You could be forgiven for thinking that darts players put as much effort and practice into their pre-match walks-ons as they do for the matches themselves.
This is understandable given how entrances have become an integral part of the game; they help to create the atmosphere that draws thousands of fans from every part of the world to the biggest tournaments.
Often based around a player’s nickname, a good walk-on should further establish their character, while getting the crowd buzzing and psyching out opponents. To that end, it’s critical to choose the right music to set the perfect tone.
Perhaps the most important thing about a walk-on is that it should be fun; a bit like riding a Segway to the tune of Shakira’s Waka Waka, as trademarked by South Africa’s Devon Petersen.
On that note, here are our top five darts walk-ons of all time.
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5. Wayne Mardle
Hawaii 5.0.1, otherwise known as Wayne Mardle, likes to add a touch of the exotic to proceedings when he prepares to step up to the oche.
Mardle himself rates Phil Taylor’s theme as his personal favourite, but when it comes to his own game favours the loud and lairy look of the exotic despite himself hailing from the far less tropical town of Dagenham.
4. Peter Wright
Pitbull’s Don’t Stop the Party is the marching tune of choice for Scottish nutter-chucker Peter “Snakebite” Wright when he strides into a heads-up.
A standout entrance for Snakebite occurred last year at the 2015 European Darts Open in Dusseldorf when Devon Petersen, of Segway fame (who recently impersonated Raymond van Barneveld’s walk-on), joined in with Wright’s boogie, leaving the pair jigging and twerking at each other – making the whole thing seem like some kind of a weird and slightly wobbly mating ritual.
3. Ted Hankey
“Oche Rager” Ted Hankey was known in his time simply as The Count and always enjoyed living up to his billing by entering the room in his favourite Dracula costume.
2. Peter Manley
Old One Dart himself, long since retired, used to make his way into battle to the tunes of Tony Christie’s Amarillo.
The song played as Manley would triumphantly bowl into the hall, backed by a chorus of pantomime boos which played into his ferocious on-stage persona that got everyone involved.
1. Phil Taylor
Having been selected for him by a Sky Sports floor manager, Phil “The Power” Taylor’s walk-on song is the stuff of darts legend.
Despite being a firm crowd favourite and one of the most distinctive walk-on songs in all of darts – made even more fun with a pair of comedy glasses and a cowboy hat – sixteen-time world champion Taylor has admitted to asking Robbie Williams to write a replacement walk-out tune for him.
Taylor says he has grown tired of his current one which, given all the finals The Power has reached over the past twenty years, is understandable. Turner, by the way, introduced the walk-on which helped make today’s game what it is as well playing an all-important role in ascension of the greatest modern-day player of them all.