Carter Guiney caught up with Northern Ireland captain Neil Duff for an interview for Darts Mad.
Neil Duff who is a Quarter Finalist at the BDO World Masters in October, has represented his country many times at international level, between the WDF World Cup, WDF Europe Cup, Celtic Challenge and the Six Nations.
He reached the final of the Isle Of Man Festival back in March, losing out to Thibault Tricole. He also enjoyed a Quarter Final run at the Scottish Open in February.
DM: Firstly Neil, how are you and how are you coping with lockdown?
ND: Hey mate yeah all good I’ve been lucky enough to still be working away so just missing darts and the pub
DM: Have you been playing much online darts competitions during lockdown and what is your overall thoughts on it all?
ND: I’ve played 1 comp being beaten by Keane Barry in last 64. I’ve been quite vocal about my dislike for the video call and nakka option I dont like not being able to watch my opponent. I’ve been playing on Webcam Darts Association I find it much better
DM: Do you think this break has come at the right time for you? As you have been playing really well the past 18 months or so?
ND: Yeah got off to a great start on the WDF tour picking up good points in Scotland and Isle of Man. Was looking forward to Germany, Iceland and Denmark and Wales plus the 6 Nations.
But safety first and foremost. I’m still practicing as usual plus playing WDA premier league so will be just as if not more competitive once we are back to normality.
DM: Looking back at the World Masters where you reached the Quarter Finals, losing out to the eventual winner John O’Shea. What was the key to that run as you beat a few quality players on route and had to come through the qualifiers?
ND: The world masters format suits me as it usually takes me a leg or 2 to get going. In fairness everyone had to start at the same point this year so was always going to be tough.
Big help though is having great sponsors and management in Indigo and Ballymore Inn. Gareth sorts flights, accommodation entries etc so it’s easy to turn up and just throw. For that I am thankful and quite lucky.
DM: Regarding the BDO and WDF, what is your overall opinion on both organisations and do you see a future for any of them?
ND: Not going to get into it at this time other than our priority is WDF ranking points. BDO has been good to me and I hope they can salvage something
DM: You have captained Northern Ireland at international numeral times and won a few tournaments with them, what does it mean to you as you where the leader to all that success?
ND: Playing for your country is a massive privilege in it’s own, to captain a team of great throwers and to silverware in an unreal feeling I’d put up there before anything else I’ve achieved.
DM: In your honest opinion, where is the standard in Northern Ireland Darts currently at?
ND: Northern Ireland darts has never been more competitive the standard is scary. We have won back to back Celtic challenges and when you look at the vast talent in both the Scottish and Welsh teams just shows how good of a standard we have here at home.
DM: Have you ever considered going to PDC Q School and do you plan to go in the next few years?
ND: No not really. Maybe kinda considered it last year but sitting talking with slanty we decided there is still a lot to play for on this side of darts. Never say never though who knows what might happen in the near future.
I have been very honoured to have been invited to play in the upcoming Cyber Darts Pro Tour in September. There is 8 Q Schools running from next wk for potential Pro Tour places. Check out CDL pro tour on facebook or anyone can register interest by getting in touch with Harry Balrog.
Luckily I’ve been given my pro tour card along with darting stars like Jelle Klassen and Kim Hyubrechts to name a few
DM: What would be your biggest achievement in darts to date?
ND: Everyone looks at achievements differently. For me its putting on that Northern Ireland shirt, especially world or Europe cups.
DM: Where do you see yourself in darts in the next few years in your honest opinion?
ND: Honestly the way I have trained myself to think I have no limits on what I can achieve. I have the right ppl round me and will always push myself to the limit
DM: Thoughts on the future talent in Northern Ireland, are there players to keep an eye on coming through?
ND: There’s a few great young players in Northern Ireland. Obviously Josh Rock who progressed from youth to senior level and just improves at a scary level I’m going to have trouble competing with. Yourself (Carter) , Travis , Johnny and Caitlin etc all have great futures with the right attitude and a hunger to succeed. Also have to mention Helen Dunn. Loves playing and results are proving shes 1 to watch.
DM: Thanks very much for taking the time for this interview Neil, stay safe and good luck when events start up again!
ND: Thanks Carter hope all your readers are keeping safe and well and will see you all in the near normal future.