Sunday, December 29, 2019

Another knockout & another day of mixed feelings

So its the festive season which means that local pubs across the country will be looking to get the local darting communities in the venue by offering a darts knockout. This is not un common at all, you tend to find at this time of year darts knockouts pop up in most places as i type this blog there are about to be two more knockouts set to start registration locally to me. 

So its a good opportunity for players to see where they are at after what in most cases will be a break in play in the local leagues, but you will also get the pro players turning up who are looking just for some practice ahead of attending the Q School or looking to re start the BDO season (if that goes ahead!) and then you will get those who have seen darts on the TV and fancy a chuck to see what its all about.

So with me coming back to playing only this year and been out of action for 4 months with my injury this was to be only my second knockout i have attended this year, was i coming into the day playing well. not at all, i had lost my last 2 league games  which i played which was over 3 weeks past since i played and thew a competitive dart, i had been missing doubles that i know i can take out and the frustration of the game was starting to eat away at me a little. The dart knockout at The Cuckoo in Barlaston was a good opportunity for me to network and chat to others about DartsInStoke as well as have an enjoyable afternoon playing darts.
I had not been the venue before but i know the reputation of the venue was very good and they had 6 boards in the venue to be used, 6 board most pubs have 3 but we are using 6 boards possibly so i felt the day would be smooth running's. The venue itself is a lovely place nice beer at decent prices, and the boards were set out well 3 to the far end where they would normally play pool i guess, 2 more at the end of the bar and one more which was tucked away in a corner by the door. The organiser had decided to leave one board for practice which was by the door on arrival, good move no one likes a darts ko where you cant practice.
When i walked in the venue it was as expected lines upon lines of players waiting to throw their practice darts, some q's can have up to 6 or 7 players waiting to have the chance to throw you three darts and then wait maybe a minute and half before you throw again. Some players use this opportunity to spot there throwing points on the oche on each board where as others pick the board they do not want to be on due to poor light or perhaps its close for people walking past all these factors can effect the way people line up to practice. 
Myself i had been at home on my own board doing my own practice my normal routines, 100 darts at the 20, followed by 30 darts and seen what my highest score can be, and then finish on some double practice games like Bobs27 or 420, i always try and practice more on just my throw as when you practice doubles you cant practice the pressure you are under when your at the board and need to hit D18 or D3.

Back at the venue i went via my normal attending a comp routine, first get a beer and see how it tastes and what price its going cost, then find the control desk and register this event was £5 entry which is the norm i think for most pub darts knockouts these days. After that you have the hardest decision to make do you join a q for a chuck or loiter with intent at the bar, i choose to do the later and stood at the bar chatting with folks i had not seen for years, i felt my practice at home was enough for me today and i was also feeling confident with my throw that i did not see the reason for throwing darts and then waiting minutes to throw again.

So 1:30 comes along and the draw has been made, its now a nervous wait to see if you have to mark one of the first 5 games, this is normally done via either the folks who got a bye or as volunteer markers, on this occasion it was the folks with the bye, this would then also give you a good indication of when you were drawn normally the folks with the bye are near the bottom. The event had 50 players so they needed to whittle it down to 32 and we see the pre lim games start, these can be a pain for a player if you go out in the pre lim its frustrating as you cant even say you went out in the main rounds but this is the way of the game sorry to say. 
The chaps i attended the event with went on early and both won their opening games which then put them into the last 16, i however were still waiting for my fist game to come up. If you recall from my last blog of a knockout i attended i had to wait nearly 2 hours to play my game and that was with only 20+ players this event had 50 players i was getting worried that history would repeat and as it past 3:30 i was correct i still had not played, i had stood around now for 2 hours, at one point i even decided to join the snake to get some practice darts in, just to remind my brain what i was here to do. If i had sat down it would have been the end for me my legs were already starting to hurt from been on them for now nearly 5 hours if you include my practice at home, i had only one other thing to do drink and chat and watch football. 
I plan my next blog to be about drinking and darts i see players get better with drink and others like myself not see any benefit and then there are them folk who after 2 pints can even see the bloody board. With me i just drink and try and keep my mind active i play chess, i use to take a book with me and read but on this occasion i decided not to take a book so played chess on my phone whilst waiting, and then at 3:43 i hear them words 

"Board 2 Steve Rushton Shaun Rogers, Board 2"

Ok now i and my opponent were both sure he said board 4 but it was 2 he assured us, we arrive at the board to start our warm up. I dont do this normally i like to place my drink down get a beer mat and place it in a place i can return after my throw and flip it, strange but it helps me to concentrate for some reason between throws i have done it for years, it use to help i dont think it does anymore. I had my 9 practice darts and wanted to now play, if you hit a big finish in practice or a 180 it counts for sod all at the end of the day so i dont tend to go for them. As i turned back around there was still no marker, how hard is it if you loose stay and stand by your board ready to mark the next game, its not rocket science folks. Then as i was just sorting my mat and pint out a bloke appeared and said them words every dart player dreads to here

"I will do my best but im not to cleaver!2

Well unless we have Rachel Riley or Carol Vorderman marking who is but we all try and help and do our best but we all know the basics at least (or you would hope) we threw for bull and i started the match, good start and hit a 85 to open with, however my opponent who i recall from my previous darting days hit a 125 he was a damn fine player i knew i needed to keep pace on scoring to stand a chance and then hope the doubles gods were with me. But it was to be a distraction that knocked my rythem out and that was to be the marker, he had been putting my scores on my opponents side and vice versa I had not had that done on me before.
I know i should but i dont tend to look at my side of the score board until i know in my head i'm on around 200 points but on this occasion my opponent was constantly correcting the man with the pen, this is not me been bitter it might sound it but its not it just knocks you out of sync when you come walking back from the board and they are correcting scores or making sure that scores are put on the right side. 
Then in leg 2 the best one of them all, my opponent starts and hits a very nice 180 so lets see 501 take away 180 is.. 411 is what the marker put down he wrote down 411, now i'm coming up to throw and i have seen this and fair play to the chaps behind me they were not going to say anything until i had thrown but i have seen this now do i correct him now or after i have thrown, should i correct him its not my job to do so, but at the same time if i dont now then he will have to work out what ever i have hit and then replace the other score so i said 
"check that mar mate"
And my opponent told him it was 321 as he was usnure what the score was, so i stepped back up and hit 45 would it have been better if i had not looked and just thrown who knows.

After this i decided to try and get my rhythm back but it just did not happen for me, the constant start stop was annoying, i had let this get inside my head and then when i thought in leg 3 i was on around 174 i looked and was only on 297 i looked at my scores above and he had but me a 25 down and a 26 when the scores i hit were 45 and 66 so help me god, i could have said something there and then i guess but they were many darts back so where was the point.
My opponent took out a lovely 85 to win 3-0 and i shook the markers hand and got the expected 
"sorry about that"
Ahh what ever i wanted to say, but no me been me i went dont worry happens to us all.

I then stood by the board with my pen and eraser ready to mark the next game. Marking the game after you loose is embarrassing sometimes, the players playing on this board know that you lost just and are out but they are not going to console you nor is the folks you come with you pay your money you take your chance you now need to concentrate on the mark giving them the best game experience possible and then you can walk away and think what went wrong with you today.

All in all the game i marked was very good, shame the chap had a bounce out on bull to make it all level, you dont mind games that go the distance but we all prefer a 3-0 mark. This was not to be my only mark of the day, when i went to watch the chaps i come with i marked the board for one of them and that game was a pleasure to mark also, irony was the chap who beat me was playing again so soon after perhaps a 10 or 12 minute wait between games, if only, but the guy he lost to was on fire with a 17,13 and 16 darts leg to win the match, i even had something never done before i polite ask for a score check, normally you just get "whats that score" or "whats that leave" but this was a true gent of darts, "can i get a score cheek please young man" restores your faith in darts etiquete a little.

Once this was done it was time to thank the organiser of the event which i always try to do, having run darts knockouts myself i know how much time you have to put in and effort to get things going right. Its not there fault i have to wait 2 hours to play, if you have a load of slow players in the pre lim games and early 1st round matches it can be a nightmare and when scores are been put in worng and folks have to correct stuff also when players win and go for a fag or the bar for a drink and dont inform them they have won its difficult and hard to get a good flow going. However the control desk did there job perfect for me, moment a board is free next game was on it straight away. 
I would happily attend the venue again for another darts knockout and im sure with the facilities the venue had there will be more darts knockouts been held at The Cuckoo Pub in Barlaston and as always DartsInStoke are more than happy to help support with advertising of these events.

So thats me done for 2019, what a roller-coaster year its been for me, from leaving football to come back to darts, then leaving darts when i did my injuryy to getting the love for the game back now, who knows where 2020 will take me hopefully i will see more wins and play more competitive games, what ever happens you can be sure the DartsInStoke blog here will be getting the brunt of my joy or frustration.

Till we chat again,  Happy New Year to you all, enjoy your darts and mind that oche folks.

Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook -

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

How did i get started

I was thinking back the other day to when i picked my first set of darts up and what i did to get myself submerged into the world of darts. 

It was whilst watching the 2007 Grand Slam of Darts on TV that i caught the bug for the game of darts, the week after i went out and brought a set of darts from ASDA yes a supermarket was where my first set come from. They were just a steel set of darts which were probably about 26 or 28g in weight they were a real heavy dart i recall. I then brought a board and im not ashamed to say the board i got was a cheap double sided board with more staples than a normal office stapler can hold.

Yes this above is similar to my first ever dart board, i recall setting it up in my front room much to my wifes dismay i think. The darts i had brought would make such a noise when they hit this board and leave such a hole it was terrible but it was my starting point in the game. 
At night after work i would walk across my local pub The Albert Inn where i would use the board they had up the corner of the pub which to be honest was worse than my cheap board but it felt good just trying to play darts. After a few weeks playing on my paper board i went out and for some reason i brought a cheap electric soft tip board, well i say for some reason the main reason was because of all the holes in the wall. The soft tip board was nothing special like we have on the market today (i.e. The Target Nexus), you could only play 501 and just by yourself there was no playing the computer or a 2 player game just 1 mode of 501, however the darts were really light and it didnt feel fun to play and again the e noise was terrible. 

I then had to make the decision did i enjoy playing darts, Yes i did so that meant one thing and one thing only create a proper set up in the living room and play properly. Bare in mind at this time i was only playing at home also not for a team or anything like that i just enjoyed playing darts, when i got in from work it was a good way to unwind and also allowed me space from having to watch the normal TV shows that are always on.

So as you can now see from the picture above i had mounted the board to a piece of wood which i had felted brought a surround and to the left was also a white board. My computer was to the right which i also used still for scores using no1 scoring software ( link on the website - this set up really helped me out it was not as loud as we felt it was but im sure our old neighbors would not agree with me. This set up then allowed me to practice on a regular basis and eventually give me the confidence to approach my local pub and ask them if they had a space in the darts team, the week later after i asked i was signed and won my first ever game in the league and the rest is well history and lead to where im at today.

So i have gone from the days of using a paper dart board with heavy darts to a pro set up for a non pub player to where i'm at now where when i moved into my new house i selected the wall that used to be our old outhouse to be my throw, and because im now better than i was 10 years ago (or at least i think i am), as you will see below i dont bother with the surround anymore and the throw i have created is a very nice throw.

The tablet next to my board allows me to practice against a computer algorithm using the MyDartsTraining app (again a link on DartsInStoke) as in the old house i have 3 spot lights that shine just onto the board and no where else in the house which allows for the best lighting option on the board. I have a drop in oche in the kitchen floor and im not sure if the wife even knows where the holes are for the oche, but if she ever does wear high heels in the kitchen i could be in alot of trouble.

Darts can consume your life, i use to play 4 nights a week and attend knockouts with friends at the weekends but now im at just 1 night a week where i want to still play 2 or 3 nights but the money tree at the end of the yard does not keep producing purple vouchers for me to go out 3 nights a week. However when i have a bad day or just want to escape the daily grind i can shut my kitchen door drop in the oche and practice and play as many legs of darts that i wish too.

So thats how i started out and how i got to where im at today, let me know in the comments how you started and what was your first board and set of darts.

Till we chat again,  enjoy your darts and mind that oche folks.

Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook -

Monday, December 16, 2019

Where's the Point

Now you might be thinking from the title this is going to be a blog post about me moaning that my darts are not going well and im hitting the 5 n 1's too many times in a match, well its not that will be in a future blog so you have been pre warned about that. This is about the points in your darts and why i feel its good to change them regular and also to hopefully get some good comments and feedback from other dart players if they agree with me.

So i had never changed my points on my dart until this year, yes i have had the same set of darts since 2009 and whilst i have been playing over the years i have never changed my points, the darts i use are Phase5 darts from Phil Taylor and unicorn. For years all i have done is rough the points up and sharpen them on a regular basis but then i started to notice many bounce outs and also the way my darts were entering the board did not feel right anymore. Naturally i looked at my darts and said its time for a change and brought a new set of darts, with new very sharp points which also had a little extra grip to them. The way i hold my dart my index finger tends to touch the point so the grip on the points was a welcome addition to the darts as i then had another point of reference as tio where to hold the dart. 
With my new darts i started to throw well again and see a little form come back in to my game, but then after a few months had passed the same demons come back to me the darts were not sitting right and they were falling out more. I spoke to some friends in the darting community and was told change your points then they clearly are not doing the job, but they were still sharp from me constantly roughing them up they were of good size still so i didn't see the need to change them again. However after playing in the local and spending more time picking up my darts i thought yeah lets change them and see what happens. I went out and via the DartsInStoke account purchased a dart re pointing tool, now locally to us here in Stoke there is no where you can get points changed no shops locally tthat sell points, so i purchased the tool for myself and also purchased some points, and purchasing points for your darts is not like purchasing pants or boxers, there are hundreds of differnet types and designs and feels and lengths it must have been how the wife feels when she goes to buy shoes i guess.

I eventually purchase the Target Pro Play Diamond Steel tip points in 32mm link to follow ( so after they arrived i decided to change my points in the new darts, not my original phase 5 darts but my new darts which were Andy Fordham darts, i followed all the instructions and was nice quick and simple, however when i started to practice i had the same issue as what Peter Wright had a few weeks back at the Player Championships my point stayed in the board what is this, this has never happened to me before, i then began to repoint the dart and yes it happened again. So after seaking advice from the community i was informed to drop a touch of super glue onto the end of the point but i didn't want this to happen again so i now proceed to re point my Phase5 darts with these points. I dropped a little glue on the point end and inserted them into my Phase5 darts and they were a good fit. My Phase5 darts now had new points for the first time since the great one had passed them to me all them years ago.
I stepped up to the board and they felt great but these are the darts i had not been using recently and last time i had they kept bouncing out so this was on my mind but i threw them at the board and like they had never left my hand a lovely 140, these were to be my darts moving forward. The points felt great as well on my index finger and they helped to weigh the dart into how i drop them into the board.

So my mind set now is that if i start to see the darts not sitting right and bouncing out again should i just look to sharpen the points or for the cost of just around £4.50 change my points, at worst i might change them 3 or 4 times a year so the cost is not going to be massive across 12 months.

I guess its all down to you as a player and how you approach the game from a psychology point of view, for me now if my game is not going well i will look to change my points and see if that helps to improve my game, so if your darts are not sitting right in the board and if you are having too many bounce outs i would suggest a change of points to you before you seek any other line of advice. 

Till we chat again,  enjoy your darts and mind that oche folks.

Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook -

Friday, November 22, 2019

Darts Coaching

Coaches, every sport has them football has them everywhere, cricket has coaches, athletics has them but does darts, well yes it turns out there are a few folks out there that are now offering this, so it got me thinking, does it work?

I have never been to a coach but i have had conversations with a few folks who do organised darts coaching. This is not a blog to say that there is no place for darts coaching, because i honestly think there is a place for darts coaching in the world. We as average darts players all want to improve our game and seek a little more perfection to the game and perhaps someone who can point out to us what we need to do can help with this but is this not just paying someone for them to tell you how bad you are doing something you thought you were ok at.

I thought this but then i did some looking into this with golf instructors/coaches, they tell you your swing is wrong or your delivery, stance etc and yes it helps players to get better i have seen this first hand when i went to research this, and these guys are not big pro names just chaps who have played the game for some time and been appointed a coach as they hit off a good handicap (which still to this day i do not understand) so i have played darts for several years can i coach, well no i have not done anything in the game was the comment i got but these chaps on the internet have never won a worlds or a PDC major, so what gives them the right to claim to be a coach.

I dont want it to be sour grapes, its not that, but i think i can help improve a players throw and their stance but how can i when im still only hitting a 58.4avg myself what makes the difference in them listening to my words, what gives me the authority to say i can tell them what they are doing wrong, when a coach somewhere can critic me.

So im not naming names but a chap on the net does darts coaching 1on1 sessions which he charges like £40 per hour for these take place at his local pub and from what i can see he will talk to you about your approach to oche, your arm level and body shape, but will it be a case of him telling you how he thinks it should be done and not just helping improve what you already have brought to the oche. When we coach football we dont tell a player what they are doing wrong and change it we see how they are doing it and take how they do it and manipulate it to suit the needs. that line got away from me a little there but i think you get where im coming from.

There is no regulation authority for coaching in darts there is no level 1 or level 2 coaching qualifications you need to take, so what makes a darts coach. If Phil Taylor is coaching darts i will accept this he is the greatest to ever play the game but if its a chap that has never played at a high level would i take his advice ? We can all improve and take advice on board but do we need to pay for this advice if its just another player who possibly just has a few more years playing than us.

Again im not saying that darts coaching is a nonsense idea, i think there is a place for it but all i wonder is what makes a coach if there are no regulated qualifications.

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind the oche folks.

Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook -

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Now i remember why i take a book...

So after 13 weeks of injury recovery from a full Achilles rupture i decided to attend my first darts knockout in a very long time.

It was run at a local club by a gentlemen who has been raising money for Prostate Cancer research and has raised over 14k so far a fantastic feet i think you will agree. I had heard about his events and that they are run very well and are superbly organised and i have to say this was to be the case.

I arrived at the venue a good 40 minutes before TTO (Toe the Oche) as i had not been here before and wanted to see what the venue was like, i was aware of a few boards in use and yeah there was 4 boards to use all good quality and each with a raised oche always good, i have been comps before where its been a strip of tape on the floor that can get very argumentative.

So catch up with old faces i have not seen for months and in some instances years, i stepped away from darts back in 2012 and have dipped in and out since but now looking to stay involved more in the game. Back in the early 2000's a Saturday afternoon darts ko in the potteries would attract around 70-80 players some times and a average pub ko around 35-40 today we had just 25 players register, so it gets me wondering what we need to do to get players coming back to play in comps, i have discussed in previous blogs about players not been interested due to a PDC or BDO player might be there and they will win it, but who cares we are here to play darts and to be the best you have to beat the best.

So we get to roll call at the event not something i have come across much where all the players gather together and the control desk call our names out like a register and we say we are here, a good idea but i can imagine with a few more in the room this would be a nightmare and time consuming. Then the draw is done on computer and verified by someone and we start with pre lim games due to the numbers, so we need to get to a last 16 which means 5 pre lim games these start across the 4 boards, now my thinking from the off was would it be better to use 3 boards and leave a practice board but thankfully we used all 4 as some of the games took a little longer than you would expect, in fact one game took over 40 minuted to be played and it is best of 5 first to 3. The best thing about a darts knockout is players of all levels and abilities can play against anyone, if it happens that 2 players who are of a less ability play each other then you are going to be in for a long game sadly, if two top level players play it will be done in seconds as they will be hitting big scores.

So we need volunteer markers to start with and shock no rush in people saying i will do it, but i stepped up, last time i attended a darts knockout i mentioned in other blogs i got up and left at the end and i felt bad about that so i stepped straight in and marked a game between two very good ladies dart players who tested my maths with some good 19 plays, the game was a 3-1 win and the darts thrown were good, and i knew if i had to play the winner in the next round i would need to be on top form but this was not the case.

So the game on Board3 between a young man and a lady took the longest and used 3 markers overall, this held up proceedings but this is what you have to factor in when you attend comps, not every game will be done in minutes. What i use to do back when i use to attend regular was take a book and sit and read whilst i waited if there was no practice boards in use, today i couldn't sit down as my achillies would seize up and also i had not taken a book, so watching the football on my phone was my option of choice. The event got moving along and most games were going the distance from what i could see and the moment a board was free they got the next game on so not much chance to get in and warm the arm up. I then got asked have you played yet, to which i said no i looked at my phone and it was 15:51 i had been here now nearly 2 hours easily and not played, i had a warm up on arrival marked a game and watched football that was all. So i was now getting a little tired of standing and waiting around now, however i was sure as some folks had played 2 games i must be getting close to playing, but as it turned out i was last drawn out and had a bye in the last 16 into the last 8 for me which meant i would not play for some time. This is the luck of the draw or in my case the unluckiness of the draw. So after i figured this out i was then just waiting to here my name, it had to be soon right and at 16:06 it was time for me to play my opening game, i had about a good solid 25 minutes warm up at the venue, a few hours at home before i arrived and i felt good to throw, then walking towards me was my opponent John Burgess a top level player but i still felt confident i have known John for a while and new that if i was to have a chance i could not afford to slip into the 5's and 1's. After a short wait we got our marker and we were underway.

John won the bull, easily might i add and he kicked off with a 85, i thought aup here we go i have a shot to get into the lead and we went .... T3, S20 & S5 sit down now Shaun i thought but sometimes it takes me a leg to get warmed up but not today if i hit a 60 he was hitting 100, if i managed anything over 80 he replied with something over 135.
This proved to me that i needed to step my game up and i was no where near as close as i wanted or thought my game was at, inevitably i lost 0-3 and it took around four and half minutes to loose. 
So i had been here for nearly 2 and half hours and just lost without getting to a double, thats darts for you thats the game.

I marked the game next as you do, i did not leave this time i stayed and marked it and it was a good qfinal game which had good scores and top checkouts.

So what did i take from this experience, my darts are not at a good level, they are a average pub level but comps and knockouts not yet need more time on the practice board. Is there a good darts comp scene in the area, yes i think there is still, 25 is ok but as i said to the runners i think there are more we just need to advertise them right, and last is the standard of darts in Stoke still as strong as when i stepped away from playing,, no, its bloody stronger than ever and the players playing are good, and for me to achieve something at local events well as Finch said in American Pie 2

"Efforts must be doubled"  

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind the oche folks.

Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook -

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Time to run (an event!)

Its been a few weeks since our last blog post and in this time we have been building up the name of Darts In Stoke and trying to build a good community and group following, this been said we have decided for the first time in over 8 years nearly 10 years to run a darts event a knockout and to say i'm nervous about the event would be a under statement.

Why be nervous i'm only running the event, yes that is correct but i have been to events before which have been run poorly and then afterwards seen a backlash of people saying i would never attend again and i dont wish for that to happen to these DartsInStoke events. We want to offer events to the darting community of Stoke and Staffordshire a place where if they give up there Saturday or Sunday afternoon they can have an enjoyable afternoon of darts, yes not everyone can do the day in questions and yes some will not like the format but as in life you cant please every sole as much as you try to.

For this event we asked the local leagues on Facebook and players what they would like to see and the outstanding winner was a 501 double start, double finish event so we have decided to run this and also a BO5 games allowing players at least 3 games of darts if not all 5.
A Grand Slam style event has been suggested to us but we wanted to ease our way back into running events so the idea of a slam sounds great and will no doubt get more players in the door as you could be guaranteed 4 or 5 games but with just myself on the control its not going to be easy anyway.

A fear when you run an event on your own is always the surge of players you will get, on average events locally have been seeing numbers of around 30-40 players i can cope with this for sure but if i was to get more in the door on the day my word am i going to feel the heat of the event.

So im now in the process of evaluating how to run the event what i need to make sure the day goes smooth, i will be running the event from my laptop with paper as a back up in case of any problems. A while back i run a NFL fantasy draft event with friends and we got to Rd4 and my laptop broke so i dont really want that to happen, so paper will be my back up for sure. I have 3 boards to use so games should move quickly and at the venue there is another practice board to allow players a place to practice whilst they wait so another box ticked here. 

For any event to run the players need to be helpful, when you win let me know, if you loose stay and mark of arrange for someone to do this for you, i will be asking players if you dont mark leave £2 on the table for someone to mark the game for you, there is always someone at these events who is happy to collect some cash for marking.

However my only rule is i cant play or enter, i did this in the past and it gets messy so for now happy to sit by the door and put scores into a computer and shout out who is on next.

All details for the DartsInStoke D.I.D.O Knockout can be found below.

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind the oche folks.

Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook -

Monday, October 7, 2019

Staffordshire County Darts - QnA with Aiden Cope and Callum Matthews

This week we build up to Staffordshire County Darts playing there 400th game vs West Midlands at The home of county darts The White Eagle Club over the weekend of October 12th & 13th.

We have spoken with a few of the teams players and asked them there thoughts on the county darts scene and also what got these players into darts.

In this blog we caught up and asked questions to Aiden Cope and Callum Matthews

DIS - What advice would you offer to anyone who is looking to get into super league darts and then ultimately get to play for the county

AC - Stay patient, so many players in the league have potential but want it too quick they just need to stay patient and practice

CM - Join a team where you can play every week, try and improve game on game, you’re only as good as your previous game. Practice an hour a night or so... and enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy the game then don’t bother. Practice your own action. If you’re not playing well make sure you know why you’re not playing well and correct it. Darts is 75% mentality.

DIS - For anyone thinking of coming along this weekend to the match what can they expect and what advice would you offer.

AC - You can expect it to be very Loud, Staffordshire are extremely passionate as a county darts team.

CM - Get to the venue an hour before the ladies begin. For a player if you are drawn 1st, 2nd or 3rd, it can be 3 to 4 hours before you play. If you’re on last it can be longer than that, 5/6 hours maybe. But its a good atmosphere and a good day out, and a pleasure to represent your county.

DIS - Pop you on the spot, what are Staffordshire chances this season

AC - Good because the quality in the groups of teams is brilliant but sometimes the players don't realise the potential they have.

CM - The ladies team did unbelievably well last year, they were the reason Staffs got promoted. If they do the same this season we could go up again. The men have always had a very good team and the B team are as good as the A team most the time. However like any team, if every player plays well we will beat anybody.

DIS - How do you prepare both before matchday and on matchday

AC - No comment not giving my secret away

CM - I never practice the day before a completion. The day before your tournament, if you stop yourself from throwing, when you really want too, the morning after all you wanna do is play, the hunger is there and the dedication to play and practice and prepare is there as well. All you wanna do is play darts, which is a good mentality too have. Like I’ve said before, you want to enjoy the game, want to be there.

DIS - What darts are you using at the moment

AC - 22g Robbie green.

CM - I lost my darts a few months ago so Ian Goodwin, a player who I play with on a Tuesday borrowed me some, and I played on a Thursday with them and averaged 34.95, so he let me keep them.

I would like to thank both players for replying to my questions and wish them and the team the best of luck for Saturday and Sunday.

Staffordshire County vs West Midlands
Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th October

Venue - The White Eagle Club, Riverway,
Stafford, ST16 3TH
11am Start
Cost of Entry £ 4 for both days

Website -

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind the oche folks.

Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Tips and Ideas to deal with your first ever darts knockout.

Darts knockouts can be a daunting place to attend for someone who has never attended one before, in today's blog piece i'm going to go over my tips and do and dont's when attending a darts knockout for the first time.

Now a quick disclaimer these are my own views and my own experiences, everyone deals with events differently so just because something either worked for me or didn't might not be the same for you.

So you have decided to attend your first darts knockout, this could be because your friends have asked you or you feel its time to take the next step from pub darts to knockout darts, which ever it is the main thing is you enjoy the day. Before you leave for the knockout do some research into the venue and area and also your travel arrangements. My first ever knockout i attended way back was at a sports hall in Wolverhampton, i had no idea where i was going before hand no idea where i was going to park etc so make sure you do your research first.

Registration time can sometimes be different from doors open time, events i have been will open doors to the venue at 10am but not open registration till midday and then have reg open for 2 hours possibly this can then be a long time between practice darts and competitive darts so plan your time wisely. Also note just because the flyer says toe the oche at say 1pm this will mean that the draw will be done around this time and depending on entries and boards available you could still be in for a wait to play your match. The big events like the British open give you an estimated board time to come back to the venue but the pub knockouts cant do this so you have to wait your turn, so a tip from me would be to see what board you are on find out who is on 2 games before you and try and locate them this way you will then have time to prepare. One of the worst things is sitting around and then hearing your name called to a board, try and go from the a practice board to the oche if you can. 
Another thing to bare in mind now is that you have been called to your board, if you arrive and there is no one there start to practice there is nothing in the rules that says you cant, you will normally get the custom 6 or 9 practice darts but as soon as you get to the board if its empty get some early darts in. Then you have the anxious wait not just for your opponent but the marker, personally i never try and concern myself with my opponents warm up darts they are just that once the game is on everyone changes despite what we say.
If after a few throws you dont have a marker alert control or the organiser asap you dont want to keep waiting for him or her to come and mark, it just builds the tension up in your throw all you will want to do at this point is play your match.

Enjoy the match if its your first time dont over play the game in your head, at the start of your practice darts work out which way you will come away from collecting your darts, generally its the side of the marker but some venues can be tight with boards and this is not an easy option so get your return sorted early. Normally you will be provided with a table to place your case and drink on, at these events its often best to place your darts case on top of your glass but what some do that i have always done is drop one of my flights into my glass, its not gross its a new flight and its not like im going to swallow it. Once your match is over if you have won shake your opponents hand and i would always encourage anyone that comes with me who has not been before to shake the hand of the marker also, its the decent and right think to do they have lost and are out but still were good enough to mark the game. Once won head straight to the control desk and report your result, dont go the bar or the toilet let them know you are done so the next match can get started. Now if you have lost its a gut killer yes, you possibly just want go home but do the right thing and mark the game, pack your darts away pop them in your pocket and stand by the board ready to mark the game. As discussed in other blog posts some events let you put £3 on the table if you dont want mark for someone to come and mark for you, if this is your preferred option leave the money but alert control that you have done this so they can call out for a volunteer marker.

Now i step back to research part of what i talked about earlier if you have won, you could be in for a wait for the next game, i have been to knockouts with friends who have won in Rd1 and then had to wait for over 1hr30 for there next game, so plan your time well here, get food so look at what is close to the venue is it in walking distance can you drive there without hassle and stress. One event i went once in Manchester me and a friend both passed our Rd1 games and were told it was estimated an hour wait for the next games, and the venue had only one practice  board in use so we had done our work and spotted there was a pub about 10 min walk we could go get food and they had a board for us to practice on which was great but if they call you then you want hear it as you are at least a mile away and these events dont do texts telling you your game is coming up. So if you are going to walk out the venue make sure you have a good idea on time and where you are going, games on your board and draw side might go quick and there could be some byes with players who have won leaving (oh it happens) so its always a risk to leave the venue but sometimes can be a good thing to regroup yourself.

If you do stay at the venue in between your games make sure you can here the control desk call your name a given really, but for me i take a book and read in between games settle my mind in all the chaos of a darts knockout can have, some just go the bar and drink its your own personal preference really. Once at the British Open a chap i had been practicing with the day before was more stressed as he had only put 3hrs on his car parking ticket and was worries about it expiring so if you are driving be mindful of time you might be there for over 5hrs you could be done in 30 minutes it all depends on how the event is run.

My best tip for a knockout is speak to other players get involved with chat where possible the darts community is great and yes there are some who are in the mindset of dont speak to me im here to win today that's fine let them be but most are up for a chat and then when you attend other knockouts in that area of close bye you will become friendly with them i still have friends now in the midlands and Manchester that i got chatting with and enjoy speaking with them when i see them at events. When you are on a practice board get involved with routines with others if they are happy for you to join in, if not find out what the routine is and join in on your own so if they are playing 10 up 1 down what ever the player in front is throwing for you either go 1 down or 10 up if they got it etc try not to just spend time throwing at the 20's when your at the board it might be a 9 person snake to throw them 3 darts so use them wisely if you are not involved in any routine set challenges to yourself.

Once the event is over and you are done, most of the time players will stay around and have a game of killer or ATW stay and get involved with these games its good practice and you again will get to know the players a little more, if you see the event host thank them for their time, most dont get paid or kickbacks for running darts knockouts they do so for the love of the game. Give feedback to them both good and bad, what you felt was good about the knockout what could have been improved about the event and venue, it will only make them better.

Confidence is massive in darts and more so when you attend your first ko on your own, but just enjoy the game you love because no matter if there is 15 or 150 other players there they all enjoy a game of darts as you do.

So recap..

* Plan your journey 
* Arrive in good time but not too early, it could be a long day
* Register as soon as you can, it gets it out the way
* Find out who is on 2 games before you so that you can prepare right
* Get to your board early if you like to get the feel of the throw
* If you win, register your score ASAP
* If you loose, stay by the board ready to mark the next game
* If you leave the venue, dont stray too far and perhaps inform control 
* Enjoy the darts and the experience, once you have done one you will do more

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind the oche folks.

Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
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