CLUB OF THE WEEK: Ferndale Road Club
6:00am Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in Sport
EIGHT months after going into liquidation, the Ferndale Road Club is thriving again under new management.
New bar manager Steve Willard has made an instant impact by implementing the return of skittles, pool, snooker and darts.
The Ferndale Road Club has five teams entered in the new Swindon Advertiser Friday Night Darts League for the Swindon and District area.
With players of the calibre of PDC professional darts star Dennis Smith representing the club, it is understandable why Willard is hopeful that one of his two Premier League teams may take the title this season.
“Both teams are quite capable of winning it, I don’t see why they can’t,” he said.
“Especially with experienced darts players like Dennis Smith on our team, we have a good chance.”
The new league has been set up by a team of passionate locals and Willard would like to see the Friday night darts scene restore its popularity.
“I’d like to see it get back to where it was at its peak,” he said. “It used to be one of the best leagues in the county, and there is potential for it to return to that.
“It would be sadly missed if there was no Friday night darts in Swindon, which is why we are strongly supporting this new drive.
“The club pays for each team to enter the league, and we are quite well-represented with five teams.”
In addition to the two teams in the top tier, the club has teams across the lower divisions, which allows for less advanced players to rise up through the ranks and learn about the format of the league.
Each team has four players, and at Ferndale Club the ages range from 16 to 65 years old.
“There is no training for our players, they just sign up and play in the league,” Willard added. “It’s not really necessary to have training as most of them play every night of the week anyway.”
Much debate in the press surrounds the topic of whether darts is a sport or a pub game, and Willard is of the firm opinion that it is the former, and could one day be an Olympic sport.
“I don’t see why it couldn’t be in the Olympics one day,” he said.
“It’s highly competitive, everyone wants to win.
“It’s extremely skilful, there is nothing lucky about it, and it is definitely a sport not a pub game.”
Whilst the competitive aspect of darts is hard to argue with, Willard admits that the social aspect of darts is what attracts lots of people to play.
“It’s incredibly social,” he said. “One of the best bits about darts is meeting everybody.
“Darts is one big family, everybody knows each other.”
The season is already in full swing, with two match nights having been completed, and the Ferndale teams have had mixed results.
Ferndale A is currently topping the B Division with a clean sheet so far, and Ferndale Wanderers have had a good start in the Premier League.
However, it is still very early days and anything could happen, but what is certain is that the darts scene in Swindon is revitalised and there is a positive outlook on the future. For more information on any of the clubs in the Swindon and District Darts League visit www.swindonddl.co.uk.
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