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Faversham Darts got in on the act of web-based lockdown events by hosting a series of match-ups last night, including several county players and a guest appearance from recent Remote League winner and former PDC World Championship last-16 contender, James Richardson. Over £500 was raised for the NHS through player and viewer donations, not least of all Richardson himself who pledged £5 for every 180 thrown and £2.50 for every 140. He threw plenty, and almost crowned the night with a 9-darter – missing double 12 to gasps from the Faversham hosts.
Darts has thrived in these strangest of times. The home entertainment of the traditional pub sport has hit new levels of interest with boards and accessories flying out of the factories and livestream tournaments all over the internet – the world waking up to the fact that you don’t need to be in the same room as someone to have a good old tungsten tussle. Faversham made their admirable attempt at putting a spectacle together for darts fans, bringing a couple of ‘undercard’ games before the main event which pitched Richardson against Kent County A player, Peter Allen. The undercard games were as much a technology test for the organisers as anything – overcoming a host of technical issues in trying to dual stream the event across both Facebook and YouTube, before settling on one channel and hitting full flow by the time the darts got really interesting.
Richardson was imperious against Allen, leading to an offer from the organisers for viewers to bid for an opportunity to play him as an encore. It was one of the undercard stars and another Kent County A player, Ryan Hope, who despatched Jamie Preston 7-0 earlier in the evening and who clearly had the wind between his sails, that stepped up to the challenge for a bid of £50. The encore didn’t disappoint, delivering 11 more 180s between the pair (6 for Richardson, 5 for Hope) and a ding-dong contest that eventually Hope clinched 10 legs to 8 with an impressive 3-dart average of 92. In an act of pure sportsmanship, Richardson conceded the darts back to Ryan in one leg when the computer scores were out of kilter, to avoid having to reset the match stats. After all, this was about putting on a charity show for a great cause, giving local darts fans some entertainment and letting a few players blow off some cobwebs.
Well done to all involved. Let’s see some more of the pros mixing it with grass roots!