Darts stars from a golden age will brush off the cobwebs at the Circus Tavern over the next three days with Phil Taylor topping the bill at the World Seniors Darts Championship.
The Power, 5/1 to add senior glory to his 16 world championships, heads a who's who of darting greats with 11 world champions past and present in the field, plus Robert Thornton, who is defending the title he won last year.
|What||World Seniors Darts Championship|
|Where||Circus Tavern, Purfleet, England|
|When||9th-12th February 2023|
|How to watch||BT Sport & BBC Red Button|
|Odds||P Taylor 5/1, S Mitchell 5/1, R Thornton 13/2, M Adams 8/1, K Painter 10/1, D Cameron 12/1, R Howson 12/1, N Duff 12/1, L Gates 12/1|
The Circus Tavern in Purfleet is among the most iconic venues in darts and it's fitting that the second World Seniors Darts Championship will take place there given how many legends of the sport will be toeing the oche.
Thirty-two greats will take to the stage, all of them over 50, 12 of them over 60 and one – dear old Bob Anderson – clocking in at 75-years-young.
The 1988 BDO world champion is an unfancied 350/1 chance though there are plenty of former world champs who will fancy their chances, none moreso than 5/1 poke Taylor, Scott Mitchell at 5/1, Martin Adams at 9/1 and current WDF champion Neil Duff at 12/1.
It's a straight knockout event, the first three rounds over five sets, the semis over seven and final over nine.
Thornton, a 13/2 chance, is defending champion after beating Adams 5-1 in the final 12 months ago.
What was noticeable about the inaugural World Seniors Darts Championship was how competitive it was.
These venerable arrowsmiths may no longer be jostling with the likes of MvG, Michael Smith and Snakebite on the PDC's main tour, but they still take it super seriously.
And the first-round draw has thrown up several matches that you just know will be ultra-competitive even if the averages produced won't break any records.
John Part takes on Co Stompe in round one, Thornton has drawn Roland Scholten and Chris Mason plays Terry Jenkins.
Kevin Painter and Ronnie Baxter had many, many battles over top-class careers which ran pretty much concurrently and you know there will be no quarter asked or given when they cross tungsten.
It's 1/4 Painter, 11/4 Baxter and The Artist did look good last year, when he whitewashed Taylor and was one of only four men to produce a 90-plus average during a single game.
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There are any number of eye-catching outright punting possibilities with so many unknowns.
Taylor's pedigree is beyond question but he has been retired for five years, whereas the likes of Mitchell and 28/1 outsider Glen Durrant were on the PDC Tour only last year.
Duzza, of course, has effectively come out of retirement for this – like around half the field.
Duff is a current word champion and ranked No.2 behind Jelle Klaasen in the WDF rankings, while contenders like Andy Jenkins, Lisa Ashton and Larry Butler were confident enough – and playing well enough – to give Q School a go last month.
Mason, a 14/1 chance, said he would only ever come out of retirement if he could give 100 per cent to the challenge and look at someone like Leonard Gates, the current North American champion who beat Geert Nentjes in the worlds at Alexandra Palace in December. The American is available at 12/1.
Durrant, now unburdened by being on tour but a Premier League champion as recently as two-and-a-half years ago, could be a danger with no expectations on him.
He certainly catches the eye at 5/4 against Mark Dudbridge in round one.
Another bet has to be Darren Johnson at 4/6 against Butler. Johnson averaged over 107 against Prakash Jiwa during a qualifier for these finals which clearly he never repeated, but it does show what the 56-year-old South Yorkshireman is capable of.
Richie Howson is another player producing decent numbers on the World Seniors Tour and can land 1/1 odds against David Cameron.
As for the outright bet, it's hard to see past Mitchell given the pedigree and the form.