When Paddy Waugh watched Scottish player Robert Thornton win the World Grand Prix of Darts on TV in 2015, he was inspired to take up the sport.
“He was the underdog and that’s what I loved about it,” Paddy says.
Since then the dartboard in his Waitoki shed has been getting a good workout.
The Orewa College student recently entered his first national competition – the NZ Junior & Youth Darts Championships, held in Wellington last month – where he came third in the singles and men’s pairs and was runner up in mixed pairs.
Along the way, he joined the Hibiscus Coast Community RSA with his father, Wilbert, which provides regular matches against some experienced players.
Wilbert says it’s been great to see a teenager who was never keen on team sports find his niche.
“He went straight from Playstation to darts,” Wilbert says.
Interestingly, for Paddy, the thing he likes best about the game is maths.
Players begin with 501 points and their scores are deducted, with the aim being to finish as fast as possible, scoring a double on the last dart to make the score zero.
“Because you are constantly calculating what points you need for the next move, there is a lot of maths involved,” Paddy says.
Practice also helps you develop good muscle memory for that accurate shot at the board.
This week Paddy is giving the Auckland Darts Masters qualifiers a shot.
Supporting him all the way is Craig Brown, who noticed Paddy’s talent at an RSA darts match played in Warkworth. Since then, Craig has supported and sponsored the young player – he also sponsors Craig Caldwell who is the NZ number two.
“Paddy has a very good head for the game. Because darts is as much about the mind as the game, the mind is the thing that can destroy you in darts,” Craig says. “Paddy’s ability to put a bad leg of darts behind him and concentrate on the next leg is what makes him so good. He hasn’t been playing as long as most of the top youth players, but is as good as any in the country.”