Dennis Priestley

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Dennis Priestley : biography

16 July 1950 –

Other achievements

Despite living in the shadow of Taylor for much of his career, Priestley nonetheless has accomplished some unique achievements.

He is the only man to date to win both the BDO and PDC World Championships at his first attempt; Priestley won the 1991 BDO title in his first appearance in the main draw of the Lakeside event, while he won the inaugural PDC World Professional Darts Championship in 1994.

He is the first man to average over 100 in a World Championship final, when he averaged 101.49 in the 1996 WDC World Championship Final in a 4-6 loss to Taylor, despite Taylor’s average "only" being 98.52. It remains the highest average of a losing World Championship finalist and has only since been bettered in a World final by Taylor himself.

In 1992, Priestley entered the 1993 Embassy World Championship as the number-one seed. In his first-round tie against Jocky Wilson, he set a new record for the highest match average (102.6) at the championship, which stood until 2004. In his autobiography, Bobby Dazzler, Bobby George recalled that, during the same championship, he played Priestley in a best of nine-leg practice match. Priestley had a dart for a perfect 9-dart finish in every leg en route to recording a 5-0 win using a total of only 49 darts (10, 10, 10, 10, and 9). George stated that, although it was only a practice match, this was the greatest Lakeside performance he has ever seen and was disappointed that Priestley’s surprise 2nd-round defeat to Steve Beaton cost him a substantial wager that he had understandably placed on Priestley winning his second Embassy title.

In his World Championship debut in 1991 he set a new tournament record for 180s (25). That record was broken by Mike Gregory in 1992.

Priestley held the number-one spot in the PDC world rankings between November 1994 and April 1995 and was seeded number-one for the WDC World Championships of 1995 and 1997.

In 1997 Priestley won the British Classic in Blackpool, notable for being the first BDO event which PDC players were allowed to enter – as a result of the Tomlin Order – since the 1993 split. Priestley also took the pairs title with Taylor. At around this time, Priestley also took part in a ‘Battle of the Champions’ contest to mark the resolution of the dispute between the governing bodies. In a match-up of 1994 World Champions, Priestley comfortably defeated Part 3-0 in sets.

Outside Darts

Away from darts, Priestley is married to Jenny and has 4 children, Michael (born 1972), Kerry (born 1976), Wayne (born 1979) and Adam (born 1986). He also has a granddaughter, Keeley (born 1996). Dennis is also a massive football fan. He supports Barnsley and Manchester United. Dennis "the menace" Priestley He also enjoys other sports including Horse Racing and Golf.

Recent years

In January 2007, Priestley made his debut in the Premier League Darts, the respected darts competition in which eight of the best players from the PDC circuit compete against each other in a league format, with matches held across Great Britain at different venues. Priestley took the tournament by storm in the opening weeks, complementing hammerings of Roland Scholten and Adrian Lewis with a draw against Taylor and hard fought wins over Terry Jenkins, Colin Lloyd, and van Barneveld. Although he failed to maintain that form, Priestley’s good start proved sufficient to earn him a semi-final place. Once again, however, he went down to a brave (6-11 in legs) loss to eventual winner Taylor.

In February 2007, he won the UK Open South-West Regional tournament, beating James Wade in the final. Priestley’s form dipped later in 2007, although this was greatly overshadowed by his battle with prostate cancer.

Priestley failed to qualify for the Grand Slam of Darts in 2009, but he did win the US Open. Taylor chose not to participate in the event.

Priestley exited the 2010 PDC World Championship in the first round after losing 3-2 to Kevin McDine. He exited the 2011 PDC World Championships in the second round of the tournament after losing 4-2 to Gary Anderson.