Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Turf 4 – 6 Chelmsford

We had a very quiet night up in Consett tonight. The Turf struggled to put a full team out and by the time we kicked off it had all fallen a bit flat, with none of us enjoying the throw and generally not settling. No complaints though – this is all great experience, and not all throws will be ideal. I think the stark lighting and uneven floor put me off the most.

We again won the opening Team game. At this point in the season we have a very respectable 80% success rate in this 1001X game, which is a huge improvement on last season where we seemed to lose most of them.

Alan P and I lost our Doubles game, but at least I made amends for my defeat in the home game by getting a Singles win tonight. I think the D10 I hit was my only third decent shot of the night, and I was really struggling.

The rest of the games swung from team to team, with Roger needing to secure the win with the final Singles game of the night. Congratulations to their bar manager, who scored a 180 and won his earlier Singles game.

A taxi mix-up saw me walking back home and missing last orders in The Chelmsford. It was so easy when we had the coach!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

An Interview With Nannette Brooks

L to R : Rosemarie Duff / John Lowe / Nannette Brooks

Nannette Brooks is the No.1 Trinidad & Tobago Ladies' darts player, and I'm really pleased that she has provided an interview for the blog. Over the last two events in Barbados that I attended she has shown a real determination to win which I hope I can learn from.

Nannette's darting honours include:

  • MVP ladies at the Caribbean Championships 2006
  • Caribbean Ladies singles1994 1996
  • Americas Cup ladies singles 2002
  • Caribbean Cup ladies doubles(with Ann Marie James Murray) 2006

ST : How do you overcome nerves in the big games?

NB: I have discovered that there is not much I could do about that as once you are playing darts the butterflies will be there. None the less I have found that as a game progresses or as a day of tournaments progresses it gets a lot easier. Hats off to those who can play without anxiety.

ST : What practice routines do you use?

NB : To be honest I do not practice very much. It is a bit of a joke among the Trini dart players. However, I will have no choice next year when the national team starts to practice in preparation for the Caribbean Cup. We start to prep in January and we have some long evenings of practice ahead of us. I look forward to seeing great strides in my game as a result.

ST : What is the darts scene like in Trinidad & Tobago?

NB : We have leagues all year round. There are twelve teams in the association and there are many young people becoming involved.

We host the Caribbean Championships next year so there is a lot to do as the event is one of the biggest in the region. The America's Cup will also be held here and this will include the USA and Canada....some formidable opponents!!!!!!! It really is one of the nicest events......very competitive, but at the end of the day we can all say we have seen great darts and renewed wonderful friendships.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Chelmsford 6 – 4 The Turf

Pictured : Three practice darts in the D18

We had an interesting game against The Turf on Tuesday night, taking the lead in the opening 1001 Team Game with an average throw of 71.5. This is our best Team Game in my memory, and The Turf had more than 300 points on the board as our winning double went in.

We raced to a 3-0 lead with the next two Doubles games, but from that point The Turf turned it around and started to take their chances to finish games.

I played OK in my Singles game but lost to a spectacular 110 finish in two darts (T20, Bull) leaving me to rue yet another messed up D20 finish. This was despite some heavy practice on D20 alone during the week.

This was the first time I had played against The Turf, who are currently directly below us in 6th place. We have a week off while the next round of the Team competition is played, but I'm looking forward to seeing what their place is like in the return leg on 18th December. There are quite a few characters in this team, so it should be a good one.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Witney - The Legends of Darts, Part 4

Here's that fabulous memento I was presented with in Witney on Friday.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Witney - The Legends of Darts, Part 3

Cliff Lazarenko collects his prize from Paul Booth

What a thrill I got on Friday night when Colin arranged for me to play on stage, partnered with the Witney's Mayoress (Chrissy Curry) against John Lowe and Eric Bristow. I threw some terrible shots before finally getting a steady 60. By that time the legends were miles ahead and John Lowe sunk the D5 to win.

This was my first time on a proper stage, and I was just as awful as I imagined I'd be!

It's weird – it's not the nerves, it's the total lack of connection with the dart board itself. All you can think of is what is happening behind you, and not the thing you are straining to hit with a dart!

Everything the Mayoress scored was doubled by MC Paul Booth, so by the time I hit the very ordinary 60 Eric Bristow whispered in my ear “So did he double that score for you?!” Absolutely class!

A magic moment in my life, and I will absolutely treasure the glass trophy I was presented with at the end of the evening. I'll post a photo of it on here soon – it is some classy work by the Witney Trophy Centre.

Witney - The Legends of Darts, Part 2

(left to right) John Lowe, Keith Deller, Eric Bristow, and Cliff Lazarenko

Congratulations to Cliff Lazarenko who was the very popular winner of the Witney Legends of Darts tournament on 30/11/2007.

Cliff is back from illness and started slowly with a few stray shots, before buckling down and grinding out a hard fought victory against Keith Deller in the final.

Best wishes to Cliff in his recovery and hopefully we'll see more trophies being collected by this true legend of the game.

Witney - The Legends of Darts, Part1

Organiser Colin Smith (left) with MC Paul Booth

What an superb personal success for Colin Smith : Witney's “An evening with the Legends of Darts” was meticulously organised by Colin over the last few months, and on Friday 30th November 2007 it all paid off as Witney hosted a highly professional event which will live long in the memory of the 200 strong crowd who witnessed a little piece of history in the small Oxfordshire town.

Everything about this event gleamed, from the four darts legends on show (John Lowe / Eric Bristow / Cliff Lazarenko / Keith Deller) to the big screen video (John Richards of Phototechniques Ltd), the oche and lighting, the superb trophies (Witney Trophy Centre), the pumping rock 3 piece live music (The Dirty Earth Band), right through to the ultra professional graphics and printing work (Ken Smale / Blenheim Clolour Ltd Eynsham). This list is by no means comprehensive, and just shows the amount of work Colin had to go to in pulling this event together.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chelmsford 7 – 3 Stanley Masons

It was a fairly off key event tonight, with many of us just not playing as well as last week. At least we secured 7 points on a night where (just as last week) very little separated the two teams.

We won the opening 3 games to take a good lead. Willie and I played well in the Doubles game and I finished on D4 to get the point.

Annoyingly I was the first player to lose a Singles match. I was throwing against the darts against Derek, but I still got three darts at my favourite D20 before missing and letting Derek finish well on 16 to take the point. I won't be doing any more of those practice photos on here, where all of the darts are crammed into the D20 bed ;o)

ark H also lost his Singles game despite some good early scoring, but that and a Doubles defeat were the only low points on a night when most of the team finished reasonably well.

Man Of The Match goes to Peter M, who won every game he was involved with and did well on a night where most of the games were a little under par.

I'll be getting a League table update shortly and I expect to see The Chelmsford in the top third. Quite a change from last season.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Practice night

Pictured : Tonight's practice highlights

I had a great night on the practice board tonight, beating my current averages in 501 legs and getting reasonably close to most things I aimed for.

I've peaked too soon for Tuesday night's return game against Stanley Masons obviously.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Trinis

Thanks to Rose Duff for sending me some great pictures. From left to right we have Rabbit (T&T No 1), Hank (Cayman No1), myself, Rose, and Nannette Brooks (T&T No 1 Ladies player).

They'll all be having a great time at the Caribbean Cup in Trinidad next Summer, but I'll have to wait until October before I see them again in Barbados.

Better balance

Pictured : The new dart config

This picture shows the better balance I'm now getting following the changes described in the earlier post. I's just a steady 60, but the angle of attack is typical of what I'm now getting following the changes.

Of course I still have really poor practice nights where the results aren't good, but this now has absolutely nothing to do with the darts themselves. One more avenue of “excuses” closed off to me then :o)

Changes to the darts

Pictured : The new stems and flights

Since switching to the Harrows Magnums in early November I've need to make changes to the stems and flights to get the balance right.

I noticed with the Short stems that the balance just wasn't right, and I'm now using Medium stems. This corrected the feel of the darts as I threw them, but it then became apparent the the Pear shaped flights were no longer giving enough “lift”. I therefore changed from Pears to Standard. They are the Ruthless Xtra Strong Poly type, which cost marginally more than normal (40p instead of 30p), but are far more durable and keep their shape far better than the old Poly Plains I was using.

I'm also using stem grip springs, and they seem to hold the flights far tighter in the stem, so I no longer need to continually push the flights down into the stem.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stanley Masons 2 - 8 Chelmsford

Pictured : Practice darts

Yet more valuable points for us on our travels tonight at The Stanley Masons. The scoreline may flatter us on a night where the teams were both evenly matched, but we have become accustomed to sinking the doubles and nabbing the points this season. Not a problem!

I had a slightly uncomfortable time on the oche tonight, but dear me these new darts of mine seem to find their way into the doubles. I finished on 32 in my Doubles game with Alan P (D8, D8), and then 65 in my Singles game (25, D20). Whenever I have problems building scores the doubles seem to go well, and vice versa. No Man Of The Match this week - we just played a good game as a team.

Good hospitality from the Masons as always, and they'll be keen to turn this one around in the return match next Tuesday. Special mention to the Masons' choice of music during the game. Just hearing "Highway To Hell" by AC/DC was a treat, even if it was not the Bon Scott version :o)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Trinidad Guardian

Pictured : Rosemarie Duff

Rose was showing me a portfolio of her reporting work, and has sent me the following link for her write-up on the Barbados Darts Festival 2007.

Thanks to Rose and the rest of the Trini's, who were great hosts at one of their hotel parties after the Solidarity House finale. I look forward to seeing them all again next year, and I'm keeping in touch with a few of them on e-mail.


Thanks to all the people who check this blog from time to time. It's really encouraging to see site stats which show people from the flags on display as having visited over the past few days.

I hope to have a good story on 30th November. I'll be going to Witney (Oxfordshire) again to catch up with my friends down there and also see John Lowe / Eric Bristow / Cliff Lazarenko / Keith Deller in action.

There'll probably be some sort of amateur competition in The Three Pigeons on the Saturday night, so I'll be sure to pack my darts!

It is a made up fact that Witney is twinned with the American town of Witney, Houston TX.

Barbados 4/11/2007 : The Cockspur Mens Singles, Solidarity House

Pictured : (L-R) Jan, Tricia Sime, Ray, Len, Rob Sime

Guess what? Still no glory for me, but this one really rattled me. I was prepared and focused, and probably playing the smoothest darts of the fortnight. I was up against Guyana's Number 2, Fitzgerald in the first round. When bulling up to see who threw first I hit the 50. I then played consistently but suffered with three bounce outs at just the wrong moments in the 2-1 defeat. There were even two bounce outs off the T20 wire in the same throw, meaning I walked back with a score of 20 instead of the 140 I should've had. It's a cruel game.

Glory for the touring party's Rob Sime though. He played the best I've ever seen him play over the last two Bdos tourneys. He battled all the way to the final. By this time I had truly found my place and was marking the final! Rob was just edged out by Rabbit, Trinidad's number 1 player.

Special mention to Karen Lowe and Janice Simpkins, who were runners up in the Ladies' Doubles, and for times during the final seemed to have a hand on the trophy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Barbados 2/11/2007 : The B&H Mens Pairs, Solidarity House

Pictured : Me, John Lowe, Debs

Les and I again paired up for this doubles game. We beat John Simpkins (touring party) and his Bajan partner 3-1.

In the second round we went out 3-1 against Dave and Terry from the touting party. Les and I played OK, but couldn't quite match them. I hit a nice 87 finish (T17, D18). Les and I both had chances to hit the other winning doubles, so the games were close.

I marked the board on stage in the finals, which saw Winston Coduggan and Anthony Forde (both Bajan) beat Rabbit and his partner (Trinidad) with a convincing 3-0 score.

Barbados 30/10/2007 : The A & T Hideaway

Pictured : Me and Mapp in the doubles

At last a bit better news to report in two great pairs competition at the A & T Hideaway. The pairs are all drawn from a hat in this event, so you can get to play with a Bajan team mate.

In the first competition I partnered Mapp (Bajan). We beat Terry (touring party) and his Bajan partner, with me hitting both winning doubles in the 2-1 result. It was sheer relief to at last get past a first round, but Anthony Forde and his partner (Bajans) beat us 2-0 in the next round. Again, we had looks at winning doubles, so we were kicking ourselves.

Better things happened in the next competition though. This time I was partnered with Compton Bates (Bajan). The first round was shaky for us, but we still got a 2-1 win against two Bajan women. Compton and I really raised our game in the second round against the two alpha males who had won the earlier competition. I hit a D5 to make it 1-1 and take us to a tense final game. At one point Compton and I were looking at an 11 dart finish, but annoyingly failed to finish the game and we lost 2-1. Great excitement though, and it was a real buzz to take part in a battle like that.

Barbados 28/10/2007 : The Right Guard Mens Singles, Almond Bay

Pictured : me and Debs on the caramaran

My lovely girlfriend Deb (look, she reads this!) partnered Karen Lowe in the women's pairs, but sadly they went out 2-0 in the first round.

I played far better this time and pushed the experienced Dave Jenner (touring party) all the way in a close match which ended in a 3-2 defeat for me. I never have any complaints when I raise my game to the opposition and do my best.

As you'll see from the other match summaries I didn't win too many games, but it really wasn't bothering me too much on this great holiday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Barbados 26/10/2007 : The Warrens Motors Mens Pairs

Pictured : Scum like me and Les - in Barbados!

We played our first competition of the holiday at the Almond Bay venue. My girlfriend Debs had the sternest possible of tests in her Ladies Singles game against Bajan Eloise. Debs hit a nice 123 (T20, T20, T1) and pushed all the way before going out 2-0 in the first round.

My doubles partner Les and I fared no better, losing by the same score, but we both played a strong game with chances to hit winning doubles in both games. In what must be a “first” for me I hit three consecutive tons, but all to no avail as Skinner and his new doubles partner finished in style (Bull finish on the last dart).

Janice seemed to get the furthest of all of us, and told me to mention her superb 65 finish on the blog!

Cup Night – The Commercial

Pictured : Two good markers and a D8 practice shot

We had a night away from the League on Tuesday, and played our Cup games (the Doubles / Pairs Competition) up at The Commercial in Leadgate.

Our Captain Lena was involved in making the draw, and somehow she managed to draw myself and Roger to play against her and Willie in the first round. This turned out to be a lucky move, because all four of us played so badly there was no way we could have beaten decent opposition to get into the next round. We just had to be glad that the draw guaranteed a Chelmsford representative to go through to the next round, to be played in May 2008.

As it turned out Roger and I won 2-0, but the people in the next round will be keen to play us after seeing the badness on display. We just couldn't get going, and the only positives I can take from it are that I hit both finishing doubles when I had the chance. Roger and I will really need to step up a gear to compete with the others we saw winning their games. I remember one leg where any sub 100 shot was almost a disappointment to them. Us four couldn't buy a ton.

The new Harrows Magnum darts are still going well though, and they seem to hit the doubles nicely – even on nights like Tuesday when things aren't going well.

There wasn't any good news from our team mates playing at different venues, and I think Roger and I are the only ones to progress. This is one night where I had very poor focus, and the darts weren't pretty.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Introducing the new hay makers

Pictured : Harrows Magnum 97% tungsten

I did promise myself not to tinker with the darts I have been using for the last two years, but I picked these up as a gift from the organisers in Bdos, and they are superb.

They are the same weight and length as my old ones (Hi-Tec, The Vice), but because of the incredibly high tungsten content (97% as opposed to the old 85%) they are ever so slightly slimmer. I've been using them since I got back, and although the bad shots are just as bad as always, when things go right with these it is incredible. I will definitely give them a full 3 months before even considering going back to the Hi-Tecs – there just seems to be nothing to lose.

The points are very well machined, and the darts spin in the point protector totally true. This is not the case with the cheaper Hi-Tecs, where there is a slight wobble. There are some very slight discrepancies between the three darts when it comes to the knurling, but any difference in the throw would be negligible beyond belief.

When they hit the board they just hit it with such authority. I really hope I can make these work for me. I think the real difference will be psychological though. I just love them so much I feel far more confident with them.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Golden Lion 5 – 3 Chelmsford (Cup, 12-5 on aggregate)

Last week while I was away we lost 7-2 to the Golden Lion in the cup. Tonight's 2nd Leg match was therefore a formality, but we still patched up a team (well, 5 of the required 6 people) to play them in Leadgate on a cold evening.

Players like GL's Chris made this fairly one sided, but we still managed to get a respectable scoreline, enlisting Leadgate Cricket Club's Andy to make the numbers up for us. You may notice the two legs have a different total of points, but we just played the game the best we could with full allowance made by both teams for the need to make up the numbers on a quiet Thursday night and just get on with it.

I won my Singles game to get one of the points, as one of their top players took far too many shots to finish. I was in the high 200's when he took his first shot at a double, and I just rode my luck incredibly to finally get the untidy 26 finish (S4, D11, oh dear!).

So we're out of the cup, but we'd always find it difficult to raise a team on a Thursday night, so maybe it is best for us to exit at this point. Good luck to GL in the next round though, and it was a worthwhile experience to play against this high standard of opposition.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

An Interview With John Lowe

Pictured : John Lowe in the Rostrevor Apartments Hotel Bar, Barbados

John and Karen Lowe were superb hosts as usual, and I was delighted that John agreed to grant me an interview for the blog :

ST : What are the main mistakes you see inexperienced players making?

JL : Too much movement when throwing. If the head moves an inch the darts will err by half an inch. This means a S20 will become a S5 or a S1, and a T20 will become a S20. Right handed players sometimes push their elbows out too far, and that too causes unwanted movement.

If you watch the good players all of them keep their heads straight and still during their throw.

ST : Given just one hour before a competitive match, how would you practice?

JL : I'd spend 45 minutes going around the board on the Doubles only, being sure to include plenty of D20 / D6 / D3 / D11 shots. If you can hit them, the other doubles are similar shots.

The final 15 minutes would be spent concentrating on T20 and the Bull. In the USA the “nearest to the bull” decides who goes first, so it is especially important to include the Bull in practice as this is an important advantage.

Throughout these practice shots it would be a case of fine tuning the co-ordination and rhythm.

ST : What is the single most useful piece of advice you could give to an inexperienced player?

JL: Some people seem to throw with a terrible product. I'm not just pushing Unicorn here, but I've seen people use unco-ordinated flights of different colours, and just generally poor equipment. Get decent darts and try a few changes to stem length etc to get the correct balance. I've seen people use flight protectors [small metal “tips” which attach to the back of the flight] just to put some weight at the back of the dart. It is better to use the barrel shape and stem length to achieve this balance.

There is a psychological side to darts, so it is better to compete with good equipment which you are fully comfortable with.


Many thanks to John for this. He really was enthusiastic to pass his thoughts on to this blog, and there's more : John has revealed details of his new coaching book to be released in December 2008 (yep, a whole year away). It may sound like a plug, but think of this : Darts is one of the few games which doesn't have a recognised form of coaching, so this new offering from JL had me really interested.

The working title is “The Art Of Darts – A Master Class”. Following firm interest from at least four publishers it will be Hodder & Stoughton who will release this important work. The book will include photographs and instructions regarding how to stand / throw / release / grip , as well as “style” and all those other aspects we spend our time on improving.

There were initial discussions on separating the contents into 3 volumes, but JL is fairly sure that this will be what we all want it to be – a single coaching manual from a 3-times World Champion.

Chelmsford 2 - 8 Cricketers

Pictured : Yet more practice darts, all for the Bull probably

We were up against a very strong Cricketers team tonight, and very grateful to grab 2 points against them. Last week while I was away I believe we got 3 points against them, so these 5 points in total are very useful against a team who will be "brushing" our immediate neighbours in The League.

On a night where Cricketers hit two 180's our own Alan Parkin hit one too to make it a night of quick fire games.

We went 0-1 down in the opening Team Game and were looking to be outclassed by a Cricketers team full of big names and more importantly they were "on form".

Alan and Willie won their doubles game to avoid the brush, and Man Of The Match Alan was unlucky not to win his Singles game after scoring 180 / 140 but then fluffing a X4 finish.

I won our only other point in my Singles game against Nev, as he uncharacteristically allowed me in to sink a D16 finish after a few stray shots from him. I'd hit a 140 and a 94 to leave the 32, so I was happy to forget my ordinary form in the Team and Doubles games.

Just two points then, but we really grafted for them, and the scoreline is a fair result on the night.

the Blog's back open

Pictured : Colour co-ordinated practice shots

I'm back from Barbados and I have some great stories to relay over the following days. An interview with John Lowe, and some heroics from Rob Sime and Karen Lowe / Janice Simpkins to report.

My own darts weren't too good, but that's life. i was knocked out in the 1st round in two competitions and then in the 2nd round of three competitions. That was the best I did, but I had some fun and learnt just a little bit more about how to compete. No complaints from me, at another successful Barbados darts Festival. More to follow . . .

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bajan Boogie Time, Once More!

Pictured : No Woman, No Cry

Yes folks, it's that time again, so the blog will fall silent while I take part in the Barbados Darts Festival 2007. There are six competitions for me to compete in over the 2 weeks, and in the words of SpongeBob "I'm ready, I'm ready. . . ". Actually, I'll probably feel more like Patrick when the pressure is on!

I hope to have an interview with John Lowe to publish and some great stories about the brilliant hosts, the Bajans.

Take care, good darts, and wish me luck against the mosquitos.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chelmsford 6 – 4 Wheatsheaf

Pictured : The Chelmsford

We were able to repeat last week's result against The Wheatsheaf despite some strong individual performances by them. Things were looking bad as we lost the opening Team 1001x game by a very large margin, but from that point the games were far tighter.

Lena and I got to play against Jay in the Doubles, and in a very closely fought game I was relieved to hit the D8 with my last dart after covering it badly with the first two. I think we all had at least two throws at the double, so this one was in the balance and quite tense toward the end.

My decent form in the Doubles game was spoilt by my poor Singles game. I hit some real junk shots, totally unable to focus and get steady shots into the 20.

Luckily the rest of the team did well. Paul C was as steady as ever, and there was some decent play from Mark, Roger, and Alan.

The season feels so different to last year, and we're getting into the habit of picking up points against strong teams.

Jason has asked me to mention that he beat Willie 3-0 in the doms :o)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Roger's 37 Finish

This is the 37 finish Roger used in the game at Wheatsheaf. Instead of the usual method of S5, D16 Roger aimed for the 3, knowing that even if he strayed into the 19 or 17 he would still have 2 darts at a double. This is a great idea, and works well when the nerves are present and you just want to get the most possible shots at a double even if the first dart for the “big single” isn't the best of shots.

It worked well. The first dart hit S3 as planned, and the second dart was straight into the D17. I thought it was a great way to go, and I've learned from that. The only thing I'd try though is to aim as in the smaller diagrams, as I'd rather have D9 or D10 to finish on than the lower D17. Worth trying isn't it, but I think there'd have been pressure to go the conventional way if playing with a partner in a Doubles game.

Dominoes Game

Dominoes rear their head every once in a while in the League. I try to avoid them, but whenever we're short on numbers I'll be forced to play them. Actually my success rate isn't that bad.

This link was mentioned to Jay last night. It's a reasonably good dominoes game which I've found quite challenging > Jamaican Dominoes Have a go and see what you think.

The game is free and doesn't seem to include any malware.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wheatsheaf 4 – 6 Chelmsford

Pictured : The Wheatsheaf team

Not a great game tonight, but one of the Wheatsheaf players hit a 180 while the rest of us struggled to get into our stride.

We won the opening team game to continue our good record in this type of 1001X game. Next up I played a poor game in the Doubles with Peter Mc and it was 1-1. Good performances from Roger and Paul C were probably the difference as we headed to a 6-4 victory on the night.

As fate would have it I got to play Jay in the Singles and I was very lucky to sneak a win against him. He won't be impressed with my game and will no doubt fancy a re-match against me next week :o)

A great night up there in Leadgate and yet another pleasing result for our team. I don't think we had this many points by Christmas last season!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Chelmsford 7 – 3 Coach & Horses

This was a really good performance from us. We put out our strongest team with Peter Mc available, and reversed last week's 7-3 defeat to make it “honours even” over the two legs against a team who are usually much better than us in the league.

Personally, this was my best showing ever for The Chelmsford ; I hit the winning X1 in the Team Game, sunk the 39 in the Doubles game (S7, D16), and also finished on 53 (S13 D20) in my Singles game to grab 3 of the 7 points. The scoring wasn't bad either, but I must admit the nerves were still there in the Singles game. Surely I must get some confidence from hitting the double every time I got the chance of one, but it is so hard to concentrate and be precise over the entire game.

We took a 3-0 lead before C&H came back fighting and made it 3-3. From that point we won all of the remaining games. This is extremely satisfying against good opposition like C&H.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Coach & Horses 7 – 3 Chelmsford

A bit of a defeat tonight, but we never felt outclassed. We won the opening Team game, with me sinking the winning D1. On a really cold night up in Leadgate (they left the main fire escape doors open for the smokers) we never felt comfortable on their new two tiered oche, but matched them quiet closely throughout.

Tonight's report has to be a little self centric, with “nerves” being the main theme. I love nerves – they usually give you a push, and add a bit of adrenaline, but after having to fight for my place in the team, the nerves really surfaced tonight. No problem in the Team game where I scored well and finished on D1, and no problem in the Doubles game where I scored better but never got the chance to finish. No. It was the Singles game against the guy who knocked me out of a cup competition last year ; I totally cracked in the finishing, but somehow managed to sink my stupid D3 to win the game.

I only ever feel the nerves in three or four matches all season, so there's one of them out of the way. Hitting the winning double for 2 of our 3 point of the night really ought to make me feel more confident, but this was sheer relief. Not enjoyable, and you'll never play decent darts when you're not enjoying it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Practice Night

I had a great practice night on Friday up at the Derwentside. I only won about a third of my matches, but there were some really strong players on one of the busiest darts nights up there for a while.

My DartPro stats (pictured) are on an upward curve, which I hope will bode well for Barbados in October. The graph may seem a little erratic, but with the exception of June 2007 it shows that I've completed my 501 games within 10 throws. I'll need to up my average to 56 before I am finishing the games in 9 throws.

These are all averages of course, and any slack finishing is badly punished. On the other hand my game on 1/9/2007 with an average of 100.20 really helped the average! It went 60, 180, 77, 78, and then a 106 finish. Oh to do that in a League game?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chelmsford 3 – 4 Jolly Drovers

We're out of the Blackhill Ward knock-out cup in the first round, but only on the dominoes tie beaker. It's a mixed darts / dominoes format, where 3 team games of 1001 (Double Start, Double Finish) are played and 3 games of Singles dominoes. It was 3-3 after these 6 games, and the Drovers opted to play the tie-breaker on dominoes. Sadly, we lost decider, but it was a tight game all night and all the best to the Drovers in the next round.

We lost the opening darts game, with only Peter Mc playing a decent game. I wasn't selected due to last week's resounding 10-0 win, and the decision to stick with the winning formula was vindicated as we turned around the darts game and won 2-1, getting stronger as the games went on.

Only the dominoes let us down. No Man Of The Match stood out, but Peter Mc and Paul C scored steadily, with Roger and Mark H providing the finishing. Maybe there'll be no place for me in next week's team against Coach & Horses, but we're top of the league (honest!), playing well, and for the first time in a long while I feel we are a strong darting team. The season will tell!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chelmsford 10 – 0 Castleside

Pictured : Practice in the house

This is a first for our team in my time with them – a perfect 10-0 victory. I wasn't available for selection due to being in Birmingham earlier in the day, but when I arrived at 21:30 we were already 4-0 up and looking good.

Castleside had made several changes to their team from last week, but unfortunately they faired no better despite the changes. All of the matches were close, but for once our finishing was far more accurate.

On a perfect showing like this it hard to select a Man Of The Match, but it goes to Willie for the second week running due to his slick 51 finish in two darts (S19, D16). Peter was playing, and with our new player Paul continuing his good form and Alan playing well (he was really unlucky to take 9 darts to finish from his 32 – all against the wire) there is a really strong look to our team this season.

So I missed this game due to travel, and Lena (Captain) will rightly stick with the winning team for next Tuesday's home game against Coach & Horses. I'll just have console myself with winning our only Domino point of the evening, beating Barry 3-1.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Castleside Inn 3 – 7 Chelmsford

Pictured : The Castleside Inn

A great start to the season for us, with 7 points in the bag and and all 6 of us winning all of our Singles games for the first time in my time with the team. Willie and I won our Doubles game for the other point, but we had a rocky start against a patched up Castleside team. They won the opening Team game and subsequently took a 3-1 lead.

“Patched up” though they were, I was amazed to see one of their new players miss a 164 finish by a whisker (T20, T18, miss on the bull) and that let us know that they were not to be taken lightly.

Man Of The Match goes to Willie who beat their senior player in the Singles. It was a crucial point for us.

I was really happy to sink two winning doubles without ever feeling comfortable in the games. At this early point it is just a relief to get some points, regardless of the opposition being under strength. We have definitely lost this type of game in the past.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Pre-Season Practice

Pictured : The walk to Derwentside

My results have been getting gradually better, but they are still swinging around wildly.

Last night was typical ; A 138 finish (T20, T18, D12), and then in two games of 501 I had a 3 dart average of just 25 (really bad finishing), followed closely followed by a 3 dart average of over 100 as I scored a 180 and finished really well. I don't know Which type of form I'll be showing in the League, and would settle for just a bit more consistency.


Pictured - Practice targets

These are the targets I've been concentrating on during the close season. I reckon that decent accuracy on these will improve my game, and I've made a way of converting my results into an accuracy percentage. 35% is my current record.

Close Season Practice

The Derwentside have been providing me with some great practice on Friday nights. As well as Graham, Norman, Mark, Alan and the rest of the Derwentside regulars people from other teams have been dropping in on some nights (Davy, Chris Chivers etc) giving me a really tough time.

I probably only won about 20% of my games in there, but I enjoyed the challenge and I might make Fridays up there a regular thing.

The Blog re-opens for the 2007-8 season!

I've had a good break from darts in the close season, but the blog is now back open for reports on the 2007-8 season. There will be another “Barbados Special” this year, and I can't wait to blog that one!

We start our campaign on Tuesday night, away from home at the Castleside Inn. There are 15 teams again this season :

Castleside Inn
Chopwell Central
Coach & Horses
Delves Club
Jolly Drovers
Leadgate Cricket Club
Shotley Club
Stanley Masons

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Practice Night at The Derwentside

Pictured : A nice, steady 60

I had a good night with the Derwentside people on Friday night. As promised, there were plenty taking part (including Dave and Chris from The Cricketers), and I got to play against some really strong players. I lost a fair few games, but I won a few too and really enjoyed it.

I might do a few more Fridays nights up there if they'll put up with me.

Darts for the new season

I've just received my new darts for next season. The other sets have taken some hammer and have lost a bit of their grip, so I've picked up a set of direct replacements ; Hi Tec “The Vice” 27grms. My attempts to move down a few grammes didn't really work for me. 26grms was OK, but 25grms was a step too far so I'll stick with the ones I've been throwing for the past two years since I moved up here.

This set are particularly well machined. The tips are perfectly true with no wobble when spun in the point protector. Also, the shark grip is far neater than the other ones. The points are 3mm longer, presumably because they have never been sharpened. I'll have to watch out for this and not overdo the sharpening.

The Harrows Natural Aluminium stems in the picture have been well and truly tried out by me, but I'm not going to use them any more. Aside from the usual problem of them becoming loose no matter how hard they are initially tightened they actually become bent on certain bounce outs when they hit the floor. I went through three of them in just one day, so it's back to the nylon ones for me. Sometimes the simple designs are the best, and if I go to Barbados again this year I don't want gear which will let me down.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Derwentside 4 – 6 Chelmsford (10/4/2007)

After last week's drubbing it was great to end the season on a high note and get just a bit of pride back.

Roger got us on track with a 44 finish in the opening Team game (12, D16 in two darts). Next, Peter and Alan won their team game to make it 0-2, but Mark/Roger and myself/Jean lost our Doubles games despite competing well and pressing.

We fared better in the Singles games though, with wins for Peter, Alan, myself, and Jean.

I was up against Andrew, but thankfully he wasn't on the same form with which he dumped me out of the Singles competition earlier in the year, and I was able to take advantage and finish on 40.

What a bizarre end to the season in the final game of the night; Jean was slugging it out as her opponent couldn't hit his D1. When she hit her D4 there was just silence – it didn't seem to be “in” from our positions. She took a few steps forward and announced “it's in” before the silence was finally broken in the pub.

Our Man of The Match was Peter, who scored a 180 and led the line as usual.

Graham (their captain) was saying they have good Friday night sessions on the darts board, and I'll join them up there soon now that the season is over.

The season is over for a few months, and I ended up winning 48% of my Singles games, and 40% of my Doubles games . I'm actually quite pleased with that, given the quality of the oppos and the strength of the league. And anyway, it's just supposed to be a fun night out – if you're gullible enough to believe that ;o)

Chelmsford 1 – 9 Derwentside (3/4/2007)

Pictured : The Derwentside

An awful drubbing for us, playing at home against a team who are immediately above us in the league. I don't think any of us were battered in our games, but we were found short in nine of the of the games, so the result has to be accepted.

So, you either win or you learn, and here's how the education went! :

We quickly fell behind in the scoring in the 1001X Team game. It set the tone, and we lost the next 5 Doubles and Singles games before Alan grabbed our only point of the night in his Singles game.

I played against Norman in the Singles, and was up against someone who was hitting the T19's with regularity with his 12grm darts. I didn't play badly though, and might have hit my finish if I'd thrown first.

An extremely disappointing result, and a real low point to approach the end of the season with. We've only been beaten by this margin on two occasions by Castleside and Cricketers this season, so to do it against the team just above is in the League effectively consigns us to 12th from 14.

Chelmsford 7 – 3 Commercial (20/3/2007)

Pictured : Practice darts
A great result for us, and we managed to reverse the previous week's defeat by exactly the same margin. It was absolutely no thanks to me though, and I was the only one not to win my Doubles or Singles game.

Roger and I were beaten in our Doubles game by virtue of a spectacular 157 from John.

Mark Henderson continued his impressive form by sinking the D1 in the team game which got us on our way. He also finished another D1 in his Singles game.

Special mentions to Mark, Jean, and Peter. They all won both their Doubles and Singles games.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Commercial 7 - 3 Chelmsford

Pictured : The Commercial

The Commercial are just below us in the league, so that made this game a real 20 pointer. We were only able to get 6 of them (I'm confusing myself now :) due to a brilliant display from them.

We won the opening Team game, with Mark continuing his good form and sinking the tricky D1. Peter and Alan then made it 0-2 to us in their Doubles game.

I won our only Singles game of the night with Jason from their team having a total nightmare. When he did find the trebles he had awful luck with several bounce outs and we all hate it when that happens.

Joe beat our senior player Peter in the singles. I think that's Peter's only Singles defeat of the season (shift worker - doesn't play in all the games), so that really was a blow to us. Joe's scores of 100, 140, 100 had him looking at a 14 dart finish at one point.

No Man Of The Match this week, as none of us stood out on a night dominated by The Commercial, who notched a 180 in the Singles games and gave us a harder game than some of the teams at the top of the league.
Great hospitality and food from them again, and all the best to them in every game where they don't meet us - especially next Tuesday!