June 06, 2022 4 min read
It has been a while since my last blog, which I wrote just before the World Championship, and a lot has happened in that time!
Firstly, unfortunately I fell at the first hurdle at the Worlds where I lost out to Raymond Smith. I went into that match confident that I would be able to produce a performance good enough to prevail, but that didn't happen and Raymond thoroughly deserved his victory.
As is always the case after the World Championship, there is a rare chance to reflect and re-group and, once I was over the disappointment of my performance, I began to build towards the first event of 2022. For me, that was the Masters, in which I was fortunate enough to make my debut after both Danny Noppert and Nathan Aspinall pulled out. There I met Luke Humphries. I went into that match with realistic expectations, but comfortable that my game was starting to return to a good level as I had begun to practice well. I lost the match, but felt my performance was a good base to build from.
Since then, I have to be honest and say my season has been extremely frustrating because at various points this year I have felt in really good form and my practice has been as good as it has ever been. However, I just have not been able to translate this into the performances and results that I aspire to achieving. It is one thing to lose matches where you know you are struggling as I was for large periods of 2021, but it is another thing to lose matches when you know you are playing well and should be winning. In the Players Championship events in particular, I have definitely been guilty of being over-eager at times and this has affected my rhythm and consistency.
I took heart from my performance at Minehead in March at the UK Open where I came through a really tough last 64 match 10-6 against Jelle Klaasen. Jelle averaged 99.50, so to control the match the way I did was really pleasing. I then had a barnstormer with the eventual champion, Danny Noppert, where I just failed in overhauling an early 7-2 deficit. going down 10-8 in the end.
Since then my results have not picked up as I would have hoped. I qualified for a number of European Tour events, and it was great to pick up a recent win in Leverkusen, but I have not been satisfied.
It has been nice to have a break of a few weeks recently to work on a few small technical aspects of my throw and reflect on some elements of my performances which I think could be improved upon. I am confident that a few small changes will see me take my practice game into matches.
Away from competitive action, I have also been extremely busy with other projects. In early March I was thrilled to announce my new darts manufacturer as Shot Darts. As I have said in previous blogs, I am hugely grateful to Trinidad for the work they put in with me in producing a dart that enabled me to play as well as I did in 2020, but I just felt that it was time for a change. Shot and I are simply a great fit culturally as we share an unwavering love for design and detail. The team at Shot have put in painstaking work to produce my current darts, The Greatness, which I am immensely proud to use. In addition, we have produced two other beautiful ranges (The Courage and The Wisdom) which I am thrilled to say have proved extremely popular with darts players around the world. There are still a few signed sets available in my shop.
I have also been putting a lot of time into setting up the Devon Petersen Academy, which is a project I am hugely passionate about. This has now been set up in South Africa and Nigeria, but I plan to launch in both Botswana and the USA soon. The Academy offers professional coaching opportunities to young darts player, which gives them a roadmap to the possibility of a professional career. I have used my experience in the game to create coaching manuals and practice routines to help develop young players and ensure they understand that time invested on the practice board will yield great rewards. This is something that I wish had been in place for me when I was growing up in Cape Town. I want to be a catalyst in creating an African darting legacy.
This project is currently self-funded, but I hope that companies will see the difference that a project like this can make to young lives and come on board. Shot have already done this and provided some financial support which is incredibly generous and shows the type of company they are, they deeply care about the sport of darts at all levels.
I will sign off by saying that the World Cup of Darts is nearly upon us, one of my favourite events and the only time of the year that us professionals get to officially represent our countries. I always represent South Africa with great pride and this year I will be partnered by the hugely exciting Stefan Vermaak. Trust me when I say this young guy can play.
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