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Dart Club News

At Deadeye Darts we are more than happy to promote your Darts Club where ever you may be located. Simply email us at orders@deadeyedarts.com with details of your Darts Venue, Club location, nights and days when darts are played, start times, entry fee (if any) and your contact details, plus information regarding playing levels etc. We receive numerous enquiries for people looking for venues to play darts from beginners to tournament level.

Speaking from experience it can be extremely difficult to find places to play darts especially when, you relocate to a new city or town. When I arrived back in Sydney I visited the local Services Club and enquired about Darts! The response I got was I`m pretty sure they do play darts here but, could you come back later and the receptionist should be able to help. I subsequently called back to reception and was told that darts were played on Wednesday nights, somewhere between 7.00 and 8.00pm. I rocked up 6.45 the very next Wednesday evening, however this was team night and the new darts teams will not be selected for another 4 months. My next question is there social darts, not sure was the response, we think a few people turn up on Tuesday night. Disappointing!

Deadeye Darts will provide a $100.00 Gift Voucher to the first 5 Clubs that submit their darts calendar, with complete information as detailed above. In addition these details will be recorded in our Darts News to assist prospective dart players find a suitable venue.

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Deadeye Darts Classic - Kambah ACT

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Rebirth of the Dart League

Rebirth of the Dart League.

It's a sad fact that despite resurgence in the popularity of darts globally, player numbers in Victoria appeared to be diminishing. Many leagues are finding it more and more difficult to field a full complement of teams and dart seasons are either becoming very short or very long depending on whether to play each other twice or three times during the season to make up for reduced the participants. Long gone, it seems, are the days of having team numbers that allowed for just once through the draw before commencement of the finals.

During our research for the Darter the decline was extremely evident. Many leagues contacted had experienced a significant reduction in numbers, resulting in few if any annual or interleague competitions, little enthusiasm for the promotion and only occasional special member events.

Perhaps the waning player numbers can be blamed partially on our ageing population, after all one does reach an age when the travelling and evening commitments become difficult, and where the average age of Australians living steadily higher it may be something we now need to consider. On the other hand many young couples find much of their spare time taken eaten up striving to a more luxurious lifestyle and focusing on career first and finally little time for simple pastimes.

Junior Dart players continue to emerge but in desperately low numbers despite the many opportunities offered by the VDC. These events are often poorly attended and leave officials scratching their heads as to what more can be done. As we all know young players of the future of our sport and what we really require is retention of our senior players at the one end whilst bolstering participation of juniors at the other… no easy task.

As if things aren't shaky enough, in recent months we have had the additional upheaval of the smoking ban in venues. Of all the sports it has hit hardest, darts and pool must be near the top of the list. The traditional “neck-oil and durry brigade" have indeed been hit where it hurts and perhaps many feel the weathering of the elements to continue their indoor sport just isn't worth the bother.

Smoking isn't allowed inside and drinking isn't allowed outside (unless in specifically designated areas). Who would have thought that a scarf, coat and woolly hat would become an essential part of Australian Dart-players kit?

Even as a non-smoker I can't escape the impact of this well meaning yet disruptive legislation when delays in game commencement, the abandonment of scoresheets and the ensuing chaos that the constant rounding up of players causes the flow of the match. No doubt many league constitutions will be amended in coming months to address these etiquette issues, but at present things remain difficult at best. The leagues that seem to cope best are those where only one scoresheet is used between teams, reducing commitment players to official duties, and freeing up more smokers to have a cigarette and returning time of their match.

Some exceptions to the flagging numbers do thankfully exist and here we will look at two organisations which are enjoying good growth despite the trend. Perhaps we could take their lead from their book in order to us with our own shrinking numbers. Legends Victoria, there were only emerged 10 years ago, as a mass more than 130 members since that time and Benalla darts Association has grown in recent years from 12 teams to 26. Perhaps if there are some common elements that we can identify, by taking these on board we may encourage a revival within our own leagues.

The committee of both Legends and Benalla are unquestionably dedicated to meeting the needs and expectations of its members, an important factor in their overall success. The legacy and outgoing committee believes sets the trend within the league. A robust, discipline committee that oversees with objectivity and foresight will create an environment wherein new end interesting ideas can be fielded.

Legends for instance have a fund-raising committee of the most engaging people circulating during events. They make light-hearted and friendly conversation, sell raffle tickets and key players up to date on the weekends schedule of activities. I truly believe this makes a positive impact on the tenor of the day and allows everyone to deal a welcome part of each event.

The role such people play with in a league should never be taken for granted as they contribute far more than just dollars to the social fund. Obviously some people are more suited to these roles more and others, but then out of the league will attract a healthy response to these positions when vacancies exist and a happy league will often find the same people intend to stay in the position of more than just one year before waving the white flag.

Legends was established to encourage members over the age of 45, therefore having a format tailored to accommodate the needs of this age group was paramount for its early success. Members have always enjoyed a well structured format that included a variety of events including trivia nights, tours and group bookings at restaurants that evening meals during competitions. Many say at the same accommodation venues or at friend's homes during events thus making the whole weekend great fun.

Perhaps the regular inclusion of non-darting activities has provided the variety and companionship away from the oche that many in this age bracket C in a past time and attracts all keeps more senior players within the sport. VDC affiliation enables Legends players (even in remote areas) the opportunity to participate in a VDC events. The Melbourne Cup, Oaks Plate, State Fours and Sixes competitions and State reserve challenge now become accessible through one simple membership, without the weekly commitment.

Banalla Dart Association

When I finally caught up with the Ray Croxford, President of them Benalla Darts Association, he was talking to set up the weekend event… at the bowls club. Not only is Ray heavily involved in darts but also finds the time to well run the Moora Bowls Club. Ray is a dedicated and knowledgeable organiser with both a personable nature and a willingness to share.

Despite his workload on the day we met and several phone calls during a meeting he was relaxed and never once lost his train of thought during our conversation.

Ray proudly related that Benalla Darts Association is a family orientated darts league where youngsters and the elderly can come and be part of activities without the embarrassment of fowl language and angry, drunken behaviour. That was stopped years ago when team members were low and Ray took the helm.

“ It's just not acceptable when you have the elderly or young people in the room", said Ray." So we call everyone together and made it clear that offensive behaviour wasn't going to be tolerated any longer. Most accepted it readily, and those that didn't like it left. Those members were few and the league was ultimately better off without them."

Team numbers soon began to grow and a sound financial position saw the league introduce regular darting and non-darting activities for its members. Even when airguns were low the league bought meat and put on subsidised meals on darts nights. Suppers are traditionally some central any include a variety of fine fare from talented cooks within their ranks.

Seasonal parties and bus trips to Barooga have become legendary within the BDA and are often the first enquiry of new members. But if one was to think of the BDA only in terms of bus trips and parties they would be very much mistaken and risk overlooking other facets of Ray and the BDA charter that play an equally important role in its success.

Like all Dart leagues BDA holds its annual presentation night with awards and speeches as committee and recipients addressed the gathering. It is a joyous light-hearted event celebrated with substantial trophies, good food and (of course) some free drinks, but there is one moment during the event when everyone goes silent. For this one special presentation during the festivities Ray takes the microphone in a respectful silence befalls all in attendance without any prompting. Everyone in the room knows the importance of what's going to follow.

The presentation Ray holds in his hand is being made in the memory of his good friend and Dart player who lost his life trying to save a mate who climbed into and fume-filled well and was overcome. Without thought of his own safety he hurriedly on down to help Only to suffer the same dreadful consequences. Ray doesn't hesitate to recall during his speech how “bloody stupid" it was a this dear friend not to have taken the time to the think first, but the selfless act in all still stirs a motion as the recollection the loss.

Of all the trophies that the Benalla darts Association presents at the end of the season none more sentiment than this one presented for “outstanding service" to the League and its members. Apparently you can hear at pin drop as Ray announces the winner. Last year saw Ray awarded the trophy for his own efforts by members in the most emotional presentation and one he will cherish for ever.

Recently the BDA held a fund raiser pro-gun pregnant Dart player kicked in the face by a horse and struggling with the associated expenses. Tickets were sold and donations poured in from members until the final tally reached several thousands of dollars. The BDA in sell donated an additional $2000 from its funds and a caring prizewinner donated the raffle prize to the young mother to be. Do we begin to see a pattern here?

At the start by an interview with Ray the one thing I want to ask was whether he could highlight any one factor a league should consider above all others when striving for Success. By the time our conversation was over I knew without even having to ask. For the league to succeed it must look after its members. Committee members are certainly important but they don't hold any special rights or privileges. “Monthly meetings where sometimes hundreds of dollars of league funds are spent on meals and drinks for a select few are just not acceptable", said Ray

There was a time in years past as the BDA when players were poached specifically to bolster one particular t team. "It was never an acceptable for fair practice and has been stopped so teams can now choose and keep your own members and not be dictated to by one authority and misusing their position".

The league funds belong to its members equally and should be used for the enjoyment of the league as a whole. Responsible financial management is crucial to avoiding conflict and upsets amongst members, not to mention legal intervention when things get really out of hand.

To help share the rewards of a healthy bank balance the BDA put on the infamous Barooga bus trip annual where only $10, drinks are supplied on the bus as they can away for the day at the pokies. Small novelty gifts are awarded to passengers during the trip and add to the fun and laughter along the way. Subsidised five dollar dinners and a few dollars to spend on the poker machines make fun day for all. Last season $2000 was spent on this event for members enjoyment, but barely put a dent in their funds… such is the strength of the BDA.

Ray expressed sincere disappointment to hear that during our research for our register of Victoria Dart Leagues several well known leagues have either collapsed or gone into “recession", as one past Secretary called it. Ray understands the problems well, and once that is experience to mentor or caretaker nearby league that was struggling. Despite the call by its members for Ray to help it regained its feet, the floundering committee refused his offer and chose a path that ultimately led to the league and folding instead…
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