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We reflect on a most extraordinary night of darts!

The Grand Slam - Hankey Panky

Posted: 14.11.12 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

We reflect on a most extraordinary night of darts!


What a night at the Grand Slam! It had the lot, fantastic skill and technique, drama and controversy, oh yes, there was controversy alright!

Ted Hankey had already baffled me before he even took to the stage last night. I have never witnessed such a dramatic change in sports performance form, in such a short space of time than I did witnessing Hankey’s metamorphosis from being thumped by Thornton on Saturday night to beating The Bronzed Adonis in style on Sunday night.

Hankey put the change of fortune down to some inspirational coaching advice from a pair of ex pro’s, hmmm!  Last night was going to be the  match that would see if Hankey could repeat his form against the best player in the PDC as of today, Mighty Mike!

What followed was one of the most amazing darts matches you will ever see. The moment Hankey stepped on stage he did appear to be having a problem with his left eye. It was definitely swollen, it was red and it looked like it was causing him discomfort. However, the first accusation that was thrown at him was that he had been drinking. Twitter went into overdrive and he was accused of being drunk!

Some of the younger tweeters were outraged! Bless! They wanted sanctions against The Count for the state he was in. They demanded a ban, a fine a stake to the heart if necessary.  The main problem with this worthy outpouring of justice seeking is that if all players who drank before a match were banned then there would be very few players left to compete. 

It is unfair to single out Hankey on the alcohol argument.  If you have even been fortunate enough to attend a PDC Pro Tour event then you will know the non drinkers are a tiny minority. In fact you just have to watch the player’s body language or listen to interviews after the match to make a best guess as to who has taken too much fluid on board!

We have been down the alcohol should be banned road before. My argument stays the same. From a player’s perspective the fewer variables that come in to play during a darts match the more consistent your performance is going to be, that is a fact! If you drink it is virtually impossible to have exactly the same amount of alcohol in your system each time you play.

Your state will be governed by any delays getting on the oche, what you have eaten and of course exactly what you have drunk. On the other hand if you are sober you have no such concerns, you are in the same state every time you play.

On a much wider perspective what about the sport of darts itself and its reputation?  As darts fans we still have to put up with ridicule that darts isn’t a proper sport. Incidents such as last night simply reinforce the image that darts is a pub sport and shouldn’t be taken seriously. This reputation harms every single person, sponsor or company that associates itself with the sport.

Anyway back to the eye.  The match got started, Ted threw a 60 with his first dart and he looked startled and then threw two awful darts as if to prove the first was a fluke. This was the side of the performance I have the biggest problem with. I likened Hankey’s display to a member of an amateur dramatics society who hams it up on stage but remains unconvincing to the audience. Ted tried too hard!

Talking of  annoying irritations the BDO boys just won’t go away will they?. Scott Waites did for The Power in style. Yes they had both qualified, blah blah blah, but even the most one eyed Taylor fan would have to admit Taylor hates losing, with a passion, especially to a BDO player and didn’t "let" Waites win. Waites deserves all the plaudits he received for that performance but unfortunately his fine victory was somewhat overshadowed by the extraordinary antics of Ted Hankey.

Hot Off The Press

Winmau have released a statement confirming that it was an illness Hankey was suffering from last night! You can read it here!


The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum.

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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