By PHILIP CHANDLER
A newly-minted pensioner’s the toast of the Queenstown Darts Club.
Vani Bakani, 65, finished third equal — out of 156 entrants — in the women’s division of the New Zealand Darts Council champs in Motueka, near Nelson, this month.
She made the semi-finals after progressing through both section and knockout play.
‘‘I’m very, very happy,’’ she says.
Fijian-born Bakani, who’s NZ’s sixth-ranked female, says it was only her second appearance at the nationals — the last time, in ’84, when she was in Twizel, she was still new to the sport.
As to what’s behind her success, she replies, ‘‘I just love the game’’.
Club manager Jonny Yates says Bakani, who was NZ’s no.1-ranked woman early last year, is ‘‘a legend in the club’’.
‘‘The respect everyone’s got for her is amazing, and it’s not an age thing or anything like
‘‘She’s been playing for a long time but she has fun — you can always hear her laughing
throughout the whole night.
‘‘Pressure is nothing for her.’’
The six men the club sent to the nationals also enjoyed some success.
Out of 250-plus players, Patrick Hothersall, Cromwell-based Darryn van der Velden, Brent Edgerton (who’s ranked no.15 in NZ), Dion Boland and Glenorchy-based Damian Orman and Steve Boyd, all made it past section play.
And Hothersall and Van der Velden got into the last 64.