From dance floor to dart board

By Iain Hyndman

CODE SWITCHER: Affable Aussie Frank Mathers has swapped the dance floor for the dart board.PHOTO/Stuart Munro
CODE SWITCHER: Affable Aussie Frank Mathers has swapped the dance floor for the dart board.PHOTO/Stuart Munro

Darts is a polarising sport with people either loving or hating the short arrow game.

At the New Zealand Masters Games in Whanganui numbers this year almost mirror those of 2015 with 62 registered, all hungry for the singles, pairs, mixed pairs or mixed three formats.

Play is hosted by the Wanganui Dart League in its Heads Rd hall specifically designed for the game.

Organiser Margy Perry said many of the competitors were hometown players, although others travelled from Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Feilding, Auckland and even Brisbane, Australia.

In fact, Frank Mathers from Brisbane has fallen for the game and has been competing at darts in Whanganui since 1999 while travelling to the Dunedin masters in alternate years.

"I've actually been coming to the NZ Masters in Whanganui since 1995 when I first came over with a friend to compete in line dancing," Mathers said on day one of darts yesterday.

However, these days he is busting his moves on the dart board.

"We cleaned up here in Whanganui and Dunedin every year at line dancing. I then got introduced to darts and have played that since 1999 at both games. I'm a retired bachelor back home, although they don't give me a pension - I'm too rich," he said in typical Aussie banter.

Then there is Murray Uings and Laurie Jarman from Whanganui who have been competing at the NZMG since darts was introduced in 1991.

"I used to come over from Palmerston North, but live in Whanganui now," Uings said.
"Laurie and I have both been here since day one, although this is the first time we have teamed up together in the pairs."

Perry said since reducing the minimum masters age from 35+ to 30+ more newcomers have registered.

"Yeah, it's attracted a lot of people who have never played the game before."
Perry said play continued through until Saturday, although the darts league also hosted the Twilight 400 two nights through the week including tomorrow evening.

- NZ Herald

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