Kiwi darts master up against best in the world

By Alka Prasad

Eva Wilson is a Te Rito Journalism cadet.

The 2022 World Series of Darts opened yesterday at Hamilton Gardens, welcoming darts masters from around the globe.

Ben “Big Rig” Robb, of Whakatōhea and Te Whānau a Apanui, was drawn to face off against world No. 1, Gerwyn Price of Wales.

Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate drew numbers from a purple velvet bag to determine the matchups for tonight's first round of competition.

“I just knew I was going to get Gerwyn Price," Robb said. "There's no better way to match how you're going in the game than to play the best."

He picked up the men's singles open title last month in the final of the New Zealand Darts Council Championships.

“I was ranked No. 1 going into the last tournament so I knew, if I played well, I would hold on to my spot.”

Darts is known for its large payouts to winners but, for Ōpōtiki-raised Robb, darts have remained a passion on the side.

He spoke of his aspirations for the sport to become his full-time gig.

“I'm a drain layer and plumber by trade so I know how hard it is to make a dollar. So, if I can make a living out of doing something like this, it's pretty cool.”

Wayne McBeath of Darts Players NZ said “the turnout of international players is really something. Our Kiwi players are all looking forward to competing on Friday.”

Other darts masters in attendance include Jonny "The Ferret" Clayton, "Mighty" Michael Van Gerwen, Fallon "Queen of the Palace" Sherrock and James "the Machine" Wade.

The games are taking place in Hamilton’s Globox Arena over the next two nights.