1977 WDF World Cup I
Eighteen countries participated in the first World Cup Darts held in London from 2 to 4 December at the Wembley Conference Centre, often with the Olympic spirit to win the WORLD CUP DARTS. The organization was in the hands of the British Darts Organisation (BDO) under the supervision of the World Darts Federation (WDF), formed in 1976 and consisting of 15 countries.
The host country was regarded as a favourite with reigning Winmau World Master John Lowe in their team. Each team consisted of four players. Wales was seen as the main opponent since they had Alan Evans, the 1975 World Master in their team. Also Leighton Rees, losing finalist of the News of the World tournament in 1976 played for Wales. Scotland with Rab Smith and the USA with Nicky Virachkul were considered outsiders. The youngest player was, only 16 years old, Belgian Arnold Vandepoele. The oldest, Joe Goldwin 52 years, came from Gibraltar.
The first World Cup was played over three events; teams of three players (it was only played in teams of four from 1979 onwards), pairs and singles. Points and medals were awarded for each event. The total of the points determines who will eventually go home with the World Cup.
In the team England and Wales reached the semi-finals as expected. The Republic of Ireland and Sweden completed the semi-final line-up. The Swedes saw off Scotland 5-4 earlier. England defeated Sweden (Stefan Lord, Douglas Melander and Kent Ohlsson) in the semi-finals 5-2. But the match between Wales and Rep. Ireland (Charles Byrne, Patrick Clifford and Seamus O'Brien) was a gem of excitement. Wales (L. Rees, A. Evans & David "Rocky" Jones) was up 4-1, but the Irish did not give in and drew the score level at 4-4. The final leg was played between Pat Clifford and Alan Evans. With the Welshman on tops, Clifford threw from 111; he hit the triple 20 and the single 19, but just missed the double 16. Then both players had their chance to clinch the match, but both missed eight arrows at the double. Ultimately, it was Evans who hit double one and gave Wales a place in the final.
In the final, England (Eric Bristow, John Lowe and Tony Brown) took a 4-1 lead, but it was Wales’ turn to come back to four all. Again it was Alan Evans who got the job done by beating John Lowe and thus Wales won the first event.
In the pairs where each country was represented by two teams it was again England and Wales, who set the tone. In the semi-final Wales’ David "Rocky" Jones & Phil Obbard beat the New-Zealand pair John Wilkie & Ian Hastie 4-3. England’s John Lowe & Eric Bristow defeated the other pair from Wales, Alan Evans & Leighton Rees 4-2.
In the final, Wales went up 1-0 and 2-1, but the English drew level each time and went ahead 3-2. Lowe & Bristow did finish the job with a 12 darter (85-180-83-153 finish) and won the title 4-2.
With England and Wales each winning one event the decision on would win the World Cup had to come in the singles. Countries quickly lost one player at the expense of the Australians, Barrie Delbridge defeated Tony Brown and Barry Atkinson defeated Phil Obbard. The Welshmen Alan Evans and Leighton Rees managed to qualify for the semi-finals. Alan Reid for Scotland and England’s Cliff Lazarenko also reached the last four. In those semi-finals the two Welshmen were up against each other. Rees beat his teammate 4-0. In the other semi-final Lazarenko managed to beat Alan Reid. Encouraged by numerous Scottish supporters Reid hit a maximum at his first throw and also won the first leg. He also hit a 180 in the second leg but was brushed aside 4-2 by a strong display from Cliff Lazarenko.
With the score 74 points to Wales and 63 to England the final was to decide the outcome of the first WDF World Cup. Leighton won the first leg, which he started himself. Lazarenko quickly equalized. Rees took the third leg with a 115 (19, 60, D18) finish. In the fourth leg Lazarenko threw a 180 and he took that leg again. The match continued to be very evenly matched. Rees hit a 116 (60, 48, D8) finish and Cliff took the next leg that he himself started. It looked like Lazarenko would win the deciding leg after strong scores of 100, 100, 125 and 136 left him on tops. Leighton Rees missed the 121-finish that was left for him, but Lazarenko missed three darts at double 20. Rees didn’t let this second chance be unused and hit tops with his second dart.
Wales was the first country to win the silver World Cup trophy worth £ 4,000 after an exciting battle with England.
1- 110 points Wales
Leighton Rees, Alan Evans, David Rocky Jones, Phil Obbard
2- 75 points England
John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Tony Brown, Cliff Lazarenko
3- 30 points Rep. Ireland
Charles Byrne, Patrick Clifford, Seamus O'Brien, Jim McQuillan
4 - 27 Scotland / New Zealand
6 - 24 Sweden
7 - 23 Australia
8 - 20 United States
9 - 17 Canada
10 - 15 Finland
11 - 14 Belgium / Bermuda / Denmark
14 - 13 Netherlands
15 - 12 France / Gibraltar
17 - 11 Japan
18 - 9 Malta