Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Getting to Know... Huw Ware, Darts Referee

Huw Ware is a BDO Darts Referee who has refereed on the biggest stages, including darts' prestigious Lakeside tournament. I spoke to Huw about his love of darts, the difficulties of refereeing, and the state of the game.

Huw Ware, professional darts referee.

What first drew you to darts? 

I was first drawn to darts when I walked into my front room in the summer of 2005 and darts just happened to be on the TV. I tuned in for the evening session that evening and the game I watched (Phil Taylor V Dennis Priestley) was an absolute classic. Looking back on it, it had everything that makes darts great for me and I’ve just been hooked ever since. 

What are the top three things about darts? 

Drama, pressure, unpredictability.  

How did you get into darts refereeing? 

I used to play County Youth darts and we had a friendly match against the Senior squad. The referee didn’t turn up so I volunteered and ended up doing most of the day. The Seniors liked what they heard and invited me to start refereeing for them. In 2011 I was asked to do the World Masters in Hull, then a few months later it was onto the World Championship and I’ve been a permanent fixture ever since.  

How does someone train to be a darts referee? 

I think darts in general is a fantastic way to help with mental arithmetic. It should really be emphasised in schools! I think a lot of the scores I know now are purely from memory, but there are some shots that’ll catch you out and it’s a matter of recalculating as quickly as possible. I guess I trained on-the-job always, even at the World Masters my actual training was to get up on stage and do it. 

Darts requires good arithmetic ability.

What are your best and worst moments as a darts referee? 

I think my best moments have been when a game has just been fantastic, but my personal highlight was refereeing the 2014 Lakeside World Final between Stephen Bunting and Alan Norris. My worst moments are any mistakes I’ve made (And I’ve made a few trust me!). 

What's the most difficult thing about darts refereeing? 

Certainly at the big tournaments it’s the pressure. Pressure does funny things to the brain so you have to concentrate 100% all the time and sometimes that’s not easy.  

What can darts improve on? 

I think there’s always room for improvement in any sport. I guess as long as darts can keep improving its television coverage, its attendance levels and prize money for the players then that can only be a good thing. Long may it continue! 

Big crowds and TV interest are crucial to the success of any sport.

What are the darts players like on the circuit? 

The players are great. I get on well with all of them and a lot of them are my friends. The great thing about darts is that there is a great ambiance between most of the players (most of the time!) and win or lose they’re more often than not approachable. 

Who do you think are the main contenders for the 2015 BetVictor World Matchplay in Blackpool later this month? 

There are far too many to mention! Phil Taylor has to be tipped because he hasn’t lost in the tournament since 2007, so he’s the man to beat! But then how can you argue against Michael Van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis... I’ve started a list now, that’s not good!! The depth in standard is truly extraordinary right now. In fact all 32 players in the tournament could argue that, on their day, they would win it, and I wouldn’t argue with them!