1980 WDF Europe Cup II
After the success of the first World Cup in 1977 in London, it was decided to hold the first WDF Europe Cup darts a year later from 1 to 3 September in Copenhagen, Denmark. Eleven countries took part in this, including Belgium and the Netherlands. In 1978, there were only men's teams competing for four titles. Singles, pairs, teams and of course the overall title.
The team event was an all-British affair. Only the Finns were able to trouble the Northern Irish somewhat in the first round. In the semi-finals, England with John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Tony Brown & Cliff Lazarenko beat the team of Scotland, Alistair Forrester, Angus Ross, Rab Smith & Jocky Wilson 9-6. With that result, the defending champion was out.
Dyfri Jones, Wayne Locke, Ceri Morgan & Leighton Rees on behalf of Wales defeated, not without difficulty, the Republic of Ireland team consisting of John Buckley, Eugene McDermott, Jim McQuillan & Seamus O'Brien. Wales went up 4-0, but the Irish made up for the deficit and tied it at 8-8. Leighton Rees and Jim McQuillan were appointed by their captain and had to decide which team would go to the final. With Jim McQuillan on a double, Leighton Rees finished 102 and so helped Wales into the final.
In the final, after Leighton Rees beat John Lowe and Wayne Lock beat Eric Bristow, Wales had to give up their early lead as they failed to hit the all-important double in the following legs. England hit back hard and won 9-3.
The champions of the first edition of the Europe Cup Pairs Lowe & Bristow were soon ousted from the tournament; they lost in the second round to the Scottish pair of Jocky Wilson & Angus Ross. This Scottish duo reached the semi-finals, where they eventually lost 4-2 to the Swedish pair Stefan Lord & Björn Enqvist. The other Scottish duo Rab Smith & Alistair Forrester also reach the semi-finals where they beat the strong English pair Tony Brown & Cliff Lazarenko.
The final of the pairs would also decide over the second place in the overall ranking. In this final, with great scoring and finishing, the Swedes Stefan Lord & Björn Enqvist took a 1-0 lead. The Scots Rab Smith & Alistair Forrester then equalized things at 1-1. Despite a 180 from Forrester, the Swedes took the third leg. In the fourth leg it was just the other way around. Lord scored a 180 but the Scots tied at two apiece. The fifth leg was won by Sweden courtesy of a 76 finish by Stefan Lord. The sixth leg was also won by the Swedish duo, which ensured them a second place in the overall classification and of course gold in the pairs. It is the first time that the hegemony of the English in the pairs at any WDF Cup is broken.
The highlight of the 1980 WDF Europe Cup was the singles event, where medals and honour were at stake. The supporters enjoyed this darts spectacle.
In the first round News of the World winner Stefan Lord lost surprisingly 4-0 to Belgian champion Luc Marreel. Luc went on to reach the quarterfinals where he lost to Rab Smith. Rab had also beaten the reigning European champion John Lowe in the second round. Jocky Wilson made the Scottish party complete by beating Cliff Lazarenko.
It was those two Scots and the two remaining English favourites that would eventually be in the semi-finals. The first semi-final was between Eric Bristow and Jocky Wilson and the audience was ecstatic. Jocky got in front early in the match but it was Bristow who got the better of him later on in the exciting game and beat him in the seventh and decisive leg. In the second semi-final, the unflappable Tony Brown beat Rab Smith with the same numbers.
Tony pushed on in the final and with the help of two 13-dart legs he defeated Eric Bristow with a 4-0 whitewash. Apparently, Bristow had run out of steam after his tussle with Wilson.
The overall standings were won in 1980 by the England team John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Tony Brown & Cliff Lazarenko with 101 points The third gold for Tony Brown with his singles title and win in the team event. Sweden takes the silver with 56 points and that was the first time that a country from mainland Europe finished in second place. In addition, there was of course also the gold in the pairs for Stefan Lord & Björn Enqvist. The Scots' Tartan Army came in third with 48 points. Host country Wales had imagined a bit more of this tournament on home soil but had to settle for fourth with 32 points.
1 - 101 points England
2 - 56 points Sweden
3 - 48 points Scotland
4 - 32 points Wales
5 - 28 points Ireland Republic
6 - 24 points Denmark / Northern Ireland
8 - 21 points Belgium
9 - 19 points Finland
10 - 18 points France / Gibraltar / Netherlands
13 - 16 points Germany