In this edition of dartsweb is another of our feature, ‘Darts Fans’. Facing the questions this time is Henry Cheal, a familiar face to those active on the darts Twitter circles. By day, he is a student, working towards his A-Levels later this year, but Henry can be seen regularly on social media tweeting about the latest action, including particularly favoured players Rob Cross and Luke Humphries (for whom he runs an official news page), or publicising the latest posts from his blog The World of Darts. First and foremost, though, Henry told me about how he first fell in love with the game.
“The first ever darts game I watched was the 2013 World Championship final between Taylor and MVG. I was only 11, but I understood what was going on and I found it quite interesting. From then on, I became more interested in darts but I didn’t really watch anything else that year until the following world championships, where MVG won his first. But as I made more of an effort to find out when the future tournaments were, I watched major tournaments from then on and got into it more and more. I didn’t even know about the Pro Tours and Euro Tours and their existence til only a couple of years ago, but that’s because I didn’t follow any dart pages on social media or look at the PDC website. I only watched the TV tournaments.”
“And as for when I entered the online community, I joined in January 2018, New Year’s Day in fact. My account back then started out as a fan page of Rob Cross, even though I started properly supporting him before then. I wanted to create the fanpage in time for the World Championship final. Choosing to do that was probably one of the best decisions of my life, as my life has changed in so many ways, mainly because I wouldn’t be in the position I am today and have come across some fantastic people in my time on that account. It was only this year I decided to stop the fan page so I could tweet my opinions on other things, but that doesn’t mean my support for Cross has vanished. As someone who has spent almost two years in the darts community on Twitter, I think it’s a brilliant community and everyone is very supportive of each other and all round great people. I am proud to be a part of it and I look forward to interacting with people on it.”
Despite his extensive interest in darts, it isn’t the only sport that keeps him entertained. Henry also follows motorsport, football and snooker as well as rugby. But for Henry, there are a few things which give it a special place in his heart, “What draws me into darts mainly is the standard of the game today. It’s at such a high level that nine darters feel like a normality, as well as ridiculously high averages every week. As well as this, seeing the crowd having a blast watching a game of darts and having a few pints seems like something up my alley. I want to go to a few events next year if I can.”
Henry has already discussed his support for Rob Cross and he too is a vocal fan of Luke Humphries. But there are a plethora of players that the 17-year-old keeps an eye out for, and he explained the origins of some of his fandoms, “I love all darts and I try to watch all PDC and BDO majors at a minimum. I am interested in all darts and follow people who talk about other aspects of darts such as soft tip, other Asian darts, American darts and others,” Henry explained of his following of the arraz.
“As for events in particular, I might be in the minority but I prefer Players Championship events to the Euro Tours. TV tournaments I prefer to both though, probably the World Matchplay being my favourite tournament followed by the World Championships (for BDO and PDC). I love all tournaments.”
“As for dart players, I have three favourite players that I support equally – Rob Cross, Glen Durrant and Luke Humphries. I support Rob Cross and Glen Durrant mainly because of who they are as a person. Both players are very honest, very humble and are very nice men. Those sort of people I look up to in a way. With regards to Rob, my support largely stems from the fact he has achieved so much in his career, despite only being in his third year on the PDC circuit, and he’s still humble as ever and a fantastic role model to the world of darts. And as for Glen, he may be a three time BDO world champion, but he’s still humble as ever. Both are extremely hard working individuals who wouldn’t be where they are today without putting that work in and it just shows you how hard work gets you places in life. Both men are fantastic role models for the younger generation and I honestly wish them all the best.”
“And as for Luke Humphries, I think he’s a great talent and has a bright future ahead of him. I’ve talked to him on Twitter before and he was a really nice guy. He still is just that. I also support him because he’s from Berkshire, which is where I am from and I think he represents Berkshire extremely well when playing darts. I can only wish him all the best in his career.”
And it is Glen Durrant who Henry has recently chosen to explore, in the form of a biography, which he recently started to pen. Cheal told me a little bit about it, “The idea of the Glen Durrant book first came about around the time of this year’s World Championship, as he won his third title in a row. Then when he won his tour card, I was extremely pleased for him. Then seeing him excel from the get go made me think ‘I could write a magazine out of this’. By that point, I was still writing the Rob Cross book (which I have stopped for reasons I won’t say), so it would be a side project to that. Then as I ended the Rob Cross book, I put my full attention to the Glen Durrant magazine (which was my first idea with it, it’s now going to be a book).”
“I put a tweet out sharing my idea and Glen actually responded to me saying he was here to help with it. I wasn’t expecting a response and him saying he was happy to help me with it was great. The way I could describe this whole thing to you is that I am a young man wanting to achieve his dream of becoming an author, who is writing about someone who is achieving and living their dream too. What interests me about Glen’s story is that he’s achieved his dream through hard work and dedication. He started taking the BDO circuit seriously in 2011 and didn’t look back. He never once doubted his ability, but through hard work he’s managed to win three World Championships, two World Masters and so much more in the BDO with a very difficult and hard working job. Now he’s in the PDC and has quit his job, he is now living his dream of being a darts player full-time and I’m sure he will achieve big things in the PDC. He’s already striving for success and it can only get better, and he honestly deserves everything that comes to him because of his hard work getting to this position in the first place, as well as helping me with the book.”
Too, as previously mentioned, the upcoming biography of the Teesside tungsten chucker isn’t the only thing that has been keeping Henry busy. He has also set up The World of Darts blog, teaming together a range of writers from across the online darts community to produce regular news content and features. “I’m very passionate about darts and I thought I would create my own blog,” said Cheal of his venture.
“Of course, when the blog becomes bigger and more people read the content, the blog will expand into a brand. This blog is different to other blogs because it’s being created by passionate dart fans who write what they are most interested in, so you can sense that the writers enjoy the content they are creating. In future, we are setting up a YouTube channel too. I have a few other ideas in mind but for now we just need to get off the mark. Credit to all the writers in the team, they’re all fabulous and we can only grow. What I would love is to have enough money to sponsor players, but, we will need a decent amount of money to do that. Instead, for now, we are only going to give our ‘support’ to players.”
And, finally, as is custom in ‘Darts Fans’, Henry shared his predictions for the future, and he made a couple of interesting predictions. “That’s a tough one, darts is very unpredictable these days but I’ll say a few things that I think would happen in the long term. I think Gerwyn Price and James Wade will be world champions one day.”
Thanks to Henry Cheal
Image Credits: Henry Cheal