The Gillam Trophy is a prestigious New Zealand darts trophy.
|Current Champion||Thomas 'Tangerine Tom' Barclay|
|Most Successful Competitor||Timothy 'The Magpie' Smith (11 titles)|
The Gillam Trophy has its roots in Wellington student culture. It was originally contested by a group of students attending Victoria University of Wellington in 2012. The trophy is named after the renowned scholar and gentleman Stephen Gillam, who presented the trophy as the prize for becoming reigning darts champion of the social circles surrounding Valley Football Club.
The trophy has been contested in a variety of different formats, as there are very few concrete rules concerning the manor by which it may be won. Darts variations in the trophy's history by which it has been contested include '501', 'Around the World (1 vs. 1)' and 'Around the world (Many, first to finish)'. The trophy format was originally based on a challenge system, whereby the holder would defend the trophy in challenge matches, with the winner of these matches gaining or retaining the trophy. More recently however, tournament formats have been implemented to determine the winner of the trophy. Currently the trophy format consists of a round-robin or group stage, followed by playoff matches. Playoff matches are contested over a varying multitude of legs. '501' is now considered to be the only game by the which the trophy may be contested. 'Around the World' is still used on occasion in tie break situations.
The first trophy match was played during 2012 between Thomas Barclay and Timothy Smith. Barclay was victorious and became the initial holder of the trophy. Smith challenged for the trophy shortly after and was successful. Smith became the first player to defend their title in the third match, with Barclay being unable to win back the trophy.
In late 2012 a lengthy match of Around the World was contested, with the Gillam Trophy on the line. This match involved many players, with the first one to finish to be crowned the victor. Competitors on the day included Thomas Barclay, Timothy Smith, Thomas Weddell, Umar Green and Melissa Chester. Thomas Barclay was the victor and was able to regain the trophy under this format.
After one defense of the title by Barclay in late 2012, Timothy Smith regained the title in a 1 vs. 1 challenge and so began an era of title dominance.
Smith Era of Dominance Edit
After regaining the trophy near the end of 2012, Smith went on to see off five challenges from the end of 2012 until the end of 2013, becoming the first and only player to hold the trophy for over a twelve month period and set the current record for most consecutive title wins of six. Challenges during this time came from Thomas Barclay and Cameron Poole Smith.
The Return of Barclay Edit
Just a few days from Smith becoming the first player to hold the trophy for an entire calendar year, Barclay halted his run in a match remembered for its sloppy, poor quality nature. Smith lived up to a reputation for throwing matches he had gained prior to his year of dominance by failing to hit numerous out shots, resulting and Barclay mounting a comeback and stealing away the match.
A Parting of Ways Edit
At the beginning of 2014, with the most regular challengers to date set to be living in different cities and therefore unable to contest the trophy on a regular basis, a tournament was held to give a variety of players a chance at taking the trophy back to their home town. The tournament format was structured as a full round robin, followed by a straight final. Competitors included Timothy Smith, Thomas Barclay, Cameron Poole Smith, Christian Hermansen and Hin Siang Tay. Barclay showed consistent form to go undefeated in round robin play, though only narrowly edging Smith and Poole Smith, with Poole Smith having a single attempted out shot to win the match. In the last match of round robin play, Smith and Poole Smith faced off to determine who would match up to Barclay in the final. Smith won this match in a convincing fashion, playing potentially the best darts of the tournament. The final was for the most part a one sided affair, with Smith failing to produce the form shown in his previous match and Barclay again performing at a relatively high level. Barclay managed to wrap up the match and seal the title, resulting in the trophy leaving Wellington for the first time and travelling south to Christchurch.
The Calm and the Storm Edit
The trophy spent a quiet couple of months in Christchurch, during which no challenges occurred. The month of May heralded the return of the trophy to Wellington, with holder Thomas Barclay travelling north for a short period of time - presenting a chance for challengers to bring the trophy back to it's traditional home. Tensions were particularly high with so much on the line. A '501' single leg round-robin followed by three leg straight final was the format by which the trophy was contested. Held on this occasion at 51 Rolleston, competitors on the day included defending champion Thomas Barclay, Timothy Smith, Hin Siang Tay and a very first appearance by Stephen Gillam, the man responsible for the inception of the trophy. This tournament is regarded as one of the more memorable in trophy history, due not only to the great level of desire to bring the trophy home but to the twists and turns produced by the tournament format. Tim Smith won all round-robin matches and progressed to the final, where it appeared he would come up against Hin Siang Tay after Tay took out Barclay. Underdog Stephen Gillam however, was not to go down easily and managed to take out Tay in a scrappy affair. This resulted in Tay and Barclay sitting level on points at the end of the round-robin. A single 'Around the World' Match was played between the two players to determine who would go through to face Smith in the final, which was won by Barclay. The final was a three to nothing whitewash, going in the favor of Tim Smith, who brought the trophy back to Wellington.
The Competition Intensifies Edit
Come July the trophy was on the line again, with Barclay back in Wellington and eager for another shot at the title. Competitors on this occasion included Barclay, Smith, Tay and newcomer Tristan Winstone. Barclay and Tay progressed to the final, which was again won by Tim Smith, making him the first player to reach ten Gillam trophy victories.
In late July, the trophy was contested once more by Barclay, Smith, Tay and Gillam. The format consisted of a round-robin (best of three) and straight final (best of five). While Gillam managed to take a game off the holder Smith, with a beautiful and clinical finish, it was ultimately to be Smith against Barclay in the final once again. This final proved to be one of the closest in trophy history, going to a fifth and final leg. Barclay looked set to regain the trophy but missed a multitude of shots at the double. Smith punished this failure to close the match out with a first time two dart seventy-seven finish, much to the dismay of Barclay.
It took until late September for Barclay to recover from his previous loss and mount another challenge. This time the tournament was held at Moon 1 bar in Wellington. Contestants included Smith, Barclay, Tay and another newcomer in Swiss darting maestro Moritz Lips. Once again the final was Smith against Barclay. The match went down to the final leg, with Barclay managing to check out and claim the trophy once more.
On 13 October, the Gillam trophy was contested by more competitors than ever before. With the injection of new blood, it was decided that the format required change. The chosen format was a group stage, followed by semi-finals and a final. Group A consisted of top seed Thomas Barclay, fourth seed Thomas Weddell, Moritz Lips and Theo Sekeris. Group B consisted of second seed Tim Smith, third seed Hin Siang Tay, Danny Brabazon and Bryan Ku Wei Jiat. The group stage matches were one single leg, the semi-finals were best of three legs and the final was best of five. Group B was a fairly straightforward affair, with Tay managing to take out all opponents (including a comprehensive victory over Smith). Smith finished in second place and claimed the second semi-final spot. Group A was a different story, with Weddell managing to upset Barclay early in the draw. It looked as though Weddell would win the group, with Barclay finishing second, until Weddell 'The Oracle' came up against Theo 'The Lost Prophet' Sekeris. Sekeris took out Weddell, resulting in a three-way tie at the top of the group. A three player 'Around the World' was played to separate the competitors. Barclay comfortably took top spot, while Weddell and Sekeris fought for the second semi-final place. Both Weddell and Sekeris looked favourite to take second place at different points during the match, ultimately though it was Weddell who came out on top and progressed. The semi-finals saw undefeated Tay come up against Weddell, while the historic rivals Barclay and Smith locked horns once again. Regardless of semi-final results, we were to see a first new finalist since Barclay and Smith had met in every single final since tournament formats were introduced. Smith dispatched Barclay in the first leg but Barclay was not done. The quality of Smith's darts began to drop off and Barclay capitalised by winning the remaining two legs, progressing to the final. In the second semi-final, the dark horse Thomas Weddell claimed victory in the first leg. It was not to be his day though, with Tay coming from behind to claim the next two legs and progress to his first ever Gillam trophy final. The final failed to live up to expectation. After Tay raced ahead in the first leg, failure to finish gifted Barclay an early leg advantage. After that the match became extremely scrappy. Barclay managed to edge the remaining legs and take a three to nothing victory, defending his title.
On Boxing Day of 2014, the trophy was contested by Barclay, Smith, Gillam and newcomer Nikki Carter. In the group stage Smith took out competitors. Barclay and Gillam met in the last group stage match to determine who would face Smith in the final, after both players had defeated Carter. Barclay won this match and set up yet another meeting with traditional rival Smith. The first leg of the final produced some lovely darts, with a relatively high three dart average from both players. Come the double Smith narrowly wired a three dart bull finish. Barclay then capitalised however, with a sumptuous 89 out. Barclay's high scoring continued in the second leg due to his textbook slamming of his favoured nineteens, though again he struggled to finish and Smith was able to edge the leg. The third leg was a similar story to the second, however after a few missed doubles Barclay managed to take out the match and win the trophy for the third time running.
Phil 'The Power' Taylor Puts His Mark on the Trophy Edit
In early 2015, Phil 'The Power' Taylor and 'Jackpot' Adrian Lewis came to New Zealand to play in DartsKing Australasia. While attending this event, the Gillam trophy champions requested Taylor's signature on the Gillam trophy plaque space. Taylor obliged. This development further fueled desire for competitors to get their hands on the trophy. The next Gillam trophy tournament was destined to be something special. It was decided that the tournament would be played over a longer format than usual and for the first time span the duration of two days. On the twenty-seventh of February a group stage was played, with two groups of four and matches decided over a single leg. The top two from each group would move on to the semi-finals. Group A consisted of top seed Thomas Barclay, third seed Tim Smith, fifth seed Bryan Ku Wei Jiat and newcomer Freddie Broster-Turley. Group B consisted of second seed Hin Siang Tay, fourth seed Thomas Weddell, as well as newcomers Alex Simpson and Nikolai Solakof. While all matches in group A were extremely tight, Barclay ultimately went undefeated and Smith progressed in second place. Tay swept group B, however Weddell, Simpson and Solakof all won a single match, resulting in a three way 'around the world' tie-break for second place. Weddell won this tie-break with ease. The semi-finals were to follow that same night, with Barclay facing off against Weddell and Tay up against Smith. Semi-finals were best of five legs. Barclay and Weddell's match was a torrid affair, featuring a multitude of missed doubles. Weddell had many chances to close the match out while two to one up, however Barclay ultimately took out the fourth leg and went on to win the semi-final. The semi-final between Tay and Smith was played at a slightly higher level, with Tay taking out the match three legs to one. The final was played on the thirty-first of January between Barclay and Tay and was best of seven legs. Barclay took out the first leg, however Tay came back to win the next two legs. Tay's finishing though was ultimately his downfall, with Barclay edging the remaining legs to take the match out four legs to two and claim his fourth consecutive Gillam trophy title.
Challengers who have won the trophy Edit
- Timothy 'The Magpie' Smith (11)
- Thomas 'Tangerine Tom' Barclay (9)
Unsuccessful Challengers Edit
- Cameron Poole Smith
- Thomas 'The Oracle' Weddell
- Umar Green
- Melissa Chester
- Christian Hermansen
- Hin Siang Tay
- Stephen 'The Kangaroo' Gillam
- Tristan Winstone
- Theo 'The Lost Prophet' Sekeris
- Moritz Lips
- Danny 'The Punisher' Brabazon
- 'The Shadow' Bryan Ku Wei Jiat
- Nikki Carter
- Freddie Broster-Turley
- Alex Simpson
- Nikolai Solakof