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Dartboards and Positioning

Although there have been many variations, some still in use, most darts is now played on a round dartboard divided by wires into twenty triangular sections of equal size, each section has a score value of 1-20, with higher score sections sandwiched between lower ones. Sections are coloured alternately, usually in black and white. The dartboard is positioned with the section scoring '20' uppermost.

Standard Dartboard

The standard board has a doubles ring, a thin wired outer circle at the perimeter of the scoring sections, which counts double the score of a dart thrown into the plain area of any section. A dart thrown into the trebles ring, a narrow wired circle halfway between the outer ring and bull's-eye counts treble the score for that section. The dartboard surface inside doubles and trebles rings is usually coloured red when enhancing a black scoring section and green when enhancing a white section. The bull's-eye consists of two small concentric circles at the centre of the board scoring 25 for the green outer ring and 50 for the red centre.

For internationally recognised competition, the darts board is hung so that the centre is 5ft 8ins (1.727m) higher than the ground level at the throwing line, and the throwing line or 'oche' is 7ft 9.25ins (2.368m) from the board. Where the floor is not level it may be easier to measure the diagonal distance from the centre of the bull to the throwing line at floor level which should be 9ft 7.5ins (2.934m).

Yorkshire Dartboard or 'Doubles Board'

The Yorkshire dartboard is similar to the standard board except that there is no trebles ring, and no outer circle to the bull's eye. The 50 scoring bull is also slightly smaller than on the standard dartboard.

The Yorkshire darts board is hung so that the centre is 5ft 6ins (1.676m) higher than the ground level at the throwing line, and the throwing line or 'oche' is 7ft 2ins (2.184m) from the board. The diagonal distance from the centre of the bull to the throwing line at floor level is 9ft (2.743m).

Manchester Dartboard or 'Log-End Board'

The Manchester dartboard is traditionally hand made from Elm wood, with no trebles ring, and no alternate colouring for the scoring sections. It is much smaller in diameter than the standard board, it does have a 25 scoring outer ring to the bull's-eye, but the doubles ring is narrower and harder to target. These boards have to be soaked in water overnight to keep then soft enough for darts to lodge. The moisture content also helps the surface recover, but due to the shorter lifespan of the board surface, it is usual for Manchester Dartboards to be double sided.

If you know the positioning height and distance normally used for this board, please let us know using the Contact ClubGB link.

London Fives Dartboard or 'Narrow 5's Board'

The London Fives dartboard has only twelve triangular sections scoring only four different values 5, 10, 15, 20, 5, 10, ...etc. arranged in clockwise sequence. Otherwise, it has the markings of a standard board with a doubles ring, a trebles ring and a concentric bull's-eye.

This seems like a huge distance, but we are told that this dart board is hung so that the centre of the bull is 5ft 6ins (1.676m) higher than the ground level at the throwing line, and the throwing line or 'oche' is 9ft (2.743m) from the board! The diagonal distance from the centre of the bull to the throwing line at floor level should be 10ft 6.5ins (3.214m).

Ipswich Fives Dartboard or 'Wide 5's Board'

The Ipswich Fives dartboard is similar to the London Fives board except that the doubles and trebles rings are wider and easier to hit.

If you know the positioning height and distance normally used for this board, please let us know using the Contact ClubGB link.

Lincolnshire Dartboard

The Lincolnshire dartboard is the same in layout to the Yorkshire board, but is black throughout.

If you know the positioning height and distance normally used for this board, please let us know using the Contact ClubGB link.

Other regional Darts boards

If you know of any other regional boards still in use, please let us know using the Contact ClubGB link. Positioning height and throwing distance too if you know

Dartboard Construction

Traditional bristle dart boards are made from fibres bound tightly together with the trimmed ends creating the face of the board. When a dart is thrown at the dartboard, it embeds itself between the fibre ends so that when it is removed, the fibres close back together and the board's surface recovers. Until recently most dartboards used standard circular profile wire to separate the scoring sections, but now, most quality dartboards will feature triangular profile wires, where the pointed edge faces the thrower. This reduces the frequency of bounce-outs (darts hitting the wire and bouncing off). Other advances have been the abandonment of staples to hold the wire to the board in favour of rear spikes which again reduce the possibility of darts being deflected from the board.

There is a trend in the United States and some other countries to use 'soft tip' darts and 'soft' or electronic dartboards. These boards are manufactured from plastics with a dimpled playing surface that guides the thrown dart into the nearest of the integral holes. This has the one advantage of allowing automatic scoring as the board's sensors can recognise which scoring section the dart hits. These electronic darboards will usually count a bounce out score, and the bull's-eye doubles and trebles are often wider too. Certainly in the states, a lot of the soft tip darts machines found in bars are pay per play.

History of Darts - by Patrick Chaplin

Darts is one of the oldest established English pub games which, since the mid 1970s, has become one of the most popular sports in the world. As far as the origins of the game are concerned, javelins, crossbow bolts and archery have all been considered. Of these the most likely scenario is that the game has its roots in archery: Indeed, glance back to the earliest type of dartboards and you will see that these were concentric targets, miniature forms of the archery target. Moreover, darts is most commonly known as 'Arrows'. Some would say that these two points alone are sufficient to confirm our sports heritage.

Up until the early part of the 20th century, darts existed in disparate forms across parts of England, the only matches taking place being either 'in-House' or friendly matches between pubs which were close to each other. (The cost of transport was prohibitive at that time.) However, after World War 1, the first brewery leagues appeared and grew to such an extent that, by 1924, the seeds had been sown for the establishment of a national darts association. The News of the World competition was established in London in the 1927/28 season and by the end of the 1930s had expanded to cover, by region, most of England. The total entrants in the competition in 1938/39 was in excess of 280,000. Such was the take up of darts by the brewers and the dart-playing public that, by the 1930s, it had become a popular national recreation in England and parts of Wales, played by all classes, often ousting existing pubs games such as skittle and rings (indoor quoits). The development of 'standard' darts found some resistance in places like parts of Manchester (where the smaller Manchester/ Log-End) board still holds sway.

Darts playing boosted morale in the forces during the Second World War, being played in the Officers' Mess and PoW camps alike. Darts was standard issue in the NAAFI sports pack. American soldiers visiting the UK took darts home wih them and generated substantial interest in this 'Olde Englishe' game in the US which up until then was little played in that country.

The News of the World Individual Darts Championship was revived in 1947/48, this time on a national basis, and continued to be described as 'the championship every dart player wants to win' until its demise in the 1990s. The end of the war also saw the return of The People National Tea Championships (first played for in 1938/39). However, the original national darts association did not survive the war and although a number of attempts were made to introduce a national, controlling agency, nothing firm was realised until 1954 when The People supported the setting up of the National Darts Association of Great Britain.

The 1950s and 1960s were periods when darts maintained a fairly low profile even though participant levels were still extremely high. The NDAGB was undertaking sterling work both in establishing county leagues and organising top competitions such as the NODOR Fours. The 1960s saw darts on TV for the first time and through the work of the British Darts Organisation (BDO), established in 1973, and the introduction of split screen technology darts really took a hold of Britain and then, it seemed, the rest of the planet.

The 1970s and 1980s witnessed the first darts 'stars' such as Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Alan Evans, Jocky Wilson, Leighton Rees, Cliff Lazarenko becoming household names.

The establishment of the Professional Darts Corporation PDC (initially the World Darts Council (WDC)) following the 'great split' of 1992 took darts in a new direction. This has resulted in the introduction of key, high profile competitions including the World Matchplay, Grand Prix and the World Championship.

The PDC's plans for the game are expanding at the furious rate with a 'world circuit' of darts now underway following the Las Vegas Desert Classic in July 2002 and the innovative UK Open proving that the organization are earnest in their pledge to take the sport to new heights.

For more articles and general darts information by Patrick Chaplin, visit PatrickChaplin.com

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