Chris Thompson June 2011

We bumped into PDC player Chris at the Reebok stadium during this years Speedy Hire UK Open, and he kindly agreed to our invitation of an interview.

DM: Let’s get the bad bit out the way first…you suffered an early exit in this years UK Open losing to Nigel Heydon, obviously extremely disappointing, how do you feel you performed?

CT: I got off to a poor start really…as did Nigel. I got it together in the 4th leg leaving 81 after 9 darts and Nigel took out 167. I don’t want to make excuses, but the players room was poor – 10 boards for 140 players, meant that I couldn’t get into a decent rhythm practicing, I am not the only player that has said that.

DM: Yes we stumbled into the players area on our way through to the press section and it looked ‘intimate’ to say the least, would you say that the UK Open has outgrown the Reebok? Or is it just a case of them needing to make better use of the available space?

CT: Far too many players in my opinion, and I don’t think players of mine and Nigel’s stature should have been in a prelim, however, I’ve heard a rumour that the finals of the UK Open will be in Bournemouth next year.

Dm: Did you stick around after or did you watch the latter stages at home? Do you have any close friends on the tour that you were supporting?

CT: I stayed on afterwards and watched a few matches, I had one of my sponsors and his son with me, I also travelled down on Friday to watch Martyn Turner, Joe Cullen & Darren Johnson.

DM: Prior to an event such as the UK Open or the Worlds, does you practise routine change at all? A few extra hours on the board perhaps?

CT: I usually practice with Martyn Turner, and we do step up the practice sessions prior to the UK Open and I also did especially for the Worlds.

DM: Is that straightforward legs of 501 or do have any specific drills or exercises?

CT: We generally start off with finishes from 121 upwards – we get 9 darts between us, and if you miss then it’s back to 121, then we will usually play a few games of best of 11 legs.

DM: You mentioned the Worlds there, last time you graced the DartsMad site during the 2011 World Championship we saw you having massages, carrot juice and staying in fancy hotels, what’s all that about? Please tell us it was a PR stunt as it is hardly befitting of the archetypal darts player……especially one nicknamed The Hitman!

CT: Definitely a PR stunt for the Best Western Mostyn Hotel – They gave me a free room for my time in London – so it was only fair to do so.

DM: So are you now commonly referred to as The Diva………or is it still the Hitman?

CT: I’m definitely still The Hitman!!!!

DM: Talking of archetypal players, you are a legal executive by day….not a vocation usually associated with darts players, how do you balance the two and are your bosses/colleagues supportive of your double life?

CT: Work are OK most of the time and always seem interested in my exploits, I just have to use most of my annual leave for darts comps though.

DM: Tell us about the walk on music Happy Hour, is it purely for the local connection (The House Martins formed in Hull) or is it a reflection on your drinking habits!?

CT: I saw The Housemartins 19 times – I was really into them, it’s a catchy tune and I think it works really well. Just need Sky Sports to press the right button next time – they played Boom Boom Boom at the Worlds – not good!!

DM: 19 times! At the Grafton Hotel in the early days? Didn’t the Grafton suffer an arson attack a couple of years ago? I lived in Grafton Street whilst studying in Hull. Sorry I digress from the darts……

CT: No it was mainly at the Tower in Hull – however, when I played for Humberside at The Piper Club I used to practice before the game in The Grafton and Paul Heaton was in the bar more often than not.

DM: Since joining the PDC you have steadily climbed the order of merit, and are currently lying just outside the top fifty, would getting into the top 32 say, give you an opportunity to become a full time pro?

CT: I would like to think I could do it full time, but it’s a huge leap – I like the security of a guaranteed salary.

Dm: Yes security is important especially in these uncertain times, moving on – what do you class as your greatest darting achievement(s) to date?

CT: Making the quarters at Bolton, reaching 4 Pro-Tour semi-finals and obviously beating Phil Taylor in Vegas last year.

DM: Yes there’s not many players who can add beating The Power to their CV – How do find playing on the big stage in front of the TV cameras, would I be right in thinking nerves have got the better of you in the past?

CT: No – I love playing on the TV stage – I get the odd nerves beforehand but if I didn’t I wouldn’t be normal. I don’t think nerves have seriously affected my performance. I was more nervous at the end of last year ensuring I qualified for the Worlds.

Dm: Do you have any rituals or superstitions before you take to the oche?

CT: No – I don’t have any superstitions before I play.

DM: There are a couple of the pro tour events such as the Grand Prix that are double in/out, how do you feel about that format in the professional game, its more widely associated with pub darts isn’t it?

CT: The double in start at the Grand Prix is different – However, I wouldn’t want it every week.

DM: Tell us about your custom made darts, how closely were you involved in the design process and is the technical side of things something that interests you?

CT: I met up with Lee at Red Dragon for a couple of days and showed him what I wanted, after a couple of tweaks here and there they are now perfect – The man is a genius.

DM: So did Red Dragon approach you? And were the custom darts based on an existing set?

CT: Yes, Simon Hall from Red Dragon approached me, and the darts were slightly based on the existing set I used with a few tweaks here and there.

DM: Your chuck your arrows at a decent speed, is that something which come naturally and has always been part of your game?

CT: I used to throw a lot quicker than I do now, I’ve slowed down quite a bit – reckon it must be my age catching up with me!

DM: I’m guessing there is a fairly big darts scene in York? Given that it still has a decent number of ‘traditional’ watering holes. Next time I’m there for a holiday, what pub should I visit and throw down a tungsten challenge to the locals?

CT: Well if you get to York I play for the Crescent WMC and The Ainsty – you will always get a game in there.

DM: Chris – thanks for talking to us, we look forward to seeing more of you on our TV screens in 2011. Now, would you like to take part in the DartsMad double 5?……10 quick fire questions, 5 darts related followed by 5 non darts?

CT: No problem at all.

Chris Thompsons DartsMad Double 5

Darts used? – 24g own make Team Red Dragon

Favourite Double? – Double 14

Favourite venue? – Bolton

Favourite Player? – Jocky Wilson

Ideal Pro Celeb partner? – Lee Westwood

Favourite Band/Singer? – New Order, Stone Roses, The Housemartins, Bob Marley

Favourite Food? – Indian

Favourite Drink? – Cider or Brandy

Jeremy Clarkson – perceptive or Prat? – Prat (a big one)

Favourite Comedian? – Joe Cullen………no seriously Lee Evans

Additional information: As of June 14 2011 Chris is currently ranked No. 55 on the PDC Order of Merit

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