On target: Darryn Van der Velden aims to attract new players into darts


One man’s on a mission to grow darts as a competitive sport in Queenstown-Lakes and Central Otago.

Darryn Van der Velden’s hosting a darts tournament in Cromwell tomorrow, bringing all the clubs in the region together for the first time.

About 50 players from Glenorchy, Queenstown, Frankton, Cromwell, Alexandra and Wānaka are expected, with an overall aim of growing membership.

In time, Van Der Velden eventually hopes to assemble a Central Lakes team to play in
tournaments around New Zealand.

With the help of several sponsors, he’s spent about $10,000 converting an old cherry packing house on his Cromwell property into a darts room with eight boards and a grandstand.

‘‘It’s gonna be pretty amazing to see.

‘‘I think it’s probably the best in the region,’’ he says.

He’s also invited NZ pros Warren ‘Wazza’ Parry, Desi Mercer and Darren Dummigan to help inspire players with their skill and precision.

‘‘We think we’re really good at, you know, playing in the garage.

‘‘But when you see the pros in action, they really make you step up your game and make
you a better player,’’ Van Der Velden says.

Glenorchy Darts Club captain Damian Orman says the club is ‘‘excited’’ for the new competition.

‘‘[They’re] bringing in some of the big guns from around the country.

‘‘We always revel in the opportunity to play against the top players … it’s a good chance to try out skills and see where you are in the grand scheme of things,’’ Orman says.

The club lost its main playing spot when Glenorchy’s Bold Peak Lodge closed down in August, which Orman says has knocked their game a bit, but have since been practising
at the Queenstown bowls club and in their garages.