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Fears darts venues in Inverness and Highlands may not survive impact of coronavirus pandemic

By Will Clark

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DARTS players in Inverness are worried whether they will be able to play at their regular venues after the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

Dart-tastic in Turriff
Dart-tastic in Turriff

The Inverness Summer Darts League has been called off this year as a result of the government lockdown which has forced the closure of bars and clubs.

With no date as to when they can open up again, it is feared that some venues will not survive the lockdown if closures carry on long term.

Inverness Darts Summer League secretary Jim MacNeil says they decided to cancel this year’s competition early on, believing it would be impossible to play this season fully.

However, he says players are more concerned on what impact the pandemic will have on the establishments that support their league.

“Our biggest worry with the enforced closure of venues is that we might lose some pubs,” he said.

“There are a number of teams that play at the same venue and it would be worrying if we lost one of these pubs.

“There are 21 teams that play in the summer league and we have around 230 to 240 players in Inverness.

“Hardly any team pays the fees to enter the league.

“It is usually the publican which pays the fee for each team.

“But if they come back with no trade for six months at the start of the winter league in September, it is going to be a lot of money to put up front and everyone is going to be on the phone and looking for sponsorship.”

When pubs and clubs are allowed to open again, MacNeil also fears social distancing could be an issue for darts being played.

“My worry is at small bars it will be a big job to get four or five customers in the doors,” he said.

“It is going to seem weird with everyone sitting at spaced out tables and players only going to the dartboard to play instead of standing.

“I don’t know how they are going to do it eventually. That will have to be one of the first rules we will look to get relaxed.”

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