Keep your eye on the prize, says veteran darts player

On target... Vanessa Adams

Darts veteran, Vanessa Adams, 59, a former Westridge resident, now living in Northpine, reminisces on a 28-year darts career that took flight at the Mitchell’s Plain Recreational Association (MPRA) in 1991.

A member of the Tyger Flights Darts Club, which is affiliated to the Northern Suburbs Darts Association, she says the biggest highlight of her journey has to be the 1997 World Cup in Australia.

Originally from Bonteheuwel, Adams moved to Westridge, with her parents at the age of four.

However, she only started playing darts at the age of 31, for the now defunct Amicus Dart Club before joining Sable Dart Club from 1994 to 2001 in the Southern Suburbs League.

She was awarded her provincial colours in 1994, and in 1995, her national colours.

Adams went on to represent the green and gold between 1995 and 2006, including the 1996 All Africa Zone Six championships.

In 1995, she was crowned the African champion, and in 1997, was a part of the national team at the World Cup in Australia.

In 2002, she received a lifetime achievement award from Darts South Africa, and in 2003, she was crowned the national champ.

Adams finished second overall at the nationals in Johannesburg last month, while her teammate, Galidja Jenkins, finished first. The master’s team won a gold medal which booked the team of four a place at next year’s AUR5 Zone Six games in Swaziland.

Adams says besides playing, she enjoys coaching youngsters.

“We never had the opportunities youngsters of today have got. We started at an old age, I was 31 when I started playing darts. They start when they are at a young age, and they are good and can make a career out of darts. It’s a great opportunity to play,” she says.

The housewife of 36 years, is a mother of two and has six grandchildren with her husband, Jeff, another veteran in the darts administration scene.

“My brothers played. I went to watch a tournament and fell in love with the game. Darts keep me active.

“I love the challenge, the people and going to the Annual National Championship and seeing old friends and meeting new ones,” she says.

Adams says darts helps the youngsters stay off the streets, it helps with mathematics, and teaches them discipline.

“You don’t have to drink to play darts. I don’t drink or smoke. I have a certificate in coaching. I would like to coach the ladies and youth. The coaching certificate is a generic coaching certificate underwritten by UWC. Doing something for 28 years can get boring, but not when you go back to why you started. I want to coach so I can pass down the knowledge I was also taught and learnt,” she says.

Leoni Dart Club member, Marcia Stemmet, started playing over 20 years ago and achieved her regional colours as a player in 2016. This year, she played for Peninsula Darts Association at the nationals, and was also honoured to manage the first Western Cape Master women’s team at national level.

Stemmet says she looks up to Adams as both a veteran of the sport and a good person in general.

“This was the first year that Darts South Africa had the masters section (50 plus age). These two ladies (Adams and Galidja Jenkins) I managed of the four players in the team. Galidja ended first and Vanessa second overall. We won gold at the nationals,” she says.

“Currently the Western Cape region (women’s team) won at association sections, district and regional, including our girls team.

“That already is a positive sign. So our work towards Nationals 2020 starts now and this event will be held in Cape Town,” says Stemmet.