Unicorn World Darts Championships 1975 and 1976

On Friday 25th October 1974, the cream of British sports journalists were invited to the Press Club in London, where news of a major new world darts championship was launched.

With more than £10,000 in cash and prizes on offer - £2,000 going to the ultimate winners - the Unicorn World Darts Championship, open to teams of two, was the first truly international darts tournament of its kind attracting teams from no less than 15 countries. The winners also held the magnificent Unicorn Trophy for one year; a solid gold globe, surmounted by three solid gold darts, it was valued in 1975 at £3,000.

The launch was attended by Henry Cooper, who set the tone of serious competition and true sportsmanship that became an integral part of the competition and has continued in the sport ever since.

A series of regional finals throughout the UK produced 29 teams, 16 from England, 5 from Scotland and 4 each from Ireland and Wales, who would compete for the 4 national titles and join the teams from overseas for the World Title.

Easter Weekend 1975 was the time; the West Centre Hotel, London the location. Anyone who was fortunate to be there will remember with affection a truly memorable weekend of darts, fun and friendship. The Unicorn World Championships set the standards by which all later tournaments were judged. The weekend not only included the darts, but a magnificent cabaret night starring Bob Monkhouse and Tommy Trinder, with dancing to Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazz Band.

The Unicorn Weekend also gave darts administrators from around the world a forum to meet and discuss the worldwide opportunities for the sport. From these meetings the World Darts Federation was conceived.

Unicorn sponsored the Championships for a second year in 1976, which were transmitted on ITV's World of Sport. Such was the success of this coverage that it attracted viewers mid-way through the Boat Race, which was being shown on BBC TV. Bermuda entered for the first time this year and the cabaret night starred Jimmy Tarbuck and Kenny Lynch. Also in 1976, the North Midlands were represented by a 29-year-old joiner from Clay Cross called John Lowe.

After the successes of 1975 and 1976, many large corporations were attracted to the sport as sponsors and we were able to return to our primary function of producing the world's best and most comprehensive range of darts, something we still do today.

However, we look back on these championships with both pride and affection, sure in the knowledge that we played a major part in the development of the sport as a TV spectacle and in its international administration. We are also proud of all the players who took part, especially those who reached the finals, who also contributed much to their sport.

Again, Unicorn proved to be "the Big Name in Darts".