Kirk Bevins offered some insight into a less well-known part of the PDC World Championship experience.
Officials are a key part of the game, both for calling and scoring matches, and for keeping players in line. They have become minor celebrities in their own right and Bevins, a former Countdown champion of champions, has become a familiar face in PDC darts. He sees the World Championship as the pinnacle of the game, like many players and fans do.
“The Ally Pally is the business; it’s where it’s all done. And it’s one of my favourite tournaments,” he told Live Darts.
“When there’s a large crowd in, and there’s a lot of noise, I feed off the atmosphere. I give it large when there’s a big checkout or score. I enjoy the game. Especially if it’s a fast-paced game, I really get into it.”
Bevins has had the best view in the house for a multitude of great darting moments. The pick of the bunch for him is the most recent World Championship game he officiated.
“I refereed Phil Taylor’s last ever game on TV, the World Championship final last year,” he said.
“(There’s also) Van Barneveld versus van Gerwen a couple of years ago, in the semi-final. And the one van Barneveld won before – it was amazing.
“That was my best game, but Taylor versus Cross game probably surpasses that. For the fact that it was Cross’ first year and he won, plus it was Taylor’s last.”
The issue of gamesmanship is currently a major talking point in darts. Gerwyn Price’s controversial Grand Slam final win over Gary Anderson was a recent flashpoint. Bevins pointed out that while officials are on the case, the issue isn’t as black or white as many seem to think.
“We’re always looking out for (gamesmanship). Swearing on stage, encroachment on the exclusion zone, everything like that. There’s so many cameras now, they can’t get away with anything,” he said.
“Currently there’s no hard and fast rule on gamesmanship. People just know what gamesmanship is. I think in future there’ll be rules put down to say that players are stepping over that line.
“At the moment, it’s just as case of us making a decision and saying ‘just calm it down’. Particularly if they’re in their face. Everyone’s different, but I think if you’re going to celebrate, do it away,” said Bevins, gesturing towards stage right.
The big 177
He has been a top official for more than five years, but Bevins did concede that some moments still surprise him.
“I’m always learning, still. There’s the likes of 134s and 142s, where they start on 17s. They’ll go treble 17, and single 17, and then shove the treble 14 in there, last dart.
“And you go – what’s that?!”
Bevins has become renowned for his enthusiastic calling of 177 shots. That is down to a steadfast belief that it’s not just a maximum that deserves acclaim.
He said: “I believe they’re as good as a 180, because you’ve hit three big troubles. I like to give it large for 171s, 174s, 168s, whatever.”
Bevins wouldn’t reveal who has favourite player is, but did reveal that some are preferable to others.
“I prefer fast throwers. If they’re slow, my mind wanders!” he admitted.
Author: Ed McCosh