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sporting activities have words and phrases peculiar to that activity and darts is
no exception. A lot of them are colloquial expressions and therefore might not
be used outside the Midlands where I live and play darts, but, some of them are
used by commentators on the television. Indeed some of them have even arisen
because of games on the telly.
six is referred to as "Bed and Breakfast" and called out as two and
six. This goes back to the old coaching days when bed for the night was 2/6d.
phrase "Highway robbery" is used when a player is at some stage of the
game a long way behind the other who gets to a finish and cant get his double
allowing the first player to catch up and win the game.
will often hear television commentators say something like "this player
needs shanghai on twenties," meaning he needs to hit treble twenty, single
and finish on the double.
your feet wet means that your toes are over the oche or throwing line. If you do
this in a match you will get told about it in no uncertain terms. You should
"toe the line."
Bristow refers to an infamous score that Eric Bristow once made on a televised
event when he hit three single ones in the same throw.
you have "got it surrounded" it means that you are very close to your
double and could not get any closer without hitting it.
Never wins a game again refers to a televised match where a player was well in
front and had 123 left but lost the crucial game.
in a bed or three in a bed for game usually refers to scoring 3 treble twenties
at once where in some parts of the country you can claim the game for such a
you have double trouble it means that you cant get the right double to start or
finish a game.
brush refers to a game where one player canít get started and the other player
is on a finish and gets it first. A brush is often unkindly drawn on one side of
the marking board.
11, a penny in the box. This phrase was used a lot when pubs had charity boxes
by the dart board and anyone who scored under 11 in one throw had to put a penny
in the box.
you are said to be on form or if you have got your eye in you are playing
will give you that in Cannock. This phrase is peculiar to the town of Rugeley
and surrounds that has a lot of rivalry with the town of Cannock. It means that
you did not hit what you were aiming at,(usually a finishing double) but you
were near enough for the people of Cannock who are not very fussy.
Floater is a lucky dart that goes high and hits a good score such as a double 20
when you were aiming for treble 20.
good marker is a dart which is very close to the target but not in and not
obstructing the target.
pint for the marker is often shouted when two competing players both have
exactly the same score remaining on the board.
you are in a mess it means that you have left yourself a small odd number after
going for a finish and hitting an awkward score.
the wrong bed means you have hit the wrong double (usually) to finish or start a
someone says you could play better with your eyes closed he means that you are
playing very badly.
Spreading is something ladies often do and refers to lucky scores of trebles and
doubles that you were not aiming at.
someone shouts" Quiet please , game on " he is asking for silence as
the game is about to start.
Bull Up at the start of every game when each player takes it in turn to throw
one dart at the bull for the nearest to start.
is said to be suffering if they canít hit what they are aiming at but they are
getting close with many attempts. (usually a double)
raised Oche is usually a piece of wood securely fastened to the floor where the
throw line is. Being raised it prevents people from treading over the line.
a dart bounces out of the board and falls behind the throw line it is often said
that you can throw it again. In league rules you cant.
a dart is on the wire it is actually touching the wire of the required segment
but not in.
check the board is the only time when it is excusable to interrupt a game by
shouting. This must be done if the marker has put up the wrong score or added up
the score wrongly. It is urgent because the rules state if the throwers both
have a throw after the mistake is made the score has to stand whatever the
If a player is said to be walking it means that he thought that the last dart he threw at a finishing double was in because it was that close and he has taken a step foreword with darts still to throw.
or Arrows is of course another name for a set of darts dating back to the old
days when players used miniature arrows to throw.
Trebles for show, doubles for dough, refers to the fact that it does not matter what you hit coming down, it is the double at the end that wins the prize.
extract from a forth coming book.
© Copyright A J Hartley 1/9/03.
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