As readers, of Darts World, will know there seems to have been an increase in the volume, and spite, in the abuse of players over social media. Rob Cross, Luke Humphries and Paul Nicholson are among those to have been speaking out recently.
Now the ‘players union’ the PDPA have stepped in to offer advice and support to players. They have introduced a simple guide to help those being victimised to deal with the instant problem and the longer term issues it can cause.
Darts World has reached out to cyberbullying and psychology experts in order that we may be able to suggest some positives solutions to this increasingly worrying phenomenon.
PAUL NICHOLSON has lashed out at social media trolls as “sick” who continually abuse top darts players. The former Players Champion was dubbed a cheat last week after losing out to Martin Adams 4-0 in the Modus online darts league.
It comes after a spate of abuse including Kyle Anderson, playing just a week after recovering from Covid-19, being called a “f*****g d***head” and Michael Smith told “cheers ya fat ugly b*****d walking heart attack”.
Former world champ Rob Cross received death threats a year ago and Nicholson is concerned about the increase of attacks.
He told Sporting Life: “It makes me sick that most players within the Modus league and the PDC Home Tour have had this social backlash after things have not gone the fan’s way.
“It worries me that there’s nothing we can do about this kind of social media activity. We feel helpless about it. It’s hurtful.
“Just to paint a picture, I’d heard about Kyle’s (Anderson) stuff on social media by actually reading his feed.
“I don’t understand how anybody can cast aspersions that someone who’s been through Covid-19 personally, who has been away from his family and still put his hand up and say I want to play on the PDC Home Tour, given his best and is then insulted. Just because somebody lost a few quid.
“They made the wrong choice on who to bet on. These people just don’t look in the mirror, they think that we should take the blame for their shortcomings.”
Nicholson was shocked at the levels of abuse he received but doesn’t believe it will stop until social media accounts are monitored with the contact details of the writers.
He added: “When it came to my situation about my last game last week. I was having a much-improved day, I’d won a few games, ultimately losing to Dave Evans and that stopped my chances of winning the day.
“At that point I thought I wonder if I can steal second spot but like the rest of the weeks, I hadn’t looked at social media. And the reason for that was because of the messages I’d received previously.
“I thought I will write my schedule on a piece of paper, I will put a nice tweet out on who i will be playing that day and then I’m not going to look at it until everything is finished.
“So when Martin Adams beat me 4-0 I was devastated because I wondered whether I’d ever been beaten 4-0 or 5-0 over the past few weeks? That really hurt. Not just to lose the match but to lose to a nil was very rare for me.
“And then I decided to put my feet up for five minutes, relax and put my darts away. Then I flicked my social media back on and I was greeted by a couple of really really nasty messages and one on Instagram as well which insinuated that I was cheating.
“I thought, ‘What have I been cheating for?’ I can’t believe that someone would have the audacity to send me a message to say that and call me the worst thing you can call any sportsperson.
“Because if you call someone a cheat, that would send any sportsperson angry. It made me very angry.
“I was spinning for the rest of the day. I chose not to tweet or interact with anyone because I felt that was the smart thing to do.
“A lot of us have been subject to this kind of behaviour. It’s horrible to receive it but unfortunately it’s pretty much part and parcel until the day that every account on social media is verified which I don’t see happening.”
A look back at darting landmarks which took place between the 26th January & February the 2nd……
23 Years Ago:
Mervyn King secured his first top class event with victory, lifting the crown at the Dutch Open. King, still ranked 21 in the world, took another seven years before claiming his first ‘Major’ title (2004 World Masters). King is yet to claim a PDC major although the International Darts League (King won in 2005) was a joint event. This years Dutch Open takes place this coming weekend with new BDO World Champion Wayne Warren looking to claim more silverware.
10 Years Ago:
Paul Nicholson claimed the Players Championship Finals: In what was probably ‘The Asset’s finest hour he defeated Merv King 13-11 in the final. His defeat of Phil Taylor in the semi final was a huge moment. Winning a dramtic last leg seemed to mark the emergence of Paul as a true threat to the biggest names. Sadly, it also lead to the much hyped “……he better bring his A-Game, cause I’m gonna put him to bed….” narrative of which there was only going to be one winner.
5 Years Ago:
Jeff Smith (who returned to the PDC Pro Tour this month via Q School) took the Las Vegas Open, defeating Darin Young in the title match. ‘The Silencer’ had threatened to break through previously but this win marked a transition for Jeff. Within twelve months the likeable Canadian would reach the last four of the BDO world Championships. he went one better the next year, losing out to Scott Mitchell in the final, and cemented a place at Darts’ top table. Jeff’s World Cup (Singles) Title in 2017 was probably the high-point of his, late starting but, eventful career so far.
The darts calendar gets fuller every year, this year the Iceland International Games even featured a January darts event. The Dutch Open is up coming and together with the Romanian and Las Vegas Opens may provide future year’s landmarks. Will the PDC’s annual curtain raiser ‘The Masters’ provide ‘tales of darting do’ in future years, the 2020 will feature the first event played by Peter Wright as World Champion!
World Cup Singles winner Darren “Apocalypse” Herewini has signed with Winmau following his emphatic launch onto the global darts scene, after his tremendous World Cup win in Romania – taking the final 7-6 in a field of the WDF’s top 32 players.
The 28 year old Kiwi has only played top-level competitive darts for around 3 years, but his talent was legendary back home in New Zealand where the young Herewini would impress all that saw him at whatever competitions with his focus, composure and technically beautiful throw.
It wasn’t long before Herewini was shooting up the rankings of the New Zealand dart scene and soon came to the fore on national TV several times. Darren qualified for the 2017 PDC World Series in Auckland where he shot to national fame playing the then dominant Phil Taylor in what was a brilliant game of darts. The experience set Herewini on a new path and journey towards becoming a World class tour professional.
Herewini has since continued to dominate the fiercely competitive New Zealand darts tour, with no less than 5 major New Zealand titles in 2019 alone, also qualifying for the BDO World Professional Championships at the O2 in London where he won his first game in fine style, and even more fans the World over.
Ian Flack, Sales and Marketing Director, said “For a such talented, home-grown New Zealander to join us at Winmau is very special as we have always been aware of the passion and talent in Oceania region. So for the reigning WDF World Champion and New Zealand ranked no.1 to sign with us now demonstrates just how serious we are about the global darts tour.”
Darren Herewini said “Everything’s moved so quickly in the last year. It’s hard to think how far I’ve come especially in joining the World’s largest darts brand, but I know that I’m at the very start of my journey and have so much to achieve, having Winmau back me is a huge boost for my confidence.”
Herewini has captured much praise from experts and pundits in the media for both his tremendous stage presence, bottle under pressure, technical ability but above all his outstanding character post-match win or lose.
Paul Nicholson said “Darren’s throw is unbelievable and seems, without micro-analysis, to be technically perfect and if he works hard and continues to play in top ranked events, he will soon become a household name in darts.”
After failing to secure his Tour Card at notoriously cut-throat PDC Q-school this year Darren will continue to play his darts on multiple World tours, very much with his eye on becoming one of the top ranked global players, and New Zealand’s most famous ever darts player.
The final day of the PDC Q School of 2020 sees several ‘big names’ battling to secure a return to darts top division. Premier League Players, World Championship and major finalists as well as other former stars are amongst those still in with a chance of claiming a tour card:
The Points table, from which at least another 12 players will gain a card, looks like this with one day to go.
Steve Brown (Eng)
Martin Atkins (Wigan)
Former World Finalist Andy ‘The Hammer’ Hamilton leads the way for the well known players and is almost certain to regain his tour place. Major winners Paul Nicholson and Daryl Fitton (World Trophy) are within striking distance as is Lisa Ashton the four time Women’s World Champion.
Major finalists Colin Osborne and Wayne Jones could gain cards, with strong final day runs, and former top ten player Alan Tabern is looking good to to remain in the top flight.
Seigo Asada is carrying the flag for Japan and looking to confirm his World Championship & Asian Tour performances at the highest level. Many will also wish James ‘Ruthless’ Richardson well.
So far the tour card winners have been split between players with a strong pedigree and those who are relatively unknown. Jeff Smith, former BDO World Finalist and World Cup Champion, claimed one of yesterday’s cards, whilst the other was claimed by a lesser known Aaron Beeney, a prison officer who represent London.
The points list is a similar mix of the known and lesser known players. It seems that the Q School, despite its critics, produces a well balanced group, of additional players, for each new season!
The promotions team at Winmau seem to have gone into overdrive this evening. Pictures of a ‘special venue’ have been sent out and all the Winmau big names seem to be on call for what appear to be a major announcement and press event.
Winmau announce the sponsorship of World No. 1 MVG. The dutchman joins on a multi year deal.
After years in the mind, and months of preparation, a new style of darts magazine is ready to go. OCHE! is the brain child of Phil Lanning. Long time sports journalist Phil, son of legendary commentator Dave, has been working flat out to see his ambition fulfilled.
Noticeable, from the off, is an ‘up market’ GQ meets OK styling, with an amphasis on innovative use of font, photography and graphics.
Interviews and clubs from top draw names, from players through to TV presenters together with those from the business itself, also feature heavily.
All-in-all it looks as if Phil, and his photographer son Taylor, have hit the bullseye.
(DW EiC): As a superb darts journalist and the son of a former Darts World stalwart, we wish Phil, Taylor and OCHE every success! (CJHH)
In, what has become, an industry tradition Winmau launched their new range of darting good with a social media fanfare over much oflast Friday.
The launch featured three main themes. There were a select number of new models with complex grip arrangements and highly distinctive cosmetics. Then came a group of special editions from Winmau’s stable of world-class current professionals and living legends! Finally, there were additions to existing ranges. Extra weight for darts and forthcoming accessory items.
New Model Highlights:
Sicario: These are an excellent looking dart with what appears to be a highly innovative grip/surface. The barrel shape was chosen, to debut this grip pattern, in order that a variety of throw styles might try it. Our resident coach is quite excited by the barrel surface. Currently, 23 and 25g weight editions are offered.
Majestic: A bullet-style dart with a number of grip and cosmetic features that make it stand out from the norm. The middle, sawtooth type, grip section may appeal to those looking for a shallow but noticeable grip style.
Other new ranges include Overdrive, Sabotage Black and Vanquish. Additional weights have been added to Aspria.
Simon Whitlock SE: This is an extraordinary looking dart. More different angles, grooves, milling and colour than we have seen before! The basic design is similar to the current Whitlock dart but the changing of grip surfaces etc alters the perception of this and turns it into a much sleeker looking piece of design. First impressions are that this is the highlight of the launch.
Dennis Priestley SE: The menace is highly regarded by fans, players and darts business people. It is excellent to see his years of experience and reputation being utilised for modern-day players. The SE retains his red and black iconic colour scheme but refines the grip style on his classic design. DW has yet to see what weights are available but we are hoping for a model that’s 15g or less!
Other special edition sets have been made in celebration of Andy Fordham and new weights added to the soon to be reviewed Daryl Gurney SE
Although these are the highlights, there were plenty of other products, tweaks or additions shown off today. It was a very solid launch which combined some new techniques, using Paul Nicholson to discuss the models for example, and some tried and tested social media work.
Following Mark Webster’s superb last leg victory, over Joe Cullen, during the Austrian Darts Open, Paul Nicholson tweeted about it being a great advert for winning the bull. Our resident coach has long advocated for taking the backroom bull-up seriously. So we asked him why?
“It’s relatively obvious that throwing first is an advantage, remember what Eric used to say ” It’s simple, win your own legs”. With the improvement in standards across the board it is getting even more so.” said Coach Calhoun.
He added more “it is beyond me how players will have a routine for practising their scoring, their doubles and their finishes, but ask them, “how do you improve your bulling up?” and you will hear a lot of umming & aahing. It’s ridiculous that a professional would allow such an advantage to slip through their fingers”.
So is the coach right? We looked at a recent Pro Tour event. In total there were 36 matches that came down to the last leg. Overall 24 of those went to the player with the darts or two out of three. So it is clearly a big advantage.
However, it was noticeable that the benefits are less pronounced in the early stages, especially the first round. Here it was a little better than 50/50. The advantage of winning the bull increases dramatically through the middle rounds where up to 6 times as many deciding legs are won by the bull winner. Toward the climax of events, it moves back again, to the point of about 1 in 4 being won by the second thrower.
Although based on limited information, this suggests that winning the bull is advantageous in all ways. It’s very advantageous in the middle stages of an event and quite helpful in the semis and finals. So it appears that coach may well be right and we should improve this area.
As our coach says: “its not rocket science, practice it and have system you can rely on” .
We asked Coach Calhoun to put together a few practice ideas for those of you keen on improving this area. Keep an eye in The Practice Board for his suggestions.
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