All my articles so far turned only on men - probably because the darts world of the PDC is dominated by men. All officials are men, all the dart players are male, even all the commentators, reporters and photographers in the press room are male - with one exception namely me.
The only female elements are "only decorative" - the dancers and the walk-on girls. Walk-on-girls not really is an easy job. They usually arrive hours before the sessions begin at the Alexandra Palace to be dressed up appropriate and appealingly and then have to move smiling in their very uncomfortable high heels through the walk-ons. When unlucky it even can happen that a player pats their backside behind stage - only because they are just "available".
Besides we of course have the player's wives or partners who sit in made up for TV the VIP area and whose facial expressions and reactions are caught by the cameras. Before their partners go on stage they'll get the obligatory kiss.
That they sit there is for many of the player's big support and one can often see that the players dart a glance at the partners when it gets difficult on stage or when they have done especially well. Especially distinct it's with Robert Thornton and his wife neither (though till nor I never did see her sit in the VIP area nor is she really made up). For the wives and partners it's not only fun to sit there because they always have to control expressions and reactions. And - as some of them say - they often feel completely powerless when something is going wrong on stage besides glancing encouraging at them. According to the cause of the game the partners are afterwards a nervous wreck - especially during such important tournaments as the World Championship.
Many of the wives and partners play darts themselves or got acquainted with their men by darts. Kate Hamilton was the landlady of the pub where her husband used to play darts with his team. Holly Boynton, Darin Young's fiancée, is quite a good dartplayer herself and had relationships to other dartplayers before. Jamie Caven met his wife Debbie during a sports meeting. Raymond van Barneveld's wife first met her husband when she was a young girl and "collected" autographs during a smaller tournament he took part in.
It's not always easy to be married or related to a dartplayer - even the private live has to be adjusted to the tournaments. Sometimes it even ends in curious situation so once during the World Grand Prix in Dublin when the Irish player John MaGowan unexpectedly reached the quarterfinals and had to be transported with a helicopter in between his matches to his son's wedding to be able to play his matches.
The last evening with first round matches was my penultimate day at the World Championship. It brought the appearance of the last German player - Tomas Seyler - who unluckily went down unsung against a far too strong Kevin Painter. and only managed to win a single leg. So none of the German players survived the first round. Mensur Suljovic started strong against Mark Webster but couldn't keep it up and lost. Quite similar was Darren Webster match against James Wade though in this case Wade had some luck to win in the end. In the last match of the evening Royden Lam who had won his preliminary round match against Gino Vos had no chance at all against Wes Newton and lost with 3:1.
And of course after a really bright day rain had started again when I left the venue...