At the moment, 14 year-old Daniel Perry is a relatively low-profile, Dorset based youngster with a bright future in darts. We caught up with Dan just ahead of him leaving for Turkey and the WDF’s World Cup, to find out a little more about him and his (very short) journey in darts so far.
Hi Dan. For those who don’t know you too well (yet!), what have you achieved in darts up ’til now?
“I made it to England Youth Number One at 13 years-old earlier this year. I was captain of the Hampshire Under-18’s Youth team and now play for the Dorset Senior team. I’ve played for the British International, Europe Cup International and World Cup youth teams.
“I’ve also been the Mill Rythe U14’s champion seven times and the U18’s champion twice. And I was the Southern County Youth Championship Winner at Lakeside in 2014 and runner-up earlier this year.”
Okay, so who’s the more talented player – Mum or Dad?
“I’ll have to say both of them, so as not to upset my Dad!”
What do your friends think of your successes?
“My friends from school and outside of school are very supportive. They always ask how my match went and if it didn’t go so well they would still give me support.”
What are your hopes for the future in darts?
“To become Lakeside World Champion like Scott Mitchell and be a famous face like Tony O’Shea.”
Who’s your sporting hero?
“Dan is very impressive player – that’s not because of his age, if he was 21 years old, playing at the standard and maturity that he does, people would still be raving about him. The fact he is just 14 makes all his achievements even more incredible, Dan inspires me.”
‘Scotty Dog’ Scott Mitchell, October 2015 on Daniel Perry
How did it feel to be the England number one youth?
“Good, because I worked so hard for it.”
How do you feel about being selected to represent England at the World Cup in Turkey?
“Over the moon, but it’s hard because only two of us got selected and not the four that got selected for the Europe Cup.”
Have you enjoyed the travelling or is it a pain?
“No, I’ve loved the traveling and meeting new players from all over the country and making so many new friends.”
Have you found the darts community to be a supportive bunch?
“Yes, all of them, especially Scott Mitchell and Deta Hedman, who have helped me and pointed me in the right direction – and my Dad who drives me everywhere.”
How does it feel that you could be a future TV darts star?
“I don’t really think about that – just take every day as it comes.”
How much of a pain is fitting in schoolwork alongside your darts?
“Not that bad. I do my homework when I get home, so I can go to darts in the week and the school give me more time if I need it.”
I believe you’ve just started in a new school – how’s that going and do they know they’ve signed a future star?
I’ve been at this school three years now!
Ah, sorry – bit of dodgy research there! But do they know they have a star?
“Yes they do know and have been very supportive by giving me the time off during term time to play darts.”
You must have been given a nickname by now – would you like to share it with us?
“Yes, it’s Pin Point.”
What does it feel like to be sponsored by one of the biggest names in darts – Red Dragon?
“Really good and they will help a lot. I’m also sponsored by Paul Gillings from Darts Performance Centre and Dale Masterman of Masterclass Scaffolding.”
How about telling us your favourite…
“Doc Martin and Britain’s Got Talent”
Thanks so much for your time Dan and good luck in Turkey next week, but just before we finish off, I’ve a couple of questions for your Dad, Richard.
Hi Richard, I hope you’re well. We used to play on opposing teams 25 years ago, my darts ‘career’ has stalled, what about yours?
“I went on from playing league darts to playing Super League and then on to playing County for Dorset, playing 150 games.”
How much encouragement did Dan need to take up darts?
“Not a lot in fact we used to take him every where, which was mainly to darts! He used to throw at a dartboard on a chair and just went from there.”
Just how proud are you of Dan’s achievements so far?
“Super proud. All the practice I put in with him and all the traveling we have done, to all the tournaments and then getting picked for England – you can’t beat that feeling seeing your son stood up there on stage singing the national anthem – makes everything worthwhile.”
Darts Performance Centre
We also managed to catch up with one of Dan’s sponsors, Paul Gillings of the Darts Performance Centre – he had this to say…
“We sponsor a few grassroots players, the youngest is Daniel. We first met Daniel (and his family, including his Dad Richard) at the Hampshire Darts Mill Rythe event at Hayling Island. I watched in awe as Daniel took to the stage in one final or other (usually winning it too) seemingly every time we were at the event!
“We would normally avoid sponsoring any player under 16 as there is enough pressure on young darts players without the burden of sponsors too. However, Daniel has many things going for him. He has a very mature outlook and what we believe is a key ingredient for stepping from Youth darts to the next level, the backing of his family.
“So we were happy to swerve around our unwritten rule on younger players and give Daniel our backing. We have sponsored his County shirt too. There is still a long road ahead for Dan but if he continues with the same pace of progress as he has so far, then he has a very bright future in the game.”
If you’d like to pass on some words of encouragement, feel free to use the comments box below.
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