Scott Marsh – Player Interview
Date of Interview: 14/06/2020
Q: Firstly Scott thanks for answering these questions today, your time is much appreciated. You have only been a member of our team since January but it already feels like we have been working together for many years. Knowing how well you have been playing recently certainly sets you in good stead to achieve big things in the future and we are humbled to have you using Quantum Darts products.
S: Thanks. To be honest, I’ve been signed to other dart companies before but with Quantum Darts it felt completely different & I really like how closely we have been able to work together. Hopefully the darts will return soon because I’m really looking forward to playing competitively in ranked events again.
Q: Firstly we wanted to take things back to the very beginning of your darting career, as this is something we like to ask everyone who we interview; Under what circumstances did you pick up darts for the first time, how old were you and what was it that made you fall in love with the game?
S: Initially there was an element of curiosity involved. As my dad played when I was young for the local social club (The Bickley & Widmore Working Man’s CIU Club) me and my brother would often spend time there with my parents & the oche was always full. I got a board in my bedroom when I was around 10, but didn’t take it more seriously until I was around 13, where me and my mum joined a team in the Bromley summer league (a team of women plus me). Luckily I had the chance to play most weeks but I went through Optrex like mad & my clothes used to stink the day after from absorbing the atmosphere around us playing but it was totally worth it. The passion I have for playing has grown massively since then.
Q: Following on from the above, what are your thoughts on the youth systems (JDC/Development tour etc.) in place now versus when you started? Do you think these systems are putting too much pressure on the young players to be the best, or are they preparing them better for the future?
S: I’m a little jealous if I’m honest. Back then we only had county youth (which I played for Kent) with limited numbers of games per year and a short format being best of 3 legs, but there were no real rewards for playing. I played for 4 years up until I was 17, but then I stopped because I managed to get into the adult team. There were a few youth competitions but the JDC and development tours have taken it to a whole new level.
Q: Out of all tournaments that you have had chance to take part in over the years, win or lose, what would you say was the best?
S: The world tournament at La Rochelle (France) is probably my favourite. Walking in to an arena packed full of electronic dartboards is impressive in its own right, but the volume from the machines/people playing is unreal & I’ve met some good friends from it. The town is beautiful, so it sure beats going to Brean Sands or Hemsby for the weekend!
Q: What is your favourite checkout?
S: Whichever one I manage to hit! No but in seriousness I think any checkout on the bull has to be my favourite.
Q: Lockdown has had a positive influence on your game, being selected for and in fact winning one day on the modus Icons of darts stream (with more involvement planned in future) & playing in lots of online tournaments. What are the main differences you notice when playing on stream/online? It must be such a strange feeling not having an opponent in front of you but that is something a lot of dart players have turned too, given that we aren’t able to go out to venues and play.
S: Firstly, I’ve felt privileged to play in the Icons of Darts league with Modus, it’s really fantastic to have the chance to play against the world class players like Fallon Sherrock, Martin Adams, Mark webster etc. Playing against the top level players is only going to improve my game which is something that I’m always looking to do.
I’ve stayed away from the UK online tournaments as they’re never starting at a convenient time for me. By the time I get in from work, cook food and put the children to bed, more often than not they would have started already. I’ve been playing in tournaments which are run from the US, as these go on through the night, but the only downside is they often finish in the early hours of the morning so work can be gruelling the next day if it is mid week. Last weekend I got to the final of a tournament (playing Jim Long), but here in the UK it was around 5am so I did feel a little tired at that point! Overall I’ve done really well in them, beat some good players from that side of the pond and met some good people which is nice.
Not having an opponent in front of me hasn’t been so bad, as with soft tip leagues you’re often playing people in a different venue anyway, so I’m used to that. The scheduling of the Modus league is tricky as sometimes there can be one to two hours between games, normally this is ok at tournaments, but at home there are different distractions. I think in future I will keep playing online though as it breaks the monotony of practicing solely.
Q: With no constraints set on the year, if you could play any top ten ranked player of the past who would you chose, why would you choose that person & would you fancy yourself as favourite to beat them?
S: I can’t decide on one, so I’m going to have to mention both players who come to mind. Richie Burnett & Shayne Burgess who were both at the top of their game when I was a youth player, I absolutely loved watching them play, they had personality, they had grit/determination & they almost looked angry when they were playing. I’ll play any player because I love competition play but as regards to winning, we would have to see.
Q: Have you ever hit a 9 dart finish?
S: I’ve hit one in practice, but in a match I’ve been close just couldn’t quite finish it off.
Q: Who is your bogey player? The one who you just can’t seem to beat.
S: Boris Koltsov seems to only hit 100 averages against me at the moment.
**Since this interview, Scott has managed to Defeat Boris on the Icons of darts by 5 legs to 3 with a 99.4 average**
Q: Apologies for reminding you about this once again, but you lost in the final of the Belgian Euro Tour qualifiers back in February (associate member) before everything had to be put on hold, of course it’s never a nice feeling to come second when you are so close. At these sorts of events (floor events/tournaments) how do you stay focused, given that they often have large gaps in between games in early rounds due to large numbers of players?
S: Playing on the euro tour was a great experience & I most certainly look forward to playing more events when the tour resumes. The PDC events are well run, so you never have too long to wait between games. I just try to stay as fresh as possible, keep an eye on the draw and have a throw every now and then (maybe 9 or 10 throws at doubles) to keep the arm in.
Q: Chatting to you upon initially signing with Quantum Darts, it was mentioned that you have been using the same set for around 17 years; Something which is both surprising and impressive at the same time! In that period, have you ever come close to throwing them away in frustration (say after losing a match)?
S: Over the years this is something that I have had to deal with & I try, instead of being a bad loser (even though it’s frustrating), to take the positives away and look at what needs to be addressed for the next competition I play.
Q: We’ve developed a custom set tailored to how you throw / the setup that you use, but this wasn’t quite a streamlined process, going through several design phases before you were happy, as you wanted a dart which worked from an aesthetics point of view and a performance point of view. Many players struggle to adapt mentally to a new set of darts and there are good examples of this in recent times of top pros trying out new darts but reverting back to the ones that they have used for a long time. Given that these are specifically tailored to you, and what you want, has that aided your transition old set to new set?
S: I have to say you were quite patient with me as I can be quite finicky at times. It’s been tough before as people never really listened to what I wanted & I didn’t feel comfortable using them, so I didn’t! With these darts, I felt involved at every step of the way, so I really felt like I was in a good place from the start. Some small tweaks here & there just those minor touches to make them perfect for me. Initially I just introduced the darts to my practice sessions, using them after warming up with my old set and progressing from there. As soon as I was comfortable with them I used them at a competition, which happened to be the Euro Tour in Belgium, and was really pleased how they went. Now I don’t even think about it, it’s like I’ve always had them!
Q: What is your flight/stem setup?
S: For my steel tip darts I use a kite shape flight, extra short nylon stems & a slightly longer 35mm point. I find the kite shape flight helps me with my grouping as it makes the dart travel towards the board faster & I really noticed the difference when I tried them initially.
Q: How often do you practice and how long for?
S: I’m still working, so as much as I can. Before lock down I was practicing every day but now it’s become hit and miss, although I’ve replaced it with competitions and the Modus league. So I’m still playing most days which I’m grateful for, as I find it hard to practice with the family around!
Q: Not holding a tour card, means you aren’t able to play darts full time, so how do you manage to fit darts around work?
S: I work for myself so I can pick and choose to an extent, but I do find it hard sometimes to get the ratio right. This is something I’m trying to get more efficient with though.
Q: Do you have any practice routines that you would recommend?
S: I’ve never really been one for different games to practice if I’m honest. I try to focus on doubles and play games of 501 in between. If I’m with friends then I might get involved but I like to do my own thing really.
Q: What would be the holy grail in darts for you?
S: I think this is probably the same for most dart players out there, but following in the shoes of Rob Cross, winning the world championships, would definitely be the holy grail. I believe I can get a tour card next year & play on the pro tour, but playing in the worlds would be a fantastic achievement. Last year we saw Ritchie Edhouse qualify for the worlds, through euro tour and challenge tour order of merit, he is a good friend of mine.
Q: What was the best advice in darts that anyone has ever given to you?
S: This is actually quite a difficult question because I’ve tended to follow my own path. More recently I’ve been chatting to a friend of mine who has years of experience on the pro tour, we go through my game, how I’m feeling about it and what to do.
Q: Soft tip darts is something that is gaining traction here in the UK over the last couple of years especially with the introduction of the IDart academy earlier this year. You have played in and in fact won many of these soft tip events, how did you get introduced to soft tip darts?
S: I was going through a bit of a lull with my darts and I’d seen they had installed some boards near to where I was working (slug and lettuce Leicester Square) so I went in for a look after work with a friend. On that day, I met Scott MacKenzie (who you may recognise from world championship/world cup appearances) and he eventually invited me to a tournamanet in france alongside himself and Adrian Gray. Of course I couldn’t refuse this offer, so my pairs partner and I went with them & I haven’t looked back since. I still go back to France a few times a year to play in competitions & see friends, that’s the benefit of living close to the euro tunnel!
Q: Following on from the previous question, some people make accusations that soft tip darts is easier than steel tip; Larger board segments, outer bull and inner bull counting as 50 points (in most cases) and the introduction of master out, meaning you can finish on the bull, doubles or triples (33 remaining – treble 11). What are your thoughts on this?
S: To be honest it’s usually people who haven’t played the game that say that. It’s a totally different game, as soft tip is a game of miss and steel tip is a game of hit. In soft tip you play cricket which in my opinion is the best game that you can play in darts. In the UK, not many steel tip players know how to play it, so it’s hard to get a good game. That’s without getting into the 13” board!
Q: You played in and won the world cup of darts ADA (Asia Darts Association) Phoenix (Hong Kong) world team champion alongside Maria O’Brien, Tony Martin and Tommy Sanwell, that must have been a great feeling. How did you end up playing in that & how were your team mates decided?
S: We each had to qualify individually, so I played & managed to get through in Birmingham. It was a first for me representing my country which was brilliant, I honestly loved every minute of it, one of the best experiences for me in my career.
Q: Finally Scott, we’d just like to thank you once again for making the time to speak to us, we wish you all the best for the future. You have our full support so lets look forward to when the challenge tour/euro tour events resume.
S: My pleasure I’m really appreciative for the opportunity & support.