Wednesday, 7 October 2009

N is for nice to see you, to see you nice

Dartweek 14 represented the start of the second half of the Dart Club calendar year. Would things turn out to be a game of two halves? As is often the case with sporting events when the first half is a thriller, the second half can be a killer. Often the athletes are spent and the take a more precautions approach to proceedings. Maybe Dart Club would be like an old record – perhaps you the reader are too young to remember, but long player records or LPs as they were known, would invariably start off with the band’s more famous numbers, then there would be a few fillers, then side B would start with a corker but that’s all you’d get probably…….erm this analogy is really going no where. Who knows how the second half of the year would go? Dart Club would just have to wait and see, but one thing was for sure, Dart Club would be all right, the worst thing you can do when playing darts is worry about darts so the 12th rule of Dart Club is: don’t worry about darts.

The previous Dart Club had been held at a relatively inaccessible venue for some. The Dude, for one, was not best pleased: “Here,” he said with his slightly comical West Country sounding accent, “According to rule 7 the pub must be inside (or at least within five minutes walk) of the Circle Line, but most of the venues have been in the West End or the City, the Circle Line goes quite far west, why don’t we have some out there?” OK good idea the Dude, we did have one dartweek five near Lancaster Gate, but apart from that the farthest West travelled has been Great Portland Street. So the co-chairmen put their faith in the Dude (whose motive for a westbound Dart Club were obvious as he lives in South Kensington) “You sort it,” was the Bull’s response. “OK,” said the Dude, “I will”.

Just to give you the reader a bit of background, the Dude works in the same office as the Bull and Finishered. He looks like a hobbit, which could be good for the book, since we still lack a wizard to drive the plot, maybe the introduction of Bilbo Baggins lookalike might help shift units. As everyday passed by the co-chairmen would ask the Dude whether he had found a pub, maybe nearer to where he lives “Yeah, yeah,” he’d say, “It’s taken care of”. But no matter how hard the co-chairmen pushed the location of the next meet could not be ascertained. And there was a reason. The lying little hobbitboy had failed to even bother looking and had in fact enlisted one of his salesmen friends to book somewhere. And where exactly was the venue, how far west had the Dude managed to get after such a vociferous complaint? The Black Horse, Rathbone Place, just off Oxford Street, about four roads up on the right after Tottenhamhotspur Court Road. Cheeky little fecker.

Still there is nothing actually wrong with the Black Horse, it is pretty reasonably priced, they stop serving grub a bit early, but there is an upstairs with not one, not two but three pool tables. And not three, not two, but one dartboard. It is strongly suggested that should you want to play darts in the Black Horse, drop them a line and book it, because the upstairs room gets completely packed. If you are really lucky, like Dart Club was, you’ll get to see the bloke that used to deliver sandwiches to the Bull and Finishered’s office. He is called Sandwichman and sports a stupid bandanna.

The pub in action

To start off the proceedings the Bull and the Finishered actually teamed-up to play the first new game of the night, they took on the Dude and his salesman friend (the bloke who actually booked the pub), Dart Club virgin the Daddy at a game of frogger. Now frogger is based on the classic video game of the mid-1980s. The idea in the video game was safely guide your frog across first a busy road, then a river (by jumping from log to log (avoiding the crocs and sinking lily pads). The more frogs you get across the faster the cars on the motorway and the fewer the available logs and lily pads to. Suffice to say, darts frogger is ever so slightly different.

It’s a game for single players or doubles, in however big a group you fancy, but bear in mind it takes a while. It takes a while ‘cos it concentrates on hitting very precise areas. First a player must hit any double, he must then hit the outer segment of that target, he must then hit the treble area of that target, then the inner segment, then the 25 then the bull’s-eye. Phew! Just over half-way over, now things start to get exciting. Once a player has made it into the middle he must make it back out again, first by hitting the 25, then the inner segment of any number, then the treble of that number, then the outer segment of that number and to win the game the double of that number.

It took a while for either pairing to get off the mark, but the Dude struck first with a double top, it wasn’t too long before the Finishered got him and the Bull off the mark with a double six, one of his personal favourites. Then his team mate the Bull hit the outer six and the treble six. The Dude then hit the outer 20. With one team racing in from 12 o’clock and the other coming in from 3 o’clock things were looking fairly evenly matched, until the Bull struck an inner six and then the 25. The Finishered and the Bull were racing ahead but had the hurdle of hitting bull’s-eye while their opponents needed the relatively easy task of treble 20. The Finishered eventually struck first, the co-chairmen were halfway across and then the Finisihered struck the 25, with the Dude and his salesman pal the Daddy still needing treble fookin 20. No chance, the Bull hit inner 16 (his personal favourite), and as it turned out the Finishered quite liked the look of 16s, he hit first the treble 16, then the outer 16 and with the salesmen chasing shadows he closed the game with a sophisticated darter’s double 16. Game the chairmen!

Now a few more dartclubbers had arrived Dart Club decided to play a few friendly games of 301, they’d earn a few Dart Club Ranking System points before the next unique game. They thought it only proper to await the arrival of the Clinician. For once again Dart Club played host to a 30th birthday, the last being in dartweek 7 at the Bull (since closed down – but outside the Circle Line so that’s OK). After a few games, one of which saw the Specialist beat the SpecialistA in a kind of second rate name-off challenge, the Clinician showed up and birthday boy beat his ranking table rival the Black Bomber – perhaps he let him win as a birthday treat, though the Clinician did well as everybody in the boozer sang “happy birthday to you” to him, mid-game.

Topless darts with the Bomber

The next unique game to be held at Dart Club was Play Your Darts Right. Loosely based on the 80s classic TV quiz (can you spot a pattern developing or what?) Play Your Cards Right, hosted by the very manly jawed, toupee wearing comedy TV host genius and not disgraced racist Bruce Brucey Forsythe. The TV show was fun for all the family. One married couple would take on another married couple (fuck knows why, but they were always married couples) in a quiz. When a couple got a question right they had to say whether or not the next playing card, pre-shuffled by Dolly Dealers, would be higher or lower than its predecessor. When they guessed correctly five cards in sequence they won or something like that.

Now Dart Club does not posses Dolly Dealers or indeed a pack of playing cards (although one or two jokers are always present – sweet jesus that was week, sorry). Dart Club does, however, always posses darts and always has a dartboard handy. And it is always more than willing to stage what is really just a thinly veiled excuse for yet another weak darts pun based on a TV/video game classic, hastily cobbled together as some sort of game. So, Play Your Darts Right sees each player take a turn at the oche, throwing his lead dart the darter must say whether he will score higher or lower with his next dart, if correct he throws a third dart and says whether that dart will score higher or lower than its predecessor. If correct the player progresses to the next round. If incorrect the player is out. Simple. If the dart misses the player is out. If the dart bounces off a wire and out this is a zero score (so if he said “lower” he’ll be OK). If all players progress, the person with the lowest score with his three darts is out. Last one in is the winner.

Each player placed a quid in the kitty, it would be winner takes all and with 20 people playing that made the maff on winnings fairly easy. Still multiplying any number by one is never that much of a problem. But saying whether you will throw higher or lower than just two darts also sounds very fucking easy, you’d be surprised, no less than 11 dartclubbers exited on the first round, including amongst other the Black Bomber and the Aristocrat.

The Finishered empties his pockets

The second round was slightly less of an embarrassment, although not for the Finishered because he was one of only two players to fall by the wayside. The third round saw three exits including birthday boy the Clinician. Now things were getting tight, only five players had guessed eight correct higher or lowers. The next round saw two more exits, the Dude and the Specialist, then with only three players left all guessed correctly but the Hammer was forced out, despite guessing correctly whether his two darts would be higher or lower than their predecessors, he scored less than the Bull and the Fist. Once again the Bull and the Fist found themselves playing off for the glory, and once again the Bull was victorious, beating his evil nemesis the Fist and scooping 20bigones.

The Fist congratulates the Bull

But the night was young and Dart Club decided to play Dublin winner stays on, this game was briefly outlined in the very first chapter so it is fairly apt that it should be replayed at the start of the second half of the Dart Club calendar year. Here’s a quick re-cap on Dublin: Players stake £1, in a game of 101. Nearest bull’s-eye starts. Players must hit a double to start and a double to finish. If one player finishes before the other starts the stake is doubled. That’s a lotta Dublin. With the winner staying on. Quite a few games were played, but the funniest was the opener, in which the Fist tried to avenge his earlier Play Your Darts Right loss against the Bull, but the Bull scored a double 10 first , the Fist missed, then the Bull got two straight 20s and finished on double top without the Fist scoring, so was Dublined in emphatic stylee.

All that remained of the night was for the Finishered to walk away with the n01 challenge money with a ten dart finish on a game of a fiver-in 301 – quite an achievement and one that the pissed-up Finishered couldn’t remember until the next day. He was pretty certain that he neglected to pour his winnings (25quid) back into darts, flagrantly ignoring rule 2. Still the night was full of flagrant rule ignoring or rather rule making. For unbeknownst to the co-chairman someone at Dart Club had written on the Dart Club folder (a kind of folder thing that that the chairmen carry around that includes the DCRS table, previous chapters and other related darts paraphernalia) a new fucking rule!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone, who will go unnamed because we don’t recognise the handwriting, had written a new rule 12. Someone wrote Rule 12 Make up the rules to preserve your power over scratching out the rules. A clear reference to the when the Finishered had scratched out a suggested rule that Dart Club would live forever. Now, no one wants to live forever, you try asking Freddie Mercury, go on try. You won’t be able to, sadly he is no longer with us, but in an ironic kind of way he will always be with us for he famously sang the song Who Wants to Live Forever? Not him, clearly. Dart Club, as much as we’d all like, will not live forever. Indeed, it was scheduled to live for exactly 26 dartweeks.

Anyway, to stop this kind of misbehaviour and mischief rule 13 has been introduced. Rule 13 states: only the Finishered and the Bull are allowed to make up the rules at Dart Club.

With only 12 dartweeks left can the Finishered hold on to the top spot?

1 (1) Finishered 498 (454)
2 (2) Fist 435 (424)
3 (3) Bull 377 (353)
4 (4) Clinician 328 (323)
5 (5) Bomber 296 (293)
6 (6) Danny Boy 275 (275)
7 (7) Aristocrat 231 (228)
8 (8) Dude 197 (189)
9 (9) Sting 172 (172)
10 (10) Specialist 120 (105)

Oh, yeah – and the Light finally put in his second appearance. We knew he’d be back.

The Light gets his jazz hands out

Monday, 27 April 2009

M is for midnight darters

My how time flies, or so the saying goes, what a load of toss. Time, as all pedantic schoolboys will tell you, is an abstract concept, and really has no place in darts. There is no time limit to darts, however, rather irritatingly there is very much a bloody time limit on drinking – which can sometimes be for the best, but was definitely not for the best at the Blue Posts on Eastcastle Street dartweek 10 “time” in the Blue Posts they mean it, irrespective of whether you have finished the 501 £5 all-in challenge. It is not remotely abstract in the Blue Posts.

So when the Mincer said his local, the Apple Tree on Mount Pleasant, which is well within the Circle Line, stays open until 1am, has a bookable room with a two pool tables and has a dartboard, it was something of a no brainer. Where better to stage dartweek 13? It might turn out to be unlucky for some, mainly the Mincer because ironically he never actually made it. But for most dartclubbers dartweek 13, exactly six months after the first meeting at the One Tun (Goodge Street) and exactly six months before the end of the allotted 26 dartweeks, the Apple Tree would turn out to be rather splendid.

The Apple Tree on Mount Pleasant is not an apple tree, but that’s OK because Mount Pleasant is neither pleasant nor on a mount. It is, however, a bloody good solid pub, and is within walking distance of Farringdon tube. The route is a bit of a nightmare but don’t let that put you off, it is well worth it. Your best bet is to come out of the tube station, turn left and walk up Turnmill Street, turn left when you come to Clerkenwell Road, over the lights and up to Grays Inn Road, turn right then right again down Elm Street. Nightmare. Geddit? Nightmare……..Elm Street……..Anyway Elm Street turns into Mount Pleasant and you can’t miss the boozer.

The Sting pulls a face

It’s a nice sizeable pub, moderntraditional in d├ęcor, serving a wide selection of grub at reasonable prices, the dartboard is a bit high, as the Bull proved standing with his back to the board the bull’s-eye was clearly visible, but not to worry it’d be the same for everyone. And at this level that’s just about all that matters.

The new game, Fives, was played out by the Finishered and the Bull. The rules to fives are pretty simple, which is usually a good sign for a darts game. It is not based on any other sport but is based on a person’s ability to get a score using three darts that is divisible by five. For novelty’s sake players might like to decide who starts by seeing who can get nearest the five (the wire one). But in the Apple Tree the co-chairmen decided in the traditional manner of seeing who could get closest to the bull with one dart. The Bull was closer, although neither was anywhere bloody near. To recap, whatever a player scores with three darts is divided by five and that is the score that the player chalks up, if the three dart score is not divisible by five it is a no score. Players need to land on exactly 51 to win the game. If they get over 51 they are bust and retain the original running score. For the record, here are the exact scores scored by the Bull and the Finishered during the one and only game of fives played during dartweek 13.

The duke in action

The Bull and the Finishered were the participants in the only game ever played of fives during Dartweek 13. For the record, both were a bit shite and neither scored on their first go. Indeed, the Bull failed to score on no less than six turns, although he stayed in the reckoning by tabling the two highest scores, 12 and 13 respectively. That said the Finishered managed to bust himself by twattishly scoring a five having just notched a treble 20, a score which would have won him the game in style, but he bust himself and had to wait six more nerve jangling darts before sealing a well earned victory. It was to be his only victory all night. Unlucky for him.

After playing a few friendly games of 301 Dart Club had filled out sufficiently, and it was time to play a special game in honour of the location of the Apple Tree. After the success of the FA Cup Challenge held at the Archery Tavern (dartweek five) near Lancaster Gate, a game in honour of the pub’s location seemed like a good idea. Mount Pleasant, as was mentioned not moments ago is neither pleasant nor a mount, it is, however, the location of the central sorting office for all Londoners’ mail, so in honour of this Dart Club would play Postman’s Dart.

In preparation for Postman’s Dart the Finsihered had filled an envelope with 92 pieces of paper that had been folded in such a way as to make them slightly suspicious looking, if you don’t know what that means, then don’t worry about it, you’ve led a sheltered life and that’s probably for the best. Anyway, on each piece of paper, prior to the suspicious folding antics of the Finishered, he wrote down a target, each target represented an area on a standard clock dartboard, the double, the outer, the treble, the inner for each number 1-20, plus the 25 and the bull’s-eye, and plus ten very special deliveries. The ten special deliveries were the loops of the targets 20, 18, 4, 6, 10, 19, 16, 8, 14 and 9. The same loops that were used for the round of Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkrraaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzzy golf at the Whores & Doom dartweek nine.

Eleven dartclubbers placed £2 in the walnut (whip) and drew eight miniature envelopes from the master envelope. The names of the dartclubbers present were then written down in sort of reverse order of current Dart Club Ranking System table except the Mountie who for some reason slipped in last (unlucky for him), and taking three darts at a time each would approach the oche, the first clubber to deliver all his letters (i.e.hit all his targets would scoop the glittering prize) and to make matters slightly more intriguing should a player hit another player’s target by accident that letter was delivered on his behalf.

Little JohnIn10D9D12D20T17T19In5In6

The above table might look a bit confusing, but in short the Dude was the worst postman delivering just two letters, while the Fist was the quickest postie, delivering all eight before anyone else. This is a quality game, but does require some fastidious preparatory work.

The Fist tests for wind


gh – for cat lovers out there, the letters g and h to the left of the page were ‘typed’ by Bob, who jumped on the laptop in a brave last gasp attempt to steal the author’s bacon sandwich. He has been banished to the garden. (Bob - not the author.)

The half-life of Dart Club was to witness another first. Honestly, when would Dart Club reach a stage when firsts didn’t keep happening? It seems as though every time Dart Club meets, yet another first happens, surely making darts the most variable activity on the planet. Even if a first doesn’t happen at a Dart Club, that would be a first. If an eternal number of apes, bashed away for eternity at an eternal number of typewriters, at some stage the complete works of Shakespeare would get written. I doubt whether those same apes could even play darts. Making darts the most eternally variable game on a planet of the apes. Anyway, this particular first came in the form of a game dreamt up by one of the dartclubbers – the Clinician.

Not content with being one of the most prolific dartists at Dart Club the Clinician also wanted to shape its destiny, much the same way as Danny Boy had when he booked Ye Olde Watling for dartweek 7. Maybe it was something to do with being a City gent, because the Clinician is also a City gent, anyway that’s all a bit irrelevant. The game that the Clinician came up with is a darts version of the popular BBC1 quiz featuring ginger-haired, Welsh-hating Bellspalsey faced ice queen Anne Robinson, the Weakest Link.

For those of you not familiar with the TV show in question (maybe you prefer that sanctimonious wanker Tarrant and his Who Wants to be a Millionaire show on the other side, or maybe you have some taste and a social life), contestants raise cash by answering questions correctly as one big team and at the end of each round must elect to eject a contestant by means of a secret ballot.

The Weakest Dart would have a slightly different format, Dart Club split itself into two teams, each team member would take three darts and score would be added to the team’s running total, after each player had taken a throw, they would elect to eject one of their team members. The player receiving most votes would leave the team, in the event that two players received equal votes, the strongest dart would get the casting vote.

This eviction process would take place until only two players remained on each team. The running totals then became the target from which you’re the opposing team must race down to zero. The winning pair would then play out a game of 301 to decide who is the strongest dart. Prior to playing each team should select an Anne Robinson impersonator to call out the opposing teams weakest dart, and to ask why certain darters had voted the way they did.

Team ATeam B
Little John

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the two teams above do not have an equal numbers of dartists. So Team A decided to play out one preliminary round to decide who to evict, but whatever they scored would not count towards to final total. The six players took it in turn, the Finishered was the strongest dart with a 96 scored, he voted out Little John, the Bull scored 77 and also voted out Little John, the Black Bomber got a pub score and voted for the Sting, the Sting got a shitty 13 and had the audacity to vote for the Finishered (tactical voting apparently), the Mountie got 20 and voted for newcomer Little John, while the man with the most votes Little John was also the weakest dart scoring 11 – “Little John,” cried the Clinician, “you are the weakest dart. Goodbye”.

The weakest links say goodbye

Already rivalries were forming in Team A after round 1b the Bomber and the Sting turned on each other like cornered dogs, receiving two votes each, the strongest dart that round, the Mountie, stuck with his vote and evicted the Sting, the Bomber was smug. However, the friction in Team A had led to their tabling a pathetic 124, Team B thus established a commanding lead. And also turned on the team newcomer voting out the Duke.

If there was any justice in the world all but the Black Bomber from Team A should have voted for themselves. However, there is no justice, just votes. The Finishered, who was the weakest dart, took a gamble and voted for his co-chairman the Bull, it paid off, because the Black Bomber did too. The Sidewinder also found herself grumbling off-camera as she received two votes from her team mates and was consequently evicted.

Team A Team B

In the final round of evictions the Black Bomber and the Fist took the walk of shame, leaving the Finishered and the Mountie to chase down from 587 and the Clinician and the Dude requiring 362. In a completely one horse (with two jockeys) race Team B triumphed easily, with the Clinician nailing a double ten, Team A’s score was 167 at check out. The Dude and the Clinician then played out an uneventful game of 301, with the Dude proving himself to be the Strongest Dart.

The Dude shows off his BO

With no less than three new games under its belt and with plenty of time on its hands Dart Club returned to its old favourite the 301 knock-out tournament. And rather than go into a lengthy explanation about who did what to who, all that will be revealed is the Fist beat the newcomer the Duke in the final, which is just as well for the Bull because he gave odds of 10:1 against the Duke winning and stood to lose £30 – still he was smiling at £3 up.

The night’s proceedings had had very little impact on the Dart Club Ranking System top ten.

1 (1) Finishered 454 (430)
2 (2) Fist 424 (382)
3 (3) Bull 353 (338)
4 (4) Clinician 323 (302)
5 (5) Bomber 293 (280)
6 (6) Danny Boy 275 (275)
7 (7) Aristocrat 228 (228)
8 (9) Dude 189 (157)
9 (8) Sting 172 (162)
10 (10) Specialist 105 (105)

In the midnight hour

Friday, 13 March 2009

L is for links

After the absolute mayhem at the City Darts it was always going to be difficult to make dartweek 12 exciting, the inter-regional Dart Club challenge was a fun day out for all the family, but dartweek 12 represented the bread and butter of Dart Club, it was not so much a case of keeping Dart Club’s nose to the grindstone, as getting back in the Dart Club saddle. It would be back to earth, but not with a bump – it were back to earth with a bang. With slack hackneyed metaphors like that running the show, how could dartweek 12 be anything but electric?

The pub of choice, yet another Sam Smith’s boozer, was the Cittie of Yorke, which fine old establishment sits on High Holborn, very much within the confines of the yellow one (after last dartweek’s amendment of rule seven, the Bull and Finishered were a little more carefullerer). Your best bet is getting there on the Central Line, head for Chancery Lane (not open on Sundays or Bank Holidays), pass through the barriers, turn left and walk up the stairs on the left, walk back towards the West End and it’s not far up on the right. It has a small boring looking front bar (and a cellar bar), but the back bar is a thing of beauty (although not as beautiful as the Aristocrat’s Shanghai finish at the City Darts) – a long, high ceilinged hall stretches out before you, with a long bar (95% Australian bar staff – which is a shame, but don’t let that spoil it for you), there are booths for canoodling along the side, and right at the very end is a dartboard.

Assembled darters

Now, one or two members of Dart Club were getting a bit sniffy about the dartboard, banging on about how it wasn’t lit very well and how people kept barging past to go to the toilet. Well, this was all a bit like when you feed your cat some fish for a treat then it turns its nose up at Whiskers. The City Darts had spoiled them. But, as all cat owners will know, if you leave the food in the bowl and starve the little fuckers, they always eat it in the end. The Cittie of Yorke’s dartboard had become a metaphorical bowl of Whiskers. Nine out of ten dartclubbers prefer Whiskers – they just didn’t realise it!

You’re probably getting bored silly with descriptions of Sam Smith’s boozers being affordable and selling nice German lagers – well, we managed to slip the information passed you then and you didn’t even notice. It is a bit like when your cat has got worms and you have to feed it some tablets, if you leave them out they will never eat them, if you put them in the Whiskers, they will artfully eat around them. However, if you crush them up and mix them into some tinned tuna, they will gobble them down, none the wiser. You, the reader, have been literarily wormed. This book has become a metaphorical bowl of tinned tuna with crushed worming tablets mixed in. Nine out of ten readers prefer tinned tuna with crushed worming tablets mixed in.

In view of the fact that at the City Darts the new game was not played, the Bull and Finishered decided that it would be a jolly good wheeze to play the new game a lot at dartweek 12, and luckily the new game was ideally suited to large groups with only one dartboard and despite the New Year Dart Club hangover that everybody seemed to be suffering there was quite a good turnout. Maybe it was the excitement of the BDO’s Embassy World Championship final at the Lakeside the previous Sunday (won by Ray van Barnevald) – although compared to the PDC, the BDO is a bit council, which is a shame for darts really, and it is also a shame for anyone unfortunate enough not to have Sky.

The game to be played at the Cittie of Yorke was darts golf. Now golf, as we all know, spoils a good walk and is responsible for the removal of dartboards in certain boozers, exhibit one THE EVIL GOLF MACHINE, with spinning ball thing. And you have to wear a silly outfit. But not in darts golf. Darts golf is not dissimilar to darts crazy golf, which was played at dartweek eight. It is no where near as kkkkkkkkkkkrraaaaazzzzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyy though, that’s for sure.

Players should chalk up the numbers one to 18, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that each number represents a hole on a standard golf course. Each player takes three darts at each hole. If one of the three darts lands in the treble bed, the player scores a hole in one (an ace), if a treble isn’t scored, but a double is, that is a two shot (or on a par four course, which Dart Club played, it is an eagle). If neither an ace nor eagle is scored, players may score a birdie, i.e. three strokes, for any dart landing in the inner ring segment of the target. Par (four) is scored if your best shot lands in the outer ring part of the segment. If none of the three darts lands in the target the player scores a bogie (five). Players should watch out for the bunkers though, if one of the three darts lands in the either of the treble beds of the adjacent target number and none of the other darts score (i.e. the player fails to register an ace, eagle, birdie or par), it is worth a double bogie (six). Nasty stuff.

Rather than split into two teams and play some sort of convoluted Ryder Cup style job, Dart Club decided to play darts golf as an all comers open tournament. With a massive £2 entry fee (to cover the cost of the engraved trophy), Dart Club would split into small yet manageable groups, who would then take it in turns to play the first nine holes, then the back nine. There would then be a cut, featuring the eight players that went around the 18 holes in the fewest strokes, they would then play another 18 holes (carrying whatever they scored on into the second round). For ease of scoring it is recommended that the scorer keeps a cumulative total score.

The first four to take to the course represented a mixed bag of Dart Club skills and experience. The Bull with his 328 Dart Club Ranking System points looked the strongest, closely followed by the Dude, with 129 DCRS points accrued he was quick becoming one to watch. The Shaman and the Mountie represent Canada. They are neck and neck in the DCRS table, with 60 and 59 points respectively.

Only the Bull managed to start the round of with a par shot. However, things were better on the second tee as only the Mountie failed to get a birdie. On the third Dart Club saw its first hole in one, the Dude aced out. Now a hole in one should always be savoured, but the Dude was savouring his a bit too much, because for the rest of the round he was bloody pants, coming in one over par. The Bull, however, lived up to his DCRS rating going around in 30 shots, six under, a round that included two holes in one on the fifth and seventh holes. The Mountie had a consistent first nine coming in one under par, but his compatriot the Shaman was wank, four over par off the first nine is


Ranking points a plenty for group number two on the fairway at the Cittie of Yorke, the Fist went round the first nine scoring two holes in one, he came in seven under par. While Danny Boy put a terrible first nine at seven over – obviously the Fist’s excellent round was affecting Danny Boy adversely. The Black Bomber matched the Bull’s first nine coming in at six under par and Mincer put in a respectable 35.

Danny Boy5814182226323743

The third group to take to the links would feature the best first nine and the worst first nine, like the Fist the Clinician opened his round with a hole in one, and also like the Fist the Clinician scored one more hole in one for the round, however, unlike the Fist the Clinician was consistently top drawer and came in at nine under par. Good shit. By contrast, leading dartette the Sidewinder, was bollocks. She got a par on only two occasions, and that was as good as it got, coming in eight over par, she would have it all to do on the back nine if she was to make the cut. The Feather got a respectable par 36, while the Hammer was well off the pace at three over.


The final group consisted of only three members, it was an unremarkable group too. Dart Club’s current number one the Finishered was trying to make it remarkable, however, as he carried out a scientific experiment in darts and booze, and in honour of golf, he remained tee-total for the duration. Often people assume that they need a drink or two before they reach their darting peak, one too many can have the opposite effect – as the, then, Finisher discovered at the City Darts when he forfeited his right to be known as the Finisher. Tonight would be different. Or would it? No, not really, he went around in 32, which was not bad, but was not good either. It was better than the Sting though, who managed a respectable par round, while the Joy Rider, the only newcomer to Dart Club, went around in one over par.

Joy Rider5913172025293437

The very first group took to the course for the back nine, could the Bull sustain his excellent golfing? Yes he could. In fact, he bettered his first nine going around in 28, scoring three holes in one, he completed the course 14 under making the cut easily. The Mountie was the only other member of the group to score a hole in one, his back nine of 32 was three strokes better than his first nine and would propel him into the cut. Unlike both the Shaman and the Dude who both came in at two over par, with 74 strokes apiece.


The Fist made the cut easily bettering his first nine tabling a staggering 24 for the back nine. The Black Bomber was the only other darter to score two holes in one out of the second group and his complete round of 61 would easily ensure a place in the cut. Three out of the foursome ended the round with a hole in one, which was impressive, and despite not scoring a hole in one, the Mincer’s 67 would be also be good enough to make the cut.

Danny Boy475054596468717576

It is just as well the Clinician had such a great first nine, because his back nine was absolutely atrocious, going around the back nine four over par, a total score of 67 would still be good enough to make the cut, but since the scores would roll over he would have to put in a blinder to catch the Bull or Fist now. The Feather and Hammer were shite over the back nine, ending the course five over par, but the Sidewinder turned the tables in the most dramatic of ways, from tabling the worst first nine with 44 strokes, she managed a 28, with three holes in one her total round score was 72 and would give her a place in the cut. Just.


The final member of Dart Club to make the cut was its very own tee-total (for the night) the Finishered, who although put in a few sloppy shots, including one double bogie on the 14th. He managed to come in ten strokes under par, thanks mainly to the two hole in ones accrued.

Joy Rider414548525661667075

With two notable exceptions, namely Danny Boy and the Dude, the eight that made the grade were all recognised DC high flyers. The Sidewinder’s fantastic back nine were enough to secure her eighth spot, however, she came in six shots over at the end of the next round, which although by no means a disgrace was never going to move her up the table against such exalted opposition. The Mountie and Mincer both faired better ending the round seven shots under, improving on their first 18 which was five under apiece.

The Clinician’s wank back nine had moved him from first place right back to fifth, he did improve on things although not by much ending his third nine in 37 strokes, he found himself four under for the 27 holes played thus far. The Finishered started the next round in fourth place and ended the third round in fourth place, he did score a hole in one so came in 12 strokes under all together, which was one more stroke than the Black Bomber had needed – he too scored an ace during the round.

Interestingly the Bull and the Fist were the only two members of Dart Club who had gone to the bother of dressing the part, in other words they were both wearing vaguely Pringleish sweaters, although not the genuine article. Obviously, their golfing attire had inspired them because they were both on fire the Bull came in for the round four under par taking his total game to 18 under, while the Fist was two under for the round but 21 under all together thanks to his mesmerising 24 stroke back nine. Phew. One of them would have to seriously fuck up for the others to catch.


The wheels well and truly came off the Sidewinder’s car, everyone was doing the clown dance, tooting imaginary horns and asking other people to smell their imaginary squirty flowers, opening her final back nine with two successive double bogies, she waltzed in 14 shots over par and stormed into a commanding last place. Canada’s the Mountie, by contrast, scored two under for the last back nine and his total score of 135 strokes nine under and good enough for him to leapfrog both the Mincer and Clinician and into fourth place on the leaderboard. Talking of which, both the Mincer and Clinician had pretty poor final back nines, both tabling a 41 strokes, they ended up at one under and two under for the competition respectively, but it didn’t really look they were trying once triumph was out of the question.

The Feather tees off

It looked as though the Finishered didn’t stand a chance of catching the leaders, he was nine strokes off the pace, however, after two consecutive holes in one on the trot early doors, followed by an eagle he had closed the gap to only three shots, however, he must have accepted a lift off the Sidewinder in her clown car because he could not maintain the momentum, coming in eight under for the round was good, good enough to leapfrog the Black Bomber into third spot overall, but not good enough to challenge for the title – the only other player with similar aspirations at the start of the final back nine, was the Black Bomber but as was just mentioned he had a torrid time and slipped into fourth place, finishing the course 12 strokes under.

So it was left to Dart Club co-chairman, the Bull, to challenge the Dart Club upstart and new number two, the Fist. There was a three stroke lead in favour of the Fist at the start of the final back nine and both players opened the on the tenth with par shots, but then on the 11th the Bull got a hole in one and the Fist got a Bogie, the Bull was one shot up going onto the 12th. The Bull then got a birdie, but the Fist scored an ace and so, once more went one shot up. On the 13th the Bull got a bogie and the Fist got par, which was reversed on the 14th.

The Bull then got a hole in one on the 15th, he was turning the screw, but the Fist was equal to it and he too scored a hole in one, thus maintaining his meagre but important one stroke lead. Then the Bull scored a birdie and the Fist was only able to manage par – things were dead level going into the 17th. Again, the Bull maxed out sending his total for the game to 112, 28 shots under par. The pressure was on, but first dart came the response, treble 17, a hole in one by the Fist. With fervent talk of a play-off over the final three, the Bull took to the 18th tee. The Cittie of Yorke fell silent. THUMP! An outer one. THUMP! An inner four. The pressure mounted, a bead of sweat (might have) appeared on the Bull’s temple. THUMP! Double 18, an eagle. It could only be bettered by one score, treble 18, which during the first round, the Fist had achieved. Could he do it again to take the title?

The Fist adjusted his faux Pringle sweater and confidently approached the tee. THUMP! His first dart had landed safely in the par 18, it wouldn’t be good enough but it was a good marker. He knew that and he took his second swing. THUMP! An outer one. He’d missed, with only one dart left to win the tournament. Suddenly, the atmosphere in the Cittie of Yorke became so strong that even the crass Australian bar staff fell into a hushed reverential silence. All eyes were focused on the treble 18, Dart Club as one was behind a major Fist fuck up, he was getting too big for his boots by making it into all the finals, who the fuck did he think he was? Well, he was the best player in the room and he knew it. THUMP!, P’TING, there it was wedged nestling against the wire, just inside the inner segment of the 18, he’d scored a birdie. The Bull had won by one stroke, coming from behind, the old army way, proving DC rule 8 to be true, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

A churlish Fist congratulates

a smug Bull

The Cittie of Yorke erupted as one, well not quite as one, because the Fist didn’t look too chuffed as he ruefully shook his head and then the worthy winner by the hand. He’d be back and he knew it.


Time was very much against Dart Club, it had been a long but enjoyable round of darts golf, there was still time though for the Mountie to win a controversial 201 challenge. Firstly, during the game the Sting landed one of his darts in the end of another dart, a feat previously achieved by the Clinician at the Blue Posts, dartweek 10. At the Blue Posts, everyone thought it was quite funny, but at the Cittie of Yorke, the Black Bomber took it upon himself to argue, quite voraciously, that the score of the second dart was the score of the first. Even the Sting sagely agreed that this was not the case. The Black Bomber was quite incensed, his face went very red and all the veins on the side of his head stood out. He was reminded of Dart Club rule number six – do not question the Bull or the Finishered, this is not a democracy. But to no avail. He even shouted “LOOK IN THE BOOK!! LOOK IN THE BOOK!!”. Sadly, Dart Club did not have “the book”, whatever book that should be. It took quite some time before he went back to his usual routine of shouting at everybody and telling them to be quiet.

The Mountie gets his pot

Thankfully, Dart Club does now own a book that outlines the rules on this matter, and for the record, and for the Black Bomber’s information, rule number 12.01 (scoring) according to the BDO playing rules clearly states: “A dart shall only score if the point remains in, or touches the face of the dartboard, within the outer double wire, and having been ‘called’, shall be retrieved from the dartboard by the player.”

The chairmen felt smug.

The other piece of controversy came when the Mountie was awarded with his winnings and the pot was about £6 short, which meant that at least three of the dartclubbers there present had not paid a contribution, which then gave rise to the 11th rule of Dart Club. The 11th rule of Dart Club is do not welch on a bet or contribution. You are only cheating yourself.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

K is for the knocked out

It was the first Dart Club of 2003 and boy was it going to be a biggy. In fact, it would be the biggest Dart Club thus far. This kind of information is usually reserved for the tail-end of a chapter but dartweek 11 would see an unprecedented 28 darters take part.

Twenty eight. Wow.

Perhaps it was because that very weekend would see the final of the PDC championships at the Circus Tavern featuring Phil Taylor and Canada’s John Part.

Or perhaps it was because only the previous weekend some woolly-minded liberal had posed the following question to readers of the Guardian: “How can darts be made to appeal to the middle classes?”

Pithy responses included: “Change its name to d’arts” – Philip Reynolds (London) and “Take away the dart-throwing bit,” David Prothero (Harpenden).


The trouble with readers of the Guardian is that they are embarrassed about their social status, middle class guilt results in poncy affectations and ridiculous champagne socialism. Well, Dart Club is middle class and it drinks champagne and it doesn’t turn its nose up at darts.

Actually, the real reason Dart Club was so popular in dartweek 11 was because Dart Club London was hosting a grudge match versus Dart Club Leicester.

Cast your mind back two chapters (or scroll down and get yersen a recap) when Dart Club split into two teams at the Whores and Doom and the Finishers played out a match against the Bulls. This was all in preparation for the Dart Club inter-regional challenge match versus a mutual friend of the Finisher and Bull going by the name of the Dreaded.

Leicester, also complete with captain going by the name of the Finisher, would come down from the provinces and take on the capitalists, the losing team’s captain would then be forced to change his name to the Loser – it would be a showdown at the Oche Corral.

The Oche Corral in question would have to be very special, and indeed it was. Going by the name of the City Darts, on Commercial Street, it featured no less than five dartboards, including one championship board on a raised bed.

More dartboards than you can shake a dart at

There was just one thing, Commercial Street is outside the Circle Line (just) thus breaking rule seven, which was enforced following the Bull’s booking of the Bull in dartweek seven. However, the City Darts is a veritable Mecca for the City darter, so rule seven would have to be amended.

The seventh rule of Dart Club is, the pub must be within five minutes walk of the Circle Line. Something of a cop out, but that’s life.

Anyway, the City Darts also features a dartboard down stairs and a couple of pool tables. They have live Sky sports, will supply a buffet and allow punters to play their own stereo – which can lead to all sorts of Guns’n Roses type fun. In short, it is bloody brilliant.

The Finisher was in there first, at high noon as agreed, the Bull was slightly later, closely followed by the Clinician, the Aristocrat and his bird, newcomer, the Abstainer, whose lack of games would result in only one Dart Club Ranking System point and a position of last in the ranking table at the end of the day.

Leicester would be some time, they were having trouble finding anywhere to park apparently.

The Finisher and Clinician were in high spirits, particularly the Finisher, because over the festive Yuletide period, he, the Clinician, the Enigma and a Dart Club virgin the Blade were in none other than the Prince Albert on Bellendan Road in Peckham (as mentioned previously in chapter G) when the Finisher in a standard game of 301 versus the Clinician scored a maximum 180.

“Ooonnne hunnndreeeed and eeeiiiightyyyy!!” he shouted at the top of his voice, it was the first 180 he had ever scored, in fact it was the first 180 he had ever seen in the flesh (the Black Bomber scored a 180 but sadly for him he was on his own at home, the board was nowhere near regulation height, and the oche was too close, so some of the gloss is taken off).

The Prince Albert rose as one and applauded this fine achievement (after the Finisher had encouraged them a bit). It is well worth persisting if you have never scored one. Your day will come. On numerous occasions when two treble 20s are pinned the wheels come off and the darter is reluctantly faced with 125 a good score just not sexy, but one day you will hold your nerve, and the endorphin rush can only be topped by pharmaceutical means. No word of a lie.

Leicester still hadn’t arrived, but the Black Bomber had, there then followed a period when the dart clubbers present, with the exception of the Abstainer, proceeded to go into a dart frenzy of 501 warm up matches. And this frenzy was only exacerbated when the Finisher and Bull revealed the London Dart Club kit.

The Finisher and Bull face the wall

For the princely sum of £10 each, Dart Club availed themselves of some dazzling white short-sleeved polyester shirts from Primark, purveyors of fine tailoring in Peckham.

London Dart Club 1st Team

The Bull then put further ethical issues to one side and went down to Nike Town and got the top eight according to the current Dart Club Rankings name’s placed across the shoulders.

“That’ll be £72,” said the no doubt surly salesman – the Bull gulped, this was turning out to be an expensive bit of fun, he took the shirts over to the till, “That’ll be £3,” said the gormless git at the till, “…… do you want cash?” said the Bull. The checkout assistant, we presume, had only charged for one of the letters. Still, that was the charge and the Bull coughed up before existing quick sharp in the double.

Come on – we’ve all been there. “CASH BACK!”


The new game to be sampled at the City Darts was darts decathlon. The Olympic sport made famous by the highly wicked, national anthem whistling hero Daley ‘backflip’ Thompson.

The decathlon is ten individual events split over two days. Athletes are awarded points for their performances in the individual events, so like in darts, they are really playing against themselves. So it seems obvious that the world needs a darts decathlon all of its very own. Particularly because as an athletic event it has slipped somewhat out of the nation’s conscience.

Maybe darts is just the thing to bring the two-day test of athletic prowess and endurance back into focus, for was is not the Geordie voice of darts Sid Waddell who said “most top darts players these days are fitter than Premiership footballers”? Or something like that at any rate.



Let’s face it, this is the only Olympic event that is worth winning. And until the Olympic committee wakes up, smells the fags and booze, and finally concedes the point and makes darts an Olympic event, the 100m will remain everyone’s favourite. In darts 100m it is simply case of counting how many darts it takes to reach or break through the 100 mark. Points are scored as follows:


Long Jump

Aside from Bob Beaman and Carl Lewis name another long jumper, go on (and the latter was more famous for his 100m achievements). Although, jumping a long way after a short run up is more impressive than the hop, skip and jump (unlike darts this is a triple not a treble). Darts long jumping sees athletes of the oche try and score as big a score as possible with just three darts, and scores points accordingly.


Shot Putt

….erm didn’t Geoff ‘budgerigar breeder’ Capes do this? Since the stone throw was removed from the Olympic portfolio of events, throwers of heavy stuff are limited to shot put and hammer throw. So spare a thought for those anonymous putters of shot. Take one dart and see how high you can score.


High Jump

This vertical representation of the long jump was made famous by an American called Richard Fosbury, who in 1968 invented a style of jumping that involves going headfirst and backwards, sounds like it would be a something of a flop. In darts, players get three lives and have to clear heights going up in units of ten with three darts. If you fail to clear a height you forfeit a life. Everyone starts on a height of ten – it is bloody easy, but hilarious if someone fails.



Michael Johnson, he runs funny and looks like Eddie ‘get the fuck outta here’ Murphy, but he is damn fast. Nobody else springs to mind for this event. It is simply an extended version of the most explosive Olympic event, and consequently the excitement is diluted somewhat. The darts version mirrors real life, darters score points according to how many darts it takes them to reach a score of 400.



110m Hurdles

This is a case of athletics over egging the pudding, making the best event a bit longer and throwing in some things to jump over. It is surprising that the Olympic committee hasn’t introduced something to throw at the end, maybe the 120m stone throw hurdles would be good, who knows? I guess we’ll never find out. So like in athletics this darts game takes an element of one other popular darts game and makes it a bit complicatederer. Darters play round the clock moving from 18 clockwise to 20, only landing in the black segments, hence ‘hurdling’ the white bits. Counting how many darts it takes to do so.



To discuss the discus is disgusting. Try saying that after a heavy night on the pop. Yet another variation on the throwing stuff games, but a classic nevertheless. It is a macho version of seeing how far you can throw a Frisbee. So the darts version is also macho and is case of seeing how close to the bull’s-eye you can get. One dart, one go.

Inner segment750
Treble bed600
Outer segment450
Double bed300
Out of bounds150
Complete missSPAZ

Pole Vault

Like the high jump only using a big bendy stick to propel yourself over the bar, pretty damn impressive, but totally contrived. So you would think that it has very little to do with darts and you’d be right. Poor old Daley’s pole once snapped when he was halfway up, which was as nasty as it sounds.

This event should be a favourite of the Bull’s since he was Berkshire schools’ under 15 champion pole vaulter. He was also Berkshire schools’ only under 15 pole valuter at the time, scaling the massive height of 5’11” – lower than the winning high jump that year. Genius.

The darts version is like the high jump only using six darts instead of three. You might as well get everyone to start on 30, not even a bird could fail anything less with six darts.



This is the classic throw something event, and since it is the Olympic event that most resembles darts you would expect the British to be good at it. And you’d be bloody right, Tessa Sanderson, Fatima Whitbred and more recently Steve Backley are three renowned UK world record beating spear chuckers. In athletics the idea is to throw your giant dart as far as possible. In a pub, with any sort of dart, giant or otherwise, this would be highly irresponsible. And Dart Club condones it wholeheartedly, however, this is darts decathlon and not extreme darts, so in darts javelin the idea is to get as far away from the bull’s-eye as possible without actually going out of bounds. One dart, one go.

Out of bounds0
The outer wire1000
Double bed800
Outer segment600
Treble bed450
inner segments300
Bullseyelose all points accumulated so far


By the time Daley was trudging round the track in this epic slog he was probably pretty knackered, but he had usually already sealed victory so would trot around with his famous moustached Cheshire cat grin beaming out.

Initially, the 1500m of darts was just a long version of the 100m and 400m, but when tried down the pub and it took about an hour and a half with only four players, so instead the idea is to score 150 in as few darts as possible using only the 15 and 10 segments (doubles and trebles count).


The winner of darts decathlon is the person who scores most points after the ten individual events.

Dart Club was preparing to play darts decathlon, the Bull, Finisher and Aristocrat had trialed the game at Doyle’s Bar over the Xmas period and the Bull was the current champion, but what then followed was yet another first for Dart Club – it would be the first time that Dart Club didn’t play the new game, but don’t let that put you off darts decathlon, it really is jolly good.

Doyle's Bar is Veron Kaye's favourite
The Aristocrat likes it too...!

The Bull at Doyle's ocheThe Aristo and a well-refreshed Specialist

The reason Dart Club didn’t play the new game is because Leicester arrived – they were (Frankie) Finisher, the Dreaded (name later changed to Judge Dreadful), Jon Cank and Poke Out (Palmer). They had darts shirts, and they looked quite tasty at the oche. Darts decathlon took a back seat.

The intended format for the big game would be the same as the one played at the Whores and Doom, and indeed the same as the one that the Finisher and Clinician learned when they joined the Doyle’s Bar darts team. Two fours, four pairs, straight eights and 1001 all in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nice.

Leicester had only four team members, however, that mattered not because Dart Club would happily loan them some players, players who had not made the Dart Club top eight first team and had a massive point to prove.

The New Look Leicester

Warming for the main event

The Teams looked like this:

(Frankie) FinisherFinisher
AristocratDanny Boy
Poke Out (Palmer)Bull

The team line ups

Jon CankBlack Bomber
Judge DreadfulDude

The team line ups

The first four from each team took to the oche in a game of straight in 701, it was highly unremarkable game with absolutely no sexy darts, taking 60 darts, an average of just under 12 per dart (or 35 per turn) and was won by Leicester.

First blood the east midlands.

London Dart Club’s top four had been turned over easily, things didn’t look good, the Finisher looked worried, his name was at stake after all.

London’s next four took to the oche for the next game of 701. All round this was a better game taking just 48 darts (14.6 per dart, nearly 44 scored per turn – pub darts standard), the London four racked up a sexy darts 100 and a pub score, but it was not good enough, because Leicester still won comfortably, checking out on a double five with London still requiring 73.

Two games down and London Dart Club was already on the ropes, it was time for the doubles.

Leicester are already looking good

First up it was the Finisher and Danny Boy versus (Frankie) Finisher and the Aristocrat. Averaging 17.6 per dart the London pairing were victorious. The match was now 2-1 in Leicester’s favour.

Next up the Bull and Fist would be playing Poke Out (Palmer) and the Hammer. Averaging 15 points per dart the London duo maxed out, with a double top exit. Leaving Leicester requiring 173 at check out.

London are coming back
Black Bomber says 'COME ON'

It was two apiece when the Clinician and Black Bomber played Leicester’s all dartette glamour pair, Jon Cank and the Anaconda. However, it was not a pretty game, the gentlemen darters won averaging a woeful 7.3 per dart, they finished in the madhouse.

However, a win is a win, it was now 3-2 to London going into the final doubles game of the match, the Dude and Sting would play Judge Dreadful and the Wire. And the Londoners would prove too strong yet again, exiting on double top they averaged just over 12 per dart.

The Sting and Dude (aka Frodo Baggins)

London were 4-2 up going into the singles sessions. First up were the two team captains the Finisher and (Frankie) Finisher. The Finisher averaged 12.5 per dart and took the tie.

At 5-2 this was turning into something of a procession. And Danny Boy did nothing to upset the apple cart beating the Aristocrat exiting on double top averaging nearly 18 points per dart was pretty impressive stuff.

It was looking unlikely that Leicester would make back the difference, until Poke Out (Palmer) defeated the Bull averaging 16 points per dart she was on fire, the Bull was left on 125 at check out.

The score was now 6-3 to London, could Leicester come back. Could the Hammer beat the Fist in the next match. Of course he couldn’t. Both darters were left requiring double one after 39 darts, but the Fist held his nerve checking out with an average of 12.5 per dart.

With the score at seven to three, London needed just one more game to seal victory.

Next up was the Clinician versus the Anaconda. And averaging 13.5 per dart the Clinician checked out first. London had prevailed. And quite right too, bloody provincial bumpkins.

For the record, and to complete the match, the Black Bomber beat Jon Cank, the Dude beat Judge Dreadful and the Sting beat the Wire making the final score 11-3 with no need to play the 1001 final match. A rout.

Leicester were sporting to the last and accepted that they had been beaten by the better side, the Londoner were irritatingly smug. No surprises there.

Dart Club is not a completely exclusive animal, there were plenty of other eager darters present, it was time for the 22 player strong 301 Open Tournament. It would be an unseeded straight knock out challenge, not unlike the FA Challenge Cup played out on dartweek five. E is for evenin’ all at the Archery Tavern (Bathurst Street).

The CyclopsA friendly Judge Dreadful
envelops the Cyclops

The first round would look like this (with those in bold being the victor):

Specialist v Bubble
Striker v Poke Out
Bomber v Sting
Double Top v Jon Cank
Bull v Clinician
Fire v Fist
Wire v F.Finisher
Anaconda v Growler
Cyclops v Hammer
J.Dreadful v Finisher
Dude v Aristocrat

There were very few sexy darts during the first round, in fact quite hilariously the Dude managed to bust when he was left on 120, thus losing his tie. The Specialist managed to win on penalties, quite remarkably he required double top after only 15 darts, then threw a further 33 darts without checking out. Nice.

This left 11 players, so the losing players had a play-off to round it up to 16, it looked like this (again the bolded names were the winners):

Aristocrat v Hammer
Specialist v Bull
Sting v Wire
Bubble v Finisher
Jon Cank v Striker
Fist v Clinician
J.Dreadful v F.Finisher
Anaconda v Poke Out

Again nothing especially exciting happened, although it interesting to note that the Wire, the Bubble, Judge Dreadful and Poke Out (Palmer) would progress to the quarter final, despite losing their opening games. The quarters would look like this:

Hammer v Poke Out
Specialist v Bubble
J.Dreadful v Striker
Wire v Clinician

A highly unremarkable quarter final, the only thing remotely interesting is that the Wire progressed, the only player who failed to win his opening game, the semi-final would look like this:

Specialist v Wire
Striker v Hammer

The Specialist narrowly lost out to the Wire, his finishing let him down once again, after only 15 darts he needed double five with the Wire on 180, sadly he took too long, throwing 21 darts he allowed the Wire back into the game to finish. The other semi was more straightforward, with the Striker overcoming the Hammer, it could have gone either way – but it didn’t.

The final would be played out by the Wire and the Striker. Both darters had been to Dart Club only once, the Wire picked up 26 Dart Club Ranking System points at the Archery Tavern and the Striker picked up 17 points at the Angel – so the Wire would have to be favourite.

And .....averaging 13.5 per dart the Wire was the winner of the 301 Open, with the Hammer beating a very upset Specialist in the third place play off.

Striker congratulates Wire
Specialist congratulates Hammer

It had been a long day, and the Finisher was pretty a tired and emotional individual. He was also smashed out of his mind, and despite being the captain of the victorious team, and despite actually beating Frankie Finisher during the match, his decision to have a dart-off for the right to use his name was perhaps a little misguided.

When Frankie Finisher checked out on double eight, the Finisher was left on 239 seemingly unable to make out the board, hurling his darts irrespective of whether they had flights. “I’ll take your money, but not your name,” said Frankie Finisher, but a bet is a bet. He retired to the bar, tried to sit down and missed his stool. He was the completely Finishered.

Elvis has left the building The Finisher and the Finishered

Judge Dreadful helps the Finishered
back onto his stool, while Jon Cank mocks

There had been a lot of darts and the Dart Club Ranking System table would see some pretty major alterations.

1 (1)Finishered418 (363)
2 (4)Fist368 (219)
3 (3)Bull328 (221)
4 (5)Clinician219 (188)
5 (2)Danny Boy271 (222)
6 (6)Black Bomber255 (186)
7 (11)Aristocrat228 (73)
8 (8)Sting153 (87)
9 (7)Dude129 (107)
10 (9)Specialist105 (81)

Despite being completely finished, the Finishered managed to maintain his top spot, both the Fist and the Aristocrat made some massive gains and Dart Club’s number two, Danny Boy, really let himself go at the City Darts, slipping to fifth place – for the record the Wire, winner of the 301 Open lies in 11th place with 97 Dart Club Ranking System points.

If the top ten were sorted in terms of points earned on the day it would like this:

5Black Bomber69
8Danny Boy49

He was man of the match at the Blue Posts and to some degree he was the best darter at the City Darts. Despite not winning the 301 Open or being on the winning team in the big match, the Aristocrat will go down in Dart Club history because he nailed a120 Shanghai exit in a game versus the Clinician. Treble 20, 20, double top. “It was a thing of beauty,” – the Fist.

The Aristo's Shanghai finish