During the lockdown, many sports have gone virtual as they have been unable to take place due to social distancing measures. Football, the most popular sport on the planet, has done the most work in this area; with multiple tournaments taking place since March. Boxing has also made use of the virtual sporting arena, and now so has darts. Well, sort of.
Darts matches have taken place since the beginning of the lockdown period. But for this to happen, the sport had to go “part-virtual.” Players from the darts world have gone up against each other from the comfort of their own homes, or sometimes spare rooms; by throwing at their own dartboard, with their challenger doing the same. Live streaming is required, so the action is watchable in real-time; with several players having to give events a miss or even dropping out during due to poor internet connections.
PDC Darts at Home: Sportsman Special
The PDC, which is the leading governing body in darts, recently put together the PDC Darts at Home: Sportsman Special. The event, which was in aid of the NHS Charities Together. The virtual competition saw boxer Dave Allen, Andrew “Beef” Johnson from golf, cricket’s Alex Hales and snooker’s Mark Selby do battle at the oche in a best of three legs system.
The Doncaster De La Hoya
Dave Allen, aka “The Doncaster De La Hoya,” proved himself to be a heavyweight at the oche, as well as in boxing, by winning all of his three games to net the PDC Darts at Home: Sportsman Special crown. He lost only one leg during the whole competition, proving he had the beating of his rivals comfortably. Allen, who is known for being a cheerful character, utilised trash talk effectively and this, as well as his darts skills, could have played a crucial role in his success.
- Andrew Johnston 0-2 Alex Hales
- Mark Selby 0-2 Dave Allen
- Alec Hales 0-2 Dave Allen
- Andrew Johnston 1-2 Mark Selby
- Dave Allen 2-1 Andrew Johnston
- Mark Selby 0-2 Alex Hales
Alex Hales Shines
While most people will talk about Allen’s whitewash of the competition, and rightfully so, there must be a special mention for England cricketer Alex Hales. With legs beginning at 301, Hayles hit a stunning eight-dart finish to beat snooker’s Mark Selby in the last game of the tournament. He went 100, 141, 61, to wrap up proceedings, in what was the leg of the event, however, Allen had already secured the title.
Darts Showing Good Form
The tournaments taking place during this time in the darts world have proven it is not just the likes of football and boxing which can make it virtually, or even part-virtually. Again, it opens the door for the PDC and darts players to explore alternative options moving forward; adding another string to the sport’s bow.
For now, Johnston, Selby, Allen and Hales will be hoping their respective sports kick on in the coming weeks and months. During that time, we could even see virtual snooker, cricket and golf come to life; as fans will surely enjoy watching, interacting and participating.