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.