Tauranga’s John Kelly is mad on darts, and he hopes you will be too after a visit from two of the United Kingdom’s top players this January.
John is among six Kiwi representatives taking on the United Kingdom pros in a summer tour right here in the Bay early this year.
“We’ve got a couple professionals from the UK coming over for some exhibition matches: Jamie Caven, known as ‘Jabba’, and Devon ‘the Spartan’ Petersen,” says John.
Facing off against these champs will be John, along with Mark ‘Cowboy’ McGrath, Craig ‘Dunn & Dusted’ Dunn, Mark ‘Maestro’ Cleaver, Peter ‘Stumpy’ Hunt, and Darren ‘Apocalypse’ Herewini.
The idea is to give New Zealand fans a chance to revel in the excitement they’re used to seeing on television, as well as giving the general public a taste of the darts scene.
“It’s going to be tournament fashion, with music, walk-on girls, everything to recreate the environment of the overseas matches,” says John.
“The scene is growing massively at the moment. It’s a bit like the sevens was, before they stopped the drinking.”
The good news is the events will take place on licensed premises – Tauranga Citizens Club and Top Shot Bar, Te Puna – so fans can enjoy a drink while hanging out for a perfect 180 round from the players.
For John, the sport is a passion, and he hopes to see more people take it up.
“I took the game up about eight or nine years ago when I moved to New Zealand. I’ve got a rugby background, but I needed something new. I started playing the game over at the Mount cossie club, and since then I’ve become addicted.”
The Mad on Darts Summer Smash 2017 will be in Tauranga on January 7-8, at the Tauranga Citizens Club and Top Shot Bar, Te Puna. Tickets are $35 per person, per event. More information can be found at: dartsnz.co.nz/summer-smash-2017