Scotland the brave for third World Cup win?


By Jethro Bremner-Allison.

The World Cup of Darts has begun and looking at the list of runners and riders, one word is not tumbling from many pundits’ mouths ahead of the tournament…Scotland.

Favourites for the tournament at 8/1, is it easy to write them off this year? Is there value to be found elsewhere? 

The hard facts are that Gary Anderson has now slipped to 22nd in the world rankings. After 12 seasons in the Premier League in a row, including 2 wins and five semi final appearances, Gary was sat at home for this year’s tournament. A controversial trouncing from PL debutant Chris Dobey in R3 of the Worlds had people questioning that after one of the greatest PDC careers of all time, whether Gary’s star had finally waned?

2023 began with the Masters and Gary could rightfully think there was still hope with an incredible 111 average in a LOSS to Rob Cross. But then the doldrums came on the floor, last 128 and 64 exits to players Gary would have swatted in his pomp.   

Then a shaft of light..a runner up to Ross Smith in Players Championship 5 was swiftly followed by a win for the first time in 3 years in Players Championship 8 beating Ratajski 8-5 in the final after a destruction of Gerwyn Price in the semis. Gary even admitted afterwards he was enjoying his darts! 

A quiet few months followed and then all of a sudden on Monday, he reappeared in yet another Players Championship final, this time narrowly losing to world champion Michael Smith. 

Whilst the headline is Gary isn’t the force he was, he undoubtedly still the ability to put it together against top opponents and the confidence and nonchalance to perform when he’s being written off. He’s seen it all before and will not be intimidated by any of the pairings in the World Cup. 

Head over to Peter Wright and you would think the story would be similar. Raced out of the World Championship by Kim Huybrechts in the last 32, Peter was left to reflect on what might have been. As reported here in Oche, it was a difficult time off the board for Peter too, so all would be forgiven if his mind was elsewhere. 

He was selected and showed up for 16 weeks of the PL and picked up 5 solitary wins across the period, being the only player to not win a gameweek across the season. It was a chastening experience and one which would have had lesser players looking for the solace of a darkened room. Not Peter however, in the midst of this barren PL spell, he picked up a title. Confidence at the oche is one thing this man has never lacked but to bound through the Czech Darts Open field to lift the title after the season he’d endured showed magnificent determination. 

All of a sudden, the 8/1 doesn’t look too bad. Scotland can take heart that both Gary and Peter are showing glimpses very recently that they are far from done. The last time they toed the oche together in 2019 they were victorious and whilst other teams may fancy their chances, you won’t find a pair more experienced, with a will to win and blue blood in their veins. 

The Saltire may have been lying dormant for a little while now, but this week don’t be surprised if the lion is rampant once more.