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