Clash of world champions at the O2: Diary of a Darts Player with Andy Relf

LAST Thursday I ventured up to the 02 to watch the opening night of the PDC Premier League Darts.

There were some great matches in prospect, although if you have anything but 20/20 vision or are scared of heights then maybe it’s best to watch it on TV.

As a veteran of many fantastic concerts at this venue, I was interested what 11,000 people for a darts match would be like. The crowd were pretty boisterous, and they were rewarded with excellent matches, the highlight being the last one on… current World Champ – Adrian Lewis, versus multi champion – Phil Taylor. On this occasion it was Lewis taking the honours with an 8-2 win over Taylor. This year’s Premier League stands to be the best ever in my eyes.

On to more down to earth darts, and it was the Cracker League Singles last week, with myself and Tony Cox drawn at our home venue of the Kings Head in Horsebridge.

The competition was being run by that stickler for rules… Stefan Pope… who nearly blotted his own copybook by being late, but saved himself the embarrassment of being ridiculed in the paper by arriving with about 17 seconds to spare. He managed to let himself down with the chalking though… he did get one wrong, saying he didn’t hear correctly, “It’s your age Stef”…I said: “IT’S YOUR AGE STEF!”

Anyway, I waited for two hours before playing my first match, which was inevitably against my mate Tony. He’d won a prelim earlier in the evening, but I was his first round opponent. Despite the wait, I played fairly well, with my finishing being superb, checking out 100 and 110 to take the win. I progressed to the final against Shaun Stokes, and again my finishing was good, sealing the match and a place in finals night with a 120 outshot.

Superleague on Wednesday was not one I’ll choose to remember, getting beaten by Sussex star Michael Hammond. I had chances to win the legs, but on this occasion my finishing eluded me. Back to the practice board again!

I’m hopefully getting my dislocated bone in my foot dealt with this week. I’ve been told to expect pain for a few days and then it should be OK. If this fails, it means surgery, which is something I can do without. I just need to be able to get back to my proper stance for darts, which at the moment I can’t do.

It’s my first PDC tournament of the year next week so need to be 100 per cent for that.