With Target about to land another star name? How will Harrows respond if they are to lose their biggest draw?
Most would agree that Target darts have surged in success, and importance, over the last few years. Their revamped product range, player portfolio and media presence, has installed them at, or near, the top of the tree. According to their Twitter feed, Target is going to unveil the latest addition to an already packed stable of elite players.
It has long been rumoured that Glen Durrant, three-time Lakeside champion, will join Target’s star-studded stable. Whether or not this is a successful or profitable move, for both parties, will be for later assessment. One thing for sure is that ‘Duzza’ will leave a big hole in his current sponsors line up.
Harrows are one of darts oldest and most storied names. They are, perhaps, most associated with Eric Bristow. The ‘Crafty Cockney’ spent more than thirty years, both whilst playing professionally and in his celebrity/pundit time, with the Enfield (London) founded firm. Other star names such as Dennis Priestley, Mark Dudbridge and Wayne Mardle have been part of the Harrows team over the years.
The model used is low on player numbers and high on loyalty. Their current roster includes only four players. Two UK steel tip players and two who feature in the soft tip arena. Harrows were early adopters, from 1987, of the soft-tip game. In addition, their name is associated with many popular accessories such as ‘Dimplex’ flights and ‘Alamo’ stems.
This approach has paid off very well in the last few years, the success of Durrant has meant that harrows were again associated with a star name to build around. Their no-nonsense production and quality design ensured that many of their non-player models were also very popular.
The decision to sign and then stick with Josh Payne also seems to have been paying dividends. Payne has returned to winning ways and quietly reestablished himself as a force to be reckoned with. The combination of Josh and Glen in the PDC seemed to be working very well reestablishing the Harrows name within, arguably, the most visible arena of professional darts.
Harrows will now be faced with an interesting decision. Do they attempt to keep up this momentum by seeking a high profile replacement? Or do they stick to their, product centred, model and sign another name that could be developed over time? This means less initial financial risk. A third possibility would be to invest in a player with name recognition but perhaps had a lean period. They could then show the customary loyalty and assist in the players return to their full potential. Perhaps ‘The Harrows Hammer’?
From our dartsworld.com Special Correspondent.