Which player was responsible for the worst leg in the history of professional darts?

Which player was responsible for the worst leg in the history of professional darts?  There are a few contenders for what was arguably the worst leg in the history of professional darts and, weirdly, all of them involve an Australian. New South Walean Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock has twice staked his claim at the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. In December, 2018, he and opponent Martin Schindler missed 22 darts at a double between them in the third leg of their first round match, although Whitlock did average 87.42 and eventually won the match 3-1. In December, 2022, Whitlock and Christian Perez again missed nine darts apiece at a double in the third leg of the deciding set in their first round match, which Whitlock won on double 1 after 30 darts.

However, the player generally considered to be responsible for worst leg in the history of professional darts was Australian former professional Anthony ‘Fleety’ Fleet, who did so on his one and only appearance at the British Darts Organisation (BDO) World Championship at Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, Surrey. Drawn against former BDO World Champion Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams in the first round, Fleet was clearly overcome by nerves, to the extent that he not only had problems throwing his darts accurately, but also passing them from hand to hand and, at one point, even standing steadily at the oche.

His first twelve darts yielded 26, 41, 60 and 60, followed by an excrutiating passage of play in which he hit single 1, single 1, dropped his third dart on the floor and, having taken a moment to compose himself, hit treble 1 for a total of 5. At that point, commentator David Croft remarked, ‘A long way to go yet, but one of the worst starts I’ve ever seen a player make to a match here’. He wasn’t kidding; Fleet threw his next dart into double one.

Further haphazard throws of 22, 80 and 11 followed, before Adams finally put him out of his misery, although he needed 26 darts to do so, having missed three darts at double 12 and another at double 6. Fleet never recovered, losing the match 3-0 without winning a leg and recording a paltry three-dart average of 65.34.

First Televised Nine-dart Finish

Nowadays, the perfect, nine-dart finish is far more commonplace than was once the case but, even so, a televised nine-dart finish remains a rarity. In 2019, for example, a total of 47 players hit a nine-dart finish in Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) events, but just one them – Michael van Gerwen, during his second round win over Adrian Lewis in the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals – did so in a televised event.

The first televised nine-dart finish was achieved on October 13, 1984 – long before the formation of the PDC, as the World Darts Council (WDC), in January, 1992 – during the MFI World Matchplay at the Fulcrum Centre, Slough. In a quarter-final match between John Lowe and Keith Deller, both former British Darts Organisation (BDO) world champions, Lowe hit six trebles in as many darts, followed by treble 17, treble 18 and double 18, to collect a record prize of £102,000. Lowe won the quarter-final 3-1 and went on to win the whole tournament, beating Cliff Lazarenko 5-3 in the final, for which he received a further £12,000.

Click to watch John Lowe’s televised nine dart finish