Andover Darts' Unicorn Youth Academy took the sport to the public over the May bank holiday. Members of the academy manned a unique stand where boards were hung on a 'cage'. The multi panel cage is ideal as a portable platform that can be taken almost anywhere. With 18 panels the cage can be used as a six board (chalk + board + blank panel) facility.
Following the tragic sudden passing of local teenager and Andover Darts Youth Academy member Jamie Gentleman, a sporting trust was set up as a legacy to the popular lad and his love of sport.
May bank holiday saw the first Jamie G Sports Fayre when more than 30 local sports clubs put on a great day in the town's central park with the aim of raising awareness of the huge variety of activities available in the small Hampshire market town. This may have been the first time darts has been exhibited outdoors (certainly one of the few occasions). The weather wasn't the best, in fact it rained almost none stop, but the Academy's stand was full up throughout the six hour event.
With four boards in use, members of the public were able to move through a series of four stations. Starting with the 'Lets Train Darts' junior board they then moved to the senior trainer, on to a standard board and finished on the tricky 'half size' professional practice board. Their scores were gathered and prizes given to those with the highest scores.
Dave Kane, Sports Development Co-ordinator for local social landlord Testway Housing said: " ...I secured funding for the cage a couple of years ago with the aim of taking it to hard to reach areas as 'cage football' - a diversionary activity. Since getting involved with the darts Academy I've realized the cage can be 'multi functional'. Speaking with Academy coaches about how darts can be taken to the masses, the idea of using the cage was an obvious winner. We are putting together a program to take darts into schools, the cage will enable the academy to build a darts arena in the sports hall, how cool is that. The Jamie G sports event proved how popular this could be. The boards on show were different and people, young and old, all wanted get involved. Brilliant!"
Glen Dawkins, Chairman of the Academy said “We all know the benefits linked with darts and maths so this was our first step in taking Darts to the community, into schools and other such local events and with our partners, Unicorn Darts, Let’s TRAIN Darts and Testway Housing we are excited about the opportunities and development of youth darts in Hampshire.
Chairman, Andover Invitation Darts &
Unicorn Darts Youth Academy