John Folwer is a an MC, Host and Darts Referee. He has worked with legendary players and promoted darts all over the globe. He recently made his World Championship Officiating debut. His monthly column appears in Darts World Magazine.
Here is December 2019’s Episode:
Hello again readers, what a month I’ve had since my last report. A fantastic week in the sun at the Northern Cyprus open, culminating in calling the finals, sharing those duties with Mick Connerton, on the Sunday afternoon, great job my friend.
I actually played in two of the events, reaching the last 16 of the warm up singles for players that had no partners in the mixed pairs. I decided to enter the Men’s singles on the Saturday night where I was drawn against the number 14 seed, Gabriel Pascaru of Romania. I missed 4 darts at a double in the 1st leg and the rest as they say is history. I may get to referee for him at the World Championships at the O2 Indigo in January.
No sooner had I landed back in England, it was time to repack my bag for a weekend in Essex at the iconic Circus Tavern for the World Masters as seen on Eurosport. It was brilliant to meet up with the majority of the refereeing team again, great job again folks. I called four great matches on the Saturday, then two quarter finals, one of the semi finals and the first five sets of the final.
Congratulations to John O’shea on his victory and commiserations to Scott Waites, the runner up and to all the other qualifiers too. Well done to Lisa Ashton on her victory in the ladies tournament. It was great to see Bobby George and his lovely wife Marie in attendance on the Sunday. Many thanks to everyone for their kind comments and words of encouragement, they are really appreciated.
I am very much looking forward to January at the O2 Indigo. Toward the end of October 2019, at an exhibition in Wittlich,in front of 1500 fans, I finally added Raymond van Barneveld to the list of World champions that I have worked with. It was a fantastic night, in another beautiful part of Germany, that also included Ian White, Max Hopp and Gabriel Clemens.
By the time that you read this I will have officiated at the Malta open for the 3rd time in 4 years. Looking forward to a weekend in Dublin with Devon Petersen and Stephen Bunting at the beginning of December, always a great experience in the Emerald Isle. 2020 looks like it will provide more fantastic times with the diary filling up nicely. Already plenty of events booked in Germany and Switzerland is also booked again. Also my first darts event in Jersey has been confirmed.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading, hopefully you enjoy reading about it as much as I do writing about it.
Signing off for 2019 and wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in 2020.
With the BDO World Championships starting this weekend Jacco Krook tried to interview some players from the European countries where darts is less known. The first one he spoke to is the Romanian Gabriel Pascaru.
He is the first ever Romanian making it to the BDO World Championship and qualified by being the highest ranked player on the Eastern European ranking, who hadn’t qualified by being in the top 27 of the BDO ranking at the cut-off date. He did so by winning the Hungarian Open, Ukraine Open and Russian Open in 2019. In the O2 he will play a preliminary round against Justin Hood on Monday afternoon 6th of January. During the interview we have sometimes given some background information about the mentioned tournaments or players.
Who are you? ‘’I live in Piatra Neamț, Romania where I was born. For a living I paint cars at my own paint shop in Piatra Neamt for 8 till 10 hours a day. I am married to Alexandra and we do not have children yet.’’
When and how did you start playing darts? ‘’I was watching the darts at Eurosport when I was a kid. I found it very interesting but I had no place to play until I got to a mountain chalet where they had a board mounted outside and there were only two darts. When I got back home, I ordered my board and got on with it.’’
Which darts do you use? ‘’It’s been 6 years since I started playing darts with Gary Anderson 23 grams.’’
What are your best achievements so far? ‘’The best individual results would be to win the national champion title in 2017, second place at the Hungarian open in 2018, winning the Gibraltar Open 2018, and in 2019 winning the Hungarian Open, Ukraine Open, and the Russian open, and second place in St. Petersburg Open but last but not least, winning the Mediterranean Cup with the national team in Spain.’’
Some background information about the Mediterranean Cup: The Mediterranean Cup is a tournament like the WDF World Cup and Europe Cup in the sense that the players from the participating countries play a Men’s team, pairs and singles event and a Ladies’ pairs and singles event. It has been held since 2006 as a tournament for countries from the Mediterranean area. In 2019 when Romania won the men’s team and singles events the participating countries were Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Malta, Catalonia, Turkey, Spain and of course Romania.
Who are the top 5 players from Romania (either man, woman, youth, may of course be players of the past as well)? And why? ‘’Unfortunately, in Romania the darts players are not very many but they are constantly growing. Those who are at the helm of the Romanian Darts Federation are striving to improve Romanian darts further and further. The proof being the two international competitions that are organised in January in Bucharest, one of them being the category ” A “and not to mention organising the WDF World Cup 2019 in Cluj which proved to be a real success.’’
‘’As top players in Romania I can mention Adrian Frim (four times national champion), Alexandru Stoian, Laszlo Kadar, Cristian Cimpoca, Răzvan Negoț, but we trust there are coming several talented, young players.’’
Some background information of the top players mentioned by Gabriel Pascaru: Adrian Frim is four times Romanian national champion. At the Mediterranean Cup 2019 he made it together with Gabriel Pascaru himself to the finals of the pairs event, eventually losing 4-2 against Jacques Labre and Michael Estevez from France. He also played twice at the BDO World Masters. His best result was reaching the last 32 in 2017. In 2018 he won the Torremolinos Open.
Alexandru Stoian was a quarter finalist at the Romanian Classic 2015. In the same year he made it to the last 32 of the WDF World Cup singles.
Laszlo Kadar won the Mediterranean Cup singles 2019. His best result at the WDF World Cup singles dates from 2011 reaching the last 64, while he made it to the last 32 of the WDF Europe Cup singles in 2014.
Cristian Compoca was a quarter finalist at the Romanian Open 2010 and 2011, Rhinoceros Open 2011 and Hungarian Open 2012.
Răzvan Negoț was a quarter finalist at the Romanian Open 2010 and made it to the last 16 at the Romanian Open 2011. He made it to the World Masters three times, however he never made it to the latest stages of the event.
What is your goal for 2020 and the further future? ‘’Of course, for me the most important contest will be the World Championship in the O2, but I am focused on the rest of the competitions. Because at the moment I am in the first place in the ranking of Eastern Europe and I aim to increase my level in the next years.’’
What is your favourite tournament? And why? ‘’My favourite tournaments are the ones held at the beginning of the year in Romania (Romanian International Darts Open and Romanian Classic Darts Open), even though the 5th place is my best result here. The location, Admosvera, is a beautiful 5 stars accommodation and these two tournaments bring together quality people with whom I can hardly wait to meet year after year.’’
How often do you practise? How do you practise? ‘’Unfortunately I would like to pracitse more but because my work is busy most of the time I try to practise between 2 and 4 hours every day although it is not easy for me. I practise by using WebCamDarts for some time now, because there I find players with environments close to mine and they can have balanced matches.’’
What is your favourite moment in the history of Romanian darts? ‘’Surely the organization of the WDF World Cup 2019 is the largest darts event ever held in Romania. There were over 50 participating countries with over 600 players, the location was a magnificent one (Grand Hotel Italia in Cluj Napoca) and the Cluj Napoca is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania.’’
Have you ever hit a 9-dart leg? If so when and against who? ‘’So far I have not managed the perfect game. I have two legs closed in 10 darts but I feel that when I continue with the practising and going to tournaments that moment will come soon.’’
What do you like and dislike about darts? ‘’Darts has many pluses from visiting new places and meeting new people until you have mastered how you can better your emotions. But as in any competition, the desire to win or to organize as much as possible a contest can lead to woes that do not have their place in sports.’’
What do you think about darts in Romania? ‘’I hope that in the near future, as many Romanian players as possible will pose problems to the top players in the world and the Romanian national team will continue its good start at the Mediterranean Cup.’’
Thank you Gabriel Pascaru for taking the time for the interview. And for the darts fans around the world make sure to follow this page to learn more about darts throughout Europe and some of the players competing in the upcoming BDO World Championship.
Jacco Krook is an independent darts writer. He contributes to various publications including dartfreakz.nl as well as dartsworld.com.
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