Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Practicing on 170 Finishes

This new type of practice is intended to help me with my end game, and it went well last night. After a slow start I hit a sequence of finishing from 170 in 4, 9, 8, 8, 8, and 10 darts. I then played a few games of DartPro local 501 games and found that I slipped into the finishing far better than usual, so I’ll be sure to include a few 170 finishes in the practice routine.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Beautiful 180

Come on, this 180 from my practice session in the house last night must surely be the most beautiful 180 ever! Look at those flights - it’s amazing.

You simply couldn’t arrange it any better by hand if you tried, which I’m sure will cause a few suspicions, but you’re just going to have to believe me that for one throw last night I really was (temporarily at least!) In The Zone (tm).

I had to hold the camera above the usual height to capture this properly, but it was absolutely breathtaking when the third dart hit the board (I think it was the one at top left).

Fixtures : The 2005 / 2006 Season

The Chelmsford’s fixtures for this season are as follows :

06/09/05 - Chelmsford V Chopwell
13/09/05 - Chopwell V Chelmsford
20/09/05 - Black Diamond V Chelmsford
27/09/05 - Chelmsford V Black Diamond
04/10/05 - Chelmsford V Commercial
11/10/05 - Commercial V Chelmsford
18/10/05 - Chelmsford V Cricketers
15/10/05 - Cricketers V Chelmsford
01/11/05 - Chelmsford V Derwentside
08/11/05 - Derwentside V Chelmsford
15/11/05 - Chelmsford V Coach & Horses
22/11/05 - Coach & Horses V Chelmsford
29/11/05 - Chelmsford V Leadgate Cricket
06/12/05 - Leadgate Cricket V Chelmsford
13/12/05 - Chelmsford V Shotley Club
20/12/05 - Shotley Club V Chelmsford
03/01/06 - Chelmsford V Smelters
10/01/06- Smelters V Chelmsford
17/01/06 - Chelmsford V Jolly Drovers
24/01/06 - Jolly Drovers V Chelmsford
31/01/06 - Chelmsford V Stanley Masons (B)
07/02/06 - Stanley Masons (B) V Chelmsford
14/02/06 - Steel Club V Chelmsford
21/02/06 - Chelmsford V Steel Club
14/03/06 - Chelmsford V Stanley Masons (A)
21/03/06 - Stanley Masons (A) V Chelmsford
28/03/06 - Chelmsford V Castleside
04/04/06 - Castleside V Chelmsford
18/04/06 - League Knock Out 1st Round
25/04/06 - League Knock Out 2nd Round
02/05/06 - League Knock Out Semi Finals
09/05/06 - Singles 1st Round
16/05/06 - Singles 2nd Round
30/05/06 - Doubles 1st Round
06/06/05 - Doubles 2nd Round
20/06/05 - Finals Night
27/06/05 - League Knock Out Final

Poor End To August

My form has dipped, and with only one week to the start of the season too. When I publish the August stats in a few days I still expect August to be my best month of practice on record, but it could’ve been much better if I hadn’t spent so many games fluffing the doubles and ending up on double 1. This all happened in the final part of the month, and I’ll be concentrating on my end game in this final week of the close season.

I think I’ll play a long series of 170 finishes tonight before Team practice Night and see how few darts I can do them in. Of course “3” will be the target (fat chance!), but I’d be delighted to finish as many as possible in 6 darts. I’ll publish the results.

Our team will be stronger now John Sheean has signed up for us, and he was in good form last night. The increased competition for places will add extra importance to the matches held in The Chelmsford between League games.

I’ve seen the teams and fixtures for the new season, and they will appear on here shortly. Also, I’ve got a picture of the most symmetrical 180 I’ve ever scored! The grouping was incredibly tight and the dart flights lined up to make a symmetrical pattern. You’ll think I placed them in the board by hand. As if I would :o)

Teams For The 2005 / 2006 Season

There will be 15 teams competing in this season’s League. They are as follows :

Black Diamond
Coach & Horses
Jolly Drovers
Leadgate Cricket
Shotley Club
Stanley Masons (A)
Stanley Masons (B)
Steel Club

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Welcome to Ebchester Chelmsford F.C.

The link now appears on the left.

Jay was instrumental in getting Broadband in the village, and it's great to be linked to another Ebchester site.

Close Season Progress

I might have made decent progress over the last few weeks of the close season, but so have my team mates ; Roger, Alan, and Willie have all been on great form over the weekend and I’ve found wins really hard to come by. I don’t think I’ve even won half of my games. I’ve kept an eye on my average scores when I’m beaten and they have all seemed to be roughly 50+ per throw, which I’d call "average pub darts". A little disappointing, and more practice is needed.

Alan in particular gave me a master class on Sunday night and checked out averaging over 80 per throw in one game, and tonight Roger was "in the zone" and remained unbeaten all evening.
No complaints from me. It’ll be great if that is the standard we’re going to play at this season, and it’s time for me to raise my game once more.

I’ve been concentrating on the release of the dart. My tendency to drift shots to the left has been reduced, but amusingly this has caused me to score a lot of 1’s and treble 1’s rather than the neat 20’s I was hoping for. Previously I hardly ever drifted to the right, so a bit more fine tuning is needed.

Lena (Captain) has drawn up a list of all the people who are signed on to play for us this season, and this will be published here as soon as it is finalised.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ebchester Chelsmford Football Club

Can anyone from the Ebchester Chelsmford Football Club please e-mail me your web URL and I’ll link to it from this blog.

I spoke to one of the team on Sunday night about this link, but I’ve been unable to locate your web page using Yahoo or Google. My e-mail address it tommocubed at dialstart dot net. Thanks.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

August is looking good

There were loads of things in my head this weekend, but I managed to blot them all out and have a very productive Saturday evening’s practice. In fact, it would have been a record breaking evening if I hadn’t messed about on X1 in the final game, where I took 19 darts to finish the final two points. It all messes the averages up, but I still think I’m going to see some good improvements in the "month end" stats.

Loads of tons, a couple of 140’s, and a nice finish on 100 (20, 48, 32) were the highlights, and only the one appalling game right at the very end have got my DartPro stats riding high for August. I just need to basically "turn up" for the last few practice sessions to have my best month on record.

Another highlight I feel I’ve reached this month is feeling true disappointment at hitting 85’s and 95’s etc. These are no longer good scores to me ; they are missed tons, and shots where I didn’t use all three darts, and I really want to stop hitting the totally wrong segment with one of the darts in the throw.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Oh dear, a whitewash to report! I lost 0-6 to DartPro, which was throwing an average of 70 including the finishes, so that is every last one of my objectives failed for this game! The nearest I even got to a double was in the last game, where if DartPro had “missed” it’s finish I would have had 60 to finish on. It wasn’t to be.

This is an extremely tough challenge for me, and I’ll keep it as part of the weekly practice routine. It seems similar to playing the best players from the best League teams. Of course I’ll have to include other types of games in the routine, or I won’t get much practice at my finishing judging by last night’s game.

I managed to get some games in The Chelmsford despite it being a quiet night, and I won most of my matches.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Warm-up Routine

I’ve finalised a 20 minute warm-up routine which is designed to get me up to speed in 20 minutes and ready to play competitively. This has been a huge problem area for me in the past, and on a match night I want to be able to get in from work and do my preparation at home ready for arriving at the Chelmsford at 19:45 hrs.

5 Minutes : Set up and prepare mentally

Whilst setting up the darts I play a record good and loud, and just try to clear my mind. Especially after a day at work I need to cut off from it all and concentrate on the darts. It’s amazing how the day’s events can linger in the mind unless you make a conscious attempt to clear the mind. This has been quite an important part of the routine, and something I didn’t used to bother to do.
The choice of music has to be something upbeat and raucous, e.g. "Train, Train" from Blackfoot’s "Strikes" album (pictured).

2 Minutes : Above The 20

Shoot intentionally above the D20. This is a great tip I picked up from
It limbers up the tendons and throwing action.

8 Minutes : +, X, and Bull
Three darts each at the following targets in sequence : D20, D3, D6, D11, Bull. This completes the "+" shape. For the "X" shape the shots are D9, D15, D16, D4, Bull.
I cycle through this routine for 8 minutes. The diagrams (pictured) show the pattern.

5 Minutes : High Trebles
Using the time to get as far as possible through this I aim for T20, T19, T18, T17 etc., using three darts at each target.

This completes the 20 minutes, and in whatever time I have left before the match I just practice on high scores and finishing.

Practice, Tuesday 16/8/05

I’ve had an idea for the usual Tuesday evening practice in The Chelsmford this evening ; given that I can’t rely on many dart players being there tonight I’ll let DartPro take the strain and provide the challenge. The season is looming, and I really need the match practice. So, first of all I’ll play a series of 501 legs in the house against an AI opponent with its average score including the finishes whacked right up to 70. I’ve never done this before, but I’d rather lose than stay within self imposed limits. After this match it’ll just be a bonus if anyone turns up for a game in the pub, and I won’t walk away disappointed with a lack of challenge.

My objectives against the “70 average” DartPro opponent are to raise my game to its level, to really believe I can win, and to avoid a whitewash (i.e. loose 6-0). I suppose if I really did believe I could win this last objective sounds a bit defeatist.

I’ll update the blog with the results and “learns” from this match on Wednesday night, but I won’t be too concerned about average scores etc; the goal is to win legs, because in League matches this is the only stat which really matters. I’ll also be using the warm-up routine which’ll appear on here shortly to test how good it is at preparing for a big challenge. Basically I’ll need to consistently show my best form to get any sort of a result.

I’ll have the time for approximately 11 legs, so I’ll select something like the “best of 13 legs” option, or whichever format fits tonight’s 90 minute limit best. There will be no such time limits in The Chelsmford, so that probably shows where my priorities lie :o)

Monday, August 15, 2005

First Win Against A "DartPro 60 Average" Opponent

I had some great practice on DartPro on Sunday night ; winning 6-2 against a computer opponent which was set to throw an average of 60.12 per throw including the finishes. The match winning dart was the double 16 (pictured) when I finished on 74.

I took a 4-0 lead and then wobbled a bit on my finishing, but my overall average of 62.32 per throw for me had my confidence so high I really didn’t think I’d lose this one at any point. The ton forties (4 of them) allowed me to edge ahead when I needed it, and there were very few bad throws.

I’d rather be playing against human opposition, but as mentioned on here over the last few days things are quiet in the pub. I had five quick unbeaten games in The Chelmsford, where the highlight was throwing two consecutive ton forties. I don’t remember ever doing that before. I also scored a "Baby 180" in practice, which was T20, T19 and T18 (171 points).

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Relaxing Saturday

Just a relaxing Saturday away from the dart board ; a 6 mile walk along the Derwent Walk (pictured), an absolutely superb Chinese meal at The Mandarin (Stowell Street, Newcastle), and a quiet couple of drinks in the Chelmsford with good company and no darts being played.

I’ll be out all day on Sunday, so I’ll need to get some DartPro practice on the evening. I’ll play some 501 legs against an opponent with an average throw of 60 including the finishes, and I hope to at least get enough confidence to play against a 70 average some time next week and not feel it will be impossible to actually win. Both games will be best of 11 legs.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Season Details Emerge

The 2005/6 Derwentside Darts & Dominos League kicks off on Tuesday 6th September 2005, so I have just three weeks and a few days to make final preparations for the first game.

There will be at least 15 teams in this year’s League, but this may rise to 16 or 17 in the final few days of the close season. This means more competition, and I’m therefore happy to retain a team target placing of 9th or better. I also have a personal target of winning 60% of my singles matches, and I’d also like to score at least one 180 in a competitive match during the season.

It’s been difficult to get regular, good quality opposition in the pub games recently, so I’ll be using DartPro to simulate matches against an opponent with average throws of 50, 60 and 70 including the finishes, and this should prepare me for most of the opponents I’ll encounter during the season.

I’ve recently taken up a new role at work, and I’m fairly sure some of the work commitments will interfere with the occasional Tuesday night. We’ll jut have to see how many Tuesday nights I have to miss, and I’ll be doing all I can to get the "work / darts" balance right :o)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tuesday Practice Evening, 9/8/05

The usual Tuesday evening practice in The Chelmsford was extremely quiet. I’d been warned that a few of the regulars wouldn’t be there, but it was still disappointing, and just myself and Alan played darts in a short series which I won 3-1.

This was following a very poor practice session in the house where I lost a DartPro "best of 5 legs, 501" against an AI opponent with an average of just 50 including the finishes. I lost 3-2, and my average throw was 52. Just poor finishing let me down, but I’d settled in well for the games against Alan in the pub, where I was hitting the doubles with ease and the games were all completed quickly with good scoring.

The sun set photo was taken from the same vantage point as the picture in the "Walking to the pub" entry.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Whilst practising on Monday night I hit a ton eighty and did my usual sad trick of photographing it. While looking for the best angle I brushed into one of the halogen bulbs.

I am now branded – if not for life at least for the next few weeks, and the perfectly circular image of the bulb is now clearly visible on my left arm. It’s even in two distinct shades of purple and red!

Disappointing Evening's Practice

I played “best of eleven legs, 501” against DartPro with the AI opponent averaging 60.12 per throw including finishes. I lost 6-1 and only averaged 55.2. The practice session was kept to a strict 60 minute limit, which is the type of restriction I'll have when the season starts.

Highlights : A sequence of ton / ton / ton forty in one of the legs, a 180 for the third time in four days (pictured), and a warm up routine which is taking shape and looking quite effective – despite the result saying otherwise. I’ll tinker with the routine a little further and then post it on here.

Lowlights : Poor finishing, several bounce outs at important stages (at least 177 points and a treble to leave a finish were on the floor), some awful shots when I became rattled and angry, and being too resigned to losing when I was far behind in some of the legs.

I usually just play 501 games where the objective is to finish in as few darts as possible, but these games against an AI opponent are far more challenging. They simulate real match tension quite well, and I’m going to start playing far more of this type of game in the final few weeks before the season starts. I’m considering playing “best of eleven” against the AI opponent, and then “warming down” with a handful of the ordinary 501 games.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Practice Music - August 2005

My choice for this month is a collection of hits from Tony Joe White.

Quiet Sunday Night

It was really quiet in The Chelmsford last night. I only managed to play seven games, but remained undefeated and hit a 180. I’ve been told it’s going to be quieter still on Tuesday night, so I’ll probably have a heavy DartPro session instead. DartPro is great, but I’d prefer to play against people. I just hope the present lull is a temporary “Summer” thing, and we can get back to being a competitive darts pub before the season starts.

Tonight's practice will be a strict 60 minute DartPro jobby, so I'll have to get warmed up and into the flow pretty quickly. It'll be "best of 15 legs, 501" against an AI opponent who averages 60 including the finishes.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Couldn't get going

I just couldn’t get going tonight. Despite the practice ton eighty (pictured, and the first one on the new board) I struggled and didn’t feel comfortable. I quit after 11 legs of DartPro 501 but was surprised to see the average throw including finishes was still a half decent 57. I think the good finishing kept the average high, as there were some really erratic shots.

One to forget, but nothing to spoil the August stats which are still looking good.

Friday, August 05, 2005

August starts well

Fingers crossed, things seem to be improving. I’ve had a great night’s practice in the house where the first three legs of 501 were all averaging over 70 per throw including the finishes. There was then a slump and a bit of a relapse into February’s standards where I only averaged mid 40’s, but I was for once able to pick myself up and get back on track, with the evening’s overall average being a very respectable 65.45 over 14 games of 501.

The highlights were a 16 darter (averaging 93.94 per throw), and a 95 finish. The lowlights were the two games where the three dart averages were 44.21 and 48.48.

The practice shot on double 9 (pictured) was nice, mainly for the "popcorn" on the third dart, where the flight flew off, an made the shot look really tight :o)

Final Preparations

It’s just a month or so away from the opening game and I’ve made the final preparations. I’ve sorted out the practice board lighting ; Previously it was only possible to train two of the three 50 watt halogen bulbs (pictured) onto the dart board due to the design of the stand, but I made a change to the stand and now all three bulbs point in the same direction.

The picture is taken from left of centre, and in practice the bulbs do not distract. They illuminate the board better than you’d think, but the picture doesn’t convey this too well.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Brief Return

I'm back in Ebchester mid holiday, and I couldn't resist a quick blast on the new dartboard.

I played 15 games of 501 and averaged just over 60 per throw, including the finishes.

This is the standard I want to keep, as these scores would fare very well in the League. Nice tight finishing on the double twentys was probably the highlight. No real disasters in the legs, as when I did end up on double ones I hit them fairly quickly, keeping the average score high (usually you can destroy a whole night's work with a really bad leg which ruins the overall average).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Short Break

I’ve got a few day trips etc, so I’m hanging up the darts until Saturday night. I hope I can pick up where I left off on Sunday night, because that is the standard I want to keep.

The blog can run itself in the meantime :o)

New Board

I picked up a Winmau Blade II board on Saturday to replace my year old Winmau SFB. The SFB had started to go hard and was showing a fair bit of wear, despite regular rotation.

The Blade II is supposed to reduce bounce outs with a wiring system which resembles blades. Also the joints are seamless, and you need to look closely to see how they’ve handled the junctions between the wires.

It’s fairly well made, but bounce outs do still occur ; they just seem to be less frequent, and a lot of the power seems to be dissipated, meaning the darts don’t seem to shoot away from the board with so much power.