Keen eye, sharp wit is crucial in darts
A KEEN eye, mental toughness and a quick tongue are essential to win at South Burnett Darts.
The association held its annual presentation night on Saturday and one thing that stood out was the need for a quick wit.
Players joked around and took aim at their fellow club members with friendly banter.
Top A-grade player of the year George Finlayson said sledging when playing darts was vital, and getting your opponent to chuckle and take their mind off the match was always a worthy tactic.
"We don't mind a bit of sledging each other here," he said.
"Darts is one big mind game.
"You can sledge as much as possible up until as soon as they stand up to the oche (throwing line).
"When they are at the oche you're quiet, but up until then, everyone cops it. Especially me.
"That's the best part of the club, everyone has a sledge at everyone and everyone cops it sweet on the chin.
"That's why I think our club is rolling along so well.
"We're pretty friendly and we're not super competitive."
Finlayson said the club had eight teams of four members playing games most weeks in 2014, and social players would often join in and have a go.
"That's a really good number for us, that was a pretty good year for us," he said.
And the club members have proved their skills with a formidable record at home and on the road.
The club travelled to six clubs for social competitions and hosted five other clubs over the year.
"I think of the 11, we won eight and lost three," Finlayson said.
"And that was with a lot of the less experienced players really stepping up and playing well."
FINLAYSON has more than 40 years' experience in the game.
He said competing was the ideal way to improve skills for the newer members.
"I used to play four or five times a week to get up to that level," he said.
"Competition is the best practice you can have.
"You've got to learn to wait your turn. Most of the pressure is what you put on yourself."
Finlayson said he was mindful when taking teams to competitions and would pair up novice players with the old hands.
"I usually pair the junior players with the more experienced players and leave them with them two or three times, and then I switch them to another experienced player," he said.
Finlayson was awarded the number one ranking on Saturday night and his statistics included an incredible 11 successful 180s.
A 180 is scored when the player gets three consecutive darts in the triple 20 zone of the board.
"Your 180 is like your hole-in-one," Finlayson said.
But Finlayson said the score he wanted more than anything was a peg of 170.
"No one threw a 170 peg this year unfortunately, which is what we all try to do," Finlayson said
"That's the highest peg you can get; you triple 20, triple 20, bullseye.
"That's the one we are all chasing, and we will have to keep trying."