Monday, June 17, 2013

Gordon Allpress NZ Darts Legend

If you were having a discussion about who was NZ's finest male dart player one of the names to be discussed would be Gordon Allpress. Gordon is 64 years old now and retired from playing top darts in 1992 to spend more time with his family. He still plays now but only once a week at the Canterbury and Suburban Darts Association club night held on a Thursday. It is now just a social night out. Recently I met him for the first time at the Canterbury Open and then the NZ Masters. He told me this was the first NZ Masters he had been to as when he played up to 1992 it was not an event.
Gordon played rugby and rugby league before starting to play darts in a Saturday league team for the Woolston Working Men's Club in 1970 at the age of 21. His Mother and Aunty played darts and they were probably who introduced him to the game. He told me the first season he played he never won a singles match and was ribbed much by his team mates. In those days you played a round robin of pairs and then one game of singles.
In 1972 he watched the Australasian Darts Championships when they were held in Lower Hutt. That was an annual competition which no longer exists between the Australian states and New Zealand. He decided he wanted to be part of that and by 1973 he was in the NZ team.
He has played in various parts of the World. Australia, England and Hawaii representing NZ. He played in the Embassy World Championships twice. He was part of a NZ team of himself, Robbie Furmage, Lillian Barnett and Janie Karena who were the first NZ team to win the Asia Pacific Cup. He played in World Cups in Copenhagen, Nelson and Brisbane. He has played in Pacific Cups in Melbourne and Auckland. Won a men's pairs in those competitions with Barry Whittaker and mixed pairs with Lottie Chalcraft. Domestically he has been involved in many Canterbury Region teams, South island teams and won many titles. So many he has probably forgotten many of them. One highlight for him was winning the NZ singles the year he retired in 1992 and then after being absent from darts for 11 years playing again and winning the NZ singles in 2003.
Players that he respected were Murray Smith and Barry Whittaker. Internationally John Lowe and Eric Bristowe both of whom he got to play and win legs against.
Talking to the older Canterbury players who have known " Gordy " a long time he is hugely admired in that part of the darting world and has the greatest respect. He has been a mentor to many.
I asked him what advice he would give to any player who wanted to improve and develop his game. He said he would need to look at that player but a basic thing is technique. He said some players can get in a rut and not improve much but changes in technique can bring greater consistency. Players have to be prepared to make a change and bed it in with practice so it becomes natural. He says he is still learning and it is an on going process.  Perserverance is required. When he was at his peak he only practicised 30 minutes a day but he was out playing a lot and that was what kept him in good form.
I do not know Gordy that well but I could not help be impressed by the way he plays, his way of throwing and his general demeanour. He is a rather an understated person that exhibits a certain mental strength and presence on the oche that you do not see in many. I can see why he was so successful.
Gordon Allpress NZDC titles:
NZ Men's Open 1986
NZ Men's Singles 78, 85, 86, 87, 92 and 2003.
NZ Men's Pairs with Barry Whittaker in 1986, 1991.
NZ Mixed Pairs with G. Leen 1980. With L.Barnett 1987.
NZ Husband and Wife in 1973.
He was also a NZ Darts Council Director for 5 years.

Wikipedia entry

Gordon Allpress (born 1949) is a semi-retired New Zealand darts player who competed in the 1980s.
He competed in the 1980 and 1981 Embassy BDO World Darts Championships but was defeated by Scotland's Jocky Wilson in 1980 and by the American darts player David Miller in the first round in 1981.[1] He has won the New Zealand men's singles title 6 times and last won it in 2003.[2] He also has won every NZ title at least once. He has also represented New Zealand in 4 World Cups and 4 Pacific Cup Tournaments and he played in the first ever New Zealand Pacific Cup winning team to win the Pacific Cup in Hawaii in 1984.


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