82 average posted in a 4-2 victory over Paul Krohne was the first ton plus average to be posted by a player from Gibraltar on the Development Tour, at least since averages have been recorded in this tournament - he went on to enjoy a run to the Last 32 in that particular event.

Having dropped off the main PDC circuit, 2020 World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks has plenty of reason to be positive and optimistic after a pretty impressive few weeks.

Off the back of success in Winmau Championship Tour 2, Bam Bam recently headed to Portsmouth for another crack at the Modus Super Series. A field littered with magnificent talent, Brooks produced multiple ton plus averages to help him book his spot at finals night.

Posting an average of 97 to get the better of Colin Osborne in the weekly final, the 24-year-old sealed a 4-1 win and secured a spot at Champions Week where he’ll now have the opportunity to play for the £20,000 top prize.

On his Super Series success, Bradley said: “I felt I was lucky to make it through my group on the Saturday night and make the semi-final. I rode my luck at times but when I really needed to produce my best, when it came to the final, I did.

“Before the ADC final, it had been a long while since I was last in a final. That experience and that confidence boost really helped. Winning a week at the Super Series is a big thing for me. Given how many people watch and what’s on the line, it’s one of the biggest things I’ve played in for a long time so I’m actually really proud of myself.

“It’s massive to have these opportunities when you drop off the tour. Not being a professional isn't always a bad thing. It can get difficult when you’re being beaten over and over again but now not having the pressure of having a tour card, it can sometimes help you. This year could really help my overall career, playing in ADC events, at Modus and the other opportunities that are opening up. Some may see it as a step back in my career, but in some ways it could be a step forward.”

Brooks has spent time analysing and working on his throw recently and focusing on making his action a bit more rhythmic seems to be working well.

“The way I was playing coming into this week, I feel my game still needs work with the new throw but I feel like the best version of me is just around the corner. I’m really happy with how things are going and I’m really enjoying playing darts at the moment.

“I used to have quite a robotic throw, I’d set it and I started to struggle trying to spin the darts, they weren’t sitting right so I decided to go back to basics. I decided I was just going pick up the dart, pull it back and throw it and that’s been working really well recently!

“I noticed that things were natural when I was practicing, the spinning of the darts wasn’t natural. It was something I chose to do but now throwing more naturally, it feels a lot more comfortable for me. I’m enjoying the game at the moment and I'm really enjoying practice.”

Bradley’s new Shot darts are set for launch in July, we wish him the very best of luck on the Development Tour and when he returns to Portsmouth for Champions Week in a few weeks time.

Photo © MichaelCooper/PDC

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