For many of us, as soon as the pubs shut due to COVID-19, we thought of all the competitions and leagues that we would be missing out on and more importantly the craic with your mates!
Ali Patton, an avid darts fan like myself, started a league as soon as the pubs closed, between a few mates that all play in a Friday night league in the Birtley/Chester-le-Street area. This kept everyone sane and playing competitively, as well as keeping in touch with everyone.
The idea of playing online was new to many of us, even though its been operating in the form of ‘Webcam Darts’ for many years. We all experimented with our set ups to hold our cameras in place, using shelves/fridges/light poles/selfie sticks…….even tons of board games piled up and your phone in your son’s footie boot to keep the phone straight (Gary Lomas).
I first started running online competitions on March 24th, the day after Lockdown officially started in the UK, with a 64 capped tournament, to be able to make sure things ran as smooth as possible. The main problem was defining the rules of the competition, including the timings, as trying to liaise with 64 people in their homes was the main stumbling block. I believe it was a big success and allowed me to move onto bigger and more interesting concepts.
From that first competition, I’ve ran several big competitions now with the help of a few friends, including a Four Man Team Knockout with the likes of Chris Dobey, Scott Waites, Adam Hunt, Callan Rydz and Leighton Bennett.
I believe I was the first to experiment with the Online Pairs concept with all four participants in a ‘four way video call’. This allowed me to introduce a pairs competition featuring the likes of Glen Durrant and Luke Humphries, as well as the rest of the North East professionals.
I had an idea to stream the live games direct to Facebook, as many players in USA/Iceland currently do (and very well I must say). Playing around with different ideas, the easiest and most effective way for myself was to ‘Share my screen’ and go live via Facebook.
This proved to be very popular, with people enjoying watch live competitive games from the comfort of their own home. Following on from this initial idea, I downloaded some software to allow me to stream properly via Facebook and YouTube. However, my laptop is a few years old now and wasn’t able to cope!
I had a chat with Matthew Hodgson regarding my problems with this and we chatted about the possibility of doing this together. He very much has the same interest in darts as myself and enjoys being involved in every aspect.
(Matthew has a top system that allows us to do everything we need to do and more!)
From this, we have created ‘North East Darts TV’ and can now officially announce our YouTube channel is LIVE.
We have covered many games so far over a fantastic launch weekend and will continue to do so in the coming weeks/months.
Our ideas will not stop after lockdown and are looking to bring live streaming direct to the local competitions and leagues, to allow the amateur players to be broadcasted! This is a huge step for local darts and I hope you will all support us in our journey.
Please subscribe to our channel, which is COMPLETELY FREE and stay tuned for some great content coming up!
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