Continuing on from the great interviews with our stars from Northern Ireland Darts, this week we have….Gary Elliott. A fantastic scorer and a deadly finisher, a combination that has been very successful for Gary over years. Here’s our interview with this very experienced and classy international player.
We know you are a many times NI International and County player for Area 12, but how did you start throwing darts?
I was out one Saturday night with my mate and a couple of his mates invited me to come along to the darts in the Ballyclare Comrades Club the following Friday where they had two blind pairs competition’s. I won them both, one with Jim Gilchrist and the other with Jimmy Quinn. That was me hooked on the game of darts.
Who have been your role models or inspiration – not necessarily in darts?
I don’t really have a role model or inspiration in darts. I was always a big fan of Scotland rugby captain and full back Gavin Hastings, he always gave 110%
What was your first big competition win and who was it against?
My first big competition win was the Northern Ireland Masters, I beat Shane Pearson in the final.
You have done well this year on the NIDO Counties finishing in the top 12 averages and winning the NIDO 2nd division with Area 12 – how do you keep going and keep interested?
Getting on the Northern Ireland team keeps me motivated, one of the greatest honours in any sport is representing your country.
How do you cope with the pressure of performing on stage? Is this a learned skill or are you born with it, in your opinion?
It certainly wasn’t a skill I was born with, the first time I was up on stage playing I was a nervous wreck. I think once you have been up playing on stage a few times you get used to it, a few pints of beer definitely helps kill the nerves off lol
What league team do you play in – how have you and the team performed this year?
I play for the G.E.R.S in the Ballyclare and District league, we have won the league this season and all the cups so far, my team mates are a great bunch of lads and I’ve lost in one league match this season!
How would you practice for a competition – do you have a set routine – could you share some of that with our readers?
I try to get at least 1 hour practice a day in Monday to Friday. I don’t have any set routine although when the darts are on tv whatever outshot the players are going for I’d try and take it out in the same number of darts or less.
Any tips of the trade – What do you do to relax in a match?
If I can I like to turn up at the venue a couple of hours before the competition starts to get a good practice in. If I am well warmed up I’m usually more relaxed plus a few pints help me relax as well
What darts do you use – flights, stems and barrel ?
The darts I use are the old t95 unicorn darts with the barrels drilled out with long points they were 27grams but with over 10 years of throwing with them there now 26grams, vortex flights and medium stems.
What was your best result / performance?
My best result was probably when I beat Michael Van Gerwen 4-1 in the Belfast Masters. My best performance, there is a couple that come to mind, the first was a Christmas competition in Ballyclare against Colin Mcgarry I was 4-2 down then had 3 legs under 15 darts to win 5-4. The second was against Rep of Irelands Michael Meaney I was 2 nil down in the deciding set then won 3 legs in 12,12,17 darts to win.
If you could have one match to play over / do over which would it be?
If I had 1 match to play over it would be the semi final of the team event at the 2009 World Cup in Charlotte North Carolina Usa against Canada, poor finishing cost us a place in the final, that was nearly 10 years ago and it still annoys me.
How many WDF europe cups and world cups have you been in. How far did you get?
I’ve played in 3 World Cups, all being well a 4th World Cup later this year and 3 Europe Cups, my best results in them were a bronze medal in the 2009 World cup in the USA in the team event and a bronze medal in the team event in the 2014 Europe Cup in Romania.
Favourites… Favourite opponent, favourite partner and your favourite venue?
I dont really have a favourite or least favourite opponent. I’ve partnered up with some really good players over the years but winning the Northern Ireland open in 2015 is one of my favourite competition wins and that was with my good mate Nigel Cahoon. I like all venues that have plenty of practice boards the Ballylumford club is one of the best.
Once again you’ve been called up by your country to be selected for the NI Team for the Celtic Challenge coming up on the 23rd of March this weekend. How do you feel going into the tournament? What are our chances? Whats the format – is it one leg per player?
I’ve been practising hard for the Celtic Cup and my practising sessions have been going really well, we have a really strong team going over to Wales so I think we have a good chance to win it 2 years in a row, the format for the Celtic Cup is best of 7 legs.
Do you have any message yourself?
A BIG thankyou to my sponsors Gordon Estates and Ken Mcclintock. Their sponsorship is very much appreciated and a massive thankyou to my fiancee Nikki for putting up with me, she deserves a medal lol