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To Hull And Back - Day 1 - Training For Darts

Posted: 07.10.15 in Darts Performance Centre Blog category

I'm in Hull this week, this is my diary of what I am up to!

It’s that time of the year again when the delights of Hull come calling. It is of course the various qualifiers and the Winmau Masters that are the star attractions at the City Hall starting on Tuesday. I have been lucky enough to get the call up for the 3rd year in succession to help out with the social media and get a behind the scenes view of the action.

This year I will be keeping a blog diary of what is going on and what I get up to.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Dear Diary

I am on the train this year! The New Forest to Hull is a traumatic journey by car so let’s see how this goes! Brockenhurst to Waterloo-no problem. Bump into Gary Stafford, Bradley Kirk and Nathan Street at Kings Cross who are also on their way to Hull (to play) and the journey to Doncaster goes well too. I get the chance to get a few posts on the BDO Facebook and Twitter on the train – a nice warm up before the Grand Slam qualifier at 4pm.

I change trains at Doncaster and bump into Gary, Brad and Nathan again. Now here is a warning to train travellers everywhere, do not approach these people if you see them on a train. They talk you into playing a bizarre card game and sell it as like rummy for dummies! I didn’t get one single winning hand or a point! We arrived in Hull before I could work out how the scam worked.

I dump my bags at the hotel and head for the City Hall for the Grand Slam qualifiers. My job is very simple-to update Twitter and Facebook for the BDO. This is the 3rd Hull week I have had the job. The venue is split onto three playing areas and 8 groups of players. It is slow to gather the scores initially as there are so many games going on and the halls are packed. John Smith, one of the scorer team is also going around with a laptop updating the scores you see on the Darts For Windows Page.

As we start getting to the “business end” it is easier to gather the scores and I switch to providing live updates and results. Although none of the games were switched to the main hall at any stage so it still meant moving from one room to the next to keep track of the other games in progress.

The Larry Butler and Scott Waites group were ahead of the rest and I was able to watch that and still get into the other room for the Andy Fordham game. When I first formed the Darts Performance Centre I went to see Andy (this is over 5 years ago now) to see if I could help him get back on track and get his darts career moving.

Nothing came of it in the end but I bumped into Andy at first of all PDC events and then when he started back at the BDO. I will be honest I was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to recapture his former skills. He clearly still loved the game but was not particularly motivated to practise and was getting beaten month in and month out.

 We always had a chat and if the 5 years that have passed seem a lifetime to me it must be the same for Andy. Then last night a darting miracle took place. Every time I popped back into the hall The Viking was playing in he had won again! I tweeted “This is unbelievable-he can’t do it, can he?” It barely seemed credible but it was happening.

I bagged a front row seat, literally a metre behind Andy and Neil Duff. There was a crowd of probably only 70 odd people. Fitton and O’Shea had stayed on to support Fordham. I did leg by leg updates on Twitter and Facebook and our BDO social media account went into meltdown as The Viking edged to victory! A 74 outshot did the business and I had the pleasure of telling the Twitter world Andy has done it!

The Viking took the win in his stride and the last I saw of him was him disappearing with The Silver Back and the Dazzler into Hull.

It was a superb day. I had met up with sponsored players Tony B and met Robyn Byrne for the first time too. Robyn is in action today for the Lakeside qualifier. Peter Sajwani turned up and it was brilliant to see him again. There was some nice feedback on the coverage from a few people (thanks very much, it is appreciated) and especially appreciated when it comes from another blogger - Krispy from Darts Beers and Cheers and a media Pro-Nigel Pearson! 

I was buzzing after all that excitement and interaction on social media. I had a couple of quiet drinks and watched the PDC action from Dublin. It’s the Lakeside qualifier today and the Youth event. Another one of our sponsored players Daniel Perry is in action today.

Please get involved on the BDO Twitter and Facebook page and let’s hope there is some more thrilling moments on the cards for later!

One final photo taken just after Andy has qualified!


Back tomorrow! 


Thanks for reading and the feedback. The diary was meant as a bit of fun and for some insight on what happens behind the scenes at a tournament and in particular the social media role I undertake. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photos belong to Darts Performance Centre Ltd. 

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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