Cald­well bags mas­ters ti­tle

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

For Craig Cald­well, 2.37 me­tres can some­times seem like a very long way.

That’s the dis­tance from the piece of wood on the floor to the dart­board, an ex­panse he knows only too well.

The 38-year-old from Ti­tahi Bay, a mem­ber of the Kapi Mana Darts Club, took out the Puma New Zealand Mas­ters tour­na­ment on June 19. He was over­joyed to win the ti­tle at his home club, just off Kenepuru Drive.

Don’t be fooled by the ‘‘ Mas­ters’’ moniker in the tour­na­ment’s ti­tle ei­ther – this is used to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it from the up­com­ing New Zealand Open. The field in Porirua con­sisted 16 of the top 20 Kiwi play­ers, along with over­seas en­trants.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely my big­gest win and it was so great to do it in front of so many friends and fam­ily. To play an­other [ Kapi Mana] club mem­ber in the fi­nal was spe­cial.’’

In a match that could have gone ei­ther way, Cald­well de­feated the No 1 ranked player in the coun­try, Koha Kokiri, 6-5.

‘‘We play each other all the time, we know each other’s game so well, and it just came down to a few darts – it was in­tense.’’

What made the win taste even sweeter was his fa­ther was watch­ing. He saw Cald­well throw darts in his younger days, but had never seen him com­pete at a se­nior level.

‘‘I love com­pet­ing – with darts there’s nowhere to hide,’’ says Cald­well. ‘‘You might throw a bad few darts, but you just have to keep stand­ing up there, no mat­ter what.’’

The Kapi Mana club has nearly 120 mem­bers and is one of the strong­est in New Zealand, hold­ing a num­ber of North Is­land and na­tional tro­phies. Last year its mem­bers hit 180 (the best pos­si­ble three-dart score) just un­der 1000 times, with Cald­well and Kokiri ac­count­ing for a large per­cent­age of those.

Their old­est mem­ber is 81, their youngest (com­pet­ing) is 10. It’s like ‘‘one big fam­ily’’, Cald­well says.

‘‘It’s very so­cial and play­ing reg­u­larly in tour­na­ments and at club nights is re­ally good for your game. What’s great about the suc­cess we have is that ev­ery­one is lo­cal. Darts is ul­ti­mately a self­ish game – you play it on your own, but the club it­self is about fam­i­lies.’’

Cald­well, ranked sixth in New Zealand and 48th in the world, will join de­fend­ing cham­pion Kokiri and other Kapi Mana mem­bers at the New Zealand Open in Nel­son from Au­gust 7 to 12. And any ad­vice for darts novices? ‘‘ Just keep prac­tis­ing those dou­bles [the thin out­side seg­ment of a num­ber]. Peo­ple think it’s all about the triple 20s, but it’s the dou­bles that win you games.’’

Dead-eye Craig: Porirua’s Craig Cald­well, ranked in­side the top 10 darts play­ers in New Zealand, will be one to beat at next month’s New Zealand Open.

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