Darts Fans: Andrew Sinclair

Inside the BDO and Darts Planet’s Andrew Sinclair is this edition’s ‘Darts Fan’. He chats Wolfie, the 2020 BDO Worlds and Q-School.

Answering questions in this ‘Darts Fans’ is Andrew Sinclair. The 22-year-old is a massive arraz fan from Croydon, south London, and he first told me about how he became interested in the game. “I first got interested in darts, like many people, by watching it on television,” Andrew said. “The moment that hooked me completely was the 2007 BDO World Championship final between Martin Adams and Phill Nixon. It was such a great game, with so many great wrinkles and stories, and it’s something that I could watch again and again. I’ve played on and off, albeit not to a particularly high standard, for the last few years. I mostly got involved in the journalism side because it was a sport that I was interested in and one where I felt that there were opportunities to be had and stories to be told. I started doing Inside the BDO in late 2018 and soon after that I was asked to start writing for Darts Planet TV, so it’s just continued from there really.”

Andrew’s podcast, Inside the BDO, is popular amongst fans of the organisation, and certainly a great source of news. He explained a little bit about why he started it and what it offers, “The podcast, and Twitter account, are designed to keep people up to date with news, results and information about the British Darts Organisation. This was something that I felt was profoundly lacking anywhere else when I first got involved and the growing follower count and listener numbers indicate that there is definitely a market for what I’m doing! I also aim to interview a number of players, at varying stages of their careers, to discover their background in the sport, discuss their recent form and understand their goals for the future. That, for me, is the best part of doing it because players who play on the BDO tend to be your average person on the street, each with a unique story waiting to be told.”

And Sinclair, who works in the Communications team at Football Manager, also attended the BDO’s World Championship earlier this month. Welshman Wayne Warren was the winner of the men’s event, with Mikuru Suzuki picking up the women’s crown and Keane Barry the victor of the youth final. He shared his thoughts on the competition, “Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of the BDO World Championship. I was obviously in the privileged position of getting behind the scenes access but I thought the venue was great, the players area was nice and the crowds that they got in were decent. My biggest bug bears were probably promotion of the event, as I felt they didn’t do anywhere near enough to really get the word out there, and the production issues. It made the whole thing look very amateurish when the standard produced on the stage was consistently good. Paul Hogan’s run was a highlight, as was Mikuru Suzuki retaining her title. Perhaps the most enjoyable thing though was seeing Wayne Warren triumph. For years he was a brilliant county player and, at the age of 57, he proved that age is no real barrier in darts and that sometimes, just sometimes, dreams can come true. ”

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Andrew with women’s world champion Mikuru Suzuki

“The current situation is dreadful. I think the leadership of the organisation is lacking and while I don’t doubt that Des Jacklin had good intentions when he came in, they haven’t materialised and the whole BDO is now in disarray. I am glad that the WDF have pulled their finger out and started to establish something, but the BDO really need to come out and make a statement. A clear, concise message about where the organisation goes from here because players deserve clarity. The dropped prize money was a crying shame but it was information that should have been made clear well in advance.”

The recent PDC Qualifying School, also, saw a number of BDO players battle it out, this time for a place on the Professional Darts Corporation circuit, and as he explained to me, Andrew is keen to see how some of those successful fare on the PDC tour. “I’m very excited. Lisa Ashton getting a tour card was an incredible feat and as I have believed with all things, a rising tide lifts all boats. Her success will not only take her game on leaps and bounds but also really push up the standard of women’s darts across the board. I was delighted to see Nick Kenny get his card because the standard he produced before his injury at the World Cup was outstanding. He’s a lovely bloke and as he continues to get back to 100%, he could do some real damage on the ProTour.”

He continued, “Scott Waites is an interesting one but he’s got the ability and experience to make a good go of things if his head is in the right place. I’m delighted for Martijn Kleermaker and I think he could really kick on now. 2019 was his first year doing the BDO ‘full-time’ as it were and he showed the standard he’s already capable of. He’s a lovely man and the PDC environment should suit him as he continues to develop. In terms of pure curiousity, Wesley Harms is possibly the one I’m most interested in. He proved himself to be an exemplary floor player throughout his time in the BDO, but his record at the TV majors was shocking. He certainly believes in his ability and now he has the chance to prove it but I wonder whether he’ll end up being the Dutch Ian White…”

And finally, with the PDC season about to properly get underway tomorrow with the Masters, Andrew offered his thoughts on what he is looking forward to most in 2020. “A lot really. I think Snakebite’s victory in the PDC World Championship reinvigorated me as a darts fan, so I’m entering competitions like the Masters and Premier League with a renewed sense of interest. I’m looking forward to seeing how things all shake down with the BDO and the WDF and how the sea change that’s coming really changes the landscape. In terms of my personal development, I’m looking forward to playing more, improving my own game and hopefully attending a few local competitions. I’m also looking at going to some Challenge Tours later in the year as a guest, which is sure to be an interesting experience.”

Image Credits: Andrew’s Twitter

Thanks to Andrew Sinclair 

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