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Inverness darts bosses unable to target a return date due to social distancing

By Will Clark

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DARTS chiefs in Inverness say they are unable to target starting competitions again while social distancing remains in place.

Inverness Summer Darts League secretary Jim MacNeil. Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.027695.
Inverness Summer Darts League secretary Jim MacNeil. Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.027695.

Organisers say it is unlikely the Inverness Summer Darts League will be able to take place in 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pubs still remain closed in Scotland and when they eventually reopen, it is thought social distancing will still be in place, having an impact on darts matches at pubs and bars.

However, with the vaccine being rolled out across the country, organisers say the Inverness Winter Darts League could be brought forward later this year.

But Summer Darts League secretary Jim MacNeil says a lot of questions still need to be answered regarding when the sport can be played safely again in pubs and venues not just in Inverness, but across the country.

“There is no point starting in the next few weeks if we can’t get into the pubs,” he said.

“With social distancing, I don’t think it will be possible to have a proper league season.

“Quite a lot of the bars that we play at are small and I don’t think social distancing would work at all.

“But if we left it until April and possibly back into the bars in May and June, we could pull the winter league forward.

“It will be difficult, but with the vaccine, will it allow players back into pubs without masks or social distancing?

“There are still more questions than answers.”

The Inverness Winter League 2019/2020 was suspended in February last year.The league titles were awarded to the three divisions as enough games had been played, but several major competitions did not take place, such as the Inverness Singles and Inverness Doubles.

MacNeil says there are fears once the season can restart, it will impact on participation and could result in fewer teams taking part.

“My worry is we have missed out on a lot of younger players who would have turned 18 when the lockdown hit,” he added.

“We may have lost older players who, after this, may think they can’t be bothered playing again.

“By the time we return it will be at least 18 months and perhaps people will be used to being at home. All the captains have a huge part to play in getting their teams back together.”

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