Cald­well loves the Lake­side lights

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

From the Lake­side Coun­try Club in Lon­don to Grey­mouth – it’s all part of the jour­ney for Craig Cald­well.

New Zealand’s No 1 darts player con­tested a tour­na­ment in Grey­mouth last week­end, los­ing in the last 16. The sur­round­ings were less salu­bri­ous than the Lake­side com­plex where Cald­well last month com­peted in the Bri­tish Darts Or­gan­i­sa­tion world cham­pi­onship.

There are two world darts bod­ies. The Pro­fes­sional Darts Cor­po­ra­tion’s world cham­pi­onship is the one New Zealan­ders see on Sky in De­cem­ber and Jan­uary. The cor­po­ra­tion broke away from the Bri­tish Darts Or­gan­i­sa­tion in the 1990s and Phil Tay­lor, Gary An­der­son and Michael van Ger­wen are among its stars.

Nev­er­the­less the Bri­tish Darts Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s blue rib­bon tour­na­ment rates well on the BBC and among darts purists.

Cald­well said he was proud to ac­crue enough rank­ing points to qual­ify for the world champs.

‘‘It’s their flag­ship event. It’s def­i­nitely worth trav­el­ling there for,’’ he said. ‘‘The fa­cil­i­ties were bril­liant and it was a re­ally wel­com­ing at­mos­phere.’’

Cald­well flew past Scot­land’s Alan Soutar 3-1 in the pre­lim­i­nary round, when his av­er­age was an ex­cel­lent 91.20. He then met de­fend­ing world cham­pion Scott Mitchell of Eng­land.

The Ti­tahi Bay man gave it his all, av­er­ag­ing 92.76, but lost 3-2.

Cald­well equalled the record for a first-round match with nine 180s and Mitchell spoke glow­ingly about the New Zealan­der’s per­for­mance af­ter­wards.

‘‘It was over­whelm­ing. The re­sponse from the crowd was fan­tas­tic and to get a stand­ing ova­tion like I did was hum­bling.’’

Cald­well, last year’s Porirua Sports­man of the Year, said it was a goal in the com­ing year to ac­crue enough rank­ing points to play in the Pro­fes­sional Darts Cor­po­ra­tion’s ma­jor events.

He has had a taste of play­ing in front of the big lights re­cently and feels he can beat the best on his day. For now, how­ever, it’s night shifts at Sealed Air in Els­don.

‘‘I couldn’t do this with­out the sup­port of my work and [part­ner] Cathy. I want to be a pro­fes­sional, and I’m get­ting the ex­po­sure, but I still need to pay the bills.’’

PHOTO: GETTY

Craig Cald­well, seen here in ac­tion at the Auck­land Darts Masters last Au­gust, is still seek­ing to be­come a pro­fes­sional darts player.

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