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Classic Darts

Michael Marsh
From the Print Edition:
Gen. Tommy Franks, Nov/Dec 03

It's been described as the traditional English pub game, but throwing darts in a tavern is by no means exclusive to limeys. The game is a favorite in drinking establishments around the world, and no matter where you might be, a simple dart game such as cricket is never far away. Then again, you might run into something more arcane like Halvers, Steeplechase or Double Down.

But what about throwing in the comfort of your own home? What if you're a dartsman who needs to keep the arm and eye tuned up for your next league match? Worry not. With a few classy, tournament-level darting accessories, you'll be aiming for the bull's-eye in no time.

The first order of business is a board, and the name here is Winmau. Making bristle boards in Britain for more than 50 years, Winmau prides itself as the "Rolls-Royce" of dartboards. The Blade II is its best example. Made of pressurized sisal, the material used to make heavy-duty ropes, the Blade II is the board of choice for professionals and dart federations around the world. It has a state-of-the-art staple-free playing area and an angled-bladed design giving the scoring segments a clearer appearance and, most importantly, minimizing bounce-outs ($79.99 from Accudart, 800-467-1206).

Unless you want your walls peppered with holes from errant shots, no dartboard can be without a dart cabinet——and a cabinet from Palason not only complements a board, but an entire room. Made of solid northern red oak in Lachine, Quebec, the cabinet is handcrafted by artisans at Palason and comes in a choice of 12 finishes ($266, $308 with board, 800-631-1068).

´´ast is a set of "arrows," and Pacer Custom Darts in Hermosa Beach, California, can straighten out even the weakest sister's toss. The darts are made of nickel tungsten—the top material for darts—but can be modified to suit various throwing styles. Not only can size, length and weight be customized, but also the shape and diameter of the nose, the grooves along the body, and the flags, or flights, at the end of the dart ($95, 310-372-8244).

So toe the line, gentlemen, and let those arrows fly. Double twenty, treble sixteen, bull's-eye.

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