The website was again mentioned in Darts World in May 2007 issue No 414 for my work with the Oxford English Dictionary. I managed to supply enough evidence to secure the popular word 'Dartitis' entry into the dictionary. Dartitis was listed as a new word in December 2006, although the word as been used for more than 20 years!
This small article that was fisrt written back in 2005 by Wayne Baker just gave a flavour about this site and how it came to be written. But if you want to know a little more about the site and about me then read on.
I have played darts from a very early age. My grandmother and my uncle were very keen dart players and my grandmother in particular treasured the pub darts medal she won many years ago. I remember playing darts against her when I was about seven on an old paper coiled dart board pinned on the outside of the shed in my parents’ garden. I was using old brass darts with a dowel stem and feather flights. I believe my grandmother played with the same but also with paper flights (the ones you folded up “origami” style - see flights page).
Picture of my grandmother Alice Pearson with my one of my bothers Michael aged four months. This picture was taken in Stourport-on-Seven in August 1958.
Alice also won a medal for playing darts in a local pub league. She was extremely proud of the medal and kept it with her always. Sadly however when she died in 1987 the medal went missing. It wasn’t of material value however knowing how much it meant to her made the medal quite a sentimental item.
Darts seems to run in the family but above all my uncle, George King, was very keen player. He was a regular pub league player and won many a trophy within south London and Croydon area.
My uncle George was generous and I played darts against him a few times but I will always remember him for giving me one of his medals as kid for a birthday present. He had it engraved with my name and added the words ‘House Champion’ on it. I still have today.
The picture to the right is of my late father (left on the picture) and my uncle George. The picture was taken in the early 1970's at our family home in Earlsfield, Wandsworth, London.
George used to throw with very light brass darts, he swapped them one night for a set of tungsten's and a five pound note but admitted afterwards he made the wrong decision. He said although he played very well on the night of the swap he could never find consistency with them.
Darts in London in the early 1980’s was played in most pubs until the late 1980’s when a lot of them either closed or turned into themed pubs. The traditional games were moved out in favour of pub restaurants and wine by the bottle. Teams disbanded and leagues reduced.
On a few Sunday afternoons I would play in a knock-out competition regularly winning a joint of meat for the Sunday roast. i.e the prize the pub put up for winning, It was never beer; but this always seemed to go down well at home!
I moved to Lancashire in 1993 and I found the traditional pub games still very much alive. The themed pub had not got there yet and darts, dominoes, crib and dom (card game) were played regularly. The general standard of play was also better than I was used to. You could see names chalked up on the chalk board and with the rules winner stays on you didn’t want to lose, it meant a least a forty five minute wait! This certainly made you concentrate and my standard of play improved no end.
I have played in several local leagues in Lancashire but confess I prefer playing just for fun. I have never hit a 9 dart leg, as yet, but I have come close missing double 12 on the 9th dart! Later to complete the leg in 11 darts. I will keep trying and someday I will manage this feat.
Although I have been a keen player I didn’t initially set out to write a website about darts. I was undertaking a City and Guilds web design course a local University and I felt I needed to practice my web design skills prior to taking the end of year exam. I thought of first writing a site about the village area I live in listing local shops, business, places to eat etc; with a view of possibly expanding this by writing sites for local business. But I realised this would be too big a project to do, so I thought I would write a site about the game of darts.
There are many well-constructed and maintained dart sites on the net. Many of them are dedicated to professional players, Counties and local leagues. Most of them also report on dart events but there are few that speak about the equipment, dart boards of the past and present, how to change the points on darts and where to get a checkout chart for my local club. So I thought there was a missing gap which needed to be filled.
Initially I emailed all the major manufactures and the main governing bodies asking for graphic and link support. All were extremely helpful, Harrow’s and Winmau in particular providing me with many graphics and Harrow’s with their entire catalogue range they had at the time. I must have been a pain as I was taking up their time and their only reward was a link back to their main sites.
The one thing I wanted to do was to make sure the information I provided on the site was as accurate as I could make it. To this end I had contacted Patrick Chaplin (Dart Historian), now Dr Patrick Chaplin, and asked him a number of frequently asked questions. He was kind enough to allow some of his text to be used, but being quite tenacious, I sometimes question what is being presented as fact. I still feel we have come to accept a number of historical things regarding the game i.e. the existence Brian Gamlin from Bury Lancashire and the truth or not behind the dart board numbering system. Did he exist; did he invent the numbering system? I haven’t read the claims presented in Darts World issue 232 (1992) about Thomas William Buckle’s claim to invention of the dartboard numbering system but I use both accounts on the site. I live near Bury therefore I believe I am best placed to make enquires, (time permitting).
The Darts501.com site covers a lot of information that cannot (at the time of writing) be found on other dart sites. One of the topics “how to change dart points” is a popular page read by many viewers. The most commonly used pages on the site is the dart checkouts, averages. Practise routines and rules. The site also contains over 80 other dart related pages many dedicated to games alone.
I hope you enjoy the site feedback is always welcome.