PDPA Interviews - TO THE POINT !
Fanzone brings you all the games top players as they get TO THE POINT !
Is there something you’ve always wanted to ask a top professional darts player, well here’s your chance. Fanzone gives you, the fans, the opportunity to ask a question to the chosen professional.
Email us your questions and we’ll put them to the chosen player for them to answer.
Mark Webster Gets TO THE POINT
Hi Mark, it’s great to be interviewing you for the PDPA Fanzone. Firstly how do you feel 2012 is going for you so far ?
This Year has been patchy to say the least some good performances but no results so I must improve
Your form has been up and down the last 12 months, some great performances and some early defeats ?
I felt 2011 was fairly consistant but I tailed off towards the end of the year need to be more consistant to maintain my ranking
One of your great performances was beating Phil Taylor in the 2011 Ladbrokes World Championship quarter-final, how did that feel ?
It was a great performance although I was disappointed not to reach the final but a great scalp which i’ll never forget
You also reached the semi-final of the 2011 SpeedyHire UK Open and led James Wade 7-3 before losing 10-9, that must have been hard to take ?
It was a very difficult defeat as I should of won that match with ease but i know for next time that I need to concentrate more when closing out matches
What did you aim to do to bounce back from that defeat by James ?
Just kept doing what i was doing as id performed well and made the semi of a pdc major which is know mean feat in itself.
You also became the second Welshman ( Behind Wayne Atwood ) to hit a 9 darter in a PDC Pro Tour event, some achievement ?
Yep was glad to do it something else to put on the cv (plus I got £800 )
Lets go back a little bit, how did it all start for you, who got you involved with the sport ?
I liked watching it on the tv and my family liked a game so i just started playing.
When you were growing up who were your favourite players and those that inspired you. Who were the Werlsh players at the time who you hoped to emulate ?
I don’t have any favourite players though i used to cheer on the welsh lads the likes of Burnett, Phillips and Davies
Looking back when you first started did you ever imagine that you would achieve what you have and be a World Champion ?
Nope not really didn’t really believe I could do it till i reached the final against Simon.
Talking of World Champion, you beat Simon Whitlock to take the title at the Lakeside, what do you remember of that day and the whole event ?
I don’t remember a great deal just being really nervous going for the winning shot but otherwise the game is a bit of a blur to me
Wales has a long tradition of producing top dart players and has a huge fan base. The Cardiff leg of the Premier league is always one of the fastest to sell-out, do you think Wales could host a PDC ‘major’ event in the future ?
Yep definitely think it would be good to have the world cup there. Ive got no doubt that me and Richie will win it one day so what better way than in Wales
Your were not in this years Premier league but played in it in 2011, how did you feel that experience went ?
It was a hard but learning experience and something I can take alot from. To sum it up learning the hard way
Do you hope to force your way back into next years (2013) Premier league and if you do what would you do differently from 2011 ?
Yep I hope to I felt I was wrongly over looked this year to be honest I made the last 8 or better of every major apart from the worlds and was judged on that. This year I need to perform alot better at the world championships. And if I did get in i’d know what to expect and i’d definitely play better
Throughout your darts career to date what would you list as your five best moments ?
1- Winning the world title
2- Beating Phil Taylor
3- 110 ave in premier league
4- World cup final in 2010
5- Playing Gary Anderson at IDL final
To go with those best moments there has to be some low points, what are your worst moments in darts that you’ve experienced ?
1- Losing to Richie at worlds this year
2- Losing the semi at Bolton in the UK Open
3- Final of the players 2011
4- Poor premier league
You’ve represented Wales in the two stagings of the PDC World Cup and also in your BDO days, is there anything you miss from those times in the BDO ?
Yep Martin Phillips - Topman
Why did you make the move when you did to switch from the BDO and join the PDC ?
I needed a fresh start and wanted to play on tv more often so pdc is the only place to be
Do you wish you had made this move earlier or do you feel it was the right time ?
Maybe I should of gone a bit earlier as when i did cross i was low on confidence and started to slow
The standard of darts on the PDC Pro tour just keeps getting better and better, are you practising even more to be able to keep challenging for titles ?
Its getting really hard with 9 darters flying in every week so the practice has stepped up as I want to keep improving
What are your aims / goals for 2012, do you feel 2012 is the time now for you to lift a PDC ‘major’
I want to just keep improving and if I win a title great but im patient im going to be around for years so hopefully it will happen for me soon.
Thanks very much Mark for this interview and we at the PDPA Fanzone would like to wish you all the best for the rest of 2012
Interview brought to you by Andrew Devonshire, PDPA Fanzone.
Dean Winstanley Gets TO THE POINT
Hi Dean it’s great to be interviewing you for the PDPA Fanzone. Firstly, welcome to the PDC, what made you decide to make the move now and enter the PDC Qualifying school ?
Hello pdpa fanzone, i just thought it would be nice to try and further my career and try my skill at the fans best of the best players
How have you found the transition, are you settling in well and enjoying the new challenge ?
I have found it hard but also very interesting as its risen my game by a minimum of 10% and to be honest im loving it!
Lets go back to the beginning, how did you get involved in darts ?
All my family have played darts all their lives and its in my blood so i followed on the tradition.
Did you always believe you had the ability to become a professional dart player ?
I think i did yes when i won the german open in 2010, thats when i really believed i could do it.
You’ve won many ‘opens’ around the world and appeared in the Lakeside World Final, going into that final how were you feeling knowing you were so close to becoming World Champion ?
Going into the final i felt great, no nerves, just knew i had 99% of the crowd and my family behind me supporting me. i had had a great run from start to finish and loved every minute of it.
What would you say are your five best moments in your darts career to date ?
1- Making the final of the world championships
2- Winning 5 major tournaments and reaching the final of many others
3- Becoming captain of Yorkshire with so many professional players in the team
4- Playing for england
5-Winning mixed pairs tournaments with my partner Lorraine Farlam
Among those highlights you’ve mentioned there must be a few low moments too. What are your worst moments on the oche to date ?
Making the odd mistake in a crucial leg to win the game is a bit of a bummer!
You played in the 2011 Grand Slam of Darts and had a great tournament. Did that week tell you that you could succeed within the PDC ?
Yes it did, i went up on that stage full of confidence and loved every moment of the event
You hail from Yorkshire, a hot bed for darts, who within your county did you look up to when you were starting out and inspire you ?
Pete Senior my captain/manager his dedication to darts is amazing and is inspiration to coach me through my career is priceless
You’ve done well in the first five of months on the PDC circuit, what are your immediate aims and what do you hope to achieve in 2012 ?
I would love to make the top 32 in my first year, yes it is hard but with a bit of yorkshire grit and determination i will give it my best shot
Darts is now big business with sponsors queuing up for PDC events, you must feel privileged to be a part of this ?
Yes i am very privileged to have sponsors, mda promotions, dg utilities, winmau, lyons and also i would like to thank mariflex in holland for helping me through my bdo career
One of the big PDC events is the Premier League, would you love to be a part of that one day in the future and relish playing in front of the huge crowds ?
I am like every player we all would like a shot at it, but like i said before im going to knuckle down and try my best to achieve a premier league place
Since your switch to the PDC have you found you’ve had to increase / alter your practice routines and preparations for events ?
Yes in all everything has changed, more work, more practice and harder routines as you cannot afford to make mistakes
Has the standard of the darts and players in the PDC surprised you, this was evident at the Qualifying School ?
Yes the standard is very high especially when your paying a high entry fee to play, so if you pay the fee you must think your in with a chance so i admire every player who pays to play
Now your on the PDC tour, I’ve got to ask you Dean, if you hadn’t gained a tour card what would you have done ?
I would not have gone back to the bdo, i would have played all the competitions i could within the pdc and tried to build up from there
Is there anything you miss from your BDO days ?
Travelling with the mrs and some of the lads who travelled with us in our tour bus, we always had a laugh
Were you surprised that only Ted Hankey from the Lakeside semi-finalists accepted a tour card ?
Not at all, there is some great talent coming through the BDO and they all deserve at some point to be world champion. my dad has always said you need to be a good loser to become a good winner
Your first appearance on Sky in 2012 as a PDC player will be the SpeedyServices UK Open in June, you must be really looking forward to that ?
Oh yes, i love working with Sky and the officials of the PDC, we have a good laugh and they make me feel welcome so hopefully i can have another ‘Grand Slam’ run
Many thanks Dean for this interview and we at the PDPA Fanzone wish you all the best not only for the UK Open but throughout the rest of 2012.
Thank you very much , Dean
Interview brought to you by Andrew Devonshire, PDPA Fanzone.
Kevin Painter Gets TO THE POINT
Hi Kevin, it’s great to be interviewing you for the PDPA Fanzone. Firstly congratulations on you Premier League wildcard selection, how do you feel things went for you ?
Thanks,yeah im happy really, i started well, won 3 and lost 3,although i feel i could have scored a bit better and maybe should of had another 2 points, was still in with a shout of the play-offs up until the last night of league action, so can’t complain.
You must be very pleased with how your playing and of course winning the Players Championships Finals ?
My forms been good since last August and obviously delighted to have won the players championships finals in december.
Your one of only a handful of players to have won a PDC televised ‘major’, that must fill you with pride ?
Yeah very proud and its a great feeling to win a tv major.as its not easy to do in the phil Taylor era !!
That World final was one of the greatest ever played, do you still think about it and how close you were to becoming World Champion or have you dismissed it from your mind now ?
I dont think about that as much as other people do! Obviously it crops up quite often in chats at exhibitions,it still is one of my greatest days in my career,not many people get to play in a world championship final.
Starting out did you ever believe you would achieve what you have ?
When i started playing i got quite good quite quickly,and used to watch darts on tv in the Bristow,Lowe,Wilson era and used to think i wouldnt mind a bit of that lifestyle! but never really thought if i may one day be there.
Growing up who were your favourite players and who inspired you to think you could do it too ?
Eric Bristow was my hero,i loved his sort of arrogance and stage presence.Mentally i inspired myself and pushed myself into putting the time and effort in.
In your long and successful career there must be many high points, what would you list as your five best moments in darts to date ?
My best moment was winning the players championship in December 2011,Getting selected for this years McCoys Premier league is 2nd as it proves that you are at the top of your game,3rd would be playing in the world final in 2004 and almost winning it,4th would be when i was 17 years old and only just started playing,winning a comp that the prize was a trip to spain,it was a 4 man team game run by Greene King in 1984.,and 5th would be being selected and playing for England,a great honour.
There has obviously been low points too along the way, what are your worst moments on the oche ?
Worst moments are any defeat particlarly if i play poorly on tv,as usually thats where i perform best.
The standard of darts now is astonishing, have you found you have had to increase / alter your practice routines in order to compete with the best ?
I definately practice more now than i did a few a years ago,the standard now is incredible so i its whats required.
Do you believe you can still improve your game and get even better ?
Theres always room for improvement and im always looking for ways to improve and i know i could be better than some of my performances have shown at times.
Are you a good practiser, is this a part of the game that you enjoy ?
To be honest im not that great wnen i practice and i have to say its not something i particularly enjoy,but it has to be done.
We’re not too far away from the SpeedyServices UK Open which signals the start of the televised ‘majors’. Do you firmly believe you can add another of these ‘majors’ to go with your Players title in 2012 ?
Every time i play in a tv major i believe i can win it,but with the standard so high you just cannot see whats in store for you.I do believe i can add to my title though.
Talking of the UK Open, the qualifiers this year have changed slightly with there now being an open draw, are you in favour of this ?
Havent really thought too much on this one but clearly 1st rnd draws could be trickier at times,although i do think we have to have seeded events to reward players that have performed well.
Most of your weekends nowadays are filled with PDC events, when there are no events how do you relax away from the oche ?
Off the oche my time is taken up with my 6 year old daughter Madison,i also like to watch tv alot and im a season ticket holder at Ipswich Town FC so i go to watch them whenever i can.
You recently paraded your Players Championship trophy to the fans of your beloved Ipswich Town football club, that must have been a special moment ?
That is something i have always wanted to do,i wanted to do it with the world championship trophy but it was a great moment all the same.
Aside from trying to add another ‘major’ title to your collection in 2012 what are your main aims for the Pro Tour ?
My main aim is to be more consistant especially at floor events where i never seem to do myself justice,i really should be winning 1 or 2 of them each year.
Many thanks Kevin for the interview and everyone at the PDPA Fanzone wishes you all the best and continued success for 2012.
Thanks alot very much appreciated. KP
Interview brought to you by Andrew Devonshire PDPA Fanzone
Ted Hankey gets TO THE POINT
Hi Ted, it’s great to be interviewing you for the PDPA Fanzone. Firstly welcome to the PDC, how do you feel it’s going for you so far ?
Thanks.. Its going ok slow start but its was a big change to what i was used too.
Was it a tough decision to leave the BDO after all those successful years and why now did you make that decision ?
Yes very tough but I just felt the time was right for me now
You’ve probably found already that your playing a lot more events, are you relishing this ?
Yes its a big challenge and i need to change my whole approach
Are you practicing more now than you ever have to challenge in these events ?
Yes because the standard is high and you need to be on the top of your game from the start
How did it all start for you Ted, how did you first get involved in darts ?
Just the usual really down the pub with my mates having a game joined a team started to play well asked to play county went from there
Starting out did you ever believe you would have achieved what you have and be a two-time World Champion ?
No it was only in the late ninety’s that i started to think about it after winning some of the bigger opens
You probably have the most natural and smoothest throw in darts, is that how you threw the very first time you picked up a dart ?
Yes I have always thrown this way
What would you list as your five best moments in your darts career to date ?
The 2 world champ wins, the first time i played in the worlds, winning the 1999 Dutch open singles and pairs, and my first England cap.
Every player has low points in their career, what are your worst moments on the darts oche ?
To many the say sorry
You’ve been known to lose your cool a bit at times while on the oche, is this something that you realise you are doing at the time ?
No I just get so caught up in the game and get very frustrated when things go wrong and i wear my heart on my sleeve
The crowd react to you in good and bad ways as they did at the Grand Slam of Darts, what do you think about this when they are ‘having a go at you’ as it were ?
I try not to think about it i just want my darts to do the talking and hopefully that will win them over
The Premier League is played in front of crowds from 4,000 – 8,000 plus, would you relish this and be up for the challenge if given the opportunity ?
Yes i would love to play in the Premier league and as long as i get it right i should do ok.
You are a two-time World Champion and came close this year to making it to another World Final, do you believe that you have another World title in you ?
I would give up playing if i didnt think i could win another world title
As a lakeside semi-finalist you accepted the offer of a PDC Tour card. If you had failed to reach the Lakeside last four would you have gone to the PDC Qualifying school to have gained a card ?
Yes I was going to go and play in the Q school especially after the players meeting on Friday night at lakeside
Is there anything you miss from your BDO days ?
Yes lots been playing BDO darts for a long time all the other players and I’m sure come the next lakeside it will be strange not to be going but I have new challenges now
Looking back do you wish you had made the move to the PDC sooner ?
A part of me does (hind sight and all that) but its done now
You’ve had a tough start on the PDC tour, the standard is so high. What are your aims / goals for this year on the PDC Pro tour ?
To try and climb up the rankings as quickly as i can and qualify for as many tv tournaments as i can.
Many thanks Ted for this interview and from everyone at the PDPA Fanzone we wish you all the best for 2012 as you embark on the challenge of life in the PDC.
Thanks very much regards
Interview brought to you by Andrew Devonshire PDPA Fanzone
Steve Beaton gets TO THE POINT
Welcome Steve to the PDPA Fanzone, it’s great to get you TO THE POINT. Lets start at the beginning, who introduced you to darts, how old were you when you first threw a dart ?
No 1 - It was a family thing really we had a dartboard put up on the garden shed as this presumably was the safest place. As I got a to about 9-10 I eventually moved it to the back of my bedroom door as weather can have a big influence on the darts. So probably quite young when I first threw maybe 7-8 years old
After getting the darts bug, did you ever imagine that one day you would become World Champion ?
No 2 - When I starting playing for the local pubs at 16 -17 , I suddenly realised how good I was and maybe I did think that I could be World Champion one day. Obviously over the years I learnt a lot from playing Superleague and County Darts as you have to get used to playing on the stage and in front of audiences. Finally when I got picked for England I suddenly had a different pressure of playing for my Country and in front of cameras etc and also the added fact of not letting my team mates down, that certainly helped with having to handle pressure and like I have always said, darts is a learning curve where you have to get used to playing in different environments from a pub to a stage and then TV in front of thousands
It must have been an incredible experience when you became World Champion, going into the event what were your goals for the week ?
No 3 - The World Championships is like no other it’s the one everybody wants to win. I probably had my best chance in 1993 when I lost in the Semi-finals, that was heartbreaking and made me try even more to win. Finally in 1996 I won it my goals were the same as every year, get through the first round and take every game as it comes. The two years before had been a night mare for me as I had gone out in the first round and just needed to break that duck. Yep and thank God I finally did it.
Your known as ‘The Bronzed Adonis’, who came up with the nickname, do you like it ?
No 4 - The Bronzed Adonis name came from my good mate Tony Green. I tended to have a habit of going on holiday before the World Championship and not seeing a dartboard for two weeks which I found good, because when I returned I was hungry to play again. I do like the name, just think at 47 maybe I’m a bit old for it but what the hell you only live once
You’ve played in all the ‘major’ darts events, how did you enjoy the Grand Slam of Darts with it’s round-robin group matches and players from another organisation, was this something you enjoyed ?
No 5 – The Grand Slam I find a great tournament as you can have a bad game, yet still be in there. Also with the short format its really entertaining to watch, As for the BDO players, I think it gives them a taste of what its like on other side and whether they fancy a move or not.
Is the Premier League with it’s huge crowds something you would reliash and aim to be a part of in the future ?
No 6 – The Premier League to me is Show. I think its great for the game but I think it could do with a face lift or something of that nature . The Premier League has been great and kept our Pro-tour prize money flourishing, without it, it would be hard. I love watching it and the crowds are brilliant and maybe one year I will play in it who knows.
What would you rate as your top 5 best darts moments in your career to date ?
No 7 – Top moment for me was the World Championship in 1996 it was a dream come true and it was all I ever really wanted to do in darts, to lift that trophy. Before that it was getting picked for England, what an honour to play for your country and was so proud when I put my shirt on to play my first game. Thirdly when I won the Winmau World Masters in 1993 was another great moment for me. All the many tournaments over the years I have won, are all very special to me like the Coventry Open, Warwickshire Open etc . You have so many darting moments its hard to recall sometimes, unless you sit and reminisce with Eric Bristow, Deller or Lowey and talk about the old days. They were great days in the eighties and nineties
With those high moments, there must have been some low points too, what would you say was your lowest point on the oche ?
No 8 – There has been a few low points but that is part of the game, its sometimes easy to be at the top of the tree but not so easy to get back up it if you fall off. One low moment for me was when my father died two months before I became World Champion in 1996 he would have loved to see me win that. In a way though he gave me this great talent along with my Mother so I am very grateful for that and I miss them both.
Aside from Phil Taylor, who would you say has been your toughest opponent and why ?
No 9 – Phil is always going to be the player everybody wants to avoid because of his consistency. I don’t mind playing any of the players even Phil, to me its on the day who plays well. I know deep down I can beat any opponent and that is why I keep playing the sport professionally. I still think I have a big win in me and can compete against the best. I do prefer fast players though sorry.
The PDC Calender is jam-packed with events these days, which is your favorite tournament and why ?
No 10 – I like most of the tournaments home and away, it’s part of life now that you are away most weekends, either playing in a tournaments or doing Exhibitions, I love them both and the day I stop loving the game then that will be the end. Blackpool is one of my favourites, I think it’s a great venue and also Wolverhampton for the Grand Slam where the crowd is in touching distance and you hear everything and the vibes are great
You do a little bit of darts commentating on Eurosport, do you enjoy being behind the mic and do you see yourself doing this more when you do eventually stop throwing your darts ?
No 11 – I have been doing commentating for Eurosport for 5-6 years now and work along side Simon Golding a good friend of mine. Although it’s the BDO World Championships from Lakeside I still love it because it’s darts. Different faces each year trying to lift that trophy and I really enjoy watching it. If I finally stop throwing darts for a living maybe I am sure I will want to be involved in darts some way, don’t forget I have been playing all my life and it’s a game you either love or hate, and I love it just as much now as when I first started.
There is so much travelling on the PDC circuit, outside of darts how do you relax to take your mind off the pressure of the ‘arrows’ ?
No 12 – To relax from darts I play a bit of golf and also I love going to the gym most days which helps with keeping my weight down. I have had a problem with my knee which thanks to a bit of surgery is getting better and I will be able to do a bit of running again but, seventeen stone is a lot to carry around so maybe need to lose a bit.
The PDC circuit is like one big happy family, are there certain players that you tend to hang around with more than others at Pro tour events ?
No 13 – I tend to get on with most of the players on the circuit, well I think I do! . It’s funny really when you get to an event you tend to throw with the same people maybe play a game around the board say on doubles or high finishes. I suppose I tend to have a throw with Roland Scholten, Colin Lloyd, Dennis Ovens, Jon Archer sometimes, it depends whose there. Once the tournament starts you can only use the practice boards so it tends to get a bit busier and I don’t like waiting in a queue too much so I just have a throw now and again to keep my arm in.
What does 2012 hold for Steve Beaton, what do you hope to achieve this year ?
No 14 – 2012 I hope will be a good year. I think as long as I can compete with the best then anything is possible. I don’t really have goals I just think whatever will be will be. Darts at the moment is better than it has ever been and it would be great to win a Major this year .
Many thanks Steve for getting TO THE POINT on the PDPA Fanzone, may we wish you continued success for 2012 and we look forward to continue reading how you fair on the PDC circuit with your regular BEATON’S BULLETIN’S in Fanzone News.
Thanks very much Andrew.
Interview brought to you by Andrew Devonshire, PDPA Fanzone.
Mark Hylton gets TO THE POINT
Hello Mark, welcome to the PDPA Fanzone, it’s great to be interviewing you as you get TO THE POINT, your having a great 2011, how do you feel its gone for you ?
Yeah its not been too bad really! I have really enjoyed it so far, we set certain goals at the start of the year and it’s almost unbelievable that they have come together so well, like a dream come true really. I really enjoyed the UK Open adventure and Dublin for the World Grand Prix as I had looked forward to it for a long time. However reaching the later stages of many Pro Tour events has also been inspiring and personally satisfying.
You’ve made a huge impact on the PDC rankings, helped by some quarter-final placings in the TV majors, is playing in front of the TV cameras something you enjoy ?
Playing in front of the camera’s is always a challenge and very demanding, the incentives are higher as are the stakes and it seems to bring the best out of me. I really enjoy the whole experience of major competitions, for me it is the ultimate test. Coming late to the professional game I do not have the luxury of taking too long to adapt to the big stages and occasions and it has been truly wonderful to find that they play to my strengths. The preparation is always demanding and thorough and I therefore feel relaxed and ready for anything ! The adrenaline and buzz from the stage and crowd is addictive and irreplaceable.
Before you joined the PDC what were you doing in the darting world and do you wish you had taken the plunge and joined sooner ?
It was `the hardest game in the world’, Andrew 30 years man & boy! Enough of the Harry Enfield, I was playing Pub League and Open darts with good success and had gone part time at work in order to see where darts would take me. Luckily I was spotted at these Opens and took the plunge with a lot of help and support.
As for joining sooner, in an ideal world of course, maybe i would have silverware by now! You can never be sure looking back, so I look forward and am grateful to have the maturity, experience and backing to make the most of every opportunity I now gain. Life is not straight forward and with family, career and financial implications perhaps my opportunity came at the only time it would have worked, who knows.
Who or what got you interested in Darts to start with, did you play as a youngster or were you a late starter ?
I started at the age of about 11 playing in the garage and my bedroom, my Dad was a good local darter and I soon joined his local team, at 15 I won 36 out of 38 games in my first full season and that included missing one for a school field trip ! I progressed through the normal pub, super league, county routes and represented both Clwyd and later my home county of Staffordshire, that is one of the reasons for my UK themed darts and web site mark-mile-high-hylton.com
Lionel Smith really helped me to take my game seriously and playing with him was a true pleasure.
Did you always believe that you were good enough to make an impact in the professional side of the game and what does it feel like to be up there playing with the World’s best on a weekly basis ?
I always knew deep down that I had the ability and the game to play at that level but you never know for sure until you have made the step, the proof as they say is in the pudding. It is a little intimidating first, if like me you have watched them all on the TV for 20 years, to be playing them one on one is something that needs to be getting used to. Then results pick up and you gain the confidence to play your own game in your own way, next its all familiar and in many ways its you against yourself!
The weekly basis is something that needs to be guarded against because it is easy to fall into patterns, some people get used to losing and can’t get out of it, the winning habit is more difficult to sustain, some folk can get a little complacent and with the standard at the moment you will soon be caught out !
What would you say is your greatest achievement to date since you joined the PDC ?
Of course there have been individual highlights and overall my TV form would be one of them. Games against Simon Whitlock, Colin Lloyd, Steve Beaton and Peter Wright stand out. The award of New Player of the year from The PDC would also stand out. Ultimately becoming an established professional heading upward all the time and progressing in such a short time is the real reward for the time and dedication I have always committed to darts. The ability to win tough games against unheralded players on the pro tour is as rewarding as without it you get none of the higher profile opportunities. Another superb moment was learning that darts that carry my name and have been designed by me are available to buy, when you grow up and see Eric’s, John’s and Jockey’s in the shop you could barely dream that one day yours will be there!
At this years World Matchplay in Blackpool you gave Phil Taylor his toughest match throughout the event, that must have given you great satisfaction and also what was going through your mind as you were edging closer to him ?
Of course it is satisfying to play good darts on a debut in a new venue, one of the greatest in darts, I was full of confidence I had prepared well and was in good form, I felt little to no pressure. Being expected to lose can be quite interesting. I believe I showed I can play with the best, but ultimately I was very disapointed as I believed I was able to win and should have done so. I was very disappointed with the middle session. I decided to play one leg at a time and never accept the game was never over. I felt my true game was on show and tried to take full advantage.
I take a lot from the game now and used it both in later floor events and during the World Grand Prix, especially against Mark Walsh.
If there was one particular match that you’ve been involved in that you could change the outcome of which would it be and why ?
A few stand out, but obviously the recent defeat to Richie, victory would have mean’t a major Semi and another clash with Phil. Who would’nt want that ? However I give Richie full credit he played very well and was in superb form all week. I shall learn a great deal from that one match and I suspect be grateful for it!
We’ve read on the Fanzone about your practice routines and how thorough they are, is this a side of the game that you enjoy ?
As you will remember I centre my practise around a lot of real play, I am very grateful to all those who play with us and its very much like a team effort. Hopefully they all get as much benefit as i do from it and the little games we play as well keep us all sharp. It is great to keep it fun and to concentrate on what I am trying acheive overall as well. This week for example it has been a pleasure to be assisting Ian White in preparation for the Grand Slam and passing on a few tips after my experience last year.
Who are your best mates on the Pro Tour ?
I will always to grateful to Andy Hamilton & Colin Osbourne for their assistance when I first joined the tour. I get on with all the players and indeed the officials, I find its helps to enjoy yourself and treat everyone with equal respect. I have spent many hours with Ian White and Andy Hutchings this year and would class them as good friends as well.
We’re getting closer to darts’ biggest event the Ladbrokes World Championship, when will you start your preparations for this and what are your aims for the biggest few weeks in darts ?
As ever we will be preparing well in advance with various other parties, usually in the last stages of the Pro Tour we have already started to play some sets format games and get sharper and work on stamina and conditions that we expect. Like all players I will be aiming to achieve the very best possible this year but have deliberately not set a round or money target. I intend to go as far as possible and who knows!
Being a darts pro means your away from home for long periods, when you do have spare time how do you like to relax away from the oche ?
The time away can be useful, I caught up with old family friends in Holland recently and will more friends in Germany. Away from the Oche I spend time with my Partner and try to ensure I pay as much interest to her interests as she does mine. Pub Quizzes with family and friends are a favourite, I even played one in the hotel the evening before playing Phil in Blackpool (don’t tell anyone but I won the Bingo as well!). I still like to keep in good shape and used to be a regular Gym goer, these days its more walking the dogs in the country and some swimming and light workouts, perfect for darting fitness.
Aside from the World Championships, of all the other PDC TV majors you’ve played in which is your favourite and why ?
Difficult as I have played them only once each as a professional. I suppose I will always have a soft spot for the UK Open, it has rewarded me well in many ways and was a fantastic experience as an amateur and professional. Dublin was tremendous and if only I had been 100% fit things may have been even more enjoyable. It was difficult when you have to rest up and recover instead of relaxing and enjoying yourself a little.
You’ve played in the Grand Slam of Darts where players from both codes (PDC & BDO) compete together in round robin groups, how did you adapt to this style of event and playing different players ?
To be honest I did not have a lot of time to think of that, it was my first TV major last year and I was keen to do well and learn as much as possible from the event. The noise on the opening night was quite a shock despite all the preparation. After that I settled but was always up against it, I knew a lot of lads from the BDO playing county etc. So it was nice to catch up with them and they were generous in their appreciation of what I had done up to then. I have played quite a few round robin type events but these are small groups with no east games. My best wishes to those who have qualified these year especially Ian who is a great player deserves every success.
Your one of the most popular players on the tour and with your trade-mark ‘walk-on’ winning you more fans along with your performances on the oche, how far do you believe you can go in the game, could we see the words Mark Hylton World Champion or World Number 1 in the near future ?
Due to my late start I have been very careful to plan every stage of my career so far together with those who support me. My manager Callum started by saying that I was a top 16 player who just did not know it yet and that after that the sky was the limit. Not sure I believed him then but I do now. the popularity thing is great , especially abroad fans where doing the walk on on tables at the German events recently and it has proved very catchy. Really though its all part of who I am I do not manufacture anything, I enjoyed my job very much so a little nod to it seems right. I prepare as thoroughly as any player and try to adopt a professional sportsmans approach. My team and I find the positives in everything and we are the same people win or lose. As for World Champion or World No.1 I can definately say I have my aims and I intend to finish my career having completed them in full and have no regrets whatsoever. I will have certainly given it 100% and tried to make the most of every opportunity
Many thanks Mark for getting TO THE POINT, we at the PDPA Fanzone wish you continued success for 2011 and beyond and all the very best for the upcoming World Championships.
Thanks Andrew, I would like to thank you for your support and the many out there who have believed in me, especially Red Dragon Darts, Double16.com and Wingate Electrical and Corbettsport.com who have backed all my TV appearances. Thanks to all those who have helped in countless ways , Nick & Mick who have driven round Europe in a fuss free way, Ryan, Ian, Simon, Cap and many others who have practised, emailed, telephoned and generally given their time, patience and skill to assist me in many many ways!
Interview brought to you by Andrew Devonshire, PDPA Fanzone.
Raymond van Barneveld gets TO THE POINT
PDPA Fanzone welcomes 5 time World Champion to the Fanzone.
Hi Ray, its great to be interviewing you for the PDPA Fanzone, may i start off with saying well done on your PDC Pro Tour win in Derby recently, your first on the Pro Tour since April ’08, you must be delighted to be back on the winning trail again ?
Yes of course i am it was very strange i went on holiday after The Europeans and i never ever threw a dart in 35 days and winning on that saturday was really weird but for me a very good feeling
I know what it is to win again i had to wait very long but it felt great.
Its fair to say the last few years you haven’t had the success you usually do, you’ve changed your darts on and off, why did you do this after being so successful before ?
Well i had a lot troubles with my grip i dont know why but i couldn’t hold a dart sometimes to0 slippery or too sticky. thats why i tried a lot. I played in my first year in the pdc very good with the slim flight but it seems that in bigger venues that flight is not working for me anymore . on the other hand i hit a couple of 9 darters with different setup.
Are you happy with your current set up, darts, dart weight, flights etc or will you continue to change to find the ‘perfect’ throw, if there is such a thing ?
In my opinion the big flights are too big but i like them many 140′s but i noticed less 180′s strange i was a 180 man but i hit them not as much as in the past.
The darts are fine and i took 3 grams off so they are now 22 grams.
Going back to the beginning, how did you get interested in darts ?I was following the Embassy for years i saw Bristow , Lowe , Anderson and Wilson and i wanted to be as good as them and earn money so that i could become a pro.Did you ever believe that you would have had the success you have had and become a 5 time World Champion when you first started ?
Yes i knew i would get very far a lot of people said that i had the world in my fingers i gave up everything to become a darts pro in 1998, was a dream that came true, i cried because some people said he will never make it and that was for me a victory on them.
When you left the BDO to join the PDC it must have been a difficult decision at the time, looking back do you wish you had made the switch sooner ?
It was impossible i was with Ad Schoofs my former manager both the owner of 2 tv tournaments in Holland the World Darts Trophy and The International Darts league
It was a stupid thing to do to join an other organization and not play in your own competitions.
The upcoming Grand Slam of Darts features players from both the PDC and BDO, do you think this is good for the game and do you enjoy the format of the event ?
The Format is exactly the same as the International darts League years ago in my opinion the fans like to see knock out games instead of group games.
You have to be focused the whole tournament.
Aside from Phil Taylor, who has been your toughest opponent and why ?
Well Simon Whitlock is always playing well against me, to me it wont take long untill Simon wins his first major.
There are many PDC televised events now, the fans love the players ‘walk-ons’, who came up with the Rocky theme ‘Eye of the Tiger’ for you and why that one ?
Because i always looked angry when i came up and a friend said those are the eye of the tiger and i was already inspired by the Rocky films so the choice was easy
A couple of years ago i came up with the song Relax from Frankie goes to Hollywood.
You have recently released your autobiography, whilst it must have been hard work, there must have been many fond memories that would have sprung to mind reviewing your career to date, what memories stand out for you ?
Well nice that you mention this, the book was published but i have a lot of them left, it seems i cant find a store to sell them in UK bringing them with a suitcase is no option, my wish is sell them in UK but to me no one knows that the book is published.
furhermore its too much to mention things i have the honour to be a similar MBE title on her Majesty the Queen of Holland thats untill today the most thing i am proud off
You won the recent PDC World Cup with Co Stompe representing The Netherlands. That must have been a special moment representing your country again, is that something you miss from your BDO days ?Yes that was a great tournament winning with Co was brilliant we know each other for many years and we were a team there, which i cannot say for a lot of other teams.
l loved to play for my country in the BDO but those days are over i hope the pdc will continue this Worldcup.
PDC darts is booming at the moment and thats certainly the case in Holland. It must give you great pleasure seeing all the youngsters coming through to become the next Raymond van Barneveld ?Holland has brilliant youth they almost all start to play when i won the Lakeside but i believe there is no future in Darts in Holland anymore no sponsors no nothing hardly tv no live games too bad because we had great years.The PDC along with Unicorn have taken great strides to help the young players with the introduction of the Youth Tour and Youth World Championship, the future looks bright ?
Yes great for these players, those guys will be the next generation but i hardly believe that they will get better than the players who are playing now.
What does the future hold for Ray Barneveld, do you see yourself competing for the PDC major titles in 10 years time ?
Well i am 44 now i will play for the next 10 years, i have to, i lost a couple of sponsors who generate a lot off money so winnnig of prize money is important now.
The World Championships are not far away, when will you start your build-up for darts biggest event, will you follow your normal practice routines, or do things change as you bid to become World Champion again ?Begin november with the mental training for the worlds, but i can’t believe that the pdc put to organise the Players Championship finals before that tournament, absolutely ridiculous.Thanks very much Ray for your time and everyone at PDPA Fanzone wishes you all the best for the rest of 2011, the World Championships and beyond.Many thanks Ray,Interview brought to you by Andrew Devonshire PDPA Fanzone
PAUL NICHOLSON GETS TO THE POINT.
PDPA Fanzone welcomes one of darts’ hottest properties, Paul Nicholson.
Welcome Paul, your having a great 2011, how would you describe how it’s gone so far for you ?
I think my first 6 months of 2011 have been exremely successful. I set myself specific goals when 2010 finished a i felt my game was on the cusp of going the wrong way after the World Championships. After moving home, changing my lifestyle a little bit and re-assessing my social life, i feel i am a better person, a fitter man and a better dart player.
Bolton was an incredible tournament for you, you defeated Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor in the same day, that must have been special ?
It certainly was an incredible day for me. It is one of those days in your career that you can’t really put a value on, from an experience perspective. I feel like if you always look back on positive things that you do, like that day in Bolton, there is no reason why you can’t stay confident for a long time to come. It was a great shame that i couldn’t win the whole tournament, but because of the strength of the players as a whole, you can never afford to let your game slip 1% and still expect silverware. James was just that little bit too solid for me that Sunday afternoon.
There seems to be a little bit of rivalry between you and Phil Taylor, you’ve beaten ‘The Power’ twice on TV now, not many players have achieved that. You will meet again and when you do how do you propose to deal with that ?
I think there is a lot of professional respect between myself and Mr Taylor and a rivalry certainly has been carved from the matches we have already taken part in. Other people who have played Phil have not found a way to stay focused and just play the board when the match starts, but when i play the world number 1 or number 200 i am always focused and ready for a war. I take every game personally and fight to the death everytime and i think that is one of the things that Phil likes about my game. He knows that i am not afraid of playing him and in the modern dart player that is becoming all too common now.
Going back to the start, how did you get into darts, who were your favourite players when you were growing up ?
When i was growing up i idolised Bob Anderson first, then took a real shine to Dennis Priestley. I loved how aggressive and passionate Bob was and still is and when i met him for the first time last year i was in my element. He showed me that you can be an explosive dart player on the board and a really great person away from the game. I see that in Dennis too and that’s why to this day i still get nervous talking to him. I started playing very young, at 3 years old. I grew up in a very small town and you either took to a sport or two as a child or got into trouble. I chose darts and a few other vocations and from a very early age i was very good, purely because my dad would practice with me for hours, even when he came in from a 12 hour shift at the shipyards. I owe a lot to my dad, my mum and my grandad for all the time they spent with me when i was a kid. I only started playing competitively at 18 years old as there was no real youth system where i was, but i wouldn’t change a thing because i have met some amazing people along the way and the players i have played with have shaped my career.
Have you always wanted to be a Darts Pro and is it all you imagined it would be ?
I always dreamed of being a professional but never really thought it would happen. It was a real dream for me to play in my first World Championship and that was my only realistic ambition when i was in my 20′s. Looking back now i think my family work ethic made me want to do something remarkable with that debut and making the quarter-finals on my first attempt was Roy of the Rovers stuff for someone like me. Playing the Pro tour week in week out now is terrific. I am now very good friends with players i idolised growing up and i always remember that i am doing something that others would like to do with their lives so i take nothing for granted.
Your well established now within the PDC, what were you doing in the darting world prior to joining the PDC ?
In my early 20′s i was a regular player for Northumberland in the inter-counties matches. I played super-league and another couple of very competitive leagues in the South East Northumberland area. I played in a few tournaments too, but when i was working long hours, my time was taken up by that a lot more. I won a few county divisions, a lot of local trophies and was lucky enough to take part in a few BDO events like The National play-offs for the World Masters and the British Open. When i was in Australia, i found my inner match player and decided it was time to either start playing really well or put my darts away. I played a match against Tony David in October 2007 and lost 4-2, but i came away from that match thinking i should have won. I went away from that event and changed my darts, changed my attitude and started to dominate the DPA circuit literally 6 weeks later, the rest they say is history !
The Grand Slam of Darts see’s players from both organisations coming together, do you enjoy this style of event ?
I think the concept of having BDO & PDC players in the same arena is very important and having only one of those types of event makes it even more prestigious. I love playing the format as much as it can lead to some strange scenarios. I have been involved in a couple of these, but it’s all part of the tournament. I think the Grand Slam this year will be the best yet. I will be very interested to see how Dean Winstanley & Jan Dekkertake to the crowds and how the crowds take to them. I for one cannot wait for Wolves in November, as it’s one of the main stay events now and hopefully will be enhanced with the change in broadcaster this time around.
Some questions from Fanzone followers Paul. Darts Maniac asks – How hard was it to start playing with no glasses after eye surgery ?
It was a little strange at first, but to be frank, life in general was a bit strange when the glasses went in the bin. The transition had to be quick and it took me a couple of weeks to really focus properly on the board but now i am used to it, It’s a wonderful thing that my flights no longer flick against my frames.
Jeff asks – Have you ever hit a 9 darter in competition, if so when & where ?
I have never hit a competitive 9 darter to date, but have hit 17 in practice. I have been extremely close on many occassions this year, but haven’t closed the deal yet. I am sure one will come very soon though.
Dan Nicol asks – How long do you practice for and what routines do you use both for scoring & doubles and also how do you train to maintain concentration especially in long matches ( i find i can play well for half a dozrn legs then go off the boil ) ?
I have always maintained that physical fitness enhances mental strength and fitness for long matches, hence why i train so much. I do a lot of spinning, running & yoga which gives me that little edge i need. You always have to simulate being in top match scenarios in practice, so that when they do come around you are ready to face the challenge. I do practice around 25 hours a week and treat that as my job. Work on doubles & scoring is paramount and i would say i work more on doubles. Different fun games against other friends/players are the way forwardas you don’t get bored easily. These games are very difficult to explain via text means, so if you want to know more please ask me at any pro tour that you may attend in future.
Steve180 asks – If you could change the outcome of a particular match you’ve been involved in which would it be & why ?
That is a tough question to answer as there have been a few over the years that have stuck in my memory. Being put on the spot, i would have to say my quarter-final against James Wade at my first World Championships in 2009. After playing so well throughout the event to then play really poorly against James was a hard pill to swallow and it robbed me of the chance of Grand Slam qualification in 2009, a premier league chance, extra prize money and a game against Ray van Barneveld in the semi-finals. That defeat hurt very much, but i was naive back then and have learned from it.
Are you hoping to get selected for the next Premier league, is playing in front of those huge crowds something you would relish ?
I honestly believe i have put myself in a great position to try and get into the 2012 Premier league. The crowds deserve some character, someone whi is hungry and feisty. I think i tick all the boxes, but i am not going to rest on that as i believe i have to earn that spot up until final selection time. I would dearly love to go on tour with the guys and showcase my skills even more. I can certainly imagine big games in places like Aberdeen, London & Newcastle being something quite extraordinary for the viewers, broadcasters and for myself.
There are still quite a few big TV events to come this year before we get to the World Championships, what are your goals for these events ?
Without any doubt i want to win at least one of them. I have had a steady start to the majors this year, but i feel there is something in the tank that is waiting to come out and i would love that to be the world title as it’s the one that everyone wants and is the culmination of our entire year.
What would you say is your greatest match that you’ve played to date & why ?
One match stands out here. My match with Dennis Priestley at the 2009 World Championships as it was a game where i was playing against my hero and had to come from two sets to nil down to win 4-2. I showed myself and others what i was made of that day. From an entertainment perspective two matches really dominate the talk of my fans & supporters. The win against Mr Taylor in the semi-finals of the Players Championship Finals 2010 because of the tension of the game, my finishing and the emotion i showed when i won. On top of that my game with Adrian Lewis in the World Chasmpioships a couple of years ago, again big finishing, but more importantly because that game showcased just how good i can be in a pressure filled encounter.
How do you relax away from the oche and the pressure’s of the game ?
I am a very avid golfer away from darts. I have a handicap of around 6 just now and i take the game seriously. It does however allow me to go for long walks, focus on something other than my career and spend time with my brother who is one of my best friends. Aside from that, as many of my Twitter followers will know i am a mad fan of WWE, i draw incredible inspiration from that stuff for darts and can’t get enough of the action. I love to watch ice hockey & American football, my teams are both from Pittsburgh, with the Steelers and Penguins both being very good teams. Lastly some other thing that i love to do would include, my fitness training, spending time with friends at the local quiz or local restaurants. I also like to travel when i’m not working, my favourite places in the world would include Ontario in Canada, Pittsburgh, the south of Spain when i go away golfing and Hawaii was amazing when i went there.
Many thanks Paul for getting TO THE POINT and the PDPA Fanzone wishes you continued success for 2011 and we look forward to seeing you in your next match on the oche.
Interview brought to you by Andrew Devonshire, PDPA Fanzone.
Coming next ‘Mile High’ Mark Hylton gets TO THE POINT.
Email your questions for Mark now – email@example.com