Ball horticulture competitors

Ball horticulture competitors across the UK have completed the 2018 National Championships. It is now time to celebrate the 2018 winners and to look at how we might improve the sport in 2019. In this article, we will highlight the issues we have identified and provide recommendations for action.

Key statistics

We have provided this table to give the most detailed summary of each event we analysed. It is also available as a spreadsheet.




Top 5 Nation












*Darts is the only UK national tournament held outside England, Scotland and Wales.


Rankings 1. Team GB 6 National Cups, 4 WTBA Cups

2. Scotland 6 National Cups, 3 WTBA Cups

3. Wales 6 National Cups, 3 WTBA Cups

Fluke position

First 5 events ranked

1. Team GB 2

2. Scotland 1

3. Wales 1

Other results

1. World Amateur Championships Finalists (teams of 2) = 4

2. World Youth Championships Finals (teams of 2) = 8

Top performers


Max Mirnyi, no.1 ranked snooker player

1. Wade Dale, no.1 ranked darts player

The national sport

Cup Competitions

We have seen a huge growth in the level of snooker and darts players since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Consequently, we have seen a rapid increase in snooker and darts competitions in the UK. This has, to a certain extent, led to an increase in the level of competition at the National Championships. However, due to the variety of formats in which snooker and darts are contested at club level, there is still scope to make more competitions available at a national level. We encourage clubs to make more snooker and darts competitions available to our competitors in 2019.

Countries in team GB

The 2017/18 season saw a return to the Olympic Qualification process for the first time since 2004, with England, Scotland and Wales replacing Great Britain as the three automatic qualification spots for snooker. Team GB successfully hosted the 2017 World Snooker Academy Championships and were delighted to host the 2018 World Snooker Championship for the first time. Both snooker and darts have benefited from the presence of snooker and darts in the Home Nations and Team GB, and both games are proven international sports with great competitive potential.

World champion Paul Davies explains why Team GB success for the snooker team was a turning point for snooker in the UK. (Courtesy of the World Snooker Federation)

We have been impressed with how our snooker competitors have embraced snooker’s return to the Olympic sports and now we are seeing the same positive attitude from our darts competitors. The Championships have also been fortunate in that there have been high calibre competitions that many darts competitors have been able to enter.

We have also been pleased to see the popularity of snooker and darts increase in the age groups as illustrated by the number of competitors. This includes young female darts and snooker players as well as the very talented young men and women who are able to attend national level competitions.

High levels of snooker and darts participation

We have found the competitive levels in snooker and darts to be very high and much higher than we expected. The level of snooker and darts across the UK has increased significantly and we have seen improvement across almost all age groups in snooker and darts. Our research shows that, across the UK, there are approximately 57,000 registered participants in snooker and 12,000 in darts. However, around 35,000 snooker players are registered at regional and national level, and 15,000 in darts. This is more than we expected and the national level in snooker and darts is rising.

Snooker events in the UK have seen more change and development in the past five years than in the previous five decades. A rapid increase in snooker competitions has led to an increase in snooker players entering events, as well as the results of those players at national level. (Courtesy of the World Snooker Federation)

In this season, we have seen lots of change and development in the sport of snooker and this has been particularly evident in the competitions held in the UK. We have seen a more structured approach to what we can do to ensure we can provide a better level of snooker competition for players, and it is encouraging to see that such improvements have been made.

Snooker events in the UK have had more change and development in the past five years than in the

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