Darts hitting target as popular pastime

Bullseye . . . Darts has a rapidly growing social and competitive following, Kevin Grinton, of South Otago Darts Association, says. PHOTO: NICK BROOK


An upsurge in the popularity of darts has caused a sudden blossoming for the South Otago Darts Association.

Organiser Kevin Grinton said local darts’ popularity grew out of local groups such as Clutha Town & Country and Kaitangata Bar & Grill, spreading through word of mouth and social media until the suggestion to establish a central club met with overwhelming support.

‘‘There seemed to be a growing interest in darts before the pandemic but the lockdowns and restrictions put it on hold,’’ he said.

‘‘As we’re coming out of Covid the interest is still there — a lot of people keen to get together and enjoy some healthy, social competition.’’

Mr Grinton began playing darts in England when he was a teenager, moving through county level and British Open competition to even play against world champions such as Eric Bristow and Jocky Wilson.

After 18 years in Balclutha he is as enthusiastic as ever and pleased to announce the South Otago Darts Association’s new club nights at Balclutha RSA every Monday at 7pm.

‘‘Darts are also played here on Wednesday and Saturdays but there’s so much interest we have Mondays especially for the club. Subs are $30, everybody is welcome and we’re really pleased to have women and youngsters as regulars,’’ he said.

The accessibility of darts made it easy for teams to form at local pubs and clubs, leading to plenty of tournaments and competitive opportunities from regional, national and international levels, he said.

Kiwis such as Ben Robb and Haupai Puha were set to make waves overseas.

‘‘Darts is very pleasing. It’s fast and fun and makes focus and mental discipline fun,’’ Mr Grinton said.

‘‘Some days the darts just keep going right where you want them, and the feeling it gives you is something you want to experience again.’’