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Clash Of The Titans Jim Pike V Joe Hitchcock
In 1999 Phil Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld met in a head to head competition. Patrick Chaplin wrote an article for the programme that accompanied the match.

In that article he talks about a clash of two former greats from years gone by, namely Jim Pike and Joe Hitchcok, here is the article below by kind permission of Patrick.



[center]DARTING MILESTONES[/center]


Everyone has their favourite, most memorable darts match be it a personal success in a local league or national competition or a particular game involving one of the darting stars of the past or present. From an historic point of view there are a number of Dart Milestones.

Few people today would recognise the name Sammy Stone, but Sammy of the New South-West Ham Club, won the very first News of the World competition in 1928. Only 1,000 dart-players entered at that time, entries being restricted to the London Metropolitan Area. However, by 1939 the competition was regional and over one quarter of a million darters toed the oche seeking darting glory. The London & South regional final that year saw Jim Pike, (Windmill Club, Southwark), take on Marmaduke ‘Dukey’ Brecon (Jolly Sailor, Hanworth, Middx.). An audience of 17,000 people – a record for any darting event ever - crammed into the Royal Agricultural Hall, London and watched the favourite, Pike, lose 2-1 to Brecon.

During and after the war Pike captained the News of the World Team of Dart Champions which raised funds for the Red Cross. In 1946 another well-known dart-player, Joe Hitchcock, from North London, captained the St. Dunstan Four, a team of sighted dartsmen who worked tirelessly raising cash for the war-blinded. It was inevitable that these two people’s champions would eventually meet to decide who was the best. As with today’s Barneveld/Taylor confrontation the people demanded it.

Frank Wolfe, Editor of The Dart, was the man who managed to organise ‘The Darts Match of the Century’. The clash – 1,001-up, best of three, straight start, double finish - took place at Acton Town Hall on 2 September 1946 in front of over 1,000 fans, some of whom had paid more than £2 for a seat! After two games it was level. In the tense decider Pike left himself five ‘to rip’ and then hit double 17 when going for a winning out on double two. Hitchcock stepped up and shot out on double 16, sending the crowd delirious and his fans proclaiming him ‘Champion of the World’. The Pike and Hitchcock head-to-head was repeated the following year. Hitchcock won again, this time 2-0. His winning outshot was 5 – going out double one, single one, double one!

Tom Barrett’s victory in the 1964-65 News of the World, when he retained his individual title at Alexandra Palace with a 2-1 win over Leicestershire’s Norman Fielding, is an established part of darts history. A marvellous achievement later emulated by Eric Bristow (1982-83 & 1983-84) and Mike Gregory (1986-87 & 1987-88). But there is something special about Barrett’s win in a Sixties darts world devoid of professionals.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s there were many memorable matches and individual performances (e.g. Bristow’s amazing run of success in the Embassy in the 1980s and John Lowe’s first televised perfect 9-dart 501 in 1984) but who will ever forget the Mike Gregory/Phil Taylor Embassy final in 1992? The thirty-two finalists included no less than six previous winners of the championship. The game went right to the wire with the advantage seesawing between the two players until Taylor finally shot out with double top to win his second Embassy and collect a cheque for £28,000.

These then are just some of the historic darts milestones. The match you will be watching today is darts history in the making, a clash which will take the sport into the new Millennium. It is the match that will decide the true Champion of the World. But take my word for it, like Pike and Hitchcock over half a century ago, whatever the result today, another meeting of these titans of darts is inevitable.

Patrick Chaplin
Darts Historian
Maldon, Essex
1999
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The above thread was from the old forum, here is replies from it:

DIRTY G

Thanx grip, I like those little bits of dartng history, good to see were our roots come from

I have a set of tom barrets in a case, the flights are munted tough

Getagrip

Well thank Patrick really its his article, sign up to his Newsletter as there is lots of this kind of info on there and his site: www.patrickchaplin.com

DR. DARTS

Was it really 1999 Grip? I was so much younger then!

There's more about Joe Hitchcock and a bit more about Jim Pike on my recently updated website www.patrickchaplin.com. Joe was highly proficient at nail-throwing and I am proud to possess not only a set of 'gold' nails that used to belong to Joe but also his own personal badge as Chairman of WANT (the World Association of Nail Throwers).

One day I'll put together a history of Joe H's post-war team, the St. Dunstan's Four who raised thousands of pounds for the war-blinded.

Getagrip

Oh time flies!

I dont think many people these days realise what a legend Joe Hitchcock was in the day and even after he retired, I think he was still doing exhibitions into a good age, I would have loved to have seen one in person. Still, some good footage of him available. Wish they had filmed the matches with him and Pike though, that would have been amazing to see!
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