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.