Hidden talents in darts: Singing, dancing, baking, piano, tennis, boxing and many more

Paul Nicholson explores some of the hidden talents in darts

Masked Singer, Celebrity Master Chef, British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Chase. Just five shows that some darts players could thrive in…

When the world returns to normality and TV production companies begin to draw up their shortlists of celebrities for yet another wave of reality and ‘talent’ contests, they really should take a look in the direction of darts.

Not just because of the characters and personalities in the game but also for the array of hidden talents among them, from singing, dancing, baking and piano playing to tennis, boxing and quizzing!

In Paul Nicholson’s latest column, the Asset unearths some of the wide range of abilities you may not think some of your favourite players have…

Singing

There’s obviously been many celebrity singing shows down the years and special editions of programmes like X Factor, but could you imagine the atmosphere of a crowd if a darts player revealed themselves on Masked Singer?!

I know of a few who could more than do themselves justice, but the person who opened my eyes most did so during a trip to Cork in 2012 for a big exhibition featuring a lot of big names.

At the end of the night, Adrian Lewis, who was world champion at the time, was up on stage and he started singing in perfect tune! Everyone was singing along with him and I nudged Colin Lloyd to say "Is this what he does?!”"and Colin replied: "Oh yes, he’s a great singer is Adrian!"

A number of other players knew about this so it made me think who else could.

Now John Henderson’s wife Veronica is a very good singer and she’s done numerous duets with Andy Boulton, who is suitably nicknamed X Factor. I witnessed one of those in a Walkabout bar in Barnsley after a Players Championship event and it not only went on for around seven minutes, but it was flawless!

There’s also a young player called Callum Loose from Stockport who got on stage and his performance of a Lewis Capaldi song was so good I actually thought he was miming it.

These are just three examples but there’s got to be more out there.

I'm not sure if Ricky Evans can hold a tune or not, but if he can't, there's little doubt he'd be a hit on Lip Sync battle with the way he likes to perform on stage!

Piano

Richard North is probably the last person I would think of in a room full of darts players that would be able to play the piano, but he’s actually really good at it.

When Richard's talents started to become known about, suddenly a video is unearthed on social media of Adam Hunt playing the piano following an event in Hildesheim.

I think it was Chris Dobey who filmed the video in a hotel bar area and it’s just more evidence of how talented darts players can be away from their usual surroundings.

Baking

If you had a charity Bake Off event with just darts players, it would be of a very high standard.

Colin Lloyd is a brilliant baker and I think he would be a great representative for darts on Celebrity Bake Off because he also has the personality to match. I’d pay a lot of money to watch that.

He may have learned most of what he knows from his partner Carol, who makes everything superbly…and rich. So if you’re on a diet, don’t go to their house for afternoon tea!

Cooking

Personally I love to cook and I’m proud to say I do a very good restaurant quality Beef Wellington but I don’t want to beat my own drum because there are others out there, such as Ted Evetts and Jarred Cole, who are both two qualified cooks.

All I ever talk to Ted about when I see him is food and he specialises in making chocolates and truffles. He brings them to the darts venues for fellow professionals to enjoy.

You could actually do a ‘pasture to plate’ process featuring just darts players. Get Darren Webster to catch a fish, Ted Evetts to fillet it, Jarred Cole to cook it and Colin Lloyd to serve it before he makes the dessert.

Table Tennis

The multi-talented Colin Osbourne was one of the best players in the world around 2009 but he’s also one of those annoying people who can turn his hand to anything!

And one of those other sports he excelled at was table tennis – as well as being a single handicapper at golf - and was highly ranked in England during his younger years.

But Colin isn’t the only one, believe it or not. At a European Tour event back in 2013, I found out just how good Vincent van der Voort was at table tennis!

In the hotel there was a games room where most of us were hanging out playing table tennis competitions, especially van der Voort and Simon Whitlock.

Now Simon has always been pretty good at it, but nowhere near the standard of Vincent. I had one game against him and didn’t even get a point.

Tennis

Remarkably, after Vincent van der Voort thrashed me at table tennis that I found out that he was a highly ranked tennis player in the Netherlands at the same time as when Richard Krajicek was the number one youth guy.

He was a brilliant player and apparently he wasn’t that far in standard behind Krajicek, who then went on and won Wimbledon!

Golf

If darts players formed a ‘dream fourball’ then I’ll have to put myself in there because my handicap is just three and I’m not sure if there’s anyone else lower.

I believe Mike Warburton is also off three while Mervyn King and Steve West are both off around 12.

However, there are a few bandits out there such as Steve Beaton, who doesn’t actually have an official handicap yet is annoyingly good at it! He simplifies golf in the same way he does with darts.

Steve’s other hidden talent is growing vegetables, so maybe one day Gardeners World will come calling to his house in Norfolk.

Boxing

You may think Vincent van der Voort is good at boxing too, but the first of two players I know who can handle themselves in the ring is William O’Connor.

Around 12 months ago he took part in a White Collar boxing night in Limerick for charity and I believe both his training and bout went very, very well.

It’s probably not the idea sport for a darts player to try given the strains on the wrists and hands but he was so determined to do this, even though it came at a time when he was playing so well.

My favourite boxing story involves Aaron Monk in Austria during one of the first European Tour events back in 2012.

We both lost our first-round matches so decided to go out into the city of Wiener Neustadt to see what it was about and found ourselves in a bar where there was one of those punchbag machines.

A group of travellers were on it and challenged Aaron to a go. After his first attempt, they all left! The maximum score was 999 but with one punch he managed 935!

They may not be at the standard to take the sport up professionally or anything like that, but a charity boxing match was held for comic relief, I’d want to be in their corners.

Dancing

Everyone talks about Dimitri van den Bergh being the best dancer, but as his manager Mac Elkin says, he only has one dance!

That title is therefore up for debate and you could make a strong case for Devon Peterson, who has shown plenty of variety with his moves – there’s no doubt about that!

But don’t discount Justin Pipe. Not only does he breakdance on stages around the world but I’ve also seen him dance in 1980s bars and at a Scottish wedding in a kilt!

Not only is he decent at all kinds of dancing, but he also has plenty of enthusiasm to learn different skills, so maybe one day we’ll see him on Strictly Come Dancing!

BMX

When lockdown started, Callan Rydz took his bike down to the BMX track and videoed himself doing a whole range of different stunts for social media.

It’s what he used to do as a kid and consequently he’s nursing an ankle injury because of one of the tricks he did recently. Thankfully though it looks like he’ll be making a swift recovery.

Video games

You won’t be surprised to know many of the younger players are into their video games but James Hubbard used to be ranked in the top 10 nationwide at Call of Duty!

I think he was ranked as high as seven and when you think how many millions of people have played that game, that’s quite some achievement.

In the three or four years I shared rooms with him on tour, we never brought a console with us because it would have been pointless. He would have wiped the floor with me at everything.

Quizzers

John Part is incredibly brainy and would be the first player I’d pick to be on a quiz show team.

John knows a lot about world politics, current affairs, geography and his general knowledge is vast – so it’s not just darts he’s underrated at!

I think he would more than hold his own on an episode of Celebrity Mastermind – as would former countdown champion Kirk Bevins, who is one of our leading referees.

However, for darts players to get on any of the celebrity talent shows we’ve mentioned above, they need the kind of agents to make the right calls. If indeed it’s something they’d like to do!

There aren’t enough agents who push us in the direction of ‘celebrity’ to try and get us reality television and bigger sponsorships etc.

Our sport has plenty of characters who all have a wide variety of talents, and this article merely scratches the surface.

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