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Murray Bridge Darts Club prepares for its 50th anniversary
Past and present players are invited to celebrate at the White Hill clubrooms next month.
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If you’ve ever thrown a dart in Murray Bridge, you’re invited to help the local club celebrate a major anniversary.
Murray Bridge Darts Club will celebrate its 50th birthday on October 15.
That was no small feat for a club which had been owned and run by its members from the start, president Darren Young said.
Back in the day, you could have gone to any pub in the Murraylands and had a game of darts or pool while you drank a beer and listened to some live music.
Then came the pokies, which gave hoteliers bigger profits with less effort.
From a social perspective, “it was one of the worst decisions the state ever made”, Mr Young said.
As darts players were pushed out of the pubs, they shifted to the railway institute, then the old rowing club, then a hall behind the former community club on Seventh Street, now a Church of Christ.
By 1984, five club members – Bill Andrews, Greg Mitchell, Colin Binnie, John Webb and Bob Yarlett – had had enough.
They pooled about $30,000 between them, enough to buy a truck stop at White Hill which had been bypassed with the opening of the Swanport Bridge five years earlier.
Murray Bridge Darts Club has been based there ever since, with facilities the equal of almost any sporting club in the district.
At least 15 dart boards line the walls of the expansive clubrooms.
Hanging on the wall are the names and photos of club legends like Craig Atze, the former state champ who has scored a perfect 180 points more than 700 times; as well as the state titles Murray Bridge has won: ‘82, ‘83, ‘99, another 13 between 2001 and 2016, plus this year’s.
The club’s bar had a cool room attached, too, its president pointed out with pride – playing darts was thirsty work, after all.
Most of the club’s 90 members show up to compete on a Wednesday night, split into 17 teams across two grades.
Another extension is on the cards so the club can fit more darts boards in, since nobody wants to play on a different night.
Big grand prix events come to town a couple of times each year, too, with world rankings points and cash prizes up for grabs.
Yet plenty of people in Murray Bridge were unaware that the club existed, Mr Young acknowledged.
He hoped that would change in time – and that players from years past would come out of the woodwork to celebrate next month.
There will be a light supper, a slide show and – no doubt – a little friendly competition at the club at 4216 Old Princes Highway, White Hill from 7pm on October 15.
More information: Search for “Murray Bridge Darts Club” on Facebook or contact Sharon on 0411 371 510.
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