If the sporting world hadn’t turned their attention to the darts last year, they were certainly glued to it this year. 2023 kicked off with one of the most remarkable legs of darts you’ll ever see. “I CAN’T SPAKE, I CAN’T SPAKE” was blasted through our screens as Michael Smith nailed 9 perfect darts on route to a first world championship. A year later and everyone was starstruck by the 16-year-old sensation Luke Littler and his dream run to the Ally Pally final. He ultimately came up short to a rampant Luke Humphries, but his journey a year on from one of the greatest finals in history had everyone wanting a piece of the darts.
That was evident in the numbers from this year’s World final. Sky sports announced that 4.8 million people tuned in to watch the world championship final. There was a peak viewership of 3.71 million people. That is the highest ever peak sky sports have had that wasn’t a footballing event.
There’s been talk for years about Britain’s number 2 sport behind football. Boxing has had its British world champions; Lewis Hamilton has dominated motor racing for years and cricket have had England lift the world cup. But the rise of darts might have the British sporting public wondering whether Darts is having its time to shine.
Darts fever has swept the nation, and down here in Dorset darts is taking off. After the PDC world championship finishes, Q-school begins. This is where amateur darts players from around Britain and around the world enter 4 days of strenuous knockout style matches to try and earn a PDC tour card. This year saw three players from Dorset dawn the PDC stage for a chance to make it into the big time. But while none of our Dorset darters made the final cut, one man was pretty optimistic about how proceedings went.
Robbie Martin was entering Q-school for the very first time this year. so finishing in the top 200 out of over 1000 darts players left Martin buzzing with just how much progress both he and darts in Dorset had made.
I conducted an interview with Robbie Martin talking about his darting career, Dorset darts and his Q-school exploits.
“Personally for me I think it went amazing. It was the first time i’d ever entered Q-school.
“I just wanted to experience it to know where i was in my darting career and how i could go forward from that.
“Just knowing that I held my own against some of the greatest players that were there. Out of the two Q-schools, the UK and the Euro one to know I finished in the top 200 out of over 1000 players there was a great achievement for me personally.”
Robbie’s achievement was testament to work he’s put into Darts over the years. Coming from a darting family, Robbie first started playing darts aged 14, playing in a local league and beating a man by the name of ‘tank’.
“Everyone around me played darts, my dad, my brothers. Instead of being out on the football pitch I was in my room throwing darts.”
While the majority of people are just starting to take a serious interest in darts, Robbie was quick to state that there are some very strong league in the Dorset area.
“I’ve played at Dorset county darts for 11 years now, coming up to my 100th cap. There is so much darts around. i used to live over Ringwood way and you could play in ringwood leagues, Verwood leagues, Ferndown leagues. Wimborne was probably the best league at the time.” i would say 80% of the local leagues in the area have a county or super league player or multiple, or probably have someone who could play at that level.
“Its not just my age, there are so many youngsters who just want to destroy everyone they come across and 9 times out of 10 they do. so the local level is very competitive.”
So Q-school was an eye opening experience, Dorset has an abundance of talent in multiple different leagues, I checked if 2024 would be a busy year for Robbie Martin.
“Its looking like that. It wasn’t at the start, until I was given the opportunity to go to Q-school. Once you go to Q-school it opens up the door for the challenge tour. i have work commitments but the tour comes to places like Milton Keynes and Leicester for the second half of the year. plus playing for Dorset and all the local leagues and super league, its gonna be busy.”
Be sure to keep up to date with Robbie Martins year and the progress he’s made in darts as well as the progress darts in Dorset is making.
Buzz news’ daily sports podcast, THE DAILY SPORTS BUZZ PODCAST had a feature on Robbie Martins interview as well as some other great stories. see the link here:
Here is also a link to myself and ROBBIE’S FULL UNCUT INTERVIEW talking about Q-school, Dorset darts and his upcoming year, link here:
Darts in Dorset may have taken off but for one local social club they are only just starting to reap the rewards of Dorset darting fever.
Avon social club used to have a room for pool and snooker. But when they realised the club was about to go bust, a drastic decision changed everything. They ditched the tables and replaced them with dart boards. A newly refurbished darts room started raking in the cash.
Avon’s chairman Marc Draper expressed just how important darts has been for them.
“If it wasn’t for the dart boards we would have been gone by the end of last year. Its saved us. We have had a lot more new people, new members and i would say our nightly takings have quadrupled.”
Avon social clubs event organiser Daniel Adams also spoke on the events they run and the decision behind the change from pool and snooker to darts.
“We didn’t get a lot in from the snooker, whereas some of the dart comps would take in thousands. It just made sense to bring in darts.”
Theres more on Avon social club plus some EXTREMELY powerful content on our 30 minute Magazine programme streamed live on buzz news and youtube, THE FRIDAY SPORTS BUZZ, link here :
So darts is well and truly taking off in every sense of the word. The pros are attracting more viewers than ever before, the Locals are bringing in more money from darts competitions than ever before, and Dorset have more and more players breaking through the barriers trying to make it to the PDC and put Dorset on the darts map.