Play­ers well on tar­get

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

For darts player Craig Cald­well, be­ing men­tored by Phil Tay­lor is as big as it gets.

The Porirua man won the open sin­gles ti­tle at the na­tional champs in Ro­torua last month and, be­cause of his semi­fi­nal fin­ish in a tour­na­ment on the Gold Coast not long af­ter, will go to Bri­tain in De­cem­ber.

There, he and more than 150 other darts play­ers from around the world will play off with the top 16 go­ing to a qual­i­fy­ing school to try to earn a num­ber of pro­fes­sional con­tracts.

Re­gard­less of how he fares, Cald­well said it was the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time.

‘‘ It’s in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence, you get to play and be men­tored by some­one like Phil Tay­lor. I was hop­ing to get to play him [in the semis on the Gold Coast] but he was on the other side of the draw. That would have been spe­cial.’’

Cald­well is part of the Kiwi team to take on the best in the Asia-Pa­cific Cup, be­gin­ning in Dar­win on Septem­ber 24. He will be joined by fel­low Kapi Mana Darts Club player Polly Luke, who fin­ished third-equal in the na­tional sin­gles, and run­ner- up with her part­ner Ebony Ngaire in the ladies’ pairs.

Luke is thrilled to be in the New Zealand team.

‘‘I’ve been a brides­maid [first re­serve] three times be­fore, so it’s neat to make it.’’

Kapi Mana’s Leah Price was out­stand­ing at the na­tion­als, win­ning the sin­gles from more than 200 oth­ers but missed out on a berth in the Kiwi team.

‘‘I was de­ter­mined to win and it was an awe­some feel­ing, now I just have to stay there [keep play­ing to the high stan­dard],’’ Price said of her 4-0 de­mo­li­tion of fel­low Welling­ton re­gion player Anna Neho in the fi­nal.

Cald­well, who is spon­sored by Puma, is ar­guably the best darts player in the coun­try with his dom­i­nant vic­tory in the open men’s division (251 en­tries).

He was run­ner-up with Tony Bull in the men’s pairs.

He has an an un­der­stand­ing part­ner, Cathy, and em­ployer to thank for be­ing able to fol­low his dream.

‘‘ I spend most of my leave trav­el­ling and play­ing darts. We in­cor­po­rate hol­i­days around tour­na­ments, so I’m lucky.’’

Dead-eye for darts: Leah Price, Craig Cald­well and Polly Luke were in the zone at

the na­tional darts champs in Ro­torua in Au­gust with many of their Kapi Mana Darts Club col­leagues also plac­ing

well.

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