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Medievil game darts up the sales charts

Darts is set to overtake fishing as one of the nation’s most popular participation sports according to figures released today by ASDA.

Sales of darts and dartboards have leapt by a staggering 104% in the last two weeks, with shoppers in Portsmouth pointing the way.

Sports buyer Mat Lowery said: "With two world championships now taking place at the start of the year, darts is reaching millions more people.

“Once it was only the domain of smoky working mens clubs, but now more and more are turning to the medieval game in the comfort of their own homes. Even the ‘well to do’ in Harrogate have caught the bug, the traditional spa town is the fifth most popular place to play darts in Britain!”

Darts is proving to be a popular game for all ages, Matt said: “Parents love it as they can help improve their kid’s mental arithmetic while having a bit of fun. And kids love all the silly nicknames like Ted ‘The Count’ Hankey along with his swarm of rubber bats.”

ASDA has also revealed that more women are buying darts boards than ever before. Last year only 23% of sales were to women throwers, this year it is nearly 40%.

Best sellers at ASDA include a range of funny flights that cost just 98p and carry famous Sid Waddell quotes, including: “Bristow reasons . . . Bristow quickens … Aaah, Bristow”, “Jockey Wilson…What an athlete”, and “That’s the greatest comeback since Lazarus!”.

The game of darts dates back to Medieval England, when historians believe it was used to help teach archery.

Shortened arrows were used by students to throw at the bottom of an empty wine barrel. The barrel “board” provided rings, and as it dried out cracks appeared that led to further segmentation. Eventually this evolved into the modern dart board on sale today.

Henry VIII was reputed to enjoy the game so much that he was given an ornate set by Anne Boleyn as a present.

Famous darts fans include Tony Blair, Jade Goody, Coleen McLoughlin and Vernon Kay.

Posted in Press Centre on 14 January 2007