Dart player hits her mark
Cupids’ Amy Spracklin returns from world competition
Perhaps the best way to describe Cupids’ Amy Spracklin when it comes to darts is to say she’s a natural.
The Grade 11 student from Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts is only three years into her burgeoning career and has already competed at the provincial and national levels. Now, she can count competing on the world’s stage as one of her accomplishments through the world of darts.
Recently, Amy returned from Hull, England where she competed in the Winmau World Masters Dart Championships, held Oct. 6-11. It’s considered one of the most prestigious professional dart tournaments in the world.
The only youth competitor to represent Canada this time around, she competed in a trio of events — the Grand Slam playoffs, the World Youth Championships and finished with the Masters. “It doesn’t even feel like I went over there,” said Amy. “It feels like a dream. It was pretty cool.” Watching her play, it is easy to see why she has accomplished so much in such a small period of time. It’s evident in the ease at which she hurls the slender metal object at the dartboard and the scores she picks up.
Each dart thrown either hits its mark or falls just millimeters from its intended landing place. Some shots are errant, but they’re a rarity.
She says she likes the mental side of the game. Amy enjoys thinking about the next shot and the strategy that comes with trying to race your opponent to zero.
“You have to have a short memory in darts,” said mother Wanda. “You have to be able to forget about the bad shots.”
There’s also the concentration on every shot.
“I need to think about throwing the dart because I snap my wrist and the dart goes every-
where,” said Amy.
Getting over the double
If a bit of doubt crept into Amy’s head prior to the final competition this year, she could be forgiven.
At last year’s qualifying event, she was faced with having to double-out to achieve victory but couldn’t make the shot before her opponent could.
“Heading into nationals this year, Amy said she’s going to win,” said Wanda.
This year, the same scenario played out only this time, Amy was the one who got the double-out to win.
What was her mindset following her victory?
“I made the shot to win,” Amy said, pausing. “Then I went and had a sandwich.
“I guess I was more confident this year”
Math is easier
When you reach the higher levels of the dart world, the electronic score counters are taken away from competitors.
That means the athletes are required to write their scores on either a chalkboard or a whiteboard and do the math in their head.
In Hull, if you lost the previous match you were required to score the next game. That meant being able to do math in your head was paramount.
“You never wanted to mess up someone’s score,” said Amy of the pressures of scoring a world competition.
As a result of having to do rapid calculations during her matches, Amy’s math skills have improved.
“I’ve gotten better at doing math because of darts,” she said.
Practice makes perfect as they say. That might not prove more true than in the sport of darts.
A regular at Rosie O’Grady’s in Mount Pearl, Amy spent countless hours there preparing for her international debut. There were also plenty of flicks in her family’s shed.
Numerous summer days were spent perfecting her craft, honing the technique that helped her finish in the top dozen or so competitors for her age in the world.
“I tried to practice two hours a day,” said Amy. “Some days, I practiced in the morning and the night.”
Just like television
For some people, the most exposure they get to darts is throwing a couple of rounds in a friend’s shed on a Saturday night or watching the Premier League when they can catch it on television.
The Premier League is a different experience from other sports on television. Its fans are one of a kind and the environment can only be described as raucous.
“It was just like you’d see on television,” said Wanda, describing the environment of the youth competition.
Whether it is across the pond or on this side of the Atlantic, darts is the same. Competitors place themselves the same distance from the board, they’re the same darts and they use the same scoring system.
What isn’t the same is the environment. In England, darts is a big deal and the fans treat it as such. They get into every shot while being loud and boisterous. “I had to tune out the crowd,” said Amy. Watching a child at the highest level of their selected sport is a thrilling time for parents.
“I was more nervous watching her compete than I usually was,” said Wanda.
“We were really proud of her,” said father Clyde.
Cupids’ Amy Spracklin recently returned from the Winmau World Masters Dart Championships held in Hull, England Oct. 6-11.