Dr Darts received an interesting e-mail, from a darts fan from Sussex, asking if he knew of any ambidextrous darters; darts players, like Ronnie O’Sullivan in snooker, who can
play darts at tournament level using either hand. Continue for Patrick’s thoughts.
PATRICK CHAPLIN (In association with Winmau)
DARTS WORLD May 2019
The Last Word
AS you will recall, last month I wrote about the UK Health and Safety Executive post-Brexit introducing compulsory measures to ensure that a clear perspex wall be constructed at all
darts venues to protect fans and officials from rebounding darts. It was, of course, an April Fool.
After reading it, I was immediately contacted by George Hakim (author of The Darts Player’s Handbook (1977) and an early contributor to DartsWorld). He wrote: “Thanks for the April Fool’s joke of a perspex wall, but I can see through it.” (Nice one. Thank you, George.) However, I did catch out one or two of my readers. One wrote: “Now I have heard the best. Maybe Jeremy Corbyn should be placed in front of a dartboard! No wonder this country is in a mess.” (Now, now. No politics, please.) Another reader told me: “very interested to see the thoughts on Brexit and potential implications that I bet nobody else had even considered. There may well be a few more who are now sitting at home reading this and saying ‘well, I’ll be’…”
On a totally different matter, I received an interesting e-mail from a darts fan from Sussex asking if I know of any ambidextrous darters; darts players, like Ronnie O’Sullivan in snooker, who can
play darts at tournament level using either hand. Wales’s legendary Allan Plant was a left-handed player who represented his country a number of times but on one occasion, due to an accident that prevented the use of his usual throwing arm, played exceptionally well in a match for Wales throwing right-handed. County Durham’s Doug McCarthy, who played a number of times for England, was naturally left-handed but always threw his darts with his right hand.
Then there was Belgian darts ace Erik Clarys. Erik (pictured above right on stage at the 2005 UK Open) won the Winmau World Masters in 1995 and joined the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) circuit in the early 2000s. Sadly, Erik suffered a career-ending elbow injury in 2006 when he fell from a ladder at work. He did try to return to the sport he loved by playing lefthanded, unfortunately without any success.
A tournament-level lady darter contacted me from the USA. Wishing to remain anonymous, she told me that, some years ago, at the height of her darting career, she shattered her right elbow. As a result, she ploughed herself into her work and thought that she would never play darts again.
However, she has recently regained her love of the sport and, still unable to use her right arm to throw, has begun learning to play with her left with, she tells me, some success. Then, of course, there are those professional players who, during exhibitions, sometimes play against their
selected opponents with their “wrong” hand.
But of course, all of these examples are not ambidextrous players but players who, due to unfortunate incidents or accidents, had no choice but to play with their other arm if they wished to continue, or try to continue, to play darts. So, my question to you is: “Do you know of any quality darts player (past or present) who can (or could) play equally well with both hands?” Someone who, if the game demands it, can switch hands and throw for, say, a double that, if using the proper hand might otherwise be obscured. If you know of anyone please contact me at email@example.com
By the way, Doug McCarthy (pictured at the top of the artilce), told me recently that, back
in the day, he was one of only two darts players who could stand at the oche with a dart in either hand, throw them simultaneously at the dartboard and land both at the same time within the treble ring. (Try it.) The other player to successfully achieve this party piece every time was
legendary Kent and England player Tony Brown. Doug also said that although he didn’t
throw left-handed in tournaments, the skill was naturally there as when players down the pub were choosing teams by going “up for bull” using their “wrong hand” it didn’t worry him at all.
PATRICKCHAPLIN poses a thought for the month
PHOTOGRAPH: LAWRENCE LUSTIG/PDC PHOTOG