Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Shotley Club 5 - 5 Chelmsford

Personal disappointment for me, as I was dropped with Lena correctly opting to stick with the team which had done so well the week before. The decision was proved correct as The Chelsmsford piled on the pressure and took a 3-0 lead before dropping back to just take the 5-5 draw on the night. Every point was close, and if it was to go either way it should have been our game.

It was important not to lose ground against Shotley Club though. They're just above us in the League, and the 10-10 result over both legs is one which we'll just have to be happy with.

Man Of The Match goes to our new player Brian, who won all three games he was involved with (as did Willie), and he overcame some bad luck throughout to ensure he sunk the winning doubles. Well done also to Jean for her superb 68 finish in the Team game; our highest finish on the night.

I was posted to Dominos duty, but was delighted to win 3-0 in my first ever game for the team against Dennis. I compete well in everything I try, so this was not a surprise to me, but I must admit I'd have prefered to chuck darts instead.

So, we now have a strengthened team who don't like to lose which I need to fight for my place in. I only wish we'd started the season like this :o)

Friday, December 16, 2005

A joke from Tommy’s

I’ve just been ordering some personalised flight for team mates. The catalogue shows some examples of names and nick names printed on the flights. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw this one :

"Sum T.Wat – Chinas No 1"

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I’ve been ill with one of these bugs that are doing the rounds since last Friday, and I’ve only just returned to normality. The blogging has suffered, and there are two things to report :

Thursday 8/12/05; Chelmsford 3 – 6 Golden Lion (Cup)
As expected Golden Lion eased their way into the next round of the Boddington’s Cup after the formality of this return leg. On the night however they weren’t quite as focussed as the previous week, and we were a little unlucky only to chalk 3 points. Myself and Jean won our Doubles game, with Singles wins from Peter and Alan.

Tuesday 14/12/05; Chelmsford 5-5 Shotley Club
I was unable to attend this game. I presume Brian made his Chelmsford debut, and the result is a good one against a team who are slightly higher than us in the League. The dominos were not going well at the time this result was ‘phoned in to me by Lena.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Chelmsford 4 – 6 Leadgate Cricket

As I forecast last week this return leg was indeed tight, but on the night it was Leadgate Cricket who pushed that bit harder and grasped the win. Nonetheless, 9 points from a team in the top half of the League table isn’t a bad return for us over the two legs.

We lost the opening Team game, but they needed to finish well in this game as we had turned around a poor start and were catching up with them. We then went 0-2 down in the first Doubles game, and this set the tone for a night of chasing the game. We did quite well in catching them, but lost the last Singles match of the night to lose 4-6 overall.

I sank winning doubles in my Doubles (paired with Roger) and Singles games. They were small finishes of X5 and X1 respectively, but the X5 was taken with the first dart, and I feel this week’s practice on small finishes has been useful.

Our two other points came from Alan in his Singles game and also in his Doubles game paired with Peter. Man Of The Match goes to Alan. In particular his Doubles match with Peter was a very high standard of mostly 100+ shots.

Again their senior player (Alan) excelled, scoring consecutive 140’s and narrowly missing out on 180 on more than one occasion. He only recently stopped playing for the County, still plays for 5 teams 5 nights per week, and it really shows.

New Player Signed

Last night we signed a new player called Brian. He seems to be a good player and may get a start in next week’s match at home to Shotley Club. This will definitely strengthen the team, as we try to pull away from the bottom quarter of the league table.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Golden Lion Feedback

The Board : A Winmau Blade II in good condition. No bounce outs off the wire. My only bounce out was a ricochet off a dart barrel.
Lighting : Three bulbs set well back from the board. It was just a little dim on the board.
Oche : A portable "proper" oche with a few inches of elevation. I love these, as you can dig your foot in and not worry about being foul of the line.
Beer : This was a really cheap place to drink. The Boddingtons was only £1.60, and we opted to stay here after the game and play our Team game of Golf. I’ll have to post the rules on here – it’s a great game for 4 or more players.
Food : Not applicable / none laid on for this cup game.
Comments : It was a very quiet, so we virtually had the place to ourselves. We won’t be playing the Golden Lion again in the near future as they are in the other local league, so this was a great opportunity for me to play against new players (some were familiar from other League teams and had signed for the Golden Lion in this cup competition), and play at a different venue.

Golden Lion 8 – 1 Chelmsford (Cup)

Pictured : "Into the lion’s den"

Our cup dream seems to be over, with Golden Lion only requiring 2 points in the return leg next week. We all played at the top of our game even to compete with this team, but were only able to win a single point in Peter’s Singles match against Chris.

Jean and I played well in our Doubles game, but our opposition were scoring baby ton eighties (T20, T19, T19) and other high shots to leave us over 100 points behind when they finished.

In my Singles game I scored 4 consecutive shots of over 80 to make a big dent in the 501, and I ended up having 6 darts at D16, but was just shy of this double at every throw, and I lost the point.

Man of the match yet again goes to Peter for beating their best player on the night and avoiding a whitewash.

Despite the score we had a really good night, and it was a worthwhile outing on a Thursday night.

League Tables, end of November 2005

The Team Captains met at our pub on Wednesday night and the new league tables were announced:

1) Cricketers - 100
2) Steel Club - 88
3) Coach & Horses - 80
4) Commercial - 76
5) Chopwell Central - 68
6) Smelters - 64
7) Leadgate Cricket - 60
8) Castleside Inn - 58
8) Derwentside - 58
10) Stanley Masons (A) - 52
11) Shotley Club - 51
12) Chelmsford - 44
13) Stanley Masons (B) - 40
14) Black Diamond - 33
15) Jolly Drovers - 30

1) Castleside Inn - 40
2) Coach & Horses - 36
3) Cricketers - 35
4) Derwentside - 33
5) Commercial – 32
6) Shotley Club – 31
7) Chopwell Central – 30
8) Black Diamond – 29
8) Chelmsford – 29
8) Jolly Drovers – 29
8) Stanley Masons (B) – 29
12) Leadgate Cricket – 26
13) Steel Club – 26
14) Smelters – 25
15) Stanley Masons (A) - 20

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Boddingtons Cup

Our Boddingtons Cup campaign kicks off at the Golden Lion on Thursday 1/12/05, with our team meeting at The Chelmsford at 19:45 hrs.

There will be 3 X Doubles matches and 6 X Singles matches in each fixture, with a return leg between the two teams the following week. Every pub, which sells Boddingtons is eligible for entry, and the list of teams in this year's competition is huge (there are hundreds of them in our region alone). Unlike our League matches the Burster Rule will apply.

Leadgate Cricket Feedback

The Board : A Winmau Pro SFB with rounded wires. I used to have an SFB in the house, so you’d think I’d be at home on this one :o)

Lighting : A single bulb above the board, with comparatively bright ambient lighting.

Oche : This is fairly well depicted in the picture from the match report. The throwing line itself is a portable square metal bar, which is lined up with markings on the floor.

Beer : John Smith at £1.85 a pint. There was a friendly atmosphere around the bar during the match.

Food : Our transport delay meant a late end to the night, but it was great to see them wheel out mince and dumplings, sausages, roasties, pie, and cold buffet. Really nice, and much appreciated on the night.

Comments : Very friendly hosts, and an enjoyable evening. We’re a closely matched pair of teams, and after the 5-5 result in the Away leg everything is poised for the return leg on Tuesday.

Leadgate Cricket 5 – 5 Chelmsford

Pictured : Leadgate Cricket in action
The Home / Away legs of these next two games against Leadgate Cricket were swapped over a week ago, but still our coach driver got it wrong and needed rousing to come and drive us to this game! We arrived later than usual, but still in good time for the warm-up darts and the game itself.

We got off to a great start, winning the Team Game with steady progress against the 1001 leaving us nicely in the lead by the time Peter sunk the double.

John S and I were again paired in our Doubles game, but just like last week we stumbled on the finish, and lost the point. Not a bad performance by us, but the difference between the two pairs of players was their oldest player, who was extremely consistent. He also beat me in my Singles game, despite me having the darts and throwing first. Sadly at the moment I seem to be losing to the very young (Coach & Horses), the very old, and all ages in-between :o)

Man Of The Match again goes to Peter, who won all three of his games and finished / scored well all night. To the best of my recollection the other points came from Alan (Singles) and Willie and Alan (Doubles).

For the first time in several weeks I feel we played a team who were very similar to us in abilities, and the points are up for grabs for whoever seizes them in the return leg next week.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

New delivery from Tommy’s Darts

My new darts arrived today. They are 26grm Alan Glazier "Multi Shark" nickel tungsten (alloy ratio unspecified). I’ve had a few throws with them, and they’re great. There’s a slight difference between these and my previous set ; there’s a very subtle taper where the barrel meets the shaft, but this is not apparent when throwing them, especially now my new grip all takes place at the front of the dart. The taper may effect the balance, but again this is not obvious when using them.

Included with the order was a new batch of personalised flights for myself and a couple of team mates. The L2 is my own design for Lena, and Jean has settled for a plain text slogan. The Pear shaped flights are a standard design where I just specified the text and national flag. All three designs cost £5 for 10 sets.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Coach & Horses Feedback

The Board : A Winmau Masters with rounded wires. There were one or two bounce-outs on the night, but none for me this time.

Lighting : One bulb above the board and a secondary one set further back provided bright and even lighting. The surrounding area was comparatively dim, which helps you to concentrate on the throw.

Oche : The board is in the centre of a large lounge, will a pillar just behind the thrower. The line is marked with gaffer tape. The marker board is free-standing on a table to the left of the board, with the insides of the darts cabinet doors used to show the throwing order for the games. Nothing at all to distract from the throw.

Beer : The Guinness was OK, but I switched to the John Smiths. The prices were a little cheaper than ours.

Food : Hot pasta and meat dish, hotdogs, garlic bread, chips, and several other buffet items. Really good, and perfect for the cold, foggy evening.

Comments : Weather wise I think many people must’ve stayed at home both at the C&H and back at The Chelmsford, and it was a quiet evening.

Coach & Horses 3 - 7 Chelmsford

Pictured : The Coach & Horses team

An amazing night for us tonight, taking 7 points from a team who had totally dominated us the previous week. To be honest C&H had an off-night and they will be very disappointed with their own performances, but at least we were able to take advantage of the situation and get a good result.

We started well, winning the Team Game thanks to Peter hitting the 32 I left him with the 1st dart. Maybe next time I’ll remember how to finish from 72 myself when the pressure’s off :o) It’s T12 every time I do it on the practice board, but at least I left a nice clean 32 for Peter I suppose.

John S and I then played reasonably well in our Doubles match but we both failed to finish on two occasions each, and lost the match to allow C&H to equalise, but from this point we notched some great Doubles and Singles wins to put us out in front.

My Singles game appeared to be going well;. I threw first and was scoring nicely (an 80+, followed by three consecutive scores of 60), to leave me well in front of an opponent who was struggling with borrowed, unfamiliar darts. My intended finish on 59 was a disaster, hitting T19 instead of the intended S19, and from that point my finish on D1 was a total farce. Amazingly, my opponent struggled on his finish too, and I was allowed to finish on D1 at what felt like the 6th time of asking. Jay Coulson has promised to comment on this via the blog, but no bad language please :o) Despite "winning ugly" this takes me to 50% success in my Singles matches this season, and it was a crucial win for me.

This week’s Man Of The Match award goes to Peter M, who finished superbly in all three of his games. Every time he was presented with a double he hit it with the 1st dart. Good finishing too from Willie (Singles match, hitting D11 with the first dart), Alan (Doubles with Jean) and John S (Singles) blagged us the rest of the points on the night.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Standard Flights

I’m trying to limit changes to my preferred configuration, but on Sunday night Trevor strongly suggested I try Standard flights to make the darts hit the board without a slant. Sometimes it looks as if my darts have been thrown from the right of the oche, and such a slant will always hinder my attempts to have a more consistent throw.

Lena and Alan P also agreed Standard flights might make them fly truer. My opinion is that the slant arises when I don’t release them well, and this is something I’m always working on and starting to see improvements, but I will always at least investigate any advice I’m offered.

I tried Standard flights on Monday evening. The picture shows the difference between the two flight shapes. Basically, the blue sections on the picture are "the difference" :o)

Unfortunately I’ve now become so used to Pear shaped flights that as soon as I switched to Standard the darts started arcing far more, and the parabolic trajectory was exaggerated. It felt as if they lifted slightly when they left my hand, and need to drop from a greater height into the target. They worked best on the lower targets on the board (D3, T19 etc), but overall my game worsened with them, and I have reverted to the Pears.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Chelmsford 1 – 9 Coach & Horses

Things started well for me in the Team game, scoring 60 then 100 with my only two shots, but C&H finished strongly in this match after a slow start, and took their first point of 9 on the night.

In the Doubles game my first dart bounced off the T20 wire and it all went downhill from there. Roger and I lost this game, and I lost my Singles game against their 18-year-old player, who was throwing downhill from his 6’4" vista :o)

Man of The Match goes to Peter, who gained our only point in his Singles match, but quite a few of us had matches to forget, and we stayed back late for a warm-down stint of the darts based Golf game we play in a group.

It was good to see Jay there (he makes regular comments on this blog), though he wasn’t in their darts line-up, and instead won his Dominoes game. Jean won our only Dominoes point on the night. Jay’s hopefully going to arrange a team photo for me to blog when we play them in the return leg next Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The New Grip

This has to be the most difficult picture I’ve ever taken; addressing an imaginary board then "freezing" the right hand and photographing it with my left hand.

As mentioned, I’m stuck with this new grip now, and after a week of using it I can’t even remember how I used to hold the dart. The results continue to impress and infuriate in equal measure; I’ve had another ton eighty with it but I’ve also placed a high percentage of my first darts in the Big 5 and needed to cover on the 19's.

In a game of confidence and nerve like darts this is not a change I wanted to make mid season, but if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you always get what you always got. That’s easy for me to say :o)

The point may look a bit painful, but it only rests on the finger, and there is no pressure on it. It acts as an anchor for the other fingers to have a consistent position and provides a final adjustment of the dart's attitude before throwing. Well, that's the theory.

Coach & Horses Preparation

Pictured : Wise words from John S!
What a strange week; I’ve started holding the darts in a new way, holding far more of the point than the barrel. Initial results in the house were good, but there were problems during matches in The Chelmsford. So I decided to revert slightly and maybe make the grip more of a hybrid between the two styles. The trouble is I can’t seem to get the old grip back, so I’m stuck with this new grip, and the results are erratic!

I’m just going to have to rough it out, but I’d rather be more confident in what I’m doing prior to a match against a good team. I’ve had practice 180’s with the new grip, but I’ve also had 7’s and 26’s. It’s a grip that can work, but I need more practice with it.

When it works the darts seem to be "pulled" towards the board rather than "pushed", but it became apparent in last night’s practice that a change to my elbow position is needed to make it work properly, and this is not natural to me yet.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Personalised Flights & Stems

My order of personalised stems and flights from Tommys Darts has arrived.

The flights are great, and they’ve handled the logo very well. The pear shaped flights they’ve used are marginally smaller than my orange ones, but the difference is incredibly small and I’m sure I’ll not notice any changes. They’ve made a great job of the flights and I’ve kept the original JPG to ensure I can get identical replacements.

The stems are a bit of a disappointment, and I don’t think I’ll order any more. The text is far too faint and can not be read from any sort of distance. I’m glad I asked for "all upper case" as mixed case would surely be illegible. Probably about 10% of them seem to be particularly badly printed. Ah well, I had to try them I suppose.

Derwentside 5 – 5 Chelmsford

A great night for the team, picking up 5 valuable points at Derwentside.

We started off well by winning the 1001 Team Game. I threw the first dart for us, and was very pleased with my contribution, averaging over 80 with my three throws.

Myself and Peter M were paired against their two young players (mentioned last week). Despite having the first throw we lost this match, and my average was low. Peter was playing so well that I’d have only needed play an average game for us to win, so I’m really gutted at letting him down. I could’ve redeemed myself by finishing on 96, but missed the D8 on the final dart.

In the singles match I was well beaten, and couldn’t do much to catch my opponent, who finished in just 7 or 8 throws.

There were plenty of highlights from my team mates though; Good performances and finishing from Alan, Peter, Jean, and Roger. So good in fact it’s hard to award my usual Man of The Match award, but I think Roger just shades it for clawing a point in a Singles game he seemed to be losing, and his vociferous celebration when he sunk the double!

Commercial Feedback
The Board : A Winmau with rounded wires. Both teams suffered bounce-outs (probably them more than us), and I was cursing my T20 bounce out in the Doubles game.

Lighting : A single halogen bulb provided good lighting on the board.

Oche : There is a wall to the left, but the Gents toilet door is in the line of sight, meaning care is needed when people are throwing. The Oche is a long strip of plywood giving a very slightly raised oche of maybe a centimetre. The stone tiled floor surrounding it can cause snapped stems if any darts bounce out to the throwers’ right. It happened to me last season.

Beer : I stuck with their "guest ale", which was Fullers London Pride at £2 a pint.

Food : Chile, sausages, boiled potato, pizza, garlic bread etc. A very nice spread.

Comments : This result means a lot to us, and I think it’ll raise morale for the coming games. Their two youngest players really impressed.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

134 Finish

A nice finish this on 134, playing against an AI opponent throwing my current average of 52 on DartPro. The first dart hit the T20 but then I received a ‘phone call. I returned to the practice board wondering if I could get myself back into the proper frame of mind, and then hit the T14 and D16 to finish it.

This put me in a commanding lead to win the best of 15 legs against a 52 average AI opponent, but the laptop’s battery then failed, and the game was gone. Clever things these computers – they know when they’re beat. Actually, I was beating my own current average, so this is more like self flagellation :o)

8 Darter

I had to blog this one ; last night I scored an 8 darter in a game of 301 DS/DF against John S.

The first dart got me off with 22, followed by two T20’s for a score of 142. The second throw was T1, T20, T20 for 123. This left 36, which I finished in 2 darts.

Typically, I think I took more than 8 darts to even get off in the next game, but it was a nice moment to give me a bit of confidence on a lean patch. "Monkeys and typewriters" still springs to mind though :o)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tommy's Darts - New Catalogue Out Now

The new catalogue from Tommy's Darts has just arrived on my doorstep.

There are some very interesting additions in this edition; personalised stems (your text, plus any national flag if required), personalised flights and mugs printed with your own JPG file, and much neater looking personalised flights where you supply just the text and specify whether a national flag is also required. Their examples look ultra professional.

The personalised stems really interest me. I remember seeing them elsewhere but was put off by the cost. The ones from TD are only £6 for 10 sets, reducing on a sliding scale in accordance with the quantity you order. Give them a large printing run of 100+ and they’re only 38p per set.

They also have some very un-PC "Page 3 knockers out" flights. I might get some to see just how offended I am by them :o)

Joking aside this is a great new catalogue, and it’s hard to think of anything else they could possibly stock. The prices are lower than anywhere else I’ve seen. If you’re interested there is a TD link on the left-hand side of this page, and you can e-mail them for and ask for a copy to be posted to you.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Practice Music, November 2005

I’m trying something new this month ; the "Guitar Man" compilation by Jerry Reed. I bought it last week and it seems ideal for darts practice.

Chelmsford 2 - 8 Derwentside

Another heavy defeat for The Knack tonight. I was lucky enough to win my Singles game and get one of the precious points, but tonight’s "Man Of The Match" award surely goes to Alan P for winning his Doubles game with Jean, and then treating us all to a truly "broadcast quality" game, where he averaged just under 100 per throw but narrowly missed out on winning. He’ll be disappointed with the result, but that match was a spectacle.

Derwentside’s two youngest players (they seemed to be under 20’s?) were awesome tonight, and they’ll be my lasting memory from this game. They are extremely talented and compete in a very experienced way. If you’re good enough you’re old enough, and well done to them on their performances They’d already beat most of us right now, but in just a few more seasons they are absolutely guaranteed to be winning trophies.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Derwentside Preparation

My practice stats for October were extremely poor, with (surprise, surprise) my finishing letting me down and taking my 3 dart average below the 50 mark for the first time in months. This was a whole month of indifferent darts rather than just a "blip", so my confidence is now low.

I noticed last night that I’ve actually become a little demotivated when practicing in the house, but as soon as I walk into The Chelmsford my game picks up significantly. I’ll need to vary the house practice and try and make it more enjoyable, because at the moment it is a real chore.

Anyway – enough moaning from me. We have a tough game at home to Derwentside tonight, and I’m determined to put in a decent performance if selected. Also, I have set myself a target of having a record breaking month on DartPro in November. That should inject a bit of motivation into the practice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cricketers 8 - 2 Chelmsford

Willie was the man of the match, winning in his Doubles and Singles games to get us the two points to avoid a second white wash against The Cricketers.

I played an average game in the Team Game, but my scoring totally fell away in my Doubles game with John S. In my Singles game I didn't seem to improve, but it hardly mattered as my opponent finished in 15 darts, averaging over 100 with every throw including the finish. Sincere congratulations to him on his performance.

Cricketers Feedback

The Board : A Nodor Supabull. Like ours, it is nothing special.

The Oche : A flat brass strip marks the line. There is a raised area to the right for the pool table, and the marker leans over from here to mark the board. To the left there is a large projector screen and three round tables for the Home team. Quite a nice throwwith nothing to distract.

Lighting : Two halogen bulbs situated quite a long way from the board. Because the ambient lighting is so dim this works quite well.

Food : A huge spread including chicken legs, sarnies, pickles, pizza, pie, the lot basically, and it filled the entire covered pool table. Nice stuff.

Drink : The Guinness(£2.20) was good, but not allowed to settle halfway through pouring, so I switched to the John Smiths (£2). My only wise tactcal switch of the evening :o)

Comments : The Cricketers are a very popular team with our players, and I've enjoyed these two games despite my total lack of success on the board against them. They weren't quite as consitent as in the Home leg, but still managed to beat us at a canter.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

League Tables, October 2005

1) Chopwell Central - 31
2) Cricketers - 28
2) Smelters - 28
4) Commercial - 21
4) Shotley Club - 21
6) Coach & Horses - 20
7) Steel Club - 18
8) Castleside Inn - 17
8) Leadgate Cricket - 17
10) Black Diamond - 16
10) Chelmsford - 16
12) Stanley Masons (A) - 13
13) Jolly Drovers - 12
14) Derwentside - 11
14) Stanley Masons (B) -11

1) Shotley Club - 13
1) Derwentside - 13
3) Castleside Inn - 12
3) Chopwell Central - 12
5) Commercial - 11
6) Stanley Masons (B) - 10
7) Black Diamond - 9
7) Coach & Horses - 9
7) Jolly Drovers - 9
7) Smelters - 9
7) Stanley Masons (A) - 9
12) Chelmsford - 7
12) Cricketers - 7
14) Steel Club - 6
15) Leadgate Cricket - 4

Monthly Draw : £30 Leadgate C.C., £20 Chelmsford
Highest Finish : 140 P. Renwick (Steel Club)
Next Meeting : 26/10/05, The Castleside Inn

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chelmsford 0 - 10 Cricketers

Yet another whitewash to report. It’s warts and all, this blog is.

Real disappointment for me in my Singles game ; I played well and got down to a 115 finish before my opponent was ready to finish. I hit T20, S15, but my shot for D20 got stuck in the D20 staple and was literally the 2mm width of the wire away from a 115 finish. That’s the margin between winning and losing against a team like this. Actually the margin was a bit wider in this particular game, as I still couldn’t hit my double with 6 more darts and I am so annoyed with myself.

Oddly, I’m not too discouraged by tonight. Most of the team played better than we normally do, but just like in the Chopwell whitewash we simply found ourselves up against a team who are far better than us. This will only serve to get me on the practice board next week for the return leg. I think I’ll concentrate on D20’s ;o)

Cricketers Preparation

I haven’t had the time to practice very much this week; I’ve had just one long session on DartPro (awful finishing all night, the monthly average is now low) and some more games of 301 Double Start Double finish in The Chelmsford on Sunday night.

During the week I’ve concentrated mostly on short blasts of warm up darts where the objective is to be comfortable an accurate after the same amount of throws that we normally get in League games. This has gone well, and the picture shows a target shot for T15 after only a handful warm up darts.

Chelmsford are currently 10th in the League, and I’ll post the full info including the doms shortly. The top finish is 140 from a Steel Club player.

The Cricketers start as favourites for tonight’s match, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge if selected to play, and a report will appear here after the game.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Commercial 8 - 2 Chelmsford

Pictured : The Commercial after their win.
Commercial beat us fairly comprehensively tonight. I settled in really quickly in the opening Team game, scoring 100 with my first throw, followed by 60 and then another ton. I then missed my double, but so did the entire team as we let this point slip away.

In my Doubles game I kept the momentum going, scoring a 140 and a 180 (my second of the season). My other shots were decent, but my finishing was poor, and myself and Lena lost this one too.

In my Singles against Alan I had to really scrape out a win with my scoring deserting me. No good scores at all in this game, and I had to rely on Alan messing up his finish. I messed up mine too, twice hitting T16 when I wanted S16 to leave me a double. Luckily, I regained (or actually "found") my composure to finish on 48 in 3 darts (S8, then D20).

The Lowlight was watching my scores tail away in the Singles game, but the highlights were my second 180 of the season, and a valuable Singles win in a game I had to chase.

Commercial Feedback

The Board : Generic with no decals, rounded wires, and loads of bounce outs! It was in good condition though.

Lighting : Excellent ; an array of 4 halogen bulbs giving strong but smooth lighting on the board.

Oche : The wall to the right of the thrower gives a nice enclosed feeling, with strong lighting on the throwers’ hand. It’s a little claustrophobic for the marker though, as he has to stand really near to the darts hitting the board. Only Joe from their team actually seemed to enjoy standing in the firing line! A nice throw which I’d now class as a lucky throw from me following on from last season.

Beer : A good pint of John Smiths for £2. I didn’t mix ‘em for once :o)

Food : Faultless. Andy laid on chicken and dumplings in a spicy broth, with a pasta dish too.

Atmosphere : This is one of the teams I remember vividly from my first season last year - a great bunch of lads.

Comments : Despite the result this is what it is all about. I had a great time playing this team in both legs. They were very supportive and encouraging of all players.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Chelmsford 4 - 6 Commercial

Pictured : Lyndon and Catherine
A bad overall result, but for only the second time in recollection I really was "in the zone" (tm) tonight, and I won my Doubles game with Willie, and my singles game against Sammy.

I was very focused tonight to a high degree, and in all three games I can’t remember anything but solid scoring and good finishing. Loads of 60’s, 59’s, 58’s, and the odd ton too. Not spectacular, but very solid, and that’s almost more satisfying than hitting big shots but the odd poor shot to spoil it.

My lowlight was hitting a D7 instead of the intended S7 when finishing in the Team game (a game we went on to lose), but the highlights were nice tight finishing in the Doubles game (19 = S3, D8 in two darts) and a reasonable finish on D10 in the Singles game. I’m more than satisfied with my performance tonight.

Monday, October 03, 2005

301, Double Start, Double Finish

Heath started a new trend last night when he played me at 301 Double Start, Double Finish. He used to play darts more often, and fancied putting some pressure on me with a Double Start game. It worked well, but I still managed to beat him 2-0 to the disappointment of those watching (he’s a very popular competitor in there, mostly on the Pool table these days).

Alan P then played me at the same format and beat me 2-1. One of his legs contained a 180, so there weren’t many points remaining for him to score in a game of 301 after a shot like that. In the following game I had two in the T20 bed, with the 3rd dart wedged between them but not actually touching the board! A 180 reply from me would have been nice, but I had to settle for the 120 points instead.

Finally, I beat Willie 2-1 in the same match format to conclude a short but enjoyable night’s practice in The Chelmsford. The Double Start aspect on such short games really cranks up the pressure, and I’ll be proposing we continue with this format, as it will make League games seem "easier" on Match nights. We’ll see what the others think.

Harry and Jan Return To Germany

Pictured : Harry
Harry and Jan went back to Hamburg at the weekend. They were great company during their three week stay, and were often in The Chelmsford playing darts and supporting us on Match nights.

Hopefully they'll be back next year, and best wishes to them in the meantime.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Analysis, September 2005

DartPro : September wasn’t a bad month. It started very poorly, but from the 15th onwards I had switched from Short to Medium stems, and this seems to have helped the overall average settle at being my third best on record with a three dart average of over 53 including the finishes .

The score card (above) hasn’t improved much from last month ; my 3 dart average remains at 52 (52.01), scores of less than 60 remain at 68%), scores of 100 and over are now 6.60% (slightly up from 6.54%), and my average finish is now 24.98 (slightly up from 24.90).

League Matches : I’ve made a score card on Lotus 1-2-3 to track my progress in League games throughout the season. My targets before the start of the season were for the team to finish higher than 9th (last season’s placing), for me to win more than half of my Singles games, and for me to score more than one 180 throughout the season.

Friendly : Chelmsford 8 – 6 Moorcock (estimate!)

Another great night with our friends from The Moorcock. Lyndon (landlord) was so pleased with the atmosphere we created on this usually quiet Thursday night that he handed out free slo gin to both teams. A real success, and hopefully more of these nights to come.

Myself and Lena were consigned to The Moorcock’s team to even the numbers up in a 9 a side game consisting of a Team game (1001), 3 Trebles games (701), and 9 Singles games (301). I was drawn against Willie in the Singles game and beat him with a nice finish on double 8, a double which has been causing me problems in the last few weeks for some reason. I won on double 8 on Tuesday night too, so maybe I’ve overcome this problem.

A good spread of food was laid on by Lyndon and it was a really enjoyable evening. I’d love another trip up to the moors to play against The Moorcock, so fingers crossed for a return game before too long.

Practice Music, October 2005

Go West were OK, but a few of the tracks such as "Call Me" had introductions which were a total distraction. Not bad though, and they certainly didn’t stink in the way Kullrad supposed they would.

For October I’ll be practising to "On Every Street" by Dire Straits. I’ve already had a few practice sessions with it, and I sense greatness with this one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Chelmsford 8 - 2 Black Diamond

Pictured : John S
Already this season there've been a couple of real "lows" on here, but at last a great night’s work to report ; I won all three games I was involved with (Team / Doubles / Singles), and pleasingly I got my first 180 of the new season in my Doubles game with Alan P. What am I talking about "pleasingly"? This was a "Yyyeeesss!"

My scoring in all three games probably only averaged in the mid 50’s, but the shots on the critical path were good, and I finished well in my Doubles and Singles game.

My highlights were covering successfully on the 18’s, finishing well, that all important 180 (thanks to landlord Lyndon for the free pint!) , and not making any silly shots. No lowlights for once!

Moorcock Return

Lena has arranged a return friendly game against The Moorcock (see previous postings for details of the original pre season game). Our guests will arrive at The Chelmsford at 20:00 hrs on Thursday 29/09/2005. A full write-up and pictures will appear here. I'm looking forward to this one.

Black Diamond Preparation (Cont. / Return Leg)

I’m not sure whether I’m playing in tonight’s game, and could well be "rested for the important friendly on Thursday" :o)

Practice opportunities have been a little restricted this week, and I’ve probably only had about 4 hours of practice all week. The highlight was a leg of DartPro 501 in which I started with 2 consecutive 140’s and averaged over 100 per throw, but as usual there were plenty of low scoring legs to "normalise" the overall average.

September is still looking good after a very poor start, and will be either my 2nd or 3rd best month on DartPro 501 to date.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Through The Keyhole

I sometimes order accessories on behalf of other people in The Chelmsford. I don’t know what’s going to arrive on my doorstep from Tommys Darts until I open the package. They’re just serial numbers to me, so lets take a look at the latest consignment and ask ourselves "Who would buy flights like this?"

OK, there are some personalised flights inscribed with "Sander Dikkopp" so maybe there’s a German connection here? There’s also a penguin using an ice hole in a very imaginative way and a wolf giving us "the finger". The "God, help me score tonight" and "69" flights are worrying. Also the "Devil may give a care, but I can’t give a sh*t" flights point towards people with a scant regard for their opponents feelings.

The England and GB flights are a bit of a red herring, and the cryptic clue for the owners of these would be "Would you like fries with them?", and the answer is buried within this month's postings :o)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Black Diamond Feedback

The Board : A good inch low by my reckoning. There wasn’t a noticeable slant on the floor, so I trust my instinct on this. It was easy to adjust to, and this is not an excuse. The actual board was in fair condition and seemed to be a round wired Nodor in average condition.
Lighting : Good strong lighting on the board. Near perfect.

Oche : A strip of metal on the carpet. The left side of the board is blocked off with a wall, so only the scorer and the chalk board are in the peripheral vision on the right. A good throw.

Beer : Adequate, and average priced. The Guinness was probably the safest bet, but as usual I tried a few :o)

Food : A nice spread of hot and cold food. Plenty of it, too.

Atmosphere : The darts area is a large square room with nothing to distract.

Comments : A very sporting team with a great attitude.

Black Diamond 5 - 5 Chelmsford

And absolutely no thanks to me either ; I lost my Team, Doubles, and Singles games to leave me totally flat. It’s not as though I played particularly badly, but I just seemed to play to a very ordinary standard in which my average throw in the three games was probably in the high forties.

No nerves, but some missed doubles, and I could well be dropped for the return leg next Tuesday. Ah well - I’ll just have to concentrate on the practice next week, and no feeling sorry for myself.

The best leg of the match was probably Jean Watson’s, in which she consistently hit high scores and finished well. John S got another Singles win too.

There’ll be a full report on the return leg, but I may be marking the board or playing dominoes at this rate. I’ve got to take at least some positives from this week, and I’d cite the new grip I’m using, which managed to put the first dart just above the T20 wire on many of the throws. OK, the 2nd and 3rd darts could do better :o) No, I’m pretty sure this is the way to go, and I’ll bash the practice board in the meantime.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Black Diamond Preparation (cont.)

I played a handful of DartPro 501 games against an AI opponent averaging just over 50 per throw including the finishes. I lost 2-3 due to some poor finishing, but I purposely chose 50 as opposed to 60 or 70 to ensure I got plenty of finishing practice.

I then played six solo games of 501. By this time I was warmed up and the standard was better. One sequence of scores was 180, 100, 138 to leave D4. What I would give for one of these sequences to occur in a League game! Perhaps typically I messed up the D4 and spoilt the average for that leg. The message from all this is clear – before tonight’s match I need to concentrate on the end game, so I’ll do plenty of 170 legs in warm-up.

I’ve managed to rescue this month’s DartPro stats, and they are now at July’s level. It’s unlikely that I’ll beat the August record, but there is still a marked improvement since June.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Black Diamond Preparation

I had a good night’s practice on Sunday ; an hour in the house, and then a couple of hours in The Chelmsford. There were 7 of us playing darts (myself, Alan, Willie, Lena, Jean, Harry, and Jan). I had a good unbeaten run and then took a break to have a sit down with the non darts players.

Sadly, good form during the week doesn’t always translate into playing well in the League games, but I think this is more to do with the different preparation than nerves. I’ll try and leave work early tomorrow night to get the preparation in. That preparation routine I mentioned on here seems to be effective.

My switch to Medium stems is now coupled with a slight change to the way I hold the dart ; I hold it slightly nearer the front and exaggerate my previous grip. All minor stuff, but it seems to be improving accuracy, and my finishing last night was far tighter, with less sloppy shots. My best game in the pub was an 18 darter (average = 83.5 including the finish).

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Medium Stems (Cont.)

I’ve now had a few days to practice with the new Medium stems, and whereas I’m not fully decided about them my DartPro stats seem to have improved with them ; averaging 54.2 per throw (including the finishes) and turning round an awful month’s stats into something approaching average.

On my first night with them the average was as high as 58.9, but this tailed off with some bad finishing in subsequent evenings.

I’ll give them a bit longer and probably use them in Tuesday’s away game at the Black Diamond if I’m selected.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Medium Stems

I was only able to get a brief 30 minutes of practice last night, and I have taken the guy from Chopwell’s advice and switched to using Medium stems as opposed to my usual Short ones. I had 8 spare Medium stems in my kit box and I’ve ordered 10 more sets with an order I placed on behalf of Jan and Harry. They’ve ordered some interesting flights, and I’ll post a picture of them when they arrive.

The initial results are mixed ; as expected the flights now catch the side of my face a bit more than usual, and they actually seem to require a bit more force in the throw when aiming for high targets. However, they do seem to be just a bit more stable and consistent, giving the impression of being better balanced. The accuracy on all targets below bullseye level seemed to improve (T19, D16, D6 etc), but as mentioned I’ll need to adjust slightly for the higher targets such as D20, D5, D1 etc.

I’ll post a picture to illustrate the difference between the two stems, and in the meantime I’ll continue using them and see if they improve my stats. I’ll need to remember that mid way through September the monthly stats were already very poor – I won’t be able to blame the stems for this month’s terrible figures. I seem to have reverted to April’s form, but I’ll do my best to improve this in the final part of the month.

One milestone is looming : I’ll shortly be playing my 1,000th game of DartPro 501. That’s probably in the region of 100 solid hours on this aspect alone since I started using DartPro in late Feb 2005.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Chopwell Feedback

I toyed with the idea of rating all of the venues out of 10, but I’ve settled on just giving some comments in a few key areas :

The Board : Slightly better than our own board (at least it’s "new"), but with the same rounded wires we suffer with (plenty of bounce-outs). A team this good shouldn’t be playing on a £20 board.

Lighting : Strange ; half decent lighting on the board, but very strong fluorescent lighting on the oche, making your darts seem very prominent in your peripheral vision when throwing. This actually helped me, and is not a complaint.

Oche : Excellent ; a detachable wooden ridge to really dig your toe into when throwing, with no distractions in the line of sight. The bulls eye was at exactly the right height, and I loved this throw.

Beer : £1.40 for a pint of John Smiths. One draught beer was even £1. Faultless, and you could not afford to not drink here :o)

Food : Excellent hot buffet (Yorkshires & gravy, chicken, sausages, potato skins etc.).

Atmosphere : European football on the many TV’s tuned in to several games, friendly bar staff, good support from their team ; a very enjoyable evening and a great venue for darts.

Comments : Chopwell’s electronic scoreboard is unusual in The League - very clear and understandable though. Many of their regulars joined in at the end and wished us well. We enjoyed this venue.

Chopwell 7 - 3 Chelmsford

Pictured : Our boy Tommo blags the first point of the season.Yeeeeessssss!

It sounds like a bad result, but we are totally delighted to get off the mark and score some points against Chopwell. Another whitewash to follow the first leg was surely playing on all of our minds, but we gave them a game tonight and competed well.

The points all came in the singles games, with myself, Willy, and John S all winning our games. This beats last season’s aggregate score against this capable team, and we’re relieved with the 3-17 overall score which could’ve been so much worse.

I received some great advice from one of their senior players, and I’ll be training with Medium (as opposed to my usual Short) stems for the coming month. When players you respect take the time to offer tips it is absolutely priceless.

Personally in the Singles, my first four throws averaged over 90 (thanks for the stats, Roger!), which meant I could afford to slip a bit on the end game and still hit a winning double. It was a double 1 after an awful lot of tense "splitting the double" from the pair of us. Sheer relief!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Chelmsford Welcomes Harry

Harry has joined us from Hamburg for the next three weeks. This is an annual trip he and Jan make to visit family up here, and he is a very keen darts player.

We had a great night last night (Lena, Roger, Harry, Jan) and I’m looking forward to more of these "friendly international" games. We might drag him up to Chopwell for support - we’re gonna need it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Chelmsford 0 - 10 Chopwell

We’ve had a total disaster in the opening game, losing 0-10 to Chopwell. We always knew we’d be scrapping for any sort of points against last season’s champions, but tonight we were up against a brick wall.

I raised my game and averaged over 60 per throw in the Team, Doubles, and Singles games combined, but this was still not good enough against Chopwell.

The high points for me were loads of 80+’s and very few bad throws. That would have been useful against some other teams, but not much use against this very capable team. Last season the aggregate score was 1-19, so I really don’t know what to say!

You’ll get the highs and lows on this blog throughout the season, and tonight was certainly a low. Don’t forget to come back here for news of the return leg next week - it should be good for a laugh :o)

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Waiting's Almost Over

Loads of self doubt and average darts for me on the last evening before the season starts, but at least I blagged a 180 and a 137 finish to cheer me up. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Practice in The Chelmsford

I had a very poor few games in The Chelmsford on Sunday evening, yet amazingly I still managed to win all seven games and retire undefeated at 21:45. The games all seemed to follow a pattern of poor scores but strong finishing. This just made me feel lucky rather than competent, and I’ll spend Monday evening practicing at home ready for the big kick off on Tuesday night.

I’ll be sure to prepare properly for this first game of the new season. I have a hellish early start the following morning which I'm not looking forward to.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Practice Music For September 2005

Last month’s album from Tony Joe White was a real hit when burning the midnight oil on the practice board. It created a great mood for practice, and I could concentrate without distraction. It was a superb spread of material, all in White’s distinctive style.

This month though I’m going to go for something a bit more dynamic ; "Aces And Kings, The Best of Go West" by Go West. I’ll forgive them for the synthesised bass badness - just this once.

DartPro Analysis for August 2005

As you can see from the chart (above) this was my best month on record, with considerable progress made against my standing in April and May 2005. The trend is certainly "up", and August’s 3 dart average of nearly 56 per throw (including the finishes) will be a tough act to follow in September.
The score card (above) shows modest improvements in some key areas ; my 3 dart average is now 52 (up from 51), scores of less than 60 are now 68% (down from 69%), scores of 100 and over are now 6.54% (up from 6.38%), and my average finish is now 24.90 (up from 24.81).

These improvements may sound very slight, but they are based on 7 months of data, and it is difficult for any single month to make a dent in the average ; as long as the trend is "up" I’m happy with the month’s work.