We met the magnificent 7 who made it into the Bristol Varsity darts team
‘There’s been more pints drunk than darts thrown’
Rome had their gladiators, Greece had their Olympians. Now a new group of heroes have stepped forward to fill their shoes- the Bristol University darts squad.
Tasked with winning the annual Varsity darts contest for the first time, Captain Rob Angel has assembled a crack team of players to end UWE's victory streak.
Following extensive trials in which 48 hopefuls were whittled down to the final seven, the team has been undergoing rigorous training at All Stars bar, replete with much bonding over pints and patter.
The Tab Bristol were invited to meet the team at their Tuesday night session this week. Asked to give a reason why no first years made it into the team, Captain Angel replied grimly: "Fresh tend to crack under the presh".
The all male line up has led to fears that women are being pushed out of this most noble of sports. However, a women's team is due to be launched, with avid darts players encouraged to sign up in the Facebook group here.
Over a pint of Thatcher's Gold, Angel give this news outlet a potted history of the club and their aspirations for the future. "We've lost Varsity every year" he said. "But this time things will change. UWE have lost most of their best players, we've got to be favourites. Betting's been suspended."
Admittedly when this reporter called a local bookies to try and place a tenner on the hotly tipped team, he was unable to lay any money on the prospect of a UWE thrashing- though that may have been due to fears of match fixing rather than confirmation of Bristol's tag as favourites.
However, the team are not taking anything for granted, despite ambitions to compete in the nationals at Sheffield and thereafter tour Magaluf next summer. They've been hitting the gym hard, with Angel confirming that the team can bench press on average 120kg- "except for Maino, he can't even lift the bar."
Past misdemeanours have earned Darts the reputation as 'The SU's least favourite club'. Rowdy scenes in successive Varsity matches have led to multiple disciplinary hearings, with fears that "this could well be the last ever Varsity darts match".
Yet in spite of- or perhaps because of- this reputation, over 80% of the team's 250 allocated tickets for the match have already gone. Held at Bristol Walkabout on Thursday 9th November, a crowd of 500 drunken students from the two universities will come together to roar their champions on to fame and fortune.
Below then are the magnificent seven chosen to do battle with the enemy and end Bristol's barren streak…
Name: Rob Angel (Captain)
Year and course: Third year, Economics
Nickname: 'The Power'
Preferred drink: "Beer, beer and more beer"
Walk-on music: Shaggy- Mr Lover
Name: Neil Stephenson
Year and course: Third year, English and Classical Studies
Nickname: 'The Mountain'
Preferred drink: "Come on, Doom Bar, all the way"
Walk-on music: Rev Theory- Hell Yeah
Name: Nathan Clarkson
Year and course: Third year, Mechanical Engineering
Nickname: 'The Northerner'
Preferred drink: "Real Ale"
Walk-on music: AC/DC- Thunderstruck
Name: Seb Al-Hariri
Year and course: Third year, Economics and Maths
Nickname: 'The Beery'
Preferred drink: "Lager- a big one"
Walk-on music: Fat Les- Vindaloo
Name: Nick Main
Year and course: Third year, History
Nickname: 'Captain Korf'
Preferred drink: "Beer"
Walk-on music: George Michael- Careless Whisper
Name: Bertie Lloyd
Year and course: Second year, Zoology
Nickname: 'I hit 180 in training'
Preferred drink: "Probably an ale or an apple juice"
Walk-on music: James Blunt- You're Beautiful
Name: Charlie Ebdon
Year and course: Fourth year, Aerospace Engineering
Nickname: 'The Club'
Preferred drink: "Pint of bitter"
Walk-on music: Darkness– I Believe In A Thing Called Love
Tickets for the Varsity match are on sale here for £5. The Tab Bristol extend our best wishes to these heroes in waiting and look forward to seeing them obliterate their UWE counterparts next month!