Darts defies shutdown as top stars do battle online from their own homes

Top PDC Darts stars gave the phrase ‘in the madhouse’ a new meaning as they defied the global sporting shutdown to live-stream a tournament from the comfort of their respective living rooms.

Thousands of fans logged onto the PDC’s Youtube channel to witness a five-strong feast of top-level darts action interspersed with buffering, flailing phone batteries and an improbable attempt at a nine-dart finish.

Devon Petersen had the honour of winning the inaugural Darts at Home league, finishing the night with three wins from his four matches.

The South African won the opening match of challenge, with an emphatic 4-1 win over Premier League challenger Chris Dobey.

Petersen said: “I’m absolutely elated. Chris is a fantastic player but he’s obviously not as good in his own home as he is on the big stage.”

Petersen’s run did not continue as reigning world youth champion Luke Humphries – another challenger in this year’s Premier League – wrapped up a 4-2 victory by hitting the first seven darts of a prospective nine-dart finish.

Humphries’ own progress was subsequently stalled by a chronically low phone battery, which caused a couple of late schedule changes, while Dobey had to dash off in between matches to take part in another tournament elsewhere on the web.

The climax of Peterson’s match against Ted Evetts was cruelly if briefly frozen by technical problems, but its minor faults simply provided an increasingly welcome reminder of the unpredictability of live sporting action.

Like all other sports, the darts schedule has been hit by cancellations. On Wednesday, the Nordic Masters was moved back four months to October, while the US Darts Masters has been postponed to 2021.

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