Totally On Point: The Art of Darts Commentary

2 Jan

“Commentating is like the playing of sport really,” says John Gwynne. “To be a top player you have to have an element of ability in the first place. Improvement comes with practise and coaching and experience. It is also a wonderful professional substitute for not actually being able to play at the highest levels of sport. If you can add to the occasion in some small way, then it feels very special indeed.”

John developed a wild sporting imagination and obsessive data-gathering practises from a very young age, but didn’t get into the commentating game proper till quite late in life.

Commentators (L-R) Sid Waddell, Stuart Pyke, Dave Lanning and John Gwynne pictured in 2003

“I used to play cricket in the back garden when I was a child and slip into the voice of the great commentator John Arlott: I used to pretend our modest back garden was The Oval or Lords and I used to keep a ball-by-ball scoresheet of how every match unfolded. So the desire to commentate was there from an early age, but I actually entered the profession of commentary quite late in life. I was a school teacher initially, so I’ve been lucky that I have been able to work my way up to commentating on big matches and historical occasions.”

Okay, so how does one become one of the voices of British sport?

“Well, in my opinion you have to really know your sport. Not just the rules but all the background. You have to be steeped in it. Totally steeped in it. That’s what gives you the edge. You must also be prepared for every game. I have a pad at home for every tournament I’ve ever commentated on which contains brief player research and pages of in-game notes. Before every match I start with a blank page and then log every leg and the 3-dart averages throughout the match.”

Michael van Gerwen is the current PDC world champion

And do you also have nail-biting, crowd-pleasing metaphors prepped in advance? How do you exacerbate the sporting drama?

“You have to understand that as wonderful as darts is, it is a repetitive sport,” insists Gwynne. “A lot of people actually don’t need commentary as they know the game and the players inside out, so you really have to entertain as well as inform. Sid Waddell once said to me: “If it’s not adding to the picture it’s not worth saying.” Which I thought was an incredibly valuable piece of advice. You don’t need to announce the blindingly obvious, you should enhance it.”

“Sid played a massive part in my commentary career. He always insisted that we were in the entertainment business. A bit of humour, rapport and repartee goes a long, long way. We never planned out an exchange though: it was all spontaneous, quickfire, off-the-cuff stuff.

The ‘Voice of Darts’, Sid Waddell

When that kind of shared spontaneity comes off it must feel wonderful…

“One of the great compliments for me would be when Sid would say off air: “I wish I’d thought of that, John!” We had a lot of fun. I never tried to emulate him and he certainly didn’t need to emulate anyone else.

Giles Smith in The Times also once said that Sid and I were one of the most valuable partnerships in sporting commentary, or words of that ilk. I was very proud of that.”

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Michael van Gerwen ‘angry’ after having a pint chucked over him at PDC World Championship

16 Dec

Michael van Gerwen admitted to getting emotional after having a pint chucked over him before his walk out against Alan Tabern.

The Dutchman is looking to win his third PDC World Championship at the Alexandra Palace

Van Gerwen as visibly upset after having a beer thrown over him

However, he was forced to delay his walk-on and change his shirt after a rowdy fan launched a beer at him.

Van Gerwen returned looking visibly upset and the fan was removed from the building.

“This never happened to me before,” the 29-year-old told Sky Sports. “I didn’t know how to react, I was so angry.”

He continued: “But what can I do, I can’t do anything. The only thing I could do was change my shirt. I was a little bit emotional.

“But I am glad I won this game. I didn’t play too bad. Every player can learn from me because I never make excuses, I never blame anything else.”

The two-time world champion did not let the incident affect him as he won 3-1.

‘Mighty Mike’ averaged 102.59, threw four maximums and had a checkout percentage of 55.

Former world champion Gary Anderson denies farting on stage to distract Wesley Harms during Grand Slam of Darts clash

17 Nov

Gary Anderson has denied farting on stage during his match at the Grand Slam of Darts on Friday night.

The Flying Scotsman progressed to the quarter-finals in Wolverhampton with a 10-2 victory over Wesley Harms.

Anderson has denied farting on stage in Wolverhampton

But the Dutchman was not happy with the result or his performance, blaming it on ‘a fragrant smell’ left by his opponent.

“It’ll take me two nights to lose this smell from my nose,” he told Dutch TV station RTL7L.

But two-time PDC World Champion was horrified to hear these accusations, instead blaming the smell on the Aldersley Leisure Centre.

“If the boy thinks I’ve farted he’s 110% wrong. I swear on my children’s lives that it was not my fault,” he said.

Harms was less than impressed with the odour

“You can put your finger up my a*** there is no smell there.

“I had a bad stomach once on stage before and admitted it. So I’m not going to lie about farting on stage.

“Every time I walked past there was a waft of rotten eggs so that’s why I was thinking it was him. I thought he had a sh**. I thought he had farted on stage.

“It was bad. It was a stink, then he started to play better and I thought he must have needed to get some wind out.

“If somebody has done that they need to see a doctor. Seemingly he says it was me but I would admit it.”

Anderson will now face Michael Unterbuchner in Saturday’s quarter-final.