There must be something in the water in Scotland and I don’t mean Nessy, in particular in Aberdeenshire where an upcoming GDL powerhouse by the name of Mark Webster resides.
Our writer, Ashley Calver, spent some time talking to Mark about all things darts.
“I live in Huntly, Aberdeenshire. I own a pub here and Captain The Royal Oak team. I’m actually the only Founding member of Huntly and District Darts League (HDDL) that is still actively playing in it. We have a new committee that got together a few years back and before COVID we had many big plans for our town league.”
With COVID and lockdown there could have been a danger of Mark just becoming another Scottish myth or fable but unlike the famous Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay, Mark can be seen as well as heard thanks to the platform the GDL has given him and there isn’t a hairless dog in sight.
Webster broke down why he started tossing the tungsten instead of the caber and quickly added how he initially got his beginnings in the GDL “I was 14 or 15 when I first became properly interested and started throwing darts, I used to watch the BDO World Championships and wanted to play. I used to play nearly every day after school at my friend’s house.
I came across GDL on Facebook, being off work because of COVID I decided I had to keep myself playing good darts, I seen the GDL and thought why not?”
Unlike the mythical Stoor Worm, Mark has been a breath of fresh air in the GDL, really producing some great darts and results along the way “I have to say my biggest achievement would have to be being in all finals of the Matchplay Qualifiers for Middle Grade. I have also won the Division 2 Statman Cup.”
Having achieved so much in a relatively short time as a GDL player what else could he produce in the organisation? Recently getting moved up to the higher grade it’s been a mixed bag lately but that doesn’t stop Mark from being positive “I want to push on with my darts but I have to be honest and say something isn’t clicking properly right now and I’ve not had much of a run. I recently got beat in round 1 of the first GDL Grand Prix qualifier and that was sore, after playing so well in the previous qualifiers. I take one game at a time but I’d like to be able to press on and get into a final in the Upper Grade for starters then go from there. Each win is a bonus!”
Something we probably all worry about is our practice, in terms of amount of time and routines. Mark explains what he does to improve his game “Since being back to work I train less on the board but I try and fit in at least 8 hours a week of practising, I play the Bob 27s game a-lot for practising my doubles, I also play online games on Nakka for practice.”
We all have our darting heroes and perhaps sometimes model our games on them too, and it will come as no surprise that Mark’s come from north of the border “Being from Huntly I have always followed our local PDC player John Henderson, but I’ve had the same darts for years now and they are a Gary Anderson set, a winning set is what I like to say haha. I would say that I have my own style of throw too.”
Much like a Selkie, Webster can transform himself from a ‘real life’ player to an online player and back but has he found any difference in his playing standard from one to the other? “Being perfectly honest here I have to say that both sides I have had good success in, I won the HDDL singles in 2019 as well as The Birnie Trophy, a memorial cup we play for every year in Huntly. I was also part of the winning triple in a new cup that was played for the first time in 2019.”
Being a popular and major player taking part in the GDL, Mark tell us what he thinks the future could hold for the organisation “The GDL is only going to get bigger and better. It has helped me greatly through both lockdowns and I have met some amazing people. All I can hope for is that it continues to deliver the best online darts leagues there is around.”
As we know, Mark is from the Huntly District League so how does he feel having fellow league players in the GDL have helped him “I was the first one in the HDDL to play GDL, after Q1 of the Open I pestered them all to get involved. Some of the guys signed up right away, including my younger brother Neil who actually won the Q2 of Open for lower grade then got to the final of the Open Finals. He was declared runner up, I’m still waiting for my cut for getting him involved! (Haha)
One thing is for certain Mark Webster is on an upward trajectory in the GDL, a fantastic unofficial ambassador for our online darts world. Improving his own game but also inspiring others to enjoy the game, put the practice in and to work harder to compete in the Graded Darts Leagues and raises everyone’s standards.