Darts: Double top's Circus

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The Independent Online
There was all the fun of the fair at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet this week as the Professional Darts Council's version of the World Championship took the spotlight. Despite all the problems in the game, the atmosphere at this level remains a delightful orgy of over-the-top ochemania. Doubles and trebles are the order of the day though a lot of punters still seem to prefer lager or beer, while the players themselves tend to stick to water.

The professional sport dates back to the Welsh valleys in the 1930s, and whatever the beverage, the spirit is uninhibited, partisan yet free of rancour, proof that sportsmanship can flourish alongside passion. The artists of the arrow - which is made these days of sprung tungsten - are on target to win back an audience divided by the split with the British Darts Council. The semi-finals and final take place today and tomorrow amid disco-style sound and fury in Essex.

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