Get mad on darts

John Kelly will be looking for a bullseye when he goes up against the pros this summer. Photo: Chris Callinan.

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: