Looking sharp

16:00, Jan 25 2013
Dave Harrington.

Mandeville's Dave Harrington is no stranger to a crowd watching him play darts but it is usually a crowd of about 10, not 10,000.

But that is what greeted him at London's Alexandra Palace during the World Championship of Darts just before Christmas.

With that sort of pressure, it is not surprising the occasion got to him.

Harrington knows he blew it - being knocked out in the first round - but said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rub shoulders with the world's best.

''It was an honour and a privilege. I'd love to have another crack at the match, but just to get there was a special achievement.''

Harrington said it was difficult for New Zealanders to understand how popular the game was in Europe, when it has only minority status here.


''The world's top players have a tournament on every week. They live a rock star type of life and there is big money to be made.''

Playing out of the Richmond Working Mens Club, Harrington had to travel up and down the country last year, playing in a series of  national tournaments to qualify for the London event.

His  wife and son were out in the arena before his match against Japan's Haruki Muramatsu, handing out fluffy Kiwi keyrings.

More Kiwi culture was left behind - the New Zealander handing out bone carvings and greenstone souvenirs which he gave to his opponent, referee and other officials. Harrington said the noise and the atmosphere at the world championships was unbelievable, but he did have some idea what to expect after speaking with friend and Australian professional, Simon Whitlock.

''I talked to Simon on the phone a number of times before going away. He plays all the big tournaments and has a heap of experience, so that was a massive help.''

Ironically, had Harrington defeated Japan's Haruki Muramatsu in the first round, he would have gone on to play Whitlock.

Harrington said he would love to go back to the world championships, but supporting his wife Jane and son  Jack - both national representatives - was just as important.

Fairfax Media