Friday, January 31, 2020

24 gr "Vintage Line" Bottelsen Hammerheads

I love me some Bottelsens.  I have a very hard time resisting buying them when I see them, especially if they are old or unusual or interesting, or just, well, darty.  This set is from a discontinued line called the "Vintage" line of original hammerheads.  This particular set is your typical 24 gram, 2BA threaded (front and back) hammerhead-equipped, dart:

The below close up shows off the barrel a little bit better.  The grip is on the grippier side of the Bottelsen knurl.  One of the things I have quite appreciated from Bottelsen over the years is that they have always offered several levels of grippiness with their knurling from completely smooth (which I like), to very fine knurling (which is a bit slippy for me, ironically), all the way to "Gorilla Grip" which is their grippiest knurling.  I believe the knurl on these darts would be classified as the "course knurl".  Also, the dart is a 9/32 thickness which I prefer over the 1/4, and is shorter.

The packaging:

There is nothing like the distinctive click of a hammerhead dart when it hits the board.  It is a comforting sound to me, even if I do not buy into the theory that moving points help prevent bounce-outs on wired boards.  This set, as configured here are dressed in short aluminum stems and SEWA pear flight.  I thought that was a nice appropriate look for an American made dart!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Dart Games

This post attempts to list every dart game I am aware of, and hopefully to include a short description and a link to a more detailed explanation of the game. Color coding is as follows: RED is the primary name of the game, PINK is any other name it is known by, and BLUE is a link to a more detailed explanation of the game.

This post will evolve over time, so I linked to it on the right ------->

These games can all be played on the traditional clock-face dart board:

  • 01 GAMES - any of a number of games in which you count down to zero from a high number, and must double out.
  • 101 - a typical open-in, double-out 01 game, but good for warm up before a match due to its low starting number.
  • 301 - like any other 01 game with the exception that 301 is almost always both double-in and double-out.
  • 501 - the most common dart game played in the world.
  • AMERICAN CRICKET - most people just call this 'Cricket'. It is the common staple of American bar darts.
  • CHASE - like Cricket except there are more numbers and other categories like double, triple, 3-in-a-bed, and in general more choices on how you spend your darts.
  • CLOSED SHOP - players compete for high score, but the trick is, three in any bed will close that bed for everyone for the rest of the game. Continues until all beds are closed.
  • DODDLUMS - players count up to 101 in increments of 9.  All sections count as singles, and the scoring is a bit complicated.  Based on "Table Skittles", a non-dart pub game in England.
  • DOLLAR - a bar game that requires players to put up money.  Each player puts up bills of the same denomination and then pin them to the board.  Player to hit the most darts in them wins them all. The trick is that one dart is thrown closer than the oche, and one further back.
  • DOUBLE DOWN - players compete for highest score aiming, in turn, for specific targets: 20, 19, any double, 18, 17, any triple, 16, 15, bull.  A miss in the target halves your score, rounding down. Players start with 40 points.
  • FIFTY-ONE (aka FIVES) - a tricky 01 game in which all darts must count, and only scores evenly divisible by 5 are used in scoring.
  • GOLF - players take turns throwing up to three darts at each wedge, 1 thru 9. Only the last dart thrown of the three determines your score so if you hit a triple, don't throw the others! Lowest score wins. Scoring is: Triple = 1, Double = 2, Skinny Single = 3, Fat Single = 4, Miss = 5.
  • HOLES - In this game the players race to be the first to place a dart in each of the holes formed by the numbers in the numbers ring. For example, the number '4' has one hole in it, while the number '8' has two. Numbers with holes include: 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, for twelve total.
  • HALVE IT - like in Double Down, players compete for highest score aiming, in turn, for eleven agreed upon (yet negotiable) targets.  A miss in the target halves your score, rounding down. Players start with 0 points, and once you start score you must remain above 0 or you are eliminated.
  • KILLER - There are two very different versions of this game, such that one cannot be considered a variant of the other.
    • KILLER 1 - Players have to better the score thrown before them or they bust. Three busts and you are out, last person standing wins. A new standard is set after each bust.
    • KILLER 2 - Players determine their 'home sectors' with their non-dominant hand. The object is to destroy other players sectors before they destroy yours. You must hit your own double before you can go after theirs, and then, a double is one hit, and a triple is two hits.  10 hits and a sector is destroyed and that player is out of the game.
  • PANTATHLIAN - This game is ridiculous at best and not one I would play anywhere I frequent.  It is played in five rounds, high score wins. 1st round: normal throws, only points above 20, per dart, count; 2nd round: on-dominant hand, all points count; 3rd round: splash the darts; 4th round: you are blindfolded and spun; 5th round: backwards and from between your legs.
  • ROUND THE CLOCK - this is a race to be the first to score a single dart in each double clockwise around the board. There are many variations on this game.
  • SCRAM (aka BRAG) - one player is attempting to close sectors while the other player attempts to score on them. once sectors are closed, the players trade places and repeat.
  • SEVENS - high score wins, but the trick is you have to hit a seven first to start scoring. You can either spend one dart to hit a single seven, or two darts to add up to seven (but then you'd only have one dart to score with).
  • SHANGHAI - players take turns scoring in beds from 1 up until all beds have been shot at once. High score wins. A Shanghai will win you the game immediately no matter which bed you are in.
  • SHOVE HA'PENNY - Like American Cricket except you use 1 thru 9, and there is no score. The trick is that if you score more than you need to in a round the extra goes to your opponent. After the first person closes all their numbers, the opponent can attempt to tie the game.
  • SMALL SIXES - Like Horse, but for darts. Hit a small six for the right to set a target and then opponents have to hit that target or bust.  Three busts and you are out of the game.
  • SOCCER - First to ten goals wins, but you can only score goals if you have control of the ball.  That is accomplished by hitting the inner bull. Any double counts as a goal.
  • TIP THE TANNER - Another money based game but this one can only be played on wired boards.  One person puts a medium value coin under a wire and the other player spends small value coins for a chance to knock it out.  If he does he gets to keep it.
  • WICKETS & BATS (aka ENGLISH CRICKET) - Easily one of my favorite non-standard games to play.  One player has wickets, while the other bats.  The wicketer must hit ten bulls while the batsman racks up a high score. Then they trade places.

A Good Goal for 2020 (and for Life)

It's good to have goals.

One of my goals in general (in darts) is to make like "One Dart" Manley and only ever need a single arrow to end a game of darts.  I have decided to try something new with doubles practice.  Instead of always going round and round the board hitting double after double, my next strong practice effort will be to hit all the outs in practice, from 2, all the way up to 170.  I am tracking the effort in the spreadsheet linked-to below. 

My goal for 2020 is to complete the practice side of this effort.  My goal for life is to also hit all the possible outs in competition as well!  As such, I have added a column to the spreadsheet to track that as well.

It's an ambitious project, but I think one worth doing, and it certainly fits into my larger goal of becoming a lights-out-finisher.  If you are ever curious how I am doing with the project, click the link.  The spreadsheet is viewable to all (but not editable).

Monday, January 27, 2020

Maximum 55

Tonight during practice I hit a Ton-80 with darts that I have never maxed with before.  I was going through a new thing I am doing: trying to hit all the possible outs, 2 through 170, in practice at home (and in competition, of course). 

I was working on 54.  My first dart was aimed at the S14, but veered to the right and hit the T20.  I decided to follow it up with a couple more and hit them!  The darts themselves are a bit hard to make out, but they are Laserdarts 19 gram Nightmares, wearing tweenie Fit Stems, pear shaped Fit Flights, and US Darts Ace points.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

MDCQL #6 (and Last!)


That's a pretty good one word descriptor for my outing last night.  It was my sixth and final (maybe forever) outing with the Metro Darts Club.  My match last night was against a gentleman named Kevin who politely, and in a very friendly manner, schooled me in the ways of darts.  I did have a few moments of goodness (but not greatness) last night, but I lost the match, and I felt like a B Leaguer all night long.  There were long stretches where I felt like I couldn't buy a triple.  Anyway, here is how it went down:

I lost the match 2-3 in sets, and I lost 9-11 in legs.  My three dart average for the match was the lowest it has ever been in Metro League, at 47.5, and this brought my season average down to 50.93.  Looking at the division standings, that is actually the highest average among the entire group but I do not see how that is possible based on how I have performed in my two matches this week. In terms of good hits, I did have a couple of Ton-40's which pleases me greatly, but I only accumulated 2063 in tonnage, which is my lowest for the entire season.  I also had a couple of nice outs including a 90, and a 65.

The first set was a win for me as 3-2.  In the first leg I was sitting on 68, missed into the S20, then hit the S16 squarely, but missed the D16 outside.  Next visit I missed it outside again but then hit it with my next dart.  Leg 2 was a loss, but it was my second strongest leg of the night at 71 PPR.  I was at 175 and hit a ton to bring it down to 75, but never had another visit.  My opponent threw a command performance.  Leg three started out great with 70, 100, 100, but then turned into a shit show for me as I couldn't finish to save my life. I had 50 remaining and took a shot at bull.  Hit the 25, cracked that with a 9, and then missed the D8 outside. Then I spent the next six rounds whittling my score down to 2 and missing the doubles ring.  Happily my opponent put me out of my misery and we moved on. The fourth leg was an unspectacular, slightly anemic, win with a true struggle to finish as well.  I threw nine darts at the double ring before I finally took out the D8.  The last leg was a win.  I took out 40 but it took me five darts to do it.

Set two was a loss for me at 2-3.  The first leg was a win and I opened it with a 140, but other than actually hitting the D20 to win that was my only good shot of the leg. The second leg was a loss, but it was a strong game for me at 53.9 PPR.  I was sitting on 168, hit 98 to bring it down to 70, then next visit I hit the T18 but then missed the D8 outside twice before I lost. The third leg was also a loss due to anemia.  I was sitting on 104 when my opponent checked out. Leg four was a win and a good one!  I had a 71.6 three dart average, and took out 65 with S15, S18, D32, pretty as you please:

Leg five, the rubber match for the set, was an anemic mess for me and a loss.  So at this point we are tied 1-1 in sets.

Set three was a 3-0 win for me. None of the games were especially strong average-wise, but I did manage to hit my outs before my opponent in each game.  The only remarkable instance in this set was that in the second leg I took out 90, my highest out for the evening, with T20, miss outside, D15. I enjoyed that one:

My opponent turned the tables on my in set four, handing me my ass in the form of a 0-3 set loss. And while I only had a single ton among all three legs, I wouldn't say that I lost due to anemia so much as my opponent was simply dominant during those legs.  In all three I never had a single shot at the double ring.

Set five was another loss for me at 1-3. My three losses in this match were unremarkable instances of either failing to put up big numbers or in at least once instance, having a good game but being overpowered.  Sadly, in the second loss of the match I had 40 remaining but spent three darts missing outside the D10 simply because my attention faltered. Shame on me!

Why did I lose the 11 legs I dropped?  In the final analysis, its mostly due to being out-performed by my opponent in 7 games, but there were two games in which I was straight up anemic, and two games in which my finishing suffered miserably, including one loss where my opponent gave me 19 darts at the out but I could not capitalize on it. Even in some of my wins my finishing suffered. Over all 20 legs I spent 83 darts shot at the double ring to secure only 9 successful hits.  That is over 9 darts per double hit.  However, if you remove that one outlying 19-dart fiasco, my finishing for the match was more along the lines of 7 darts spent per double hit.  This is still quite bad.  The worse part is this:  Before the match started I did a full round of doubles, and I was solid.

Metro league is good for me in many ways, but I doubt I will play it again anytime soon.  I love the one on one against a strong opponent piece because it forces me to play well and raise my game.  However, scheduling the matches is a colossal pain in the ass and equates to too much uncertainty in my weekly schedule.  I prefer to have a scheduled, reliable, "dart night" even if that means I personally play less and against a variety of players.

The darts I took were my 21 gram Steve Cootes.  I'd forgotten how sticky they get over the course of the evening.  I regretted bringing them by the third set.  I won't make that mistake again.  Of course when I go back to B League in February I'll probably go back to bringing a variety of darts.  Just because I love all my darts and I want to throw them all!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


My worst Metro League outing yet.  Not only was it a loss, but a whopping one at 1-4.  Even worse, of the 19 legs we played I only won 7!  What happened?

Tonight's match was against a gentleman I'd never met before named Jeff.  He, like most darters, is a terrifically nice guy, swell into darts, and a fine shot.  And like me, he has a fledgling dart collection that he admires and is proud of.  Unlike me, however, he is primarily a soft tip player and plays a lot.

I am wondering if my performance tonight might not have been at least partially undermined by my own shitty attitude.  I did not want to play in the venue we settled on; it has its dartboards right next to the front door so every time the front door opened not only did you have commotion behind you but you also got blasted by a swale of cold air.  Even worse, the floor under the oche is not even, and the whole area slants slightly.  So going into it I knew I didn't want to play there and I may have done a poor job of eradicating those feelings from my mind pre-match.  After all, when the environment is shitty, it is shitty for everyone, not just me.

Nonetheless, my philosophy is that I have no excuse for playing poorly, only reasons.  Thus I need to deep dive a little on this match and figure out exactly what the hell I was doing wrong!

The two highlights I will claim from this match were these:  first, going into the last set I was down 0-4.  And instead of succumbing to defeat I rallied and won the last set 3-0.  So at least I was able to mentally maintain a modicum of resilience.  Second, I played well enough that I maintained a 51+ three dart average, and I still have the highest average in the qualifier league.

The lowlights are too numerous to enumerate.  But a few of them included not hitting any 180's or even any 140's, accumulating a meager 2,068 in tonnage, and of course, dropping so many legs. 

On to the analysis:

I lost the first four sets, 2-3, 1-3, 1-3, 0-3, respectively.  I seemed to get worse as the sets went on.  At a high level, of the twelve losses, three were due to an inability to finish, four were due to an inability to score bigly, and in five I was playing decently, but was overpowered by my opponent.  And another interesting tidbit: in nine of the twelve losses I never got a single dart at the double ring.

The first set had a very different loss profile than the other three sets I lost.  In the first set, all three of my losses were an inability to finish. Between the three losses I threw 15 darts at the double ring without a successful hit, and across all five legs I threw 19 darts at the double ring with only 2 hits. That's an average of 9.5 darts per double hit.

After that first set though, finishing was not my downfall.  In sets 2, 3, and 4, my losses were all due to either anemia or simply being overpowered.  In fact, my two strongest games during the match were both losses with an average if 64.3.

Across all 19 legs we played I threw a dart at the double ring 45 times, hitting successfully 7 of them, for an average of 6.4 darts per double hit.

I think I have belabored the analysis enough.  I know what I need to do: practice :)

I took a single set with me this time (as I have done for all but one Metro matches thus far) and they were the samely configured Voks Nobu's I have been favoring.  Next time tho, definitely switching it up.  Thinking about breaking out the Steve Cootes again.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

11 gram Brass UFO's

These little beauties are a sheer joy to throw.  They are light as a feather, or at least feel so.  I can only assume that they were made by someone, somewhere as a soft tip dart.  They are all brass with an incorporated stem, and only a small stem top to hold the flight in place.  The sleekness of the body and the thoughtfully engineered flight holder make me think this was a professionally done dart.  They are slightly reminiscent of a Bottelsen GT.

The body is all brass, and the flight holder is a small screw-in piece that looks like it could be the top of an old two-piece stem, but I have no idea what thread it is.  one of these days I am going to get a tap and die kit that will allow me to determine exactly what the various threads are on some of the old darts I have, including this one. 

The Reflex conversion points fit them like a glove.  They almost seem designed with these darts in mind.

Throwing them takes practice.  Once you get the hang of them they fly pretty well though.  Chucking them at the triple 20 will reward you with ample 1's and 5's because they are so light they are kind of like chucking a feather at the dartboard, but I eventually got on with them well enough.  In a round of doubles practice last night I hit a Doubles Trick in the 18, 19, and 20 as you can see below.

I have never seen this dart before, or anything like it really.  I'd love to have this dart in various materials, or even mixed materials.  If the front end of the dart were tungsten it'd probably fly a little more true.


Today's match was a first for me, in many ways.  I played against Kornfed, whom I expected to wallop me handily, and due to time, circumstances, and weather we decided to play against each other over the internet.  This was the first manner in which it was a first.  I'd played my good buddy barn over the net using many times back in the day so I guess it wasn't that much of a first, but I'd yet to play an official match this was.  The score keeper was DartConnect, and I used my phone for a camera, and we used a WhatsApp call to share our video streams.  Pretty good set up, I think.

I lost 2-3.  But I did not get walloped which is nice.  Kornfed can throw a mean dart and I expected to put up a strong fight but I knew going in that the competition would be fierce.  Even though it was a loss, the funny thing is, the loss was only slight.  Check it out:

Mine  ------------------------------------------  His
PPR       51.0  --  51.2       PPR
Points  10,035  --  10,132  Points
Darts        590  --  594        Darts
Leg wins        9  --  12      Leg wins
Set wins        2  --  3        Set wins

Pretty fucking even.  The kicker is that I had many opportunities to win more legs but my finishing suffered a bit and I couldn't close the deal resulting in more losses than I really needed to endure.

I had a few highlights:  First, I hit my highest out in recent memory - 113!  Quite proud of that.  Also, my 3DA was 51.0 which is just a hair (.3) higher than it was on Monday against Jeff. Also, even though I didn't get any 180's and only two 140's, my scoring in general was higher and I ended up with more tonnage than last time at 2,834.

The lowlights are that I lost the match (of course) but more importantly, struggling to finish.

Here is what I have learned from my losses and from the match in general.  First, don't ever play a match in your own garage in the middle of winter if the garage is so cold you are actually shivering when the match starts.  Those are not ideal conditions and I think they affected my game.  I had a space heater going the whole time but it did not help much.  Secondly, never start a long match without a proper warm up.  You don't want to give up games or even sets because you are still getting loose.  The coldness in my garage kept me away from the board until the match started and I only took 9 warm up darts.

I lost the first set 1-3.  The first loss was straight up anemia, never having thrown even a single dart at the double ring.  Second leg was my only win and I took out 16 spending about three darts to do so. The third game was mostly anemic. I afforded myself 2 darts at the double ring before I lost and they were both misses. The last game of the set was also a loss but it was a strong game for me, relatively.  I hit at least four triple 20's in there, spread across four rounds, and had a 52.6 average for the leg.  I was able to whittle the score down to 80 when my opponent took out 112 for the win.

The second set I won, 3-1.  In the first leg I won by taking out 52 with three darts, missing one shot at the D16 outside, and hitting it with my last dart.  The second leg was a win, and I dare say it was anemic right up until the end when I pull the game out of the mud.  I hit five 45's, two 41's, a 36, and a 3(!), leaving myself 155.  Then I hit a ton to bring it down to 55, and then took out 55 with three darts.  S15, D20 (miss), D20.  The third leg was my only loss for the set and I lost because I couldn't hit anything.  The game was decently strong as I hit a ton and a few other 60+ rounds, but in the end I floundered.  I was on 61 and somehow scored 36 to leave 25.  Then, in a truly B League fashion, I missed the S9 into the S14, and then miscalculated, hitting the S5 squarely, leaving a 6.  And then I missed the D3 outside. Then I missed it three more times outside and never got another chance.  The last leg was a win. At the end I hit a ton to leave 45, then hit the S13, and missed into the S16 with one of the darts to leave 16, which I took out next round with S8, D4.

The third set I won 3-2, and this set contained some of my strongest games.  The first leg was my strongest of the entire match at a meager 62.6 PPR, and I took out 113.  I wanted to go T20, S13, D20, but my first dart missed into the S20, leaving 93.  Then I hit the T19, leaving 36 and hit the D18 just as pretty as you please.  This is my highest checkout in recent memory.

My 113 Checkout:

In this leg, and in the next leg (also a win) my opponent still had over 100 points remaining.  The second leg I took out 87 with T17, D18, but the second dart missed outside before I took out the 36.  The third game was a loss but only barely.  It was a strong game for me.  I opened with a 9, but then hit 70, 60, 98, 100, 100 leaving 64.  But next round I busted the 64 by missing the D8 into the D16, and then next round could only whittle score down to 16 before I lost.  The fourth leg was a loss but not for lack of trying.  I hit a couple of tons but was only able to whittle the score down to 98 before my opponent won. He simply over-powered me in that leg.  The fifth leg was a win for me, anemic though it was.  No tonnage, and in the end, with 91 left, I hit the T17, missed the D20 outside, then hit the D2 leaving 38. Next round I missed the D19 outside, then inside, then cracked the score with a 3.  Next round I hit the D8 first dart.

The fourth set was a loss, 2-3.  I am not going to analyze every leg, but here are a few things that happened: In the first leg I busted 80 with a miss int the T20 and never got another chance. In the second leg I spent 12 darts missing the D5 before I lost in my worst case of finishing-suffering of the match.  In another leg I was left with 82 and decided to go pro with 50, 32, and hit the inner bull first dart!  But then missed the 32 with the other two darts.  I took it out next round though so that was at least a win.

The fifth set I lost 0-3.  All three were strong efforts on my part, but my opponent was stronger. In the first two legs I never had an opportunity to throw for a double.  In the last leg I did.  I hit a 140 and a 125 in the game and at one point I was sitting on 103.  Hit the S20, T19, but then missed the D12 outside.  Next round I managed to halve it to 12, then next visit I halved it again to 6. Then I spent three darts missing the D3 outside, and then that was it.  Kornfed won the leg, the set, and the match.

In the final analysis, of my 12 losses, three were due to not putting up big scores (anemia), four were due to an inability to finish, and in five I was simply overpowered by a strong opponent.  I have certainly had worse losses!  As for finishing across all 21 legs, I spent 68 darts aimed at the double ring and hit it successfully 9 times.  This is actually worse than last week at 7.5 darts per successful double.

In this match I used the 19 gram Nobu's, dressed the same as last time.  I am liking this dart as my go-to dart.  Funnily, even though I had several other darts available to me I was never tempted even once to pick up a different set.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Last night's outing was a fine evening indeed, all around.  The company was great and the darts were also great.  I played last night against one of my favorite people in league, Jeff C.  He is a happy-seeming person, always has a smile and a friendly demeanor, and whats more, he loves darts as much as I do.  Even better:  He is willing to play non-standard games with me.  Last night after the match, despite the both of us being a little darted-out, we snuck in a quick game of Wickets & Bats.

The evening was a good win for me, which was needed psychologically I think, given my recent failure at the Singles Shoot.  The highlights of the match for me include: a Ton-80 (yay!), six Ton-40's, 2753 total points in tonnage, a 94-out, and (in one game) a 79.1 3 Dart Average. The win itself was a little be landslidey (forgive me Jeff); 5-0 win in sets, 15-4 win in legs, and I out score my opponent 9400 total points to 8000.

The two lowlights on the evening were: a meager 50.7 three dart average across all 19 legs, and I was really hit and miss on finishing, sometimes spending several rounds to either finish, or ultimately lose a leg.

Why did I lose the four I lost?  In no case was I simple walloped. In each lost leg I had 2, 32, 4, and 9 remaining respectively, so it is safe to say that three of my losses was an inability to finish. In only one leg did I lose due to anemia. And I'd follow that up by saying that in some of the legs I won my finishing was sloppy enough that I was lucky to win at all!

The first set I won 3-1. In the leg I lost I was sitting on 124, and hit an 81 to leave 43.  Then I busted, then I hit a 39 to leave 4, then I whittled that down to 2, then I spent busted again. During all of this piddling around my opponent caught up to me and took out 112 for the high out of the evening.  Up until my finishing troubles I was averaging a respectable 57 3DA.

The second set I won 3-2.  In the first lost leg I didn't put up any numbers at all, and actually only had one dart at the out.  I was sitting on 70, missed the T18 into S18, hit the S20 squarely, and then missed D16 outside.  My opponent finished easily before I had another chance.  It is hard to say that this loss was due to an inability to finish since I only gave myself one dart at the out.  Rather, this was an anemic effort from the start of the leg.  The second leg I dropped in this set was a sorrowful loss indeed.  I whittled the score down to 60 in 15 darts, averaging 88.2.  Then I floundered like a boss. I hit 40 to leave 20 (2 misses at the double ring), then 10, to leave 10, then a bust, then 6 to leave 4, then three misses outside the D2 before my opponent finally put me out of my misery.  That was shaping up to be my best leg of the evening until I collapsed.  In all, I missed the double ring 14 times.  ouch.

The third and fourth sets were both 3-0 wins.

The fifth set I won 3-1. In the dropped leg, I was hot and cold.  I hit three tons, but I also hit three 26's! I was sitting on 236 and hit a ton to leave 136, then I hit another ton to leave 36.  Then I missed the D18 outside and inside, and the D9 inside to leave 9.  Then I busted, then I lost.  But cheers to my opponent who hit D16, D16 to take out 64!  Always nice to have a double-double for a win.

So what about my finishing when I did win? Here were my 15 wins:

  1. DO: 4 -- 17 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  2. DO: 94 -- 2 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  3. DO: 60 -- 2 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  4. DO: 2 -- 18 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  5. DO: 8 -- 9 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  6. DO: 38 -- 6 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  7. DO: 32 -- 5 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  8. DO: 32 -- 2 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  9. DO: 40 -- 4 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  10. DO: 2 -- 14 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  11. DO: 9 -- 8 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  12. DO: 32 -- 1 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  13. DO: 20 -- 3 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  14. DO: 53 -- 2 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
  15. DO: 10 -- 7 darts spent to get it from a one-dart out.
So all totaled, that is exactly 100 darts spent aiming at the double ring with only 15 successful hits.  I had some lousy finishing in there, and some quite good finishing.  The average is a rather satanic 6.66 darts spent to hit a single double.  Not good!  I need to boil that down to about 3 at least.  

This was my 94 out:

The darts I used last night, exclusively, were the 19 gram Voks Nobus with #6 carbon stems and slim Fit Flight Airs.  I have found this to be my go-to darts.  I have continued my recent trend of only bringing one set of darts to a match.  This way I am forced to correct any variance in my mechanics as opposed to just swapping darts.

All in all, it was a good night.

Max 54

Same darts, next day during a Metro League match.  I was throwing well in general, but this quality shot came during the midst of some other great hitting.  It was followed up with a 140, and then a 40 out.

The photo is a bit blurry.  I usually feel a little guilty taking a photo during the middle of a match, partly because it cuts into the cadence of the throwing, and also if my opponent is not throwing well then I am afraid they think I am showboating.  So I just snap a quick pic and slink back to the behind-the-oche (that place needs a name. On-deck?).  Thus, in this case, blurriness.

These are the 19 gram Voks Nobus wearing #6 carbon stems and slim Fit Flight Airs.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

First Ton-80 of 2020

Number 53 lifetime, and first for the year, with hopefully many more to come.

These are the 19 gram Nobus with #6 carbon stems and slim Fit Flight Airs.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Unsuccessful Singles Shoot

I was invited to the post-season B League Singles Shoot as an alternate again this time around and it didn't go as planned :P  Last season I won this shoot in fine fashion, but this time around I fell into the Loser's Bracket late in the shoot and then was beat there.  Had I won the one game I played in the Loser's Bracket I would have advanced to the finals next round and had a chance but as it happens I did not.  More on that in a bit.

The highlights of the evening included a couple of nice outs, a couple of Ton-40's (one in warm up), and a really nice 85.9 PPR 01 game. But really, it was kind of a flat evening.

The format was the same as last time: two brackets, a winners bracket and a losers bracket. Winner's bracket matches are best of three, in this order: SIDO 401, Cricket, corker's choice of those two.  The Losers Bracket was a single leg of corker's choice between those same two games.

My first match was against a great player and a nice guy named Doug. I won this match 2-1 and here is how it went. We started with 401 as per the rules in which my scores were 85, 28, 140, 100, 48 Out, in that order for a 14 dart game.  I was quite happy with my opening performance and to boot, the out was a double-double.  I was going to go S16, D16, but missed into the D16. I then hit the D8 on my next dart for the game:

Then we played Cricket and he utterly destroyed me. I threw a 1.8 and he threw a 4.2.  It was a no contest win for him.  In fact, after the match he remarked that it was his best game ever. Given how high caliber of a player he is I doubt that's true.  I won the cork for the rubber match and was not about to play him in Cricket again so I chose 401 (with a cheeky "Good choice" from my opponent) and, while I won that game taking out D8, it was not a remarkable game.  The out was also sloppy: I had 35 remaining, missed the S3 into the D3, hit the S13 pretty square, and then missed the D8 outside.  I did hit the D8 with my first dart next round though. Regardless, I won the match leaving me in the Winners Bracket.

My next match was against Lyle, who is one of the nicest guys in the league, and a formidable opponent to say the least. I happened to win this match 2-0 but I don't think it was because I was throwing well, I think it was because Lyle didn't bring his A Game that he is known for. The first game, 401, was unremarkable for both of us with the exception of my out.  I had 92 remaining and hit T20, missed the D16 outside blocking the double pretty thoroughly, and then managed to hit the D16 with a blockade runner shot.  The Cricket game was a luck win for me as I had four completely dead rounds.  Nonetheless, I remained in the Winner's bracket after this match.

My next match was against Joe, the eventual winner of the shoot.  He beat me 2-0 but I could have, and should have, won both of these games.  In the 401 neither of us were on fire and I missed 5 darts at the double ring to lose.  I had 152 left and hit a ton, leaving 52.  Then I hit S20 and missed outside the D16 twice.  Next round I missed inside D16, then missed inside D8, then missed inside D4.  I didn't get anymore chances.  In the end of the cricket game we traded missing bulls for several rounds before I lost.  This is when I knew something was wrong with my mental game.  I was losing steam. I am normally solid on bulls and not too shabby on finishing and to lose both of these B League caliber games was a sign I was not as steely-minded as I should have been.  This loss knocked me into the Losers Bracket. 

My one game in the Losers Bracket was against Keith.  A tough opponent.  His confidence is rock solid which I find admirable.  He won the cork (I choked on the cork badly) and he chose Cricket, which was a strategic choice on his part, and a good one.  "I've been watching you," he told me by way of explaining he choice of Cricket.  This was a nice nod of respect from him and I appreciated it.  I liked him before, but I like him even better now.  He won handily. At this point I was barely putting up a fight.  I tried each round but as I retrieved my darts and walked back to behind the oche I remember thinking: "I don't care if I win. How is that possible?"  But it was true.  For the first time in a long time I was content to see my opponent win, and I was genuinely happy for him when he did.

That was all she wrote for me.  I was out of the shoot and heading home before the winner even won. And good on him when he did.  I was throwing my 19 gram Accudart Cricket's (ironically named, for me anyway) wearing Volute points, #6 Cosmo Carbon stems, and Shape Fit Flight Airs:

In the last analysis: I lost because I flagged.  I ran out of steam and my steely-mindedness left me before the shoot was done. Granted I had a stroke nine days prior (a TIA, actually), and my arm was tireder than I expected, and my energy level was low but that is no excuse.  When you show up at a shoot, you show up.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

26 gram Dartworld Scoundrels

The Scoundrel is an interesting dart. No longer on the market, these darts were made by Dartworld in probably the 80's or 90's and, if I guess correctly, are Dartworld's answer to the Bottelsen GT line.  I say this because the dart is an especially skinny-waisted dart, taking a stem that is smaller than 3BA, but not quite as small as the 6BA of the GT line.  While this makes it an interesting dart to have and throw, it limits your options quite a bit.  After all, there isn't a single compatible stem available for purchase anywhere, and fancier stem and flight setups like the Fit Flight system are a non-starter.

This particular model is 26 grams, but I have seen others that were 24, and with a slightly different grip design, like these, but I have no idea what the entire lineup looked like, or what the weight range was originally.  Someday I'd like to get my hands on the Dartworld catalogs from that era and have a look but until that happens, they are a mystery.

The following pic is my preferred set up for them, even really all you can really do with them is swap out the flights and put on the silver stems instead of the black ones (I prefer the black).  The flights are Target X flights which are a slightly smaller standard flight.  I am surprised they throw so well with that small of a flight despite their relatively high grammage.  I find that while my middle finger still goes where the point meets the barrel, my index and thumb are slightly more back than usual where the barrel slopes to its skinny waist, basically surrounding the bulk of the dart.  I found myself hitting doubles more than I thought I would for such a new, and different dart.  I really like how they throw.  I think I'll take them to league one night and see how they do over the course of an evening.

I got a pretty pristine set, complete with case and all the internals intact and no visible damage to the darts themselves.  I am sure they have been throw, but by the looks of them not very much.  I am not sure what (if anything) went in the hollow space beneath the spare stems in the case.

The "Rotating Star"

A recent discussion over at focuses on whether it is wise to always be aiming at the triple 20 when practicing or warming up for a match.  The prevailing argument being that finishing is key to winning and so the lion's share of your practice should be in the doubles ring.  Makes sense. But I think there is a big difference between having a practice session at home and having a warm up before a match.  In the case where you are warming up before a match part of the intention is to loosen up your arm and make sure your throwing mechanics do not have hitches.  In this light, it makes sense that you should be making sure that you have aimed at (roughly) all the areas of the board, or at least all of its extremities.  Hitting all the doubles then becomes less important than aiming at all the doubles.

Furthermore, if you start practicing the doubles starting with the D1 and then working your way around the board clockwise, or with the D20 and then counterclockwise, you run the risk of getting hung up on a number and only practicing a small segment of the doubles ring before you have to start playing your match.  As such, I have devised a different kind of doubles practice specifically meant to be used before a match.  You can spend as few as 7 rounds on it and get fully loosened up and having aimed at all the doubles, or you can spend a good 20 minutes making sure you've hit all the doubles as well.  Here is how it works:

The first key to the warm up is that you never aim more than one dart at a number before moving on.  One dart per double.  You might come back to a missed double in the next round, but you never throw two at the same double in a round.  I like this aspect of the warm up pattern because in a game, you only get one dart at your out, usually, unless you miss outside, and happen to be holding more darts, but you don't want to miss outside.  Most times you have that one dart.  When you are practicing doubles and you are willing to throw more than one dart at any given double regardless of where the first dart lands than something different is happening in your mind.  You have the deep seated notion that you have more chances.  In a game you do not.  Thus, one dart per double, then move on.

As you can see from the illustration above, you work your way around the board in a star pattern with the first five darts forming the sequence: 1, 16, 6, 9, 17. Once you are holding that 6th dart whether it is aimed at the 18 (thus starting the next "rotated" star) depends on a number of things: if you are simply aiming at all the doubles then you ignore the D1 and continue the pattern of the rotating star.  The next five darts would be in the sequence: 18, 8, 10, 12, 3.  However, if your intention is to successfully hit each double as well, than you would aim at the D1 if you missed it previously, continuing the star pattern based on your hits and misses.

If your intention is to simply aim at all the doubles regardless of your success in hitting them then the sequence in its entirety is simple:

1, 16, 6, 9, 17, 18, 8, 10, 12, 3, 4, 11, 15, 5, 19, 13, 14, 2, 20, 7

However, if your intention is to hit all the doubles successfully, then what to aim at next can be confusing (until you understand the pattern and it makes sense to you - but trust me that takes a while).  It helps to remember that there are five sets of four wedges that form each section of the star pattern, and the heads of the family are: 1, 16, 6, 9, and 17, in that order.  If you your intention is to hit then you simply remember which segment in those families you are working on for each point of the star pattern.  The happy thing is this:  once you have 1, 16, 6, 9, and 17 cemented in your mind as the starts of the star segments, then remembering where you left off for each of those is easy and this warm up patter becomes a breeze and quite a fun one to do.