1988 WDF Europe Cup VI - Heren

Published at 15/05/2020

From 6 to 8 October 1988, the British Darts Organisation hosted the WDF Europe Cup VI, which took place in the English port city of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Initially, this event would take place in the West German town of Heidelberg but the withdrawal of the main sponsor at the last moment forced the World Darts Federation to find another host. Denmark volunteered to organise the tournament but the BDO eventually got the organisation.


Thus, was the European Cup VI played in the Seashore Holiday Centre in Great Yarmouth. It is the second time, after 1982, England hosts a WDF Europe Cup, this time with fifteen countries on the starting list, including for the first time Italy and Malta.

Men’s Team Event
In the team event, the British teams reached the semi-finals. England with John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Bob Anderson & Mike Gregory had to compete against the Scottish quartet Jocky Wilson, Trevor Nurse, Peter MacDonald & Peter Masson at 9:30 in the early morning. The Tartan Army soon ran to a 5-1 lead. The English fought back to 7-4, but then Peter Masson beat John Lowe and the Scots needed only one more leg for a place in the final. At a score of 8-5 it was the young Peter MacDonald who had to play against the experienced Eric Bristow. The Crafty Cockney who had not managed to win a single leg in the semi-final yet. MacDonald seemed untenable and when Bristow also bust from 130, it was a breeze for the Scotsman to secure the 9-5 victory.

The second semi-final was between Northern Ireland with Ray Farrell, Roy Bailie, Geoff Wylie & Fred McMullan and the foursome Eric Burden, Geraint Wilson, Richie Burnett & Chris Johns from Wales. The Northern Irish went 4-2 up but Burnett and Wilson pulled it back to 4-4. Geoff Wylie brought the Northern Irish the lead again, aided by Burnett who missed four darts on the wire. Yet Wales came back again to lead 5-6 courtesy of Johns and Burden. Thanks to a nice 13 dart leg Farrell made it 6-6 with McMullan and Burden making it 7-7. Leg 15 proved crucial, Geraint Wilson beat Roy Bailie and Ray Farrell now had to win to keep Wales from reaching the final. Burnett however would not be stopped and via a 12 darter (140-180-125-56 finish) put Wales in the final.

The public expected a Scottish victory in the final, especially after the convincing semi-final, but Wales didn’t want to participate in that party. From start to finish, the lead is for the Wales team. The Wales squad took a 6-3 lead and a little later 8-6. Jocky Wilson brings the Scots back into the game by taking the 15th leg, but it's again young Richie Burnett who wins the game for Wales. Although via double one, Wales wins the team event. It is the first time Wales has won the team event, after England has won it four times in a row and Scotland won the first edition.

Men’s Pairs tournament
In the men's pairs it was Sweden that surprisingly dominated. Both Swedish pairs, Stefan Lord & Lars-Erik Karlsson and Magnus Caris & Andree Bomander reached the final. Both duos had won 4-1 against the English in the quarterfinals. Lord & Karlsson defeated John Lowe & Eric Bristow and Caris & Bomander beat Bob Anderson & Mike Gregory.

In the semi-finals, the Swedes won 4-3 against Chris Johns & Richie Burnett from Wales and Reijo Ahokas & Ari Kokko from Finland respectively. That Sweden had a lot of talent was a public secret, but for two Swedish duos to meet in the final was a surprise. Nevertheless, it was clear that the Scandinavians were the best at playing in the pairs. It is not without reason that Stefan Lord has already been European champion in the pairs tournament twice before. The title eventually went to the most experienced duo; Stefan Lord & Lars Erik Karlsson beat their younger colleagues Magnus Caris & Andree Bomander 4-0.

With his win, Stefan Lord becomes the first player to become a three-time WDF Europe Cup pairs champion, after both his previous victories in 1980 and 1982, then alongside Bjørn Enqvist.

Men’s Singles tournament
In the singles Scotland and England were the dominating countries. Both countries had two players facing each other in the semi-finals. In the Scottish game, Trevor Nurse defeated his teammate Jocky Wilson 4-3. The English game was won by Mike Gregory, who brushed "The Crafty Cockney" Eric Bristow aside with clear numbers (4-0). In the quarterfinals Wilson had narrowly beaten a young Dutchman who made his debut on the international stage. His name; Raymond van Barneveld. Mike Gregory also wins in the first round against a 21-year-old player who still has a nice career ahead of him, he is from Wales and is called Richie Burnett.

In a very important final between the Scottish Trevor Nurse and England’s Mike Gregory, it would not only be decided who would win the singles title, but also which country would win the overall title. England had been disappointing several times both in the team event and in the pairs and this could now cost them the overall victory. If Mike Gregory would win, the WDF Europe Cup was for England. A win for Nurse and the the Cup moves from England to Scotland for the first time in history. Unfortunately for the Scots, Trevor Nurse failed to find his normal rhythm and that led to a 4-0 win for Mike Gregory. Two 180 scores and a 116-finish indicated that the best man won. For Gregory it was the biggest win of his career so far.

Men’s Overall classification
More than ever it turned out that a super team like England can be beat. Ultimately, the English foursome John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Bob Anderson & Mike Gregory with 106 points still win the overall title. Thanks to Mike Gregory who took the decisive points in the singles. Sweden stranded at 2 points and for the third time in history has to settle for silver with a total of 104 points. Scotland takes bronze with 91 points. Wales finished fourth with 76 points and gold in the team tournament.

Overall ranking
1 - 106 points England
2 - 104 points Sweden
3 - 91 points Scotland
4 - 76 points Wales
5 - 33 points Finland/ Northern Ireland
7 - 27 points Belgium
8 - 26 points Switzerland
9 - 23 points Netherlands
10 - 20 points Denmark/ Malta
12 - 16 points Ireland Republic/ Norway
14 - 14 points Italy
15 - 13 points Germany