PAUL NICHOLSON has told critics to leave Simon Whitlock alone after the ‘pointgate’ controversy at the World Matchplay.
The Wizard returned to form in Milton Keynes with a run to the quarter-finals after beating Michael van Gerwen before losing out to Gary Anderson.
But some of his rivals and experts complained that the Aussie’s darts were ripping up the boards and putting off his opponents. Anderson stated that the situation "should be looked at”. Whitlock hit back by saying “it is beyond tedious now.”
Now Nicho, Whitlock’s ex-World Cup partner, has leapt to his defence. He told Sporting Life: “Simon Whitlock’s points on his darts got a lot of stick on social media but for me it’s a storm in a teacup!
“Let’s instead give Simon some credit because he’s looked at a part of a dart that has been largely neglected for the 30-40 years, and only now because of televised darts, are we scrutinising every single detail on show.
“Gary Anderson was the one who started with the groove point near the join of the barrel and the point, and he thought there was something in it. But he didn’t put grooves at the bottom.”
“Other players have put grooves at different parts of the dart including Kyle Anderson, who put them at the bottom of the point, and Ronnie Baxter, who had them in the middle so that when they hit the board, it wouldn’t waver.
“That’s the main reason why Simon has been looking at hexagonal points and versions with huge amounts of knurling on them. These points specifically have taken the most criticism because they’re the most aggressive kinds he’s used.
“Sport is littered with examples of equipment that is trying to gain an advantage within the rules – from the Predator football boot back in the day to Bryson DeChambeau who uses clubs of the same length. Controversial, but not illegal.”
“He’s allowed to use those points so leave him alone.
Whitlock was a breath of fresh air at the Marshall Arena, defeating Ryan Joyce and MVG before exiting to Ando in a tight battle.
There has been no reaction from the PDC on whether Whitlock’s points will be investigated or even banned.
Nicholson added: “Simon believes these darts will get him extra grip in the board because they go in at a very upright angle and are not breaking any rules. He’s been in for way too much criticism and whether he’s shredding the boards or not doesn’t matter.
“His opponent can always request the boards be changed after every break if they really think it’s been damaged too much and Simon wouldn’t have any problem with that – he’s not trying to gain an advantage in this way.
“If I’d have been his opponent I’d have picked some bits out of the board but it wouldn’t have bothered me – it’s no different to stamping down a spike mark on the green. Do you see anyone whingeing about that?
“He’s allowed to use those points so leave him alone. However, if a rule is brought in by the PDC about points, I am sure he will adhere to it.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)