Darts: fancy dress, rowdy fans and college rivalries

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Darts’s popularity has exploded across Durham. An ever-growing sport, seven new teams entered the college league system at the start of this season, which now boasts thirty college teams playing in two divisions.

Trevelyan’s A and B teams are two of those new entrants and darts has been a success story for the college this season. Their B team comfortably lead Division 2 as the only undefeated team across both divisions.

According to Trevelyan’s Darts President, Ed Sara-Kennedy, the sport’s growing popularity in Durham is “mainly due to the ease in which anyone can play. All you need is a few darts and a board, which are in every college bar and many of our houses.

Durham’s darts scene has also benefited from the sport’s success outside the city. “In terms of the professional game, TV coverage has increased so much over the last couple of years, meaning that more people are watching and are consequently wanting to get involved.”

Ed feels that having two teams that embrace all year-groups is crucial to sustaining darts’s popularity in Trevelyan, conscious of the legacy left behind when the current crop of players leave.

“It was important to have a freshers’ team as we didn’t want darts to die out next year. Having a good group of fresh and a few wiser third years around for the 2014/15 season will hopefully mean the sport can be sold to the incoming fresh and perhaps even enable a C team to be created.”

It’s the sociability of the sport and the atmosphere surrounding it that has perhaps proved most beneficial to TCDC. Each week there is themed fancy dress for fans and players alike, as well as regular singing and chanting during matches to create constant noise.

“The atmosphere has been great. I’m sure a big floodlit game in either football or rugby can occasionally entice the crowds, but Monday night darts for Trevs has been doing this weekly. For imagination and noise, there are no sports that compete with darts.”

Darts seems to strengthen the community feel within individual colleges and also encourages rivalry and banter between different colleges, something which is surely emblematic of the very essence of college sport.

“The best games have been when the opposition have been just as up for it, with Cuth’s B and Butler B being the pick of the bunch, while in contrast, Hatfield B were just a bunch of wetters and Mary’s B couldn’t handle a little bit of chat.”

With most teams having their own Twitter feeds, it is easy to keep up-to-date with college darts despite it not featuring on the Team Durham website.

Photograph: Paul Friel

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