Mental Health Awareness Week: Webster Opens Up On LockDown Struggles.

DARREN WEBSTER admits he has turned to Sporting Chance for help to get himself through lockdown. The jovial oche star has struggled with several issues over the years after losing his two-year-old daughter Millissa through illness 20 years ago and suffering so many injuries.

But the World No.26, who won his recent Home Tour group, has paid tribute to the backing he has received during Mental Health Awareness Week. He said:

“I struggle with the lockdown. I can’t sit still for too long. I went to see someone from Sporting Chance which was set up by the PDPA. I’m on medication for it. To lock me up is ridiculous.

“Don’t get me wrong, I control it quite well. But I can get down. I’m lucky I’ve got the missus, the dogs and my daughter here. Some people don’t have that. That can do more harm than good. “I have to keep my mind busy. Last night I came home, went to sleep on the couch, and then was awake from 3am to 7am and I’m just sitting there and my head go mad. I overthink, I go over things in my mind.“I’ve been to every one of the Sporting Chance discussions organised by the PDPA. I’m the only ever-present, a 100 per cent record. Whatever they talk about, I’ve got everything.

“I was really bad when I first went last year. I don’t worry about stuff. My missus reckons I’m a cross between BiPolar, ADHD, Autism and Tourettes!

“The guy at Sporting Chance explains a lot to me. He basically said what I’ve done is in the past my body and mind has shut the door and thrown the key away on stuff that has happened to me.

“Lockdown started well for me. I decided to do out my new practice room and whacked my thumb which had blood pouring out of a 10mm wide wound. I closed it all up for the picture I put on Twitter. “My Twitter feed will have to have a graphic content warning. I’ve either got a black eye on it or a bleeding thumb. It’s healed now though, I did it myself, I didn’t want to go to hospital.

“My way through all that was work, keeping myself busy. So I can go mad if I allow myself to think too much.“If I could go fishing I’d be OK. Some people like golf, I can’t see a problem with that. People are pouring into airports unchecked, but we can’t go fishing on our own. That’s very frustrating.”

Webster, 51, eased past Bradley Brooks, Scott Baker, and Andy Hamilton in the online streaming event. He played in his new practice room which he had to re-build after complaints from his neighbours because of the thudding noise! He added: “Thanks to me doing my practice room I’ve got a great set up now. I’ve got the tripod for the phone to film it. I’m now glad I spent the first week of lockdown doing it all up.“I had to change it all around after I’d finished it because the neighbour was moaning at the thudding of the darts noise. “I then had to spend £400 on echo insulation plus acoustic plasterboard on plus carpet. I spent over £500 in total just so the neighbours can’t hear the thud. They spend less on the Ally Pally than I did on my practice room!

“Every day I get up at 6am and don’t sit down until 9pm. I go to work all day, come home and have my tea and then practice with Jack Main for two hours. That’s what I have done for five years non-stop. But obviously we can’t do that now either.“I’m the biggest motivated person you’ll meet in your life. I practice every night of the week with Jack. He works on a building site like I do, no matter how knackered I am, I will practice for two hours every night.

“But now my head is telling me we might not play until next year. I had all my trapped nerves and tennis elbow last year, so I felt it would be a good idea to rest my arm completely during this time and try and get fully fit again.

Darren Webster looks forward to when the full tour starts again.

“Then when I know darts is starting again, I’d start to practice properly again. I have been having a throw, but not two hours a night. “I don’t think we’ll be playing darts again this year. I can’t see them allowing mass gatherings in time for the World Championships even. I hope I’m wrong though.”


Words: Phil Lanning

Photography: Taylor Lanning