A shot at top spot

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CHANTELLE MACISAAC chantelle.macisaac@gulfnews.ca

The right op­por­tu­nity, a clear mind­set and ra­zor-sharp skills are tak­ing Pa­tri­cia Far­rell to Lon­don, Eng­land to par­tic­i­pate in the World Masters tour­na­ment.

The Co­droy Val­ley dart pro­fes­sional is no stranger to the sport or to com­pe­ti­tion, but this year she feels con­fi­dent enough to take her skills all the way.

Far­rell has been play­ing darts for a very long time, and 2016 marks her 30th at na­tional level com­pe­ti­tion.

“The in­vi­ta­tion to the World Masters is re­ally ex­cit­ing,” said Far­rell. “This has been a good year for me. I have at­tended a lot of tour­na­ments and have had a lot of prac­tice… So maybe this is my chance.”

Get­ting that in­vi­ta­tion isn’t easy. About eight tour­na­ments, which are world rank­ing, are held through­out the year. It’s a ranked sys­tem, with the high­est be­ing con­sid­ered the best in the na­tion.

Far­rell has been Num­ber 1 in Canada for the past two years.

Win­ners in the sin­gle men’s and women’s di­vi­sions are of­fered the in­vi­ta­tion. Far­rell earned hers in Hal­i­fax in March. She fin­ished Num­ber 1 in women’s sin­gles, and David Cameron of Nova Sco­tia was tops in men’s sin­gles.

She knows play­ing against the world’s best will be in­tim­i­dat­ing. In fact, it isn’t her first shot at it. Far­rell at­tended the World Masters four or five times be­fore 1999 and her best was in the Top 16.

No woman from Canada has earned the masters ti­tle be­fore.

“It’s very com­pet­i­tive and you have to per­form right off the getgo,” she said. “It’s best of five and when you lose you are out. I may be trav­el­ling there to play one match, you don’t know.”

But that isn’t go­ing to keep her from go­ing. Far­rell is thrilled about the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent Canada and to play among the best in the world.

The game

“When I step up to the toe line, it’s just me and the dart­board,” said Far­rell. Fo­cus is on her game alone.

She knows the men­tal part of her game is im­por­tant, and con­sid­ers prac­tice to be the most im­por­tant thing in pre­par­ing her­self for world com­pe­ti­tion.

“If I win, I win … If I lose, I lose,” said Far­rell. “I think with that at­ti­tude, I have done more win­ning than any­thing.”

She has learned many things over the past 30 years, in­clud­ing not wor­ry­ing about her op­po­nent’s game.

“You gen­er­ally know what they can shoot, but you can’t think about that,” she said. “You have to play your own game.”

At one time, Far­rell — who’s cur­rently ranked 50th in the world, learned a les­son in feel­ing bad for an op­po­nent as well.

“It threw me right off know­ing she could shoot bet­ter,” she said. “Her first few games were off and I started feel­ing bad for her.”

With Far­rell’s mind­set not on her own game, that op­po­nent come back and ended up beat­ing her. Con­fi­dence goes a long way in darts, she said. And prac­tice is what makes her con­fi­dent.

“You need to shoot your game in 15, 18, 21 darts and if I can con­sis­tently keep at 18 darts then I have a good shot at it over there and feel­ing pretty con­fi­dent,” said Far­rell.

Be­sides par­tic­i­pat­ing in as many tour­na­ments as pos­si­ble, Far­rell prac­tices reg­u­larly at home with friends and fam­ily and at the two dart leagues in the Co­droy Val­ley.

“When I head out Fri­day or Sun­day evening, I al­ways go an hour or more early to get in that ex­tra prac­tice,” said Far­rell.

Get­ting to Lon­don

If Far­rell is not afraid to ad­mit one thing about her pas­sion, it’s that it comes at a high cost.

Word of Far­rell’s in­vi­ta­tion to the World Masters spread like wildfire. Thanks to the power of so­cial me­dia, many knew about it quite quickly, and wanted to sup­port her op­por­tu­nity.

Far­rell up un­til re­cently has been able to keep a pretty low pro­file.

A tour­na­ment will be held on April 23 to help al­le­vi­ate some of the cost for her.

“I was so blown away with the sup­port from the com­mu­nity,” she said. “It’s to­tally awe­some they want to help out… For me, to go, to play, to wear that Canada dart shirt – it’s what I look for­ward to the most.

“If I do well, that will be a big bonus … I couldn’t do it with­out the sup­port.”

CHANTELLE MACISAAC PHOTO

Pa­tri­cia Far­rell is pre­par­ing for World Masters, be­ing held in Lon­don Eng­land in Novem­ber.

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