Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Face of the Day - Robbie Furmage

Whilst at the National RSA tournament in Papakura over the weekend I spoke to ex- NZ player Robbie Furmage. Robbie represented NZ in international competition 8 times. He played darts at home and work for a while before starting to play competitive darts in 1975. He played in the Hamilton/Waikato area but I know he also used to travel and play in a league in Auckland on Saturday afternoons because at that time it was best of five singles and he wanted the competition.
In 1977 he was selected to play for New Zealand for the first time. At that time selection was based on a round robin of 16 players. He went to play in what was the Australiasian championships in Australia. That was an interstate competition which NZ played as an additional state. He played in that for a number of years along side players like the late John Wilkie who was Captain and Gordon Alpress. John Wilkie after Robbies first game, a match against Western Australia where Robbie missed double 3 to secure a team win took Robbie aside. Robbie thought he was going to be dropped for the game against Queensland. John instead bought Robbie a double bourbon, told him to drink it and gave him some encouragement for the next game. One year he averaged 93 in that competition and Gordon Alpress averaged 97.  Gordon was selected in the Australasian team .
Another highlight was playing in the Pacific Cup in Hawaii which was a prelude to what is no known as the Asia Pacific Cup. In those days it was two men and two ladies. The team was Robbie, Gordon Allpress, Jill McDonald ( World Cup singles winner) and Lillian Broadbent ( Winmau Masters winner). A formidable team. They won the teams event.
In 1981 he went to Scotland and played in the World Cup and later in the year went to London and played in what was called at the time the Embassy World Professional dart championships. What they call the Lakeside BDO championships now. He was there through being NZ number one. The NZ ladies representative was Janie Karena. They both traveled with Matt Lindsay who was head of the NZDC and an official of the World Dart federation at the time. Rob had to play a player from Holland and win to get onto the stage and be in a televised game. The game was tied and it came to a deciding leg. Rob had 217 left and hit 177 to leave 40. He then threw about 12 darts at it and missed. The dutch player came down and won. If Robbie had won he would have played John Lowe ( 3 time world champ) on TV. John Lowe watched the match and came up to Robbie after and said he felt sorry for him as he had played the better darts.
I asked Robbie how much he practised in those days. He told me he practised when ever he could for as long as he could. He would wake up at 2 am in the morning and practice. He would practice for 90 minutes at work before he started. If it rained and he could not work he practised. It was countless hours spent..
He got married and had a son and the desire was not as strong to keep it up and eventually he gave it away and now only plays twice a year. He plays in the National RSA tournament in October and the Interdominions at Easter.
His playing tip is be confident. If you are not you put pressure on yourself. He recommends not worrying about or watching what your opponent is scoring as you can do nothing about it. If you worry about who your opponent is and their reputation you give away a leg.

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