We are delighted to be joined by Australia’s leading name in darts Corrine Hammond, who shares her exclusive thoughts to Dave McNally for Darts World ahead of her Lakeside appearance, in Part 8 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.
On the eve of the Lakeside World darts championships, Australian women’s number one and world number five Corrine Hammond took time out of her preparations and hectic schedule to speak to Darts World Magazine.
Corrine, the 2017 Lakeside and World Masters runner up plus the Isle of Man, Czech and British Open Champion certainly has the pedigree to go one better this year and take home the Lakeside title, but how is Corrine herself feeling? And what of her preparations? “2017 was another whirlwind year for me – but probably the best yet! Thanks to favourable results in a number of tournaments throughout the year, I managed to improve my ranking from 8 to 5. Improving my ranking in the tables was a goal I’d had for myself, so I’m pleased to have met it. I’m really excited for the World Championships to begin – preparations have been ongoing since the last one finished – so I’d say I’m well prepared!”
It is important not to stagnate in darts at any level but even more so at the top and Corrine has far from been resting on her top 5 status as she points out “My game is always developing, that can be simple things such as a change in checkout combinations or a different pre-match practice routine. One thing I would think has developed significantly over the last year is being a lot more comfortable with stage matches, as I’ve been lucky enough to play in quite a few over the last 12 months”
So are you feeling any added pressure for this year with going so close last year? “No, I’m not feeling any added pressure at all. The way I look at it is that I’m not the defending champion, nor am I number 1 seed, or bookies favourite. I’d expect they’d have more to feel pressured about than I do. Everything is just going to come down to what happens on the day; sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t”
Corrine seems to be relaxed about it all but that was not always the case as she points out “My first year I wasn’t sure whether I would vomit or pass out as I was taking that stage. Last year it was nervous excitement, so we’ll see what feelings this year brings.”
What strategies do you have for the Lakeside? More time practising? Focusing on finishing? “I believe it’s important to see it the same as any other tournament. While you’re never going to forget it’s a World Championship, placing too much emphasis and focus on it is what leads to feeling that increased pressure.”
It is increasingly becoming more competitive on the women’s tour so who are the women to watch out for? Any surprise packages that the public should be making a note of? “I believe this year’s women’s field is one of the best yet. You’ll never find an easy match during the World Championships. However this year sees some really tough first round matches take place and there could be a few surprises in store, which should make for some great viewing”
Talking of first round matches, Corrine is set to face Fallon Sherrock whom she beat 4-0 back in May. The bookies surprisingly making Sherrock slight favourite but does Corrine think this is slightly odd considering her experience and pedigree in the major events last year and experience on the Lakeside stage? “I’m not surprised by this at all. Fallon is a very experienced player, especially on the UK/European tour. She is herself a previous World Masters and World Championship finalist and has also picked up a few titles this year, so we should be in for a good first round match and I don’t mind being the underdog.”[laughs]
Well, you’re 16-1 to win it outright? Are you worth a few quid?
“Oh wow, I’m really not a fan of people telling me they’re betting on me, so no, I’m not going to be telling anyone to place bets!”[laughs]
The conversation moves to Australia and their darts coverage. What sort of TV coverage is there going to be in Australia? Will Corrine’s game be on live?
“I believe the only way they will be able to view all matches is via the BDO YouTube Channel, as this will be shown live to all outside the UK and Ireland via a live stream at youtube.com/bdodarts”
With the weight of the Australian darts resting on Corrine’s shoulders, how does she feel about flying the flag for Australian women’s darts, is she hoping it will get more Aussie ladies involved in the sport? Corrine was equally as modest in her answer “It would be fantastic to have the ladies game evolve in Australia and grow bigger and better. If I can be part of that revolution by encouraging others to get involved, then I’ll feel my role as a good Australian ambassador has been met.”
So back to the World Championships, what is the buzz and adrenalin like playing on the most famous of all darting venues?
“It’s very surreal, and could be somewhat overwhelming. I’ve not seen much of the television coverage, but what I have seen really doesn’t portray the atmosphere in the venue, it can be electric.”
So then Corrine, the big question, win the Lakeside or win every other tournament on the tour?
[laughing] “I’m sure everyone at one stage or another would love to be a World Champion, although to be honest, I’d probably earn more money winning every other tournament on the tour than I would winning the World Championships and it probably shouldn’t be like that. It just goes to show that the ladies don’t play for the money we play because we love it.”
With being based in Australia and most tournaments being in the UK and Europe, the travelling and costs must have a huge impact of entering tournaments; is this problematic? “It’s funny you should ask that as I’ve been based in the UK for 7 months now [laughs]. I’m planning on seeing out a full 12 months before returning home to Australia.
That’s been made possible for me by having a really supportive workplace at home who’ve allowed me 12 months leave, and I’m also part of a fantastic management team in Modus Darts so I’m really lucky I have the opportunity to play so much darts.
I also can’t forget my sponsors, Showtime darts for all equipment needs and Spida Sports for my shirts. It’s been a fantastic experience so far. I’ve been able to play in so many different countries and experience new things, I’ve made some really great friends that I’ll be sad to say goodbye to; but who knows how long I’ll be saying goodbye for?”
Darts world would like to thank Corrine Hammond.