A good head for numbers and a cool temperament have helped a Belper darts player become a marker for some of the sport’s leading lights, enjoying a close-up view of the stars in action.
Andrew Shaw, 45, signed up to be a marker for the Professional Darts Corporation in May, successfully completed his trial period and now tots up the scores - at great speed - on the PDC Tour for the likes of Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen.
He recently marked at a qualifying event at Crawley K2 Centre where Andy “Pieman” Smith missed double 18 for a nine-dart finish, and darts legend Phil Taylor had a 108.35 average against Ronny Huybrechts of Belgium.
Andrew, who plays for the Seven Stars in the Belper Darts League, said: “I always enjoyed marking in local games so I went online and found out about this scheme for marking, and how to get involved in it with the PDC. That has led to marking the scores for Phil Taylor and big names like that.”
As for the qualities needed to become a good marker for the leading lights in the game, Andrew explained: “You need to be good at maths and have a good temperament because it’s all got to be done in a split second. It was a baptism of fire really because I was doing it for four and half hours solid first up, but I absolutely loved it. “
It’s the best seat in the house to see these greats in action.
He added: “Part of me was thinking ‘this is fantastic’ but I had to remain on the ball at all times.
“Being so close to the action, you can pick up tips on playing just by soaking it all in.”
Andrew, 45, who works for Vaillant in the town, has attended the darts events with his partner Jude Stone and both have found it a very welcoming environment for newcomers.
“I like to think it will eventually help my style of playing, although I haven’t noticed it yet!
“You can see that they stand differently, they work the board differently and even throw differently and it’s about trying to use that in my own game.
“You never know, it might rub off!
“We’ve met people like Phil Taylor, Raymond Van Barneveld, Dean Winstanley, Michael Van Gerwen, and they’ve all been great to me and Jude. I’m really enjoying it.”
Next up is another qualifier at Barnsley’s Metrodome in September for a TV competition.