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A great walk on can make you a memorable darts player, even when you’re not finding the doubles. There has been so many variations, with some representing something about the player, and others just a call to arms for the fans. The biggest take place at the World Championships and if you throw the gorgeous walk on girls into the mix, it really is the glamour part of darts. It is a side of the sport I love and can’t be seen at other events, like The Open or at an Olympics steeped in tradition, but I think they are missing out. The impact of getting a crowd on your side (or the animosity) can be the difference between winning and losing.
What makes a great walk on? Well initially just a great song. Combining a song with your name can also be key to getting the audience in your favour, for instance Vincent Van der Voort walks on to KC & The Sunshine Band ‘Baby Give It Up’ and who doesn’t like that! Next is props, drunk audiences love a bit of participation, and bringing out something with you as you go up to the oche makes you stand out. Accessories to your clothes also can bring great pantomime to a walk on, just make sure you take it off before commencing a match. Lastly, and most importantly is energy. Nothing annoys me more than a darts player walking out to a huge anthem, and then proceeding to slowly walk down, reluctantly high fiving the fans. I want to see someone who is excited to be there, excited to entertain and excited to play. So here is the best (in my opinion) walk ons in professional darts.
Yes he is the most famous player, but I think even if he wasn’t a darts legend, the song choice alone is brilliant. It also gave birth to his nickname. It was baptised upon him by a Sky floor manager who played the song for Phil and then gave him the nickname too in the early days of the PDC.
One of my favourites is Wayne Mardle’s. Inspired by a favourite TV show of his Hawaii Five-O his walk on effectively achieves success from his own immense energy. His walk on also involves all of my tips above. He wears a bright Hawaiian shirt, often imitated by fans, and brings out inflatable palm trees and pacific garlands. He has even managed to get the walk on girls involved, dressing them in the traditional garlands and grass skirts of Hawaii.
The big man from Coventry took an aspect of his life, his vocation, and ran with it as his theme. A former baker, Hine’s bizarre walk on involves him dressed in full Baker attire handing out muffins to the crowd. So if he doesn’t impress on the stage at least they are well fed.
Ted Hankey is one of those that feeds off the crown as a villain. His resemblance to Dracula gave him the persona he needed to grab the fans attention and make them sit up and take notice. If that doesn’t work the music does, the opening line, “This is my territory, be on your way!”, a warning to all that cross him at darts.
I know what you’re thinking, huh? The guy from the Inbetweeners? Yes. Greg Davies appeared on the Sport Relief Programme ‘Lets Play Darts’. As well as seeing Bob Mortimer dressed as a carpet, it also featured Greg Davies winning the best walk on competition ever with a great name to boot! The Abomniable Throwman was dressed head to toe in fur, like an Arctic pimp and walked out to ‘Cold as Ice’, throwing snowballs and hiding the MC under his coat. It was a performance that saw me and the commentators in stitches.