COVID can't stop darts association hitting the bullseye

The Lower Murray Darts Association has finally returned to bring up its landmark 50th season.

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Among the joy of sporting competitions returning to play in recent times, the return of the Lower Murray Darts Association this week proved that little bit sweeter than most.

The LMDA is celebrating its 50th season in 2020 with a shortened seven-team competition that began this week at venues across the Murraylands.

For 50 years the association’s crowning achievement has remained the same, according to association secretary Robyn Bates: anyone can get involved and have a go in a social environment.

“It’s a great fun and social group to be a part of, even if you’ve never held a dart before,” she said.

Bates, pictured left alongside LMDA president Greg Bell, highlighted the camaraderie among players and the places they play as a real drawcard of being involved in the association.

“Players will move between teams to ensure everyone gets a go, and we move between different pubs and clubs to make sure we put a bit of money over different bars that will have us,” she said.

Like many other sporting groups, the LMDA has had a delayed start to its season due to COVID-19, with the ongoing restrictions forcing a modified 10-round season and changes to its social celebrations in its 50th year.

The singles and doubles competitions, usually held on Wednesday nights during the season, will be played on select Sundays to ensure the season finishes in the usual September timeslot so as not to impact summer darts competitions at Jervois.

Additionally, social events to celebrate the milestone year, such as the annual family picnic day, will likely not occur.

“The social events are a big drawcard with families attending but likely won’t run due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Ms Bates said.

“While we can’t celebrate the 50th this year as we’d like, we’re aiming for a 50-plus-one COVID year next season.”

During a difficult few months, it was the support of members like LMDA founding member and past president Kevin Spinks that supported the association in going ahead with the season.

Spinks, who had never held a dart before the LMDA’s inaugural season, had a point of difference to his fellow competitors during his first season.

“The first year that we played darts, for the first half of the season, I wasn’t allowed to drink in the hotel because I was still 17,” Spinks said.

Fifty years later, Spinks is still involved with the association and enjoys the relationship with the pubs and clubs that host the different teams.

“We’ve made very good friends at all of the different venues and it’s always nice to go in, say hello and support the local community,” he said.

The White Hill-based Murray Bridge Darts Club - which provides a more competitive competition for local darts players - is also set to commence its season next Wednesday, July 15, following a training night this week.

“It’s a good situation for the community to have both darts associations going,” Mr Spinks said.

  • Get involved: Visit the Lower Murray Darts Association Facebook page or call Robyn Bates on 0409 099 214.

Photos: Kurt Miegel.