Darts Fans is back, and with a new guest in the hot-seat, as Paul Woodage answers the questions this week. Firstly, he told me how he became interested in darts. “I would say about 12-15 years ago. I’ve always enjoyed darts but wasn’t an avid fan. Then when MODUS asked me to book exhibitions in Ireland (where I was living at the time), my interest in the sport began to blossom,” he explained.
All darts fans have their favourite viewing memories, and I asked Paul to reflect on his. “I just love a good match – tense, high scoring with a lot of turning points. Before I became somewhat impartial, I was friends with James Wade and Simon Whitlock. A couple of special memories would be with Wadey when he won his first Grand Prix in 2010 and then UK Open in Bolton the year later. Naturally, I enjoy seeing players I know personally do well but as a writer and reporter, publicly no longer display bias!” The sports writer’s rule!
The skill level of the average darts fan varies greatly, but most of us have some interest in the playing side, so Paul explained where he stands on that spectrum. “Very mediocre! I do have a good set up at home and throw now and again. Certainly enjoy watching more than playing. My averages range from 45 to 60 (on a very good day!)”
Paul can be seen in the byline of articles for Darts World Magazine, where he is Chief News Writer. He explained how this opportunity came about, “I moved back from Ireland to the UK in May 2019 and wanted to get involved with darts. My brother spotted on Twitter that Planet Darts were looking for contributors – so I did a couple of general pieces for them. Then I began working with Phil Lanning at Oche!”
“When Phil moved over to Darts World as editor, he took me with him and I began interviewing players and writing regular features. That was about a year ago and that’s where I am today.”
“I am really enjoying the experience and was very proud to represent the Darts World brand in Blackpool at the recent Matchplay, and I am really grateful to the editor Callum Harris-Hulme for his continued support. My work for them includes interviewing players, writing features, reports and articles as well as reporting at live events.”
The live event and fan-filled stadiums are slowly returning and that leaves an end to 2021 which will hopefully be fantastic for darts. I asked Paul what he is looking forward to in the rest of the year, “Well things really heat up from here on in. The Grand Slam is always an intriguing event but I’ve a feeling we are going to witness something very special at the Worlds this year – and I will be there to see it happen live! No idea what it will be but with the talent on show, I am sure there will be some darting magic.”
Finally, as a darts writer, Paul has a good eye for the up-and-coming talent on the tour, and I asked him to highlight a few he thinks will do well. “Luke Littler is from my home town in Warrington and really impresses me. He is only 13 years old but already making waves.”
“Expect big things from Luke Humphries too. He reached his first major final this year (UK Open against Wade) and I think he is on the brink of big things.”
“Dom Taylor looks like an excellent prospect for the future too. But there are so many young kids who have the ability to make it – none less than my little buddy Harvey Stringer who is only 11-years old.”
Thanks to Paul Woodage