Darts: Hearn's heavyweight hyperbole

"LET'S NOT undersell this," Barry Hearn cautioned yesterday as he announced the first-ever confrontation between the world champions of the sport's two rival organisations. "This is the biggest game of darts in the universe."

With Hearn at the promotional helm of a contest that will bring together Ray "Barney Rubble" Barneveld, the British Darts Organisation title holder, and Phil "the Power" Taylor, the seven-times winner of the Professional Darts Council title, underselling was never a realistic concern.

"We're going to have 3,000 people hanging from the rafters, all supporting one or the other. This is not a match for neutrals. It'll be like England against Germany at football."

More like England against the Netherlands in fact. Barneveld, a postman from The Hague, is a rather bigger sporting celebrity in his native land than Taylor is in Britain and has a band of followers who loyally sport orange wigs or Flintstone outfits wherever they go in his support. On this occasion the rafters that they will be endangering are those at the Wembley Conference Centre on 7 November.

More important than the antics of the crowd at Wembley, though, is the rather larger audience expected as darts receives its first, and much needed, exposure throughout the ITV network since the 1980s. Crucially, the broadcast has not been shuffled into the small hours but will be shown live at the slightly closer to prime time - or rather high-tea time - of 4pm on a Sunday.

The match, which will be the best of 25 games, will offer the largest purse ever for a darts contest: pounds 60,000 to the winner and pounds 40,000 to the loser.

As Hearn, almost convincingly, said yesterday: "The money's incidental. Ultimately, this event had to happen. Like in boxing, when you get two guys this good then you have to find out."

Hearn, better known for his boxing promotions, could not stop himself from slipping in a few more analogies with the noble art. "It"ll be like Leonard v Duran, Eubank v Benn." Mercifully, there will be no weigh-in for Barneveld v Taylor.

"On the undercard we've got Rod Harrington [the world's top-rated player], who I nearly said will fight, I mean will play, Co Stompe [the Dutch No 2]. Then comes the big one, the entry of the gladiators. This is going to be a titanic struggle."

The imagery was close enough to being appropriate as the announcement of the contest took place on the World War II cruiser HMS Belfast, moored beside London Bridge. Her powerful armoury stayed silent yesterday and the two big guns left most of the talking to Hearn.

"The English and Dutch fans will be segregated at Wembley, not because we're expecting any trouble, but because it'll look better on telly. Orange on one side, Union Jacks on the other.

"This is an emotional and historic moment for the world of darts."

Suggested Topics
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on