Last year after the Speedy Hire UK Open we quizzed the Rileys qualifiers on their experience. Here is Part 1 of their responses.
After the UK Open last year we contacted Rileys to ask if we could contact all the players who qualified for the Speedy Hire UK Open via the events held at Riley`s venues. We wanted to ask them some questions on their experience of playing in the "FA Cup of Darts". Rileys were as helpful as they always are and contacted the players for us and this led to a fantastic response from the players who took part.
On the first night of the UK Open I was in Bolton cheering on two players from the Isle of Wight-Tony "Little Legs" Broughton and Darren "Gooner" Hawken. Both players had different experiences on the night. Tony left disappointed and admitted he failed to play to the standard he can.
Darren was more pragmatic and despite losing his first game against William O'Conner he loved the experience and left Bolton satisfied he had done his best. 12 months on both players have had different experiences again. "Little Legs" is back in Bolton for another bash this year but Darren was involved in a horrific motorbike accident and is still recovering. Hopefully "Gooner" will be back in 2013!
On with the survey-over 50percent of the Rileys qualifiers took the survey for us so we have a very good sample and therefore, an accurate picture of what the players went through.This is part one!
Practice and Fans
First up we asked them about whether they practised more, the same or less in the build up to Bolton?
46 percent practised more and 54 percent practised less. Your choice on that then!
We asked them whether having family and friends at the venue was a help?
This was an emphatic 100 percent yes! The players really appreciated the support they got in the build up and on the night (s).One player did agree it was fantastic to have the support but did feel a little extra pressure with his fans cheering him on. On the other hand one player went to Bolton solo but regretted doing this. He said he would definitely bring a friend or two the next time.
We asked the players if they were happy with how they prepared and handled the occasion once they had arrived in Bolton and if not what would they change?
30 percent of the players admitted they would try and enjoy the occasion more-maybe some nerves taking their toll there! One player suggested he would take the whole 4 days off-not because of unrealisitic ambitions but to enjoy the whole experience even if some nights were as a spectator. 20 percent of players suggested they would shift hotels from Bolton centre to nearer the Reebok-sensible advice there I reckon!
We then asked the players what, if they could go back in time, would they change about their practice regime?
Around 70 percent of the players were content with their practice build-up. One player who obviously had suffered a rather unfortunate mishap before the event advised against falling down a flight of stairs before an important darts tournament. Hear hear and perhaps try and avoid this whether you have a darts tournament on the horizon or not!
Health and Safety advice over, one player suggested taking a couple of days off prior to the event and another at least the day before. This is of course difficult if you have work commitments but if you can great advice.
Another good piece of advice from a player who didn't arrive at the venue to warm up until 5pm was to get in as soon as the doors open. As kick off approaches the practice boards are rammed and he didn't feel he had enough time to throw before his game.
Thanks for the advice
We asked the players: looking back, what was the best bit of advice they picked up before heading to Bolton?
20 percent of the players received no advice but the rest all did-most of it was along similar lines but here is a selection and hopefully something for this year's contenders to consider and take with them:
- Do exactly what you do for any other tournament you enter
- Enjoy it and relax
- Ignore the main stage and stay focused on your game
- Be prepared for the heat
- Your "Pro" opponent is under more pressure and you have nothing to lose
- One player's Dad popped up with, enjoy it, take it in your stride and smile!
- Stay focused and concentrate on what you are doing.
Part 2 Tomorrow !