When I started playing darts some time ago, around two and a half years ago exactly, I was quite frustrated, that here in Germany you rarely can find a dart shop, till now I didn’t find a single one. Darts are sold in gun-shops or in combined gun and fishing shops, even sometimes in costume and gun-shops. Usually you find a range of darts in a small corner of the shop, often more soft darts then steel darts, usually there’s only one set of darts in a certain design, so you can’t try different weights. When you want darts of a certain weight you might end with a design you don’t like at all, when you want a certain design, the weight might not suit you at all. Beside the darts you’ll find of course some flights and shafts and a few boards, some will sell the board you want, some not.
Nevertheless I always preferred a shop, there is at least the possibility to take a few darts into your hand before buying them and you just can’t buy a dart, only because you think it looks smart or because it somehow goes with your dress.
I found this situation quite frustrating and always thought there would be a big difference in England, I had on mind there would be a dart shop in every town over there.
Well, after my first two summer holidays in England, I returned rather astonished, the situation is not much better there. The difference only was that you have to go to a sports shop in England to buy darts, some have more darts then in Germany, there was quite a good one in Brighton, but some have even less darts and some of them are brass darts and a lot are heavy one’s.
So we decided to a third summer holiday in England even though the weather didn’t look good there this year. But I had got Dave Allen’s World Championship program last year and there a dart shop did advertise, a dart shop in Bournemouth, you can find the link between the links here on SEWA. Bournemouth is quite a big town, so we thought better to stay a little bit away from there in Weymouth, a very popular seaside resort. Not too far away you can find a tank museum, another important point for our choice, as I am still proud owner of two tanks in the SEWA battle of cricket canyons. (It looks I am almost as good in telling lies as Dartoid is, I probably did read too many of his articles).
One of our first trips brought us to Bournemouth and on our way back to Weymouth we looked for the dart shop. It´s not in the centre of Bournemouth, but it´s easy to find on a busy road with a lot of other shops.
It’s not really a big shop, but it really only sells darts equipment and items related to darts. The owner told me, they started with a much smaller shop, but they did grow and still grow. From time to time a top player turns up there, Bob Anderson was there once, and Bobby George, Trina Gulliver… it all helps. I never did see such a lot of different flights or shafts before. They’ve got a lot of different darts as well; though it’s mostly British I would say. I can’t swear, I didn’t check it I fear.
On the wall they’ve got a practice board, so that you can try the darts and there’s a line on the ground in the proper distance to the board.
Often they’ve got special offers or a sale of dart models running out. And they have special price packets of bigger quantities of shafts and other things.
Even there the most takings are from online sales, you can find the address in the links as well.
It was a great experience to find really a dart shop and I am now even more sure it’s a much better way to buy darts then buying them online, even should that be a little bit cheaper.
And the exhibition? Well, that’s something I always hoped to be able to experience as well. Exhibitions are more or less unknown in Germany, though I don’t give up hope it should be possible to organise one. So I was always trying to find out when visiting England, whether there was not a possibility to see one there. But usually August and the beginning of September is not the time of exhibitions, even dart players need a break sometimes. But reading Bob Anderson’s homepage I stumbled this time over one. Not to far away from Weymouth in a town called Shaftesbury, which once had a famous Abbey and a castle, but only ruins are left. I contacted Sally to find out whether we could bring our daughter as in British pubs often children are not allowed in the evenings. But everything was ok.
So one afternoon we travelled to Shaftesbury and in time turned up at the Shaftesbury Football club, where it took place. It turned out the football club runs a small money dart league, money dart league means, they always pay some money for the matches and at the end of the season most of this money is turned into price money for the best players. And from the rest of the money they from time to time invite a pro player for an exhibition.
Years ago Bob had already been there.
The club was crowded, though mostly by the players, there friends and families, I am sure we were the only Germans around.
Bob had quite a lot of matches to play, he played almost all players of the league, nineteen, one of them couldn’t play. The matches were all 701 SIDO. Bob didn’t lose a single one, well, not really. He managed to lose his extra match against the boy, who did the chalking all the time, a really good chalker of around 12 years and he really deserved it, that Bob managed to lose against him.
Bob did play quite impressive, he did throw at least six 180s and some high scores, though it was not necessary, none of the players, not even the best ones really were a challenge for him. When a player seemed to shoot well, Bob just turned up a little bit, well, of course he might by chance have lost a match, but he was far superior throughout the evening. Sally did sell some items, T-Shirts, mugs, wallets, photographs and I am now proud owner of a Bob Anderson mug.
We spend a very enjoyable evening, I finally know, what an exhibition is, what should make it easier for me one day to organise one myself, and it was a pleasure to meet Sally and Bob again.
On the whole I would say we spent a great holiday, though besides the mentioned there was no more darts in it. But we did learn how to play Poole and of course there are always those putting greens in England, where you can pass your time.
That we didn’t manage the tank museum probably will end all my hopes in BlackHorse`s tournament. Some tips about strategy and how to camouflage would certainly have been helpful…