Darts really is a bit different. Last night an exhibition match was held in Porirua featuring two of the world’s greats in Phil The Power Taylor and Adrian Jackpot Lewis. Except Taylor wasn’t there; he flew home on the morning of the event to be with his sick mother; which was fitting for such a poorly promoted event.
There was a glorious feeling of rigging about all of this. Two thirds of the way through the Round Robin stage we had all four competitors with a Played 2, won 1 lost 1 record. Fancy that; so the last two matches were effective semi-finals. These four were Jackpot, Kiwi battler Rob Szabo, and a couple of Australians.
So who made the final? Jackpot and Szabo. Wow; who’d have guessed.
It was value for money though. The first dart was thrown at 7pm, and it wound up around midnight.
What was the most impressive though was not so much the precision playing but the mental arithmetic. The darts equivalent of golf’s Drive for show, putt for dough is the ability to shut the door in a set. Getting the 180s (compulsory standing ovation) is all good and sexy in getting the total down for 501, but you need to get double to finish, and you need to work out where that double might be.
The aim, if possible is get the total required to 32. From there you go for double 16, if you get a single you go to 8, then 4 etc… But the extraordinary thing was the speed with which they decided where to shoot, and they used the full range of numbers. It would appear that every number between 20 and 120 has its own pre-ordained route, and the player has that route etched into the memory bank.
At the table was a couple of serious (very serious) darts fans visiting from Auckland. One of them was there courtesy of his wife’s Christmas present; the Phil Taylor biography, tickets to the event, and airline tickets.