I haven’t ached this much in ages, but the bare facts from yesterday’s twelve-hour darts marathon are that I threw 1,676 sets of darts, scored 103,582 points, 292 scores of 100+ and four 180s...
Beforehand I’d hoped to pass 100,000 points (check), hit a maximum (check) and score 100 or more 300 times (drat). But the most important target of the day was the £200 I wanted to raise for Grangetown Netball Club. The final amount hasn’t been totalled up yet, but it looks like the event raised £500, which is fantastic; and I want to say a massive thank you to absolutely everyone who made a donation.
The marathon got underway just before 8 o’clock in the morning when I did a brief live interview for BBC Radio Tees, and then it was time for the darts. The first 180 arrived in the opening minute, which I would suggest is the definition of “peaking too early”, but with Gel Williams for company (in fact she was wonderful company throughout the day... thank you so much Gel), the first couple of hours passed with nothing more than a few pins and needles in my trusty left arm.
The first visitors were Grangetown Premier squad players Faye Summerhill and Ria Small, both about to embark on a quiet day’s drinking with their respective partners, and both consequently barely recognisable from the girls I’ve seen on court. And as the day progressed, there were plenty of other visitors: Jill Reah (lovely cake by the way, Jill!), Vicky Rees and Jennifer Mrozik meant that nearly a full Premier League team had popped down to give their support. To Di, Jeannette, Sarah, Hannah, Angie, Abbie, Mandy, Karen, and Chris, I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your weekend to come along. And to my darling wife Elaine and Chris, you know I couldn’t do any of this without your love and support.
Gel had arranged for ex-Middlesbrough midfielder Neil Maddison to drop in – it was nice to meet him on what was a pretty good day to be a Boro fan after their play-off semi-final win over Brentford on the Friday night – and it was great that my friend Glen Durrant was able to come along and play a few legs of 501 immediately before heading off to the Welsh Open. I’m not sure how many legs we played, but I lost them all pretty convincingly. In my defence, I had been playing for four-and-a-bit hours and it felt my arm had started to develop a mind of its own!
On reflection, maybe I should have included Glen’s scores in my total! I could have finished half an hour earlier....
Some of the hours passed relatively quickly, others seemed to drag, but if I was struggling, there was always a supply of Scotch Eggs and corned beef pie on the bar (all low calorie). I purposely didn’t have an alcoholic drink until just before 7 o’clock, by which time I knew that I was going to get through to the end with all my limbs intact - although my back had long since seized up.
The 100,000 points was reached with about fifteen minutes left... at a slightly anti-climactic second attempt after I missed yet another a big twenty; and a few throws later it was all over. It’s fair to say I was shattered, but when Gel said how much had been raised through on-the-day donations and the raffle, and I realised the overall total was going to be around £500, the pain definitely eased.
For about thirty seconds!
Unfortunately, tiredness didn’t translate to a decent night’s sleep, but I will be putting my feet up this afternoon before another long soak in the bath. Was it worth it? Definitely....
Would I do it again? Not a bloody chance!