Tuesday, 29 December 2015
check this piece of utter class:
irrefutable proof that legends of the past are the equal of todays players
Wednesday, 23 December 2015
I wanted to take a minute to reflect on a dart which was once the industry lead but is now merely considered a cheap 'entry level' type, and that is the brass dart!
There is just something about the feel and grip of brass that even with all the new coatings:
still hasn't been able to be replicated. As John Lowe has said: "there's nothing like the feel of bass darts"
Of course there is a trade-off. Being a much denser material Tungsten has the drop on brass darts in weight to size ratio's with brass darts often being very big in comparison however i would not necessarily let that put you off. Having been blessed with large ish hands i have always struggled with thin darts as a rule and many of my best practices and even performances were with a set of 12g brass darts.
Of course, unless you are throwing traffic cone sized darts size should not necessarily be considered a hinderance. Whilst i do not know of any professionals out there today who use brass, there are plenty who throw darts that would be considered to be 'heavy' or 'chunky' compared to what is available (e.g. if it followed suite then all professionals would be using Ted Hankey style 14g's, as you can fit about 20 of them in the treble 20)
It should also be remembered that players of the past like Leighton Rees (user of 31g darts, large darts) and Jim Pike (large brass darts) were stars in their era and had no problem hitting the target.
In-fact if we take Rees as an example, he used brass until the advent of tungsten and even then Rees used a set of 31g that were poorly weighted (it was acknowledged by Winmau that when copies were taken of his darts for their replicas that the weight differed from 27-31g for the 3), and very large by today's standard (8.5mm wide and 51mm long =brass type dimensions) and yet Rees had no trouble hitting the 180's even with the thick wires and staples of the boards then.
It should also be noted that he won the first darts world championship in 1978 and the Butlins Grand masters in 1978, and undoubtedly would have won far more tournaments had there been the proliferation of them as there is today.
Lets look at that 1978 World Championship run:
First round: 93.94 ave (best of 11 legs)
Quarter Final: 97.49 ave (best of 11 legs)
Semi Final: 79.80 (best of 15 legs)
Final : 92.40 (best of 21)
That's an average of 91 across the tournament with these thick 31g darts. Now lets fast-forward 37 years to 2015 and the BDO world championship. Despite all the advancements in darts technology, flights, stems and boards the eventual winner Scott Mitchell averaged 92.61 in the final (only 00.21 higher - although admittedly over a longer format), its nominal isn't it?
So, ultimately what am i getting at??? Its easy really, give brass darts a try. Don't be swayed by the price and size. You can score BIG with 3 brass just as you can with tungsten. You only have 3 darts remember so as long as 3 fit does it matter? Its better to be able to score 100-120 with brass rather than 26 with tungsten!
Is it better, no, its just an option that shouldn't be discredited by virtue of fashionability and cost.
Anyway just my 2 cents
It looks like i will get the opportunity to defend the Sutherland 3 nations Trophy at the second annual event for 2016 on 1/1/16.
Those of you why may remember i won the inaugural trophy in 2015:
Will keep you posted!
I have received a few emails on why players find themselves not being able to replicate their 'home' form in tournament and league matches, especially from new darters.
Well, whilst i would consider myself a novice myself (just 28 months in), i can at least explain the practicalities of it:
the usual question is:
"I can hit averages in the 60-80s at home and then in league play i can only hit 40's"
Now i was no different, please read my blog on my first darting experience outside the practice room:
A primary reason (in my opinion) is its all down to environment and nerves. At home you tailor your practice environment to perfection. lighting, noise, location, - hell even temperature and time of day you do it.
Its tuned perfectly (or as close to) for your preferences.
Now in a pub or tournament environment you have:
- drunk people
- varying temperature
- different lightning
- different atmosphere
- expectation (others and yours)
- the adrenalin kick in!
its as far from your own comfort zone as possible which is why it impacts so much. This is why at home you can hit the 20's but in those situations your peppering the 5's and 1's!
I found that the best way to simulate such things is to (at home):
- Turn the heating up in the practice room (i have a heater blasting), or waaaay down
- Have a darts match on the ipad/tv playing reasonably loudly in the background
- Have a drink about (even if its just to simulate the smell of alcohol)
- Put the practice programme on tourney mode against high quality players (not ones you can thrash and learn nothing from)
This prevents getting comfortable and to acclimatise to distracting conditions.
Monday, 21 December 2015
I would just like to weigh in on my views on the BBC dropping coverage of the BDO darts.
For me this is a travesty. Darts has never been more popular than it is today and the BBC dropping it in inexplicable. An inexpensive sport to cover (i would hazard a guess that Gary Lineker's 'Match of the day' yearly wage is more than the darts budget combined) , the BBC has only itself to blame if the viewing figures are not what it wants. It has had little promotion over the years, has outdated production values and highlights are half hearted at best.
In short, the BBC has made no effort whatsoever with its coverage and budget whilst Sky and ITV have invested and are reaping fantastic viewing figures.
What i love about the BDO is its heritage and links to darts grass roots. It is a game that everyone can play and participate in, and indeed qualify for. There are no binding contracts and it is accessible to every player who competes in their pub on a week night and for a nominal fee.
I like the PDC however however it is now so distanced from the 'local player' scene that it is no longer the same thing, and the competitors by in large are now professional sportsmen and not entering through sheer sport per se. Much the same as football has now progressed beyond the point where the average Sunday league player can ever make it to the BIG time, so has darts gone 2 different routes.
Now i am not ratting on the PDC here, nor am i saying that the BDO players aren't elite however it is about accessibility.
One of the reasons i love the BDO is that i have played in leagues where BDO players play, i can play against BDO players and i can compete in events. Hell, on the BBC i could watch players who i can either relate to, have played, or could play. Its just so much more closer to you than what the PDC offers (unless you want to pay a high price to compete on the challenge tour), and in many ways more aspirational. Whats better than seeing someone you've played, beaten (or even lost to) go far in a TV tourney. It makes you think "i can do that"
Terrestrial TV (here in the UK) is still so much more prevalent than SKY and the BBC could really (for not much money) have got behind it and created household names of the players (think how much exposure the British Boxers Nigel Benn, Frank Bruno and Chris Eubank got on terrestrial tv). Instead they've dropped it....................well done BBC again thinking for thinking of the good of British sport eh?????
I really hope that someone else picks it up, and whats more does it justice. Darts is an inexpensive sport and whats more potentially very lucrative.
Yes it does need updating (but this doesn't mean booting out Bobby George, Tony Green etc). however it needs to retain its grass roots edge, not try and compete with the PDC (which can throw far more money at it, so you don't even need to go there) yet and be its own thing.
The BDO has a heck of a lineage, worldwide tournaments, and fantastic players. Just a few small tweaks and improved production values and who'ever takes it on will have a winner. As for the BBC it should be called:
Since other than the wildlife shows there's nothing redeeming on its broadcasting these days!
Support the BDO people, darts wouldn't exist without it!
My Sheffield results
Sets Played: 10
Sets won: 10
Sets win: 100%
Lehgs Played: 27
legs won: 24
Legs win %: 88.89
Min 3 dart ave: 51.24
Max average: 70.45
Overall average: 60
Average checkout: 33%
Min dart leg: 18
Highest out: 59
I am looking at positives as whilst an average of 60 is no great shakes, and neither is a highest out of 59, i was completely unpracticed, very tired and had consumed alot of alcohol.
In addition i had about 7 or 8 shots for 3 dart 120+ finishes that failed on the last dart, so stats could have been even better.
Anyway take care everyone
Thursday, 26 November 2015
Tomorrow (27/11/15) i am making abit of am epic roadtrip.
I am driving 230 miles to Mexborough (home of darting legend Dennis Priestley) to play some Sheffield talent
Sheffield and the Yorkshire area is a hotbed of darts so its exciting to be playing against these great players.
Will keep you posted.
today i would like to bring the attention to Darius Labanauskas.
The Lithuanian has won 14 opens:
and currently sits at a fantastic 23 in the BDO world rankings.
Labanauskas has had a great 2015, having reached the last 32 of the BDO world championship, last 32 in the World Trophy and last 16 in the World Masters.
Watch him in action:
This might seem like an odd thing to say however i love a bad practice session.
I take positives from all practice, as there is always some benefit (even its just the fact you have clocked up more hours on the board)..
The reason for this is simple. I would rather get my BAD performance out of the way on the practice board then come match day.
I went through a stage where i was practicing great and had won a number of league matches without even dropping a leg. I then played every team member in the pub before the league games started (as was common every Monday pre-match, in a kind of mini 'inter' pub league) and rattled off 10 straight wins and left the board so others could practice as i was just dominating (and had been for weeks) . Then.......................we play our league match and i went up and i had an absolute stinker against a far inferior player. It just didn't get going for me, and i got frustrated and that was it. I blew so many match darts it wasn't even funny. Everyone was mystified how i'd turned in such a shocker??
The reality is that every once in a while you get a 'bad' patch. You can eliminate alot of it with practice and experience but they still happen. I was flying and due a 'bad one' and it kicked in on match day.
Its happened to all the greats, so is part of the game.
That's why if practice and playing has been going well, i welcome an occasional stinker on the practice board, better that than in a crucial game!
Lats night i took an hour and decided to go for my first 1000 darts at Bullseye challenge.
I gave myself one hour to do this.
Darts thrown: 1014
Outer bull: 175
Bull/OuterBull % :21%
I have to say though that i wasn't on form particularly and in addition this had a 60 minute time limit 20 had to average 16.6 darts a minute (or just over 5 rounds of 3).
My accuracy would have been better if i had taken my time, however that was quite a feat and I did however hit my first ever triple Bull:
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Darts thrown: 435
Outer bull: 109
Overall %: 26%
Whilst it doesn't look like a MASSIVE improvement (1%), the biggie for me is that i hit 31 bulls in 435, which was only 4 less than when i threw 765.
Hoping to do 1000 darts at bull on Wednesday.
Monday, 23 November 2015
Please check out this underrated classic between Les Wallace and Marshall James in 1997.
Wallace in 97/98 was arguably the best player in the BDO world then as he swept the World and Masters.
Les was also the first left handed player (PDC or BDO) to win the world title.
Check the win out here:
Many of you will be familiar with darts in Gibraltar from the PDC events, however there is a young player out there who has been clearing up in the Gibraltar Darts opens for the last 6 years and that's 31 year old Dyson Parody.
'Dynamite' Dyson has already won 13 open titles:
and has been competing in PDC pro-tour and BDO events for over a decade.
Look out for 'Dynamite' in future BDO Majors as one to watch!
I had a mega bull bonanza challenge on Friday 20th November. Now bare in mind i throw fast.
Darts thrown: 765
Outer bull: 150
Overall %: 25%
Now this was down on the previous night by 5% but i was cold when i started and whats more i was very tired 1/2 way thru.
I called it quits when landed 2 in bull and 1 outside (done this a few times early and said id only stop on a trip.bull or 2 in and 1 close)
The aim is 1000 darts at bully lol
Does feel like my arm will fall off now!
Friday, 20 November 2015
To some Australian darts is either Simon Whitlock, Paul Nicholson or Kyle Anderson. BIG name PDC players, however there are others who are tearing up the scene.
There is James Bailey tearing up the scene in Oz (as featured in blog feature below):
However there are several others making waves (excuse the pun). One of which is:
Rob Modra. The antipodean ace is currently the highest rated Australian in BDO darts (43 at the time of this blog) and has a staggering 24 titles to his name:
I think Rob is going to be capable of great things as he just narrowly missed out on the PDC Grandslam of Darts, finishing in the last 16.
Remember, you heard it here first folks
There is a new charismatic Canadian making waves in the world of darts.
His name is: Jeff Smith 'The Silencer' and he's the highest rated Canadian in the BDO rankings (33 at time of posting)
and has had some great results in 2015:
the highlight of course being his incredible showing in getting to the semi final in the BDO worlds.
Jeffs other wins include:
Check this rising star out at:
I decided to push the envelope last night and get 1/2 hour of practice in just on Bulls.
I had 273 shots at bullseye which yielded:
Darts thrown: 273
Bulls hit: 18
Outer bull: 58
Overall bull/outer bull % hit: 28%
so roughly i was hitting 1 in 3 in the 25/50 zone. These aren't great figures however a) i am just working back and b) i was never someone who practiced Bulls alot.
What was interesting though is that after the 273 i literally through 3 darts a T20 and hit all 3 for a perfect Bullseye!
Thursday, 19 November 2015
I just wanted to bring up the importance of NOT getting disheartened with practice if it doesn't go your way.
As you will know i am just easing back, and i have been pretty happy with my progress. I have just been easing back with 15 minutes a day.
Well the last 10 days or so was fantastic. I'd go up, i'd go round the singles fine, the doubles would go ok, my bulls would be ok, and i'd hit a lot of 80's to 140's (inc many many near 180s)
Well last night i decided to push the envelope. I started off on 20's and for about 10 minutes couldn't miss (hitting many 80's and 100s). I went around the board on singles and doubles as normal (fine) and then decided to push past my usual routine!
Well...............................When i went to hit the 20's i couldn't hit a thing. Seriously it was like i was throwing slippery traffic cones at the board. Eventually i started hitting the 20's again but for a period of 10 minutes i was rotten. I'd in effect played myself out of! I left the practice room annoyed, however if you focus on the negatives it negates the whole session and renders it like you shouldn't have bothered.
- I practiced
- I went around the board
- i hit a good number of 20's
- I hit my Bulls
How can their be a negative???
The morale of this: STAY POSITIVE ITS ALL GOOD!
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
It may be a surprise to some but the wonderful country of Egypt has a growing and thriving darts scene, with some good players.
My pick of the bunch so far would be Mohamed Gharieb and Ramy Banna whom i'm told contested a good final in the Egyptian darts federation a short while ago.
I have visited this wonderful country and would love to play some darts against their finest
check out Egypt darts below:
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
I just wanted to answer all your questions at once, with regards ads to why i have posted on some 'unknown' players from darts, or rather 'unknown' in some areas or countries.
My reason is pretty simple. There are a large number of fantastic, exciting, skillful and charismatic darts players out there who will rarely get a chance to be seen, or appreciated outside of their local darts league or country.
The darts scene, certainly from a television point of view in the UK is 99% dominated by the PDC, which means that 99% of the time you are only going to see players who feature in the top 32 or even top 16. The BDO has very little television coverage (except Eurosport or BBC) with the majority of events getting no coverage at all which means there are legions of players out there who will never get exposure.
I am a big believer that variety is the spice of life and whilst watching the PDC top 16 go at it every week would likely see 110% averages and at least one 9 darter a week it would get boring at some point, especially seeing the same old faces (which is what nearly killed the BDO in the 80s).
For me darts is about the characters as much as anything else. Bristow for example cannot do big averages anymore but you'd pay to watch him in a heartbeat and there are so many characters out there that bring more to the game than just 180's or high outs. I'm talking 80 year olds hitting 138 outs, or 4'11" players throwing enormous Brass darts with turkey feathers and hitting 140's.
Some will argue about the 'standard' however a game with a 50% or 70% ave can be exciting. Its all about the players, the pressure and the outshots!
The majority of players cannot identify with a Van Gerwen or Taylor as these are paid professionals and whats more they don't have to go to work everyday and fit darts around that. It should also be noted that as of 17/11/2015, no one ranked 60-180 in the PDC earned over £20,000 over 2 years and players ranked 88 to 180 didn't even earn £10,000 over 2 years! Realistically only the top 32 are earning 'BIG' bucks (and remember players have to pay all expenses out of those winnings)
What the average player can identify with is BDO players and players who are not signed to 'contracts' etc. This is why i love the prospect of playing against players from all over the country and all over the world. great darts players who love darts and you can have a game with, without it costings you a £1,500 to £12,000 appearance fee!
I myself have been involved in some absolute crackers of matches that have had drama, big scores and excitement that's had whole pubs watching, its an incredible palpable feeling and there's nothing like it. In-fact i had one match where someone (not drunk may i add) came up and said that was as exciting as anything they'd watched live which was a great compliment.
So get behind other players, find them on Youtube, and you'll find some hidden gems!
My last post today is on another Filipino player. A player whom has won 7 soft tip majors and 6 Asian steeltip events.
I am of course talking about Lourence Ilagan. The Philippines is a hotbed for darts however very few players have the opportunity to play outside their native land. A fact not lost on the classy and respectful Ilagan who can lay claim to being arguably the best soft-tip player in world darts.
Ilagan has graced the PDC world championships in 2013, an incredible feat for an overseas player in itself and has had the honor of representing his country at 2 PDC world cup of darts events.
Check out Lourence Ilagan below:
There is a player out there that i think does not get the recognition he deserves and that's Jaunito Gionzon.
The Filipino darts ace has won:
Hong Kong open 2014
Malaysian open 2014
PDC World Philippines Qualifying Event 2010
whats more 'Boy' as he's nicknamed qualified for the PDC world championship in 2011, a magnificent feat for an oversees player in itself.
There is a player out there who i think can and will make BIG strides in the darting world in the next 5 years and thats darts other 'Viking' Boris Koltsov.
Koltsov currently plays in the BDO, however this year in 2015, the 'Viking' did the incredible and qualified for the PDC World Championships. he may have lost in the first round to perennial PDC veteran Kevin Painter, however he took a set off the 'The artist' and at 27 time is very much on his side.
Catch the match here:
A world cup representative, lets all get behind darts new 'Viking' as we head into 2016!
When you think of Australian darts stars the names Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson will probably instantly flash up in the minds of PDC fans, however there is another Austrailan darts star that seems to go unnoticed outside of his native land.
This being of course: James Bailey.
Ranked 58 in the BDO rankings Bailey was a 2015 Australian Masters winner and is currently ranked as the number 1 darts player in Australian darts
Alas the UK has yet to see the antipodean ace in full flow yet however you can catch footage of him here:
Lets hope he continues his fine form and we get to see him eventually qualify for the BDO worlds.
Check out James profile here:
In my recent vein of trying to bring some recognition to unheralded talent outside of their homeland i wanted to focus my attention today on:
DJ Sayre, a United States darts player who currently plays for the BDO.
Sayre has won 4 ADO open events since 2010 and has competed in a number of BDO and PDC events.
Check out the BIG guy at:
Monday, 16 November 2015
I am a BIG advocate of players getting recognition they deserve, especially players that might not be familiar to all but the hardcore fan
Today i am going to focus on Seigo Asada, a fantastic Japanese BDO player and 3 times Japanese Open winner (in 4 years).
People must remember that the majority of BDO matches take place in Europe, however in 2014 he had a fantastic showing in the 2014 World Masters (beating Darryl Fitton as a highlight) in reaching the last 16 and in 2015 Asada qualified for the BDO world championship losing to the experienced and top 16 player Brian Dawson.
Although ranked 154 (as of 16/11/15) in the BDO ranking it should be again remembered that there is a lack of events for Asada to play in and i see see BIG things on the horizon for 'the Ninja'!
I just wanted to give a little insight into what i feel causes major issues in players games and sets players back. The subject is.....................Darts tinkering!
It is easy, oh so easy. You see a new set and like a magpie you have to have it.
I have tried everything from 10g Red dragon featherlites to 48g BunkerBusters and everything in between. Smooth, knurled, pixel, ringed, you name it i've tried it, all in the ongoing search for that elusive laser guided dart that guarantees treble 20 every throw.
Unfortunately, as is often the case this results in setbacks,as you find yourself changing grip, throw, stance etc trying to adapt to that new £30 dart that looks incredible but you can barely hit the board with.
The key is (and i was the worlds worst) to try a few shapes and find one that feels natural and then..........................STICK WITH IT!!!
I have had winning darts and then changed inexplicably as the didn't look right, or i wanted xxxx instead.
If you look back at the players who have done REALLY well, they have all have all stuck with the same or same style of dart:
Bristow: 5 world titles with the same style dart
Lowe: 3 world titles with the same style of dart
Van Gerwen: Multiple PDC majors with the SAME dart
Ted Hankey: 2 world titles with the same dart
Andy Fordham: Multiple BDO majors with same dart
Priestley: 2 x world champion and multiple Majors with same darts
There are many, many more, and it speaks volumes about the virtue of finding a dart and learning it like a precision instrument.
So my advice, find a dart and stick with it
I wanted to take this opportunity to comment on the absolutely inspiring story that was and is Andy 'The Viking' Fordham's return to televised darts after a near 10 year absence and far more importantly near death health issues.
Fordham, 53 had to win 8 matches including taking out the current BDO number 1 (and to my mind a genuine contender for the BDO world title and i expect a future PDC mover) to qualify for the Grandslam of Darts, a tremendous feat in itself.
Fordham didn't get an easy group, drawing PDC top 10 rated Adrian Lewis (rated no 5 and a 2 x PDC world champion), Michael Smith (rated 8th) and 43 rated Wayne Jones.
To a rapturous response Fordham opened up by hitting a 180 with his first 3 darts, and proceeded to average in the mid 90's as he narrowly lost 5-2.
I have included a link below:
Fordham won his second match against Jones when he won 5-3 before losing 5-2 to Smith,
Unfortunately Fordham didn't qualify for the later rounds, however that is almost inconsequential at this point. It was only a few years ago he was at deaths door and it was considered highly unlikely he'd ever return to a decent standard of play let alone TV, however the will of the man is remarkable.
I have met Fordham personally and he is a terrific man. Polite and respectful, there is no ego on the man and it is easy to see why he was and still is phenomenally popular figure in darts.
I would recommend to everyone that they buy his book:
It is a fantastic read and gives real insight into both darts and his personal battles against alcohol and ill-health.
Watching Fordham has given me real inspiration to pick up the Tungsten in earnest again. The man has overcome all odds which should be a lesson to us all.
Moving forward i hope Fordham can build on this, and really hammer home at the BDO events, darts is better place with him than without.
If you have never seen him, look him up on youtube
Take care all
Thursday, 22 October 2015
Just thought i would check in.
I haven't picked up a dart in over a week, so thought i'd have a quick 5 mins. Picked up and first 3 darts =
Still got it peeps:
Dint need to throw anymore after that.
for the record the setup is:
25g Winmau Ton machines (The same darts barney won his first world title with)
Short nylon stems
Unicorn Big Wings
Friday, 9 October 2015
I've blogged about them before but these guys here:
are the most genuine , helpful and legit guys out there. In short they care, and if youc ant see it, email and ask!
The quality is unsurpassed, your talking high quality tungsten darts in all the great shapes and sizes:
in everything from 10g to 40g and soft tips too!
Im not getting a penny for this, however i think you'd be mad not to check these guys out, if you don't..........................well your paying over the odds!
Take care guys
PS: they will ship abroad, so stop paying silly money for the equivalent abroad!
I would just like to blog for a minute on a win that i think really goes unnoticed these days and that's Webster's win over Simon Whitlock!
This is a Whitlock who would move over to the PDC and become a top 10 player and hit that final 2 years later!
Totally underrated player is Mark!
I just thought i would check in as i'm still getting alot of 'hits' and messages despite the lack of activity which is nice, so firstly, thank you.
Anyway, the Summer season ended and the team i played for (Al's bar) finished bottom, having picked up only 1 win in 18
Given that i left with about 6 matches to go, it should be noted that i was still responsible for 40% of the overall legs they won, so i guess i wasn't too bad was i?
Since then the Winter 15/16 League has started and they have lost their first 2. the First one 0-9 and the second 5-4 so normal service resumed!
I myself have had a few offers from teams, but at the moment i have little interest in re-joining the pub league, its not conducive to work, when sometimes not playing till 23:30 hrs. My thoughts may change however for the moment i have other priorities.
On the practice front i have been doing abit here and there but recently hit a 70+ average over 10 legs and hitting some decent back to back scores so i haven't lost it yet
I have stopped wearing glasses to play so i am hoping that this may lead to further improvements.
My target is to average 70, and then if i can do that maybe re-hit the league and tournaments but i think that is a long way off, although i have hit a number for 16-18 dart legs!
Anyway thanks again for the interest, update soon
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Sunday, 20 September 2015
I have just played 12 legs
First to 2 legs, 501
M1: 54 ave, 33% chk out,5 x 60-99, 1 x 100-139
M2: 57.8 ave, 40% chk out, 6 x 60-99, 2 x 100-139
M3: 64 ave, 50% chk out, 4 x 60-99, 3 x 100-139
M4: 58.9 ave, 40% chk out, 11 x 60-99
M5: 51.8 ave, 33% chk out, 5 x 60-99
M6: 73.3 ave, 40% chk out, 3 x 60-99, 5 x 100-139
So 12 legs won
34 x 60-99
11 x 100-139
Ave around 60+
I can feel it coming back guys
I have just played 12 legs
First to 2 legs, 501
M1: 54 ave, 33% chk out,5 x 60-99, 1 x 100-139
M2: 57.8 ave, 40% chk out, 6 x 60-99, 2 x 100-139
M3: 64 ave, 50% chk out, 4 x 60-99, 3 x 100-139
M4: 58.9 ave, 40% chk out, 11 x 60-99
M5: 51.8 ave, 33% chk out, 5 x 60-99
M6: 73.3 ave, 40% chk out, 3 x 60-99, 5 x 100-139
So 12 legs won
34 x 60-99
11 x 100-139
Ave around 60+
I can feel it coming back guys
Tuesday, 18 August 2015
I hope you enjoyed chapters 1-5 of How i got into darts, and that it answered alot of the questions you have been asking me.
I am not sure if and when i will release the 'year in the life of a pub darts player' ebook so i'm pleased this hasn't gone to waste.
as i'm not playing at the moment please don't take the delays in posting to mean i have disappeared its just i have nothing to report on at the moment.
Take Care and thank you for reading/commenting
Chapter 5: Realisation
When you watch darts on Television the majority of the match is usually spent with watching the professionals attempt to smash the treble 20 to the infamous “180!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” by the match caller. Of course not even the professionals can hit perfect 180’s every time however each match usually features several. At the time of this book the official highest amount was a staggering 21 hit by Dutchman Raymond Van Barneveld against Phil Taylor in his 2007 PDC world championship final win. The most combined 180’s in a match was in the 2013 PDC Grandslam of Darts between Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis which produced an incredible 32 and in my opinion was the greatest display of darts power scoring in darts history (certainly televised) and the highest recorded average was Michael Van Gerwen (MVG)’s ridiculous 121.86 in his 6-0 routing of Steve Beaton in a 2012 PDC Championship League darts match.
Now the professionals make it look easy however the reality unless your incredibly gifted, it’s hard enough to hit 60 regularly when under pressure let alone 100s and when you move down to pub level, especially the lower leagues the 180 occurrences are rare, and the average 3 dart average can be in the 30’s or under.
For example, in my first full year of league play in 2014 (excluding 2 external tournaments), which spanned the summer league and a portion of winter league I played 33 matches which encompassed 84 legs. During this time only 1 player hit a 180 against me, no one hit the next highest 177 (t20,20,d19) , no one hit a 9 darter (finishing a game of 501 in 9 darts, the perfect game), and no one hit a maximum checkout of 170 (t20,t20, bull). In-fact my Captain at Al’s Bar Kevin had been playing league darts for 33 years, and had never hit a 180 in a competitive league match. Incredible given that he was far from a poor player and would consistently get at least a few 100+ scores in his matches. Furthermore after chatting with players over time it was not uncommon for some players to highlight that they’d never even hit one even in practice, even after years of playing.
Does this mean that the matches were any less exciting, and some were not good quality? Of course not it’s just not world class standard and anyone who goes to a pub on a Monday night expecting to see 110 averages, 9 darters and multiple 180s are in for a shock. In my league they don’t even record the averages (maybe that’s a good thing). Of course there are 2 sides to every story, part of the reason for a lack of 180’s is down to the fact that most single matches are comprised of best of 3 legs however the standard is of course far lower.
This is ‘honest’ darts at its grass roots level and over the seasons you meet all kinds, and you hear all sorts of stories. Inevitably there is always one player with a massive ego sporting a set of £80 Phil Taylor darts that brags about the 9 darters (finishing a game of 501 in 9 darts, the perfect game) he’s hitting every day in practice and then proceeds to ‘power’ score 26 as he loses 2-0 and doesn’t get to a finish. Every 26 is usually met with a look of confusion and a shake of the head as if it’s a complete shock and unexpected. The excuses then follow. The air conditioning, a shoulder injury, the dog dying when he was 7, anything to excuse the shock of not hitting back to back 9 darters, this usually occurs every time you see him play and you never do see him hit that perfect game.
What I am trying to get to is that unless you are very lucky very few new dart players hit a 180 early on, and sometimes it can be a long time coming. I was fortunate in that I hit one about 3 months after I started in practice. It is an incredible feeling when it happens and for the novice/lower league player remains the mecca of darting accomplishment. I think it is important when you play to forget about what you see on television. These players are professionals and this is their job and as such you shouldn’t judge your skills against those who are in effect paid to do it and can spend 5-8 hours a day practising. If you do it can become an exercise in frustration which will actually make that 180 harder to hit. The trick is to capitalise on it, and not hit a total score 26, 3, 15 or 7 with your next 3 darts as you often see happen (or happens to you), and to enjoy it. Oh and it gets a BIG cheer from everyone in the vicinity when you do, which for about 5 seconds makes you feel like a superstar.
Tournament Low’s (and not John)
I started the New Year 2014 off in the dog-house. I had elected to drink Xmas day with my Brother-in-law and to be honest I overdid it. I behaved like I had been possessed by the ghost of Oliver Reed and after a few loosening beers decided to test the levels of human alcohol tolerance.
We had set up a darts board for a family throw about, however i got carried away. I was throwing back lagers like water before him and I moved onto the spirits as the family (foolishly left us to our own devices) This basically saw me spend about 9 hours playing darts in his (cold) conservatory whilst my wife became increasingly more irate and we were dragged in to play pictionary. Unfortunately the move from cold conservatory to roasting hot living room was a mistake and a quick inspection from the wife quickly revealed that we had consumed 1 x 1.5 litre bottle of vodka, 1 x 1.5 litre bottle of Glenlivet scotch, 24 bottles of staropramen lager and eaten a kilogram of Mexican fire cheese.
The results were spectacular. I will admit it now I was a complete arsehole for behaving this way. Within an hour of being brought into the living room, we had both managed to be an utter nuisance during Pictionary (during which time I had apparently drawn a picture of a uterus instead of a pirate ship??) and then I left to go to the kitchen and was found slumped head first in the kitchen sink being sick. Given how much I had unloaded the wife made the mistake of moving me into the kids playroom and resting me on the sofa to ‘sleep it off’. Big mistake I exploded yet again and was then dragged to the bathroom where I proceeded to be sick in the bath and sink. I remember none of this except awaking at 5am, and feeling like I was going to die.
As you can I was not flavour of the month after this. In 1 night I had managed to turn my wife off of darts, ruin xmas night and ruin several rooms in my sister in laws house ( I did pay for all the carpets to be professionally cleaned, and bought her a big bunch of flowers as an apology)
It was probably a bad idea then a day later when still feeling terrible, and also being a complete novice (4 months playing) for me to enter my first tournament for the PDS, called ‘triplication’.
This was a nightmare experience of epic proportions, as a combination of nerves, lack of practice, quality of opposition (1 off to Q school, a few ex BDO’s and ¾ the County line-up), some dubious “ahem” chalking and the unfriendly nature of the locals (it was like something out of a film!, my stepson and I walked in and the place just looked at us, and it took 3 hours for someone to speak to us) saw me lose 6 matches and win just one leg out of 13. The writing was on the wall before I even threw a competitive dart. I was sat their watching the players warm up and they were averaging about 140, and I suddenly had the realisation I was out of my depth. It was like watching the PDC top 10 warm up. These guys were serious. I thought I was going to a friendly darts tournament when in fact I’d stepped into something far more serious. These players were hardcore fueled off the back of the recent PDC world championships! I started to warm up and literally I couldn’t get above 26. My scoring non-existent, I decided to get my ‘eye’ in aiming for bull. Honestly I was closer to the floor or the door than the bull. I may as well have been chucking traffic cones at the board!!!! To make matters worse I couldn’t have a drink (had driven to venue due to location) and in my group I drew 2 top county players and the county youth champion.
I could see that people were looking at me (literally the only non-regular there) and thinking that I was either a) utter shite or b) deliberately throwing bad to appear worse than I was (a ringer).
It was then my turn to step and throw for the bull. Now given my mental state at this point I would have thought it more likely that I’d hit the skirting board or the chalker however I stepped up and threw a perfect bull. No joke it went right in the centre. My opponent looked at me with a “26 in practice, yeah right” look on his face. On reflection this was probably the worst thing I could do as instantly my opponent thought “hello, he can play” and decided to switch on his ‘A’ game. I then proceeded to have the biggest mare of a start ever.
I stepped up and with my heart beating like I was going to have a heart attack I seemed to lose all motor skills and co-ordination as my beautiful Winmau testaments turned into pumpkins in my hands and I lost all throwing control. Seriously I could barely stand upright, I must have looked like a total mentalist. I then proceeded to hit above d20 and have 2 bounce out of t20 scoring 0, to stunned observation, which wasn’t helped at all by the chalker exclaiming “zero??????” which of course drew everyone’s attention. No joke I would probably had thrown better wearing boxing gloves.
I felt sick! Seriously I could have dropped my darts and emptied out there and then. It felt like Phil Taylor had run in and penalty kicked me right in the nuts!
My opponent then went on to score 140 and after that I never recovered as I suffered a right drubbing. He ‘done’ me in minutes with 18 dart and 16 dart legs. With that said it can and does happen. The great Eric Bristow lost his first world championship match and kicked off with a score of 1 (2 bounce outs) in the 70’s.
Surprisingly despite being as deflated a 10 year old balloon, in my next game I took on the county youth player and actually had a great session winning the first leg (d16) before I dropped the next 2 legs closely. I was mentally fucked, embarrassed and not enjoying it one little bit. What was supposed to be abit of fun, had turned into an utter public humiliation. And to think I thought I could do well here!
My hands were sweating, I was sweating profusely, and I just waited disconsolately to be called for my next ‘hammering’.
My third game was a write off. I can’t even remember it exactly as I think I’ve subconsciously tried to block it out. I recall that I felt like Mr Butterfingers as my hands were so sweaty that I could barely grip the things despite their aggressive grip, and my flights kept falling out. All I can remember is that I kicked off with 60 and that was the highlight! I think my opponent’s lowest checkout was 134 or something like that. At this point my 26g darts felt like they weighed 26kg each. To further add to my misery as the ‘loser again I had to chalk and one of the players had, had a go at me for being slow (I did say it was my first time) and blamed me for breaking his rhythm!
Hang on a minute I’d lost 3 right! I can go home?, not on your nelly. Yep it wasn’t bad enough I’d got trounced in 3 consecutive matches because now I had the pleasure of entering the ‘losers’ group. Or the Hampshire County ‘B’ team as it should have been called. These guys were still miles better than me and this is when the ‘dubious’ chalking kicked in. I was playing a young lad who was highly regarded and my stepson noticed that my scores weren’t exactly adding up. I looked to be ahead in the first match by some way but he was ahead by 47 despite only hitting 30’s. Unfortunately this was not the venue to raise ‘concerns’ (it made the pub out of ‘shameless’ seem like Disneyland . There were holes in the ceiling with water coming in and allsorts) and I had to let it go. Deflated I dropped that game and then got whitewashed in my next 2 as my heart wasn’t in it. I do remember suffering 2 150+ checkouts against me, however the hammerings were mercifully quick.
I finished stone dead bottom in what was probably the worst performance anyone has had at a PDS tournament by miles. On this day I swear Stevie Wonder could have turned up and done better!
On reflection entering it was a silly move. Here I was, a novice darts player entering a tournament with barely a 37 ave (p3d) after only 4 months of play. I had assumed (wrongly) that there would be a mix of skills which may give me some chance and my ambition betrayed my skill level. There is nothing worse than finding yourself in a situation where you grimly become aware that you are both totally and hilariously unprepared and out of your depth. It is a horrible combination and feeling and you are given 2 choices. Turn and run and probably never ever go back or at least try and make a go of it even if hopelessly outgunned. I chose the latter and whilst humiliatingly painful and embarrassing it’s good to at least get the experience of these tournaments as down the line I’d only find myself in the same ‘unknown’ situation anyway.
Now I know that some would be disheartened by the experience however I did get respect in some quarters for braving it (by the organiser) when so early in my darting life and after licking my wounds took it for what it was/is a learning experience.
Monday, 17 August 2015
How I got into darts - Chapter 3 “Oh my god I can’t hit a thing”
The 13th August 2013. That is the day that I officially traded weights and boxing gloves for pints and tungsten.
For no particular reason I elected to go with the Whitlocks first, and attached the supplied setup. Medium aluminium stems and standard flights. Now, when you watch the pro’s they pump out 180’s for what looks like fun and assumed that at worst I’d hit what 60 with 3 darts? After all its only 7 feet away!I took a Bobby George stance as this is the stance I have always had in my head since I caught a few legs of George vs someone back in the 1990’s and boy was I a star!, actually I wasn’t!!!. With no teacher, assistance, idea on setups and throwing action (other than a bad impression of someone on television) you can imagine the results.
I watched in dismay as the darts flew and wobbled all over the place. No joke I hit everything within a foot of the board as well as the board itself, or rather specifically the cabinet. Needless to say within the first 2 hours the cupboard and surrounding area looked like it had been on the receiving end of small arms fire. I can safely say that I wasn’t a prodigious MVG talent from the off.
I don’t know what I truly expected but it certainly wasn’t to be so utterly inept as I appeared to be. No joke I was rotten. I tried a rear grip and I sent them afoot above the board. I tried a middle grip and they flew in all directions. I tried the front grip and they were almost doing 360’s! It was a horribly frustrating experience. My personal favourite was when I tried a 4 finger grip ala Adrian Lewis and launched them 3 foot under the board!
After a week of this misery all I seemed to have achieved was a ruined cabinet, a very sore right arm, eye strain and a miserable disposition. I truly was wondering whether at 32 it was too late and a waste of time. Nevertheless I elected to persevere (I don’t give up), and slowly but surely things did seem to get abit better, albeit it slowly. I’d hit 60 or 80 and then hit nothing but 1’s or 5’s for the next 2 hours which was an immense source of frustration but at least I was starting to get it hitting the board (most of the time).
Having given up bodybuilding, my muscle mass started to reduce and I actually found this a benefit as my muscles were starting to relax abit and my tricep wasn’t getting a throw impairing ‘pump’ after 5 minutes. Unfortunately my improvements coincided with a changing of my darts to Red Dragon Hellfires 26g and this started the mindset that there must be a perfect dart out there for me. The search for the ‘perfect’ dart was now on, and I think I ignited a secret dart barrel addiction.
To give an indication how bad I was at this point, I played my then 11 year old son at a match and eventually we ended up on D1, after a very long painfully slow and low scoring game. I’m not kidding here, the scores were so pitiful that it took about half an hour to get under 50. Eventually after a succession of horrendous board missing finishes we both ended up on D1, the infamous madhouse. I find it somewhat appropriate that it took 180 darts, yes 180 to hit D1. I am convinced that at least 40% were off the board! . It was a nightmare!
How I got into darts - Chapter 2 Getting started
Well up to about June that year I had been avidly bodybuilding and was up to about 260’s and huge. I had suffered a very serious back injury at work in 2009 culminating in 4 ½ months off when I prolapsed a disc and herniated 2 above and below it however I had built myself back up, and was doing occasional work at boxing events as a judge and officer in charge on top of my regular job and had also toyed with the idea of returning to active competition in 2011 so my time was pretty full up and actually playing darts just didn’t seem feasible with the time I had on top of a family and a near 3 year old. I also hadn’t had a drink in 3 years and just couldn’t see where I would fit in with it or vice versa.
Unfortunately whilst deadlifting my right leg went. Whilst on the ascent the leg started wobbling (a bad sign), and I felt a shocking pain in my back. Now this is a clear indication to ‘STOP’ however having worked through so many injuries before, and in ‘obsessed’ mode I powered on through the remainder of my workout. Now this was INCREDIBLY STUPID!, especially given my previous injury and its severity, The next day it was a chore to say the least to get out of bed and whilst very uncomfortable I made it into work. This though was the least of my problems, after an hour I tried to get up and couldn’t, my back went into spasm and I literally couldn’t stand. I was in agony and unable to move. It was so bad that I had to phone my then 74 year old Father to come and pick me up. Bare in mind I worked at a Hospital I literally had to crawl on my hands and knees down a corridor that felt as long as the Great Wall of China whilst letting out the occasional moan of agony! I must have looked like a lunatic. Thankfully my Father had a van and I literally crawled all the way out of the building and into the back of his van, totally fucked!
Needless to say I wasn’t back to work the next day and was off for 2 weeks. After another 4 weeks uncomfortable I saw a physio who did some minor manipulation but gave me major relief instantly. I also submitted for a full physical and was diagnosed with hyper mobility in certain areas (hands, back, fingers). That diagnosis in effect spelled out ‘end of heavy weight lifting’ to me. God I wish I’d had that diagnosis 13 years earlier. Heavy deadlifting, squatting and bent barbell Rows were the worst thing I could do with a hyper mobilised back and I was and had been going ‘real’ heavy for years. It was basically a small miracle that my back hadn’t gone out years sooner (and under heavy weight). It was a BIG blow though. Working out had been a major part of my life since I was 15 and 17 years later I had to face up to some realities. The boxing, wrestling, martial arts and bodybuilding had taken quite a beating on my body which at 32 was starting to show wear and tear. I was therefore faced with a choice, either carry on as I was and risk adding more damage to my already damaged back or accept the fact that this chapter in my life was over.
I was never someone who wanted to give less than 1000%. The prospect of lifting light weights just didn’t appeal and I knew that eventually I’d talk myself into eventually going heavier and heavier and risking the same result. I therefore needed a hobby that would be competitive, but wouldn’t tear me up physically, and darts seemed to be the perfect answer and something I could do in theory into old age!
Now that I had decided that I wanted to start playing darts I realised that I would need a place to practice that wouldn’t involve a lot of travel. In doors was a no go, however I had a big summer house at the end of my garden which had been my gym for the last few years. Now my gym had everything, benches, dipping racks, squat racks, 1000 Kg in weights, every bar you can imagine, you name it! This was all quality gear and didn’t take long to go, within about 48 hours everything had been sold via Gumtree.com and I was about £1,000 better off. I now had the perfect space to practice darts in!
So what do you need to play darts??? Well a dartboard helps, so I looked on Gumtree and found an old Winmau Blade 3 board with wooden case was available for about £20. I thought I was getting a good deal but in hindsight I wasn’t. It was ok, but a little hard and abused (doesn’t matter though does it? Boards last for years right??). Not that I knew this at this point. Anyway, I was savvy enough to realise that I would need to get the dimensions right in order to play properly so I invested in a Winmau measurer and set about setting it up! Now I must be thick however setting the cabinet up wasn’t as easy as I thought and after a lot of swearing and a row with the wife (who I got to hold it for me) I’d now hung the damn thing!
Now I had a dartboard I needed some darts. Easy right?, Wrong!!! I went on Amazon and typed in darts and literally there was hundreds of the things. Rather stupidly I imagined they’d all be pretty similar but here they were all looking different. Different sizes, weights, shapes etc, and all endorsed by different characters. I really had no idea where to start. I must have spent several hours looking and reading reviews, however I had a problem. No one I knew actually played darts and there wasn’t a darts shop in the area where I could go and try some out. I therefore elected to go with 3 that I liked the look of:
Ted Hankey 24g atomised: Because they looked cool
Simon Whitlock 24g: Because he looked cool and I liked the packaging
Red Dragon Hellfire 26g: Because they were cheap at £12
That is the beauty of darts though, it is a comparatively cheap sport to play and so my 3 purchases set me back about £50.
Before i injured myself and decided to take a sabatical i was writing an e-book. A kind of 'year in the life of a pubs darts player' thing.
Well seeing as this blog has got such popular feedback i thought i would post the first chapter here:
I had been a peripheral fan of darts for a few years, thanks mainly to my father-in-law and brother-in-law, both of whom were fans. I do recall watching bits of darts occasionally over the years when I was a young man but since I didn’t have sky then my main memory of darts were of Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams versus Taylor, Andy Fordham versus someone, Bobby George doing some coverage on BBC one and talking to an ex bodybuilding darts player called Robert Wagner (not the famous actor), and then at some point in the 2000’s a large’ish man in shades entering to a madness tune (Darryl Fitton). It was something where I’d catch a few legs on BBC One, or maybe a few legs on Sky if a girlfriend had Sky. but not something I’d actively seek out.
I had got bought a rubbish darts board when I was 11 or 12 at home but didn’t play it much. My parents hadn’t done the measurements and so it remained hung on my door for a few years, occasionally beckoning me to throw the horrendous mental and plastic darts that came with it at it before it disappeared in the trash. Looking back now it was abit of a random purchase for my parents then. Very house proud they weren’t exactly keen on room damaging toys, I can’t recall them watching it very much and I don’t recall being into darts then at all so I have no idea why they bought it. I do remember that we always watched Bullseye so maybe I had asked for it one day?? My two resounding memories of this are that it was yellow and black and made of wood and that my now deceased Mum god rest her soul, hit a bulls-eye on her first throw. After that it’s sad to say that further memories of it have got lost in the haze of time. Looking back it’s a shame that I didn’t make more of it then as it could have led me on a different path.
Anyway I had caught the 2013 world championships and watched the majority of it, culminating with Phil Taylor winning his 16th world title and it interested me. I was still working in Boxing at the time and a venue where one of shows was going to be held had flyers of a darts exhibition that was going to be held there (in may) so I looked it up online and saw that the company was called Modus Darts and were the major name in UK dart exhibitions.
I wasn’t really familiar with a lot of the names however the tickets were only £15 each so I booked them and a few months later we went down .
The exhibition had:
Michael van Gerwen
Vincent van Der Voort
All I can say is that a darts event is like no other. The atmosphere, the music , the crowd interaction, it all comes together to create a unique experience. As soon as veteran MC and commentator John Gwynne came out and did his bit (a mix of dry stand-up, crowd bating and wit) it got the crowd at fever pitch. I didn’t know it at the time but Gwynne is a true legend of the game. I was instantly hooked on the atmosphere at least from a spectator point of view. Van Gerwen was a class above this night and won it.
Hi Guys 'n' Gals
Just celebrated 2 years since started playing.
In this time i have:
Met: bristow,lowe,voort,deller,fordham,george,anderson (bob), taylor,monk, Jenkins (andy), Priestley
Finished runner up in County mixed doubles
Won a few minor cups (pub easter one and new year one)
Consistently average : 50+
Had a 100+ ave in a few matches
had a checkout of 125 (25-60-d20)
As you know i have stopped playing due to injury and assessing where i go next