About Jabba

Jabba at the UK Open 2012

Jabba UK Open 2012 (Pic Krispy Brown)

Jamie Caven was born in Leicester on March 10th 1976, and although he was blinded in his right eye by the virtue of a bee sting at the age of just 15 months, his interest in darts began at a very young age watching the likes of Eric Bristow, John Lowe & Jocky Wilson in the early 1980’s on television. This developed into his early teens where he made his debut for the Eyres Monsell Working Mens Club side on a Friday night when he was just 13 years olds. After some fine displays in his first superleague season, he was selected for Leicestershire Mens B team at the young age of 15 and within 2 years, Jamie had broken into the mens A side. After a debut win in the A team, his second appearance produced the finest performance by a Leicestershire player to date – a 37.58 dart average (112.74) in a 3-0 win in darts of 14,12,12… and this included darts at missed doubles. A few months later Jamie was crowned World Youth Champion at Earls Court in London, December 1993.

 

Over the next couple of years Jamie’s success continued in local opens and leagues and his rise seemed to be on the climb, however, a series of blackouts at the age of 20, resulted in a hospital visit and an 8 week admission after the discovery of some pancreatic tumours. After a full pancreatectomy Jamie was left with a scar in the shape of an arc from one side to the other and diabetes. His nickname ‘Jabba’ followed due to the fact he has to jab himself 4 times daily with insulin.

After around 3 years away from competitive darts, Jamie returned to action on the County, Superleague & local open circuit in 2001. Jamie moved up 3 divisions of Superleague & County as switched to Cambridgeshire. Although he only stayed with the Premier Division Champions for a couple of seasons he changed back to Leicestershire due to travel being an issue. Jamie’s County darts career ended in 2003 but he still reflects to this being a positive progression of his career to date.

Jamie also met his wife Debbie for the first time in 2003 at a darts tournament ran by his employers nationally although they didn’t get together until a few years later, this was one of the perks of working for the Inland Revenue & Debbie still works for HMRC today.

In November 2006 Jamie entered a tournament at his local club for the chance to play the greatest player of all time, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. Jamie won through the rounds of the event to qualify for the final 8 of the event and all the finalists played The Power on the night. Jaime won the event without losing a leg which included a win over the multiple World Champion. Soon to follow was a sponsorship offer from Peter Clare of Mr. Tax LTD, who offered to pay towards Jamie’s entry fees to compete in the Professional Darts Corporation after Taylor’s recommendation that he should join the PDC. With around 15 professional events played in the 2007 PDC circuit, Jamie entered the World Championship PDPA qualifiers & won through to be one of the eight qualifiers. His televised debut at Alexandra Palace saw Jamie defeat Wes Newton in straight sets, and although he lost to Wayne Mardle in Round 2, he had made a big impression.

Three runs to the Last 16 in PDC Pro Tour events in the following months came alongside qualification for the UK Open in Bolton, where he was a second round loser to Steve Smith. He then reached his first final at the Welsh UK Open regional final in September, losing to Ronnie Baxter, and also a semi-final in Dublin & a quarter final in Killarney. These results ensured a World Championship return through the Players Championship Order of Merit. Jamie again impressed on the Ally Pally stage however going down to a narrow loss to Mark Walsh. Jamie then had a run to the semi-final of the UK Open North-East Regional Final before suffering a first round exit to Colin Lloyd in the Players Championship Finals.

Two PDC Pro-Tour quarter finals followed in April before defeating Alan Tabern 6-5 in the final of the UK Open Welsh Regional Final in Newport. The UK Open Finals also proved a successful weekend with victories over Steve Dolan, Jelle Klassen & Alex Roy before losing to Colin Osborne in Jamie’s first Televised Quarter Final. The performances leading up to & including the UK Open saw Unicorn come on board as Jamie’s main sponsor & dart manufacturer.  Jabba reached another PDC Tour final losing out to Mark Walsh before qualifying for the Las Vegas Desert Classic. Phil Taylor defeated Jamie in the first round in front of the Sky Sports cameras, and Jamie’s debut at the World Matchplay in Blackpool also ended with a first round defeat at the hands of James Wade.

September 2009 saw Jamie claim his second tour title as he defeated Steve Beaton to pick up the Salzburg title. Qualification for the World Grand Prix where he was edged out by Wes Newton in the first round on Jabba’s debut in the double start tournament. These results confirmed his place in the World’s top 32. His progression saw his debut at the European Championships this year and also his third consecutive appearance at The World Championships. Jabba’s consistency on the PDC Pro Tour continued into 2010, reaching one final and four semi-finals and three quarter finals in the build-up to the UK Open. A second Blackpool appearance bought another first round loss in the World Matchplay but the European Championships provided a quick chance to bounce back, which Jamie did in style with wins over Gary Anderson & Barrie Bates before losing out to Terry Jenkins in the Last 8. Jamie continued that form and whilst playing in Canada he picked up his third Professional title with victory in August 2010 in the London Ontario Players Championship, and a day later he reached the final but Colin Lloyd prevented him from picking up back to back titles.

 

A fourth Players championship title came in Dublin in late September with a 6-5 win over Ronnie Baxter the day before Jabba faced Andy Smith in The World Grand Prix. However Andy Smith proved too strong for Jamie. This was rectified when Jabba beat Devon Peterson in the following World Championships before losing out to good friend & practise partner Colin Osborne.

Jamie’s fifth Professional Tour win came in February in his home town of Derby with a 6-2 win over then World Champion Adrian Lewis but John Part put an end to a perfect weekend in the quarter finals the following day. The following pro tour event saw another quarter final appearance so form was promising, but first round defeats in the three major events over the coming months proved a setback.

Steve Beaton revenged the previous year’s result at Bolton in the UK Open at the third round stage, before James Wade hammered Jabba 10-0 at Blackpool’s winter Gardens in the World Matchplay. In the European Championship Gary Anderson was a 6-3 winner over Jamie, although a return to form came in the next event in Canada where John Part halted Jabba in the semi-final with a 6-5 result.

Another quarter final came in Dublin, where once again Gary Anderson prevented a semi-final on the eve of the World Grand Prix, but once again Jabba fell in the first hurdle on the big screen this time to Denis Ovens.

After a fifth place finish in day four of the internet based Championship League Darts at Crondon Park, Jabba went out on day five without a victory. In the following players championship in Spain and Germany, Jamie reached a quarter final and a semi-final which included a 6-0 victory over James Wade in the process.

First round defeats in the Player Championship Finals and World Championship followed by Scott Rand and Roland Scholten respectively, but quarter final and semi-final appearances in the early pro tour events during 2012 ensured a third round entry in the UK Open for a fourth consecutive year. At Bolton wins over Alan Tabern (9-7) Mark Hylton (9-7) and Joe Cullen (9-8) ensured a third major quarter final appearance, but Denis Ovens prevented a first major semi-final.

A semi-final appearance came in the form of the Championship League Darts after a win in Group 7 qualified Jabba for the final day. A second place finish in the finals group matches behind Phil Taylor proved to be a successful day but Simon Whitlock won through into the Semi-Finals and stopped Jamie’s hopes of a Grand Slam debut. Semi Finals in the Gleneagle Irish Masters as well as the pro tour event in Killarney was good for morale but a first round defeat to Whitlock in the Player Championship Finals was followed by a first round defeat at Alexandra Palace as Jabba was defeated by qualifier John Bowles in one of the best ever World Championship first round matches in the PDC’s 20 year history.

Jabba is self-managed, with his immediate family making up “Team Jabba”.  Get in touch here.