Diary of a Dart Player with Andy Relf

WITH a couple of days off before the PDC Pro Tour at Derby, my wife and I took the opportunity of making it a long weekend up in the area.

We drove up on Thursday, met a mate for a meal in the evening, and then went off for a day out at Twycross Zoo on the Friday... luckily they let me out!

Friday evening we headed across town to meet up with Justin Pipe and Gary Anderson at a special exhibition night that also featured Raymond Van Barneveld, Ted Hankey, and Colin Osborne, all taking on local players in a fantastic arena set-up, and around 400 fans.

It was a great evening, and a few other players turned up to watch, including Adrian Gray.

In the morning we headed to the venue and set up camp as usual, then ventured onto the practice board... this didn’t go too well for me, I was not exactly hitting the target!

As the draw goes up the crowd appears around the screens in the hall to see who has who... with the wonders of technology, I stay where I am and look it up on the I-phone, much easier! I am up against Welshman Steve Evans, and we are first game on.

As we get underway, Steve hits a 140, and I follow it up with a 180 with my first three darts. The match was a good standard, but Steve was just edging each leg. I did manage to win one leg, by checking out a 116 finish. So it was an early finish for me, then I concentrated on supporting the other lads.

Whilst watching Gary, a funny occurrence took place when a player’s chair collapsed under him, a fair amount of laughter followed and there were comments about Weightwatchers being offered around.

Both Gary and Justin made the quarter finals that day, with Barneveld taking the overall win.

Sunday, we settle in to practice again, which was again interrupted by a crash... the same person as the previous day has broken a second chair, and is again rolling around on the floor – he’s not the only one, most of the people in the hall are rolled up with laughter!

My first opponent today is a guy named Matt Edgar, a practice partner of Kevin Painter who has made quite an impression in recent months with some great results... he’s even had a feature on Sky Sports News about him.

This time I hit the ground running, starting the match with an 11-darter, three 140s, and 81 in two darts, that gave me confidence, and I was soon 3-0 ahead. Matt then started showing his skills, and was producing some quality himself. I’m pleased to say I won the match 6-3, had registered some prize money, and also earned a second round match against Colin Lloyd... again!

I won the bull and went a leg up, then Colin got firing on all cylinders.

I had a chance to level at 2-2, but missed my double 10. I lost the match 6-2, but was more than happy with my return to PDC action – after a poor season in Superleague, I have got the bug to play again.

Gary went on to win the tournament on Sunday, beating Peter Wright in the final.

So back home again, and the Kings Head are away to the Horam Inn. We weren’t exactly on fire, but we took the overall win.

All in all, I’ve had a good week on the dartboard, and I’m now looking forward to the next tournaments.