Wednesday, August 14, 2019

An Abortive Outing (But a Good One)

On Monday night I had a couple hours to kill before I had to run an errand and so I dropped into the local knowing that there'd be a singles tournament starting at 7:30.  I entered the contest knowing I wouldn't be able to finish it, and the organizer was okay with that.  Since it was a double elimination event he figured that if I played poorly enough it wouldn't matter.

I didn't play poorly :)  I played two best of three matches before I had to leave and I won them both. The first 2-1, the second 2-0.

The first match was against a guy named Sean, and he won the first game, 163-160. We both threw a 1.9, which is a bit low for my taste, and I only had one good round which was a 5-mark on 20's and 18's, but I also had 2 dead rounds.  He out played me for the win but only barely.  The second game I clearly outshot him, 1.9 to 1.4, and the win was 114 to 16.  I also only had a single 5-mark round, this time on 20's and 19's, and I had 1 dead round in this game, near the end.  The last, tie-breaking leg was in my favor, 225 - 188, with averages of 2.4 (me) to 1.7.  But again, I had two dead rounds in that leg, and only one nice round, which was a 6-mark: T16 and T20 late in the game to close the open 20's and stop the hemorrhaging!

The next match I played I thought for sure I'd get smashed.  The guy was quite a good shot and hot, hot, HOT on the 17's.  Oddly though, I kept up and was able to win 2 - 0.  The first leg was a pitched battle.  He shot a 2.7, I shot a 2.9.  He had 2 5-mark rounds, I had a single 6-mark round.  I accumulated 341 points, he had 309 points.  My opponent, a San Franciscan transplant named Tom, hit a whopping 18 17's during the game.  I was only able to beat him because I had zero dead rounds, and was able to stay ahead in most numbers getting a little bit of points here and there to counter his incredible slew of 17's, and also because I hit 2 double bulls in the last two rounds to finally catch up in points and put a bow on it.  That was a great game.  And a fun one.

The next leg I also won, 96 - 87.  I hit no high-mark rounds but I also didn't have any dead rounds.  We both shot a 2.2, and in the end I was able to catch up in points and end the game by hitting four bulls in the last two rounds.  Bulls practice is helpful.

Then I had to leave which is too bad since I was still in the winner's bracket.  At least a couple of guys got a couple of free wins off me in my absence so good for them.

The darts I took with me were the 16 gram Harrows Magnums that I hit my last Ton-80 with at home:

As you can see, they are wearing white medium nylon stems, US Darts moving point conversions, and slim poly flights.  They are a nice little dart, although I wasn't wowing myself with them in competition like I was at home.

As you can see, everything fit into that little mints container, including an eye glasses micro-fiber cloth which is helpful for bespectacled fellows like me.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

47th Ton-80

Hit my 47th lifetime Ton-80 tonight while throwing quite casually in my garage.  I'd spent the better part of two hours weighing various UFO sets, and having an occasional solo DIDO 301 in between.  Happily, I hit this:

These are my 16 gram Harrows Magnums, wearing US Darts MP points, medium white nylon stems, and slim poly flights.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Smooth Darts

Mostly for my own reference, I wanted to assemble my collection of smooth barreled darts.

From top to bottom:

  1. Vintage brass dart of unknown make. The three really interesting aspects of this dart are that a) it has a hexagonal body which is uncommon to see, even in vintage darts; b)the barrel and the stem are all one piece of brass with the exception of the hairpin, of course; and c) it uses a hairpin style flight holder to hold paper flights.  The downside to this system is that it bends easy and it almost impossible to get straight again, and the hair pin is flat, preventing the loaded flight from be a perfect "X".
  2. 17 gram Voks Javelin.  These are not a tungsten dart, but rather steel, which makes it very light for its weight. To my knowledge, this is the only steel dart I have in my collection.
  3. 23 gram custom dart, designed by me, implemented by Jeff Pickup.  This is the set that you will see throughout my blog referred to as the "Dagnabits".
  4. 23 gram bottelsen GT.  This is an older set, and I know this because there is no 4ba threading in the back to take the modern screw-in GT stem.
  5. 25 gram Fansteel UFO.  I believe they are Fansteel because the came in a Fansteel pouch, but this is not proof positive.  What's interesting about these darts is that the barrel appears to be comprised of two different metals that are joined somehow.  Either that, or the middle portion had a coating on it of some sort.
  6. 26 gram CT's. This is another Jeff Pickup implementation of my own design (although in this case it was less design and more specification, as it is an exact replica of a GT but in copper tungsten, and with a fixed point).
  7. 26 gram McCoy.  This is another copper tungsten barrel.
  8. 28 gram Bottelsen "Black" GT.  This was my first big dart purchase.  They came with a black colored coating on them originally, but that has long since worn off, leaving a bit of a gray color.
  9. 23 gram Jenkins.  I have no idea who made this dart or when, but I absolutely love it. It throws real nice.  And I am only guessing that it is actually an official Terry Jenkins dart (as opposed to a custom dart).
  10. 23 gram UFO.  The person who traded this to me years ago claimed (I think) that it was a custom dart, but it is strikingly similar to the Sleek model from Red Dragon.
  11. 30 gram Schofield.  My guess is that this is the most modern of the Schofield dart line.  I have only ever seen one other tungsten Schofield before and it sported the push-in cane stems.  This one is threaded for 1/4" stems.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

21 g Mission Kronos M1 with Iso-Linear Grip

After much experimenting this is the configuration that I feel fits my throw (and the weight of the darts) best.

Very grippy, but not obnoxiously so!  The grip seems to encourage a "flick" throw.  As configured these darts are:

Barrels: 21 g, 95% Tungsten Mission Kronos
Stems: In-Between Aluminum
Flights: Smooth Poly Slim flights

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Mission on a Mission

Mission Darts, a new in-house brand from Darts Corner, is definitely on a mission to win the hearts and minds of darters everywhere.  The set you see pictured in this post was gifted to me by Darts Corner as a reward for participating in a contest, hosted at

See my entry here :)

They graciously allowed me to choose my own prize, to include any set of darts I liked from the new Mission range.  Trust me when I tell you it was hard to choose and I agonized over it for more than a day.  All of their darts are attractive, and unique.

In the end I chose the Kronos M1, in 21 grams.  I felt that the gip pattern, tho complex, was unique and not overly aggressive.  I liked the metallic blue coloring to the barrels, and the skinny pencil style is quite a good style for my type of throw.  Also, I could envision how I would configure the darts: medium length, or in-between length stems and slim flights.

As you can see, they sent a really nice note and a bag of extra flights, both of which were quite a nice touch.

This is the dart in its assembled form using the parts that came in the packaging.  Very nice looking.  When I throw the darts as assembled they angle upward in the board a little too much for my taste.  Keep in mind tho that this is not a flaw in the intended configuration at all.  Rather it is an artifact of the way I grip and throw the dart.  Other darts are likely to find that the short stems and standard flights that come with the darts are perfect for their throws, and besides, the shipped config makes for a very nice looking dart indeed!

Here is the configuration that best fits my personal throw:

I did quite a bit of experimenting before settling on this config.  My first efforts were with the medium length Twin Grips that fawn over but when configured as such the darts were a bit long.  Sometimes hitting my cheek on the backswing, and sometimes landing in the board angled downward.  I could have tried a standard flight with the Twin Grips, but then the dart would have hit my cheek a lot more I think.  A slightly shorter stem corrected both items.  The dart doesn't hit my cheek anymore, and they land in the board square!

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: