Thursday, July 18, 2019

Unusual Robin Hood

Robin hooding previously thrown darts is a minor hazard in the game, and the modern dart has evolved over the decades to account for this minor occurrence.  Flights are replaceable, stems are replaceable, barrels are tapered to deflect incoming points, heck, even points are replaceable.

Nonetheless it happens, and when it does, it is almost always the incoming dart sticking into the stem or the center point of the flight.  Rarely do you see one of these:


In fact, I never have.  This dart embedded itself between the layers of the flight mid-wing.  The amazing thing is that the Dimplex flight was stiff enough to stop **and hold** the incoming dart.  I would have expected the dart to continue on through ruining the flight and eventually ending up on the floor or somewhere low on the board.

When I pulled the dart out, the flight was okay.  I squeezed the wing back together with my fingers and it is like it never happened.  Go figure.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Spring 2019 League Single Tournament Win!

On Wednesday night I participated in my first ever post-season singles tournament.  This is something new that my league has started since I went on hiatus five years ago.  Essentially, the top 8 available players are entitled to participate in a singles tournament to garner the bragging rights of "best in league".

The competition was fierce!  It worked like this:

The event is a double elimination event with two brackets: the winners bracket and the losers bracket. Because the survivor in the losers bracket has only been eliminated once (by definition) that person meets the sole survivor of the winners bracket in the final match. And again, because it is a double elimination event, the player in the losers bracket has to beat the player in the winners bracket twice, while the winners bracket player only has to beat the losers bracket player once. It seems unfair at first blush, but it is totally fair and totally makes sense if you think it through.

Everyone starts off in the winners bracket, of course, and you do not descend into the losers bracket until you have been eliminated exactly once. If you are eliminated once you are in the losers bracket then that means you have been "doubly eliminated" and are thus out of the competition.

In the winners bracket the players must win a best 2 of 3 match that goes like this:  the highest seeded player always (all night long regardless of circumstances) chooses who corks first. The winner of the first cork chooses the first game between American Cricket and SIDO 401.  The second game is recorked, again with the highest seeded player choosing who diddles first, but the second game is whichever game was not played first.  So if the first game was Cricket, then the second game is 401, etc.  If a third game is required then the winner of the third cork may choose either Cricket or 401.

In the losers bracket only one game is played.  The higher seeded player chooses to see or show and the winner of that cork may select either American Cricket or SIDO 401.



My first round in the winners bracket was again a swell guy named Bill who, to my utter delight, said that he has a plaque with my name on it from a previous season in his closet, and that he would give it to me once he saw me again.  This was a two leg match and I won them both, but I would not say that I won them handily.  After all, Bill is a quality darter and these was the first legs of the night for both of us.  I won the first cork and chose 401, which is unusual for me.  Normally if I get to choose the game I will choose Cricket if I know I am going first because I think it is more critical to go first in Cricket than in an 01 game.  Regardless, I chose 401.  After 18 darts I was down to 90, and I always go 60, 30 when in that spot, knowing that if I hit the 20 (instead of the 60) I still have a great leave.  However, in this case I did hit the 60, and missed outside the 30 with my next two darts.  Next round I hit the 30 with my second dart for the win.  Bill had 151 left at that point.  Neither one of us put up any big numbers, so I think it is safe to say I won simply because I was slightly less "not on" than he was.  The next game was Cricket and I also won the cork.  Again, no big rounds for either of us, but I managed to squeak out the win anyway.  So that was my first round of the night. Not a bad way to start!

My second round was against another great guy that I have known for a long time named Jim.  Again this was a two leg match and I won them both.  I won the first cork and chose Cricket.  We both played very B-Leagueingly, not putting up any significant rounds at all.  in fact Jim should have won this game but he couldn't hit his bulls, whereas I hit them no problem.  I hit four bulls in five rounds, opening them up and overcoming a small point deficit for the win.  Jim won the second cork and we played 401.  This time I played quite well.  I put up my first ton for the evening and threw a 20-dart game with an average turn of 60.2 points.  In fact my last two rounds were the first true sign my evening would be going well:  I hit a ton, leaving 70, and then next round I hit the 54, and the 16 in short order, still holding my last dart.  This concluded my second round of the evening, still having not lost a leg!  Here was the winning shot:



My third round in the winners bracket did not go well. In fact it was also a two round leg but I was on the losing end of both of those legs. Tre won the cork and chose 401.  Neither of us put up any numbers during this leg and it came down to who could hit their out and that was him!  I whittled my score down to 55, busted the 55 out, whittled it down more to 20 next time up but that was all she wrote for me. Tre took out a double 2 to win.  In the next leg, Cricket, Tre won the cork again and with both opened with a single 20.  But then a few rounds later I was in the hole 38 to 100 and I never caught up. In the last few rounds of the game I hit 6 bulls and almost caught up to him but it was not enough and he won, bumping me out of the winners bracket.  This was my first elimination of the  night, and as it turns out, my only elimination.  I did not know it yet, but within the next hour or so I would be handing Tre back to back eliminations in the finals!

My first round in the losers bracket was against a young man I may have played against before in league but honestly I do not remember. I met a lot of new people this year! I won the cork and chose 401.  Neither of us were on fire exactly, but I did hit my second ton of the night in this game and then took out a 53 by going 13, 40 in two darts, at my first opportunity. It is rare for me that I have a game where I hit the double for the out with the very first dart that I throw at it, but in this game that was the case.  This was the last losers bracket match before the finals and the fact that I won it meant that I had the privilege and the honor of playing against the survivor of the winners bracket in the finals match.

My 53 out:


Remember how I said that the losers bracket contestant in the finals had to win two matches, while the winners bracket contestant only had to win once?  Well, that loser bracket contestant was yours truly, and going into a finals against a guy who beat me in both games we played previously was a daunting task!  The finals went like this:

I won the first cork and chose Cricket. I opened with a triple 20 and nothing else and he answered with a four 19's. Within a couple of rounds I was in the hole and would never climb out of it.  He hit two 5 Mark rounds during the game while I hit none, and even though I almost closed the gap with 5 bulls near the end he hit his inner bull to win the game and the first leg of the finals.  The next game was 401 and I won the cork. I was throwing well.  In 15 darts I whittled my score down to 140 and in my next turn up almost took it out.  I hit 60, 60, and then my shot at the Double 10 was a wide miss inside for a score of 130, and 10 remaining.  Sadly, it took me 22 more darts to turn that into a win, including 5 rounds in a row that were either misses or busts at the Double 1.  I cannot believe I won that one but I did.  If he had been hitting his doubles that would have been my second elimination and the end of the tournament. Tre won the third cork and chose Cricket.  This was a B League effort on both our parts, neither of us putting up any good rounds, with one exception. To open the game I hit a Triple, 20, a Triple 19, and a Triple.... 4.  A few more millimeters and I would have had myself a White Horse :) Sadly, that nice opening round was not portentous, and the rest of the game was unlively.  We both had several dead rounds aiming at the bulls but I finally won, handing him his first elimination.  Now we need to face off again in another best 2 of 3 match to see who would win the tournament!

The second set went like this: I won the first cork and chose Cricket.  My only exceptional round was the 3-Bulls round I hit to win the game.  The second game was a forced 401, and I won the cork. This was the highest caliber game of the night. We both brought our A League games to the oche.  In my first four rounds I hit 85, 81, 100, and 82, leaving 53.  It took me 3 more turns to whittle that down to zero, but I eventually took out Double 12 for a 19 dart game, winning the tournament, and handing a great player back to back eliminations for an exciting come from behind victory.  He won the first 3 games we played against each other and I won the four we played after that across two matches.  I felt like the 2004 Boston Red Sox.  It was a wonderful feeling and I will remember that night for a long time (I hope).

This was the winning 24:


Me and Tre:

The darts I used during the tournament were two sets:


Friday, July 05, 2019

What I Love About the Game of Darts

This is my entry into the contest hosted at dartnutz.net to win a set of Mission Darts.

First I will say that I do not see "The Game of Darts" as a game at all.  I see it as a hobby and also as a sport.  A hobby, because (at least for me) is is a constant source of joy in my life whether I do well at it or not, because I enjoying thinking about it, writing about it, collecting the artifacts, and contributing to the online community, and above all, playing it!  I see it as a sport because it requires true skill that only comes with dedication and practice, and because men and women everywhere vie at the oche, locked in competition, with a burning desire to win.  So anyway, on to my entry:

What I Love About the Game of Darts:

There are three specific things that I can name that allow me to accurately describe "Darts" as the best game ever, in the history of everything:

  1. The People
  2. You cannot buy your way to victory
  3. Its tremendous vastness of variety
Allow me to expound each point:

The People:  The people I have met playing darts in league and in pubs all over are some of the finest people I have ever met.  They are like-minded, friendly, and always helpful to beginners in the sport.  I have been participating in my local league for the last 16 years and the people here in this league are like family to me.  I love them all, even when they are cantankerous and out of sorts due to their errant arrows.

You cannot buy your way to victory.  Period.  Let's face it: you can assemble some pretty expensive darts if you want to, enhanced with all the latest technological gimmicks.  You can invest in custom crafted darts, or just "high-end" darts like GT's or Black Widows, equip them with spring loaded grippy points, carbon or titanium stems with spinning flights, etc, and none of that will help you hit the Treble-20.  Only skill and confidence can help you do that.  In the early 2000's I saw a guy drop into a local Sunday Luck, end up "in the barrel", pick up a set of brass bar darts that weren't even a matching set, and win every single leg. When I told him that I thought what he did was amazing he just shrugged and said "It's the artist, not the brush."

Vast, Vast Variety: I think half the reason I am so attracted to darts as a hobby is because it perfectly fits several aspects of my personality: I am a writer, and there are no end of things to say about darts; I have a competitive spirit, and darts requires focus, confidence and skill to excel in it; and I have inherited the collector gene, and darts is a game that has no end of interesting artifacts.  The vastness of the variety of darts and dartboards that have been produced over the last century (and more) is literally mind boggling to me.  And even better, as a community, we have not even scratched the surface of what can be done with the dart-form aesthetically speaking.

So anyway, there you have it.  This is why I love the game of darts :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Rare Monday Night Outing

I happened upon a shoot last night!  I was in the mood for onion rings so I decided to grab a set of darts, more or less randomly, and head down to Cooper's since I knew they have four boards up and I'd be likely to find, if not some friendly competition, at least a free board to throw on.  As luck would have it I came upon Monday Singles League which was quite a fun time.  I placed third, which surprised me greatly since I felt like I was having an off night.  In fact, I do not believe I hit a single ton until my last set, and then I hit several (but no maximums, sadly).  But that their place scored me 15 bucks which was enough to cover my entry fee and the onion rings :)

The format was a Round Robin with 2 legs of SIDO 501 per round.  There were eight of us, and here is how my night went:

It started out quite fun because during warm ups I saw my buddy Jeff who was down for playing a non-standard game as way of warm up.  I taught him how to play traditional english Cricket (also known as Wickets & Bats) and I think he enjoyed it, although the game did not last very long.  He won the cork, chose bats, and on my first turn opened with four wickets!  As you can see form the score board below, I was able to surpass his score before he hit any of his 10 wickets, but I hope he enjoyed the game and will want to play it again!


My first two rounds were against Jeff C and Karim on the side of the house that did not have iPads for scoring, so I have to rely on memory for those matches,  I do not remember them exactly, but I know I did not hit any big numbers and I won one each against those two opponents.

My third round was against Michael Bird, who when I first saw him in the bar I absolutely recognized but then could not remember his first name.  I knew I had been seeing him around league for a long, long time but it did not dawn on me until a bit of conversation with him that he actually used to be on my Ballard Station House team!  My brain has been removed from darts for so long that I couldn't even remember my old teammates :\  Anyway, we also split the round.  In the first match my only good hit was a 95, and my 20 out, other than that I had nothing to show.  In the second game I threw rubbish and then had several shots at the out until he took out 10 for the win. 3-3 on the evening thus far.

Next I was up against a new gentleman also named Mike who played well but I took both games off him.  My outs were 25 and 48 respectively, and neither one of us put up any numbers.  Now I was up 5-3.

Next I was up against Ronny, and I also won both games.  In the first I hit a lonesome 95 and took out a 14, and then in the second I hit my first 100 for the evening (I was wrong before), and also a 98.  I took out 32 for the win.  This put me up 7-3 so far.

Next up I was up against Jeff L who is the areas surest shot and the hardest to beat.  He is cool, calm, and collected on the oche and a swell fella.  He is also president of the league and devotes himself selflessly to it.  He took both games, but I made him earn them, at least.  In the first game I had no tons but I hit a small scattering of 60's keeping my PPT at 49.9 for the game. In my last round I was sitting on 102 and ended up busting with exactly 102:


The way that worked was like this:  with 102 left I decided to go 60, 10, 32, but on my first dart hit a single 20 leaving 82.  So I then decided to go 50, 32 (like the pros haha) but hit the 25 instead.  Without bothering to do the math I threw at the single 19 to crack it, but flubbed into the triple 19 instead leaving me with an exact bust. I was an ass and should have done the math.  After the 25 I had 57 left and had I realized that would have aimed for a 17.  An unlucky triple in that bed would not have busted me :P

While that was aggravating, it was also my last opportunity to win the game as Jeff took won on his next time up.  In the second game my PPT was even higher at 53.9, and that ended up being higher than Jeff's but he still won.  I did have several shots at the out, so if I had been more "on" I would have had a satisfying split.  That round put me at 7-5 for the evening.

Last round was against another new guy named Jason.  He is a good shot and we split the round 1-1. In those two games I had two 100's and a 125. I took out 10 in the first game for the win and he took out his 9 in the second. I ended the evening 8-6 which was enough for 3rd place!


Thursday, June 20, 2019

18 gr Halex UFO's

These darts are another random surprise that came to me in the mail from my father.  They are a Halex coated brass dart with a funky barrel design.  I think they initially intended that the scallop be nearer to the point of the dart, and I suspect they are marketed as a soft tip dart, but tough t say without seeing the packaging new.  As you can see, my preferred configuration is the reverse. The scallop goes in back where my fingers go, and to heck with soft tips.  I am a steep tip player :)


Also, back in the day (like 15 years ago) I bought a set of what were then called "Fancy Conversion Points" and I have struggled to find a really good home for them on any set of darts.  They are thick at the base, have a funky, coppery color to them and are anything but streamlined.  It makes them hard to home.  However, I think they present really nicely on this set of darts.


As currently configured they throw rather well and I really enjoy them whenever I break them out.  They are a modern enough dart that they really should not be considered UFO's and once I find a good picture of their original packaging online I will be able to identify them more precisely.  Their current configuration:

Points: Fancy conversion points
Barrels: copper-coated brass
Stems: short aluminum
Flights: dimplex coal crackers

Monday, June 17, 2019

16 gr Coated Ringed UFO's

I am quite lucky.  My father will go to auctions and buy up any dart related stuff and send it to me when he sees it (which is not that often, actually).  So from time to time I get random darts stuff in the mail.  I love it all and I greatly appreciate the random gifts (thanks dad!).  The below is one such prize.  I am pretty sure they were wearing plastic points when I got them but I cannot remember for sure.  Sadly, their original packaging was included so I don't really know what they are.

All I know about these darts is that they are 16 grams, a coated brass, and that they were probably intended for soft tip play.  I know they are brass for two reasons:  first, the size to weight ratio rules out any denser metal.  Also, inside the 2ba stem hole you can see that the raw metal is brass colored.



Wearing hammerhead points the darts are quite a nice addition to my collection.  They fly well as configured and the grip is not overly aggressive.  I have posted these darts to dartnutz.net's UFO section hoping someone can identify them.

Friday, June 14, 2019

18 gr Bottelsen Gap Hammerheads

Funky little darts.  They are an 18 gram version of their "The Gap" Hammerhead darts and they were intended as a soft tip dart but as I do not play soft tip I convert everything :)  As the barrels are quite short, I can easily dress them in my favorite stems: Twin-Grips, which I only have medium length of anymore.


The darts as pictured have an old set of hammerhead points in them, the medium Twin-Grips, and smooth poly coal-crackers. 

When I get in a groove with these darts they can really fly.  To my knowledge I have never ton-80'd with them but I have hit many, many high tons.  As currently configured that fly straight and true, hitting the board parallel to the ground and they slim barrels have no problems crowding into a treble bed.  The problem I have with them is that the placement of the scallop in the barrel is too far forward for my grip and I end up placing my index and thumb behind the scallop, which just feels weird every time I do it.  I love the weight and the slimness of the barrel though, and especially the length of the barrel.  I wish I could get these exact same darts but with the scallop moved to the back of the barrel so that it coincides with my grip a little better.