- Name: Gordon Stanmore
- Age: 36 years
- Country: Malta
- Club: St. Joseph Band Club, Kalkara
- Darts: Winmau Vendeta – 28g
- Ranking: WDF – 409
- Results: Winmau World Masters youth 1995- semifinal, Malta open 1996 – singles runner up, Mediterranean Cup 2013 – Turkey – pairs winner, Malta National Champion – singles
How old are you Gordon?
I am 36 years old an I was born on the 21 of july 1979 in Malta.
What kind of darts do you have?
My darts Winmau Vendetta 28 g.
What club do you play for?
I play for St. Joseph Band Club, Kalkara, which is in the south of Malta, it is my second season now. 8-a-side league is playing always on fridays, 4-a-side on Mondays and Tuesdays, and 5-a-side on Thursdays.
Are you full professional?
No, I am a police constable.
How about your beginning in darts?
I have been playing now for 25 years. 25 years ago, I didn’t know what darts meant. I was starting with my father to go to Paola Wolves club, whisch is only 5 minutes away from home. After seven or eight months, they didn’t have a replacement, becase one player passed away, they asked me to play. I was practicing, after one week I get registered and start to play for the club.
In the time you started to play, there where a youth league in Malta?
I was 11 years old when I started to play. There was a maltese under 18 championship. They played about 30–40 youth players in Malta, now there is 4 or 5 youth players. This is a big problem for Maltese darts…Youth at Malta want to play, but without practicing. It was a will to start a youth academy by the Malta Darts Association, but without response.
Did you have any mentor?
First two years my father who have played darts for 25 years, explained how to play darts, position etc. But he was never get a step ahead, playing just second or later first division. After two years playing for Paola Wolves, I get Malta under 14 champion, than Malta number one player Vince Busuttil and Charles Ghiller started leading me and brought my quality of darts on a higher level. They took me to their club in Hamrun where we practiced really hard for long hours.
First big match?
This was a final of the Malta open in 1996 against BDO star and World Champion Ted Hankey, which I lost. In the same year I won for the first time the Malta national Championship. In 1995 I played in the semi final of the Winmau World Youth Masters in UK. In 2013 in the Mediterranean cup in Turkey, I won the pairs competition. I won the gold medal with Norbert Attard.
What about your ambition?
My personal ambition was to become a professional darts player. The chance came when I was only 14-15 years old. I got an offer from UK to study, be part of a darts academy and from the age of 16 to sign a semi professional darts contract. Unfortunately I kicked this opportunity away. I think, it was the biggest mistake of my life, because in that time I practiced 9-10 hours a day and was playing a very high average. Now i practice only 5 hours a week, because I work on shift basis.
What about experiences abroad?
From 1994 till 1998 I played Winmau World Youth Masters, Winmau World Masters and Embassy World Professional Darts Championships. I played other several tournaments such as Scottish open twice, Italian Open, Greek open and also others. In the Winmau World Masters I remember winning three legs to nil against darts legend Bobby George andbeating Peter Evison, as well as nearly winning matches against Steve Beaton and Leighton Rees. In the year 2000 the Mediterraean cup was created. I represented Malta for 10 or 11 times. In May 2015 I also played in the Mediterranean Cup open in Italy where about 250 players took part and I placed in the quarter finals with several 12, 13 and 15 darters and 100 plus out shots. During this period I wasn’t practicing well, so I was really happy with my performance in this Open.
What kind of sports you will play if not darts?
I would probably play snooker, which is really popular here in Malta. I am a huge snooker fan. After soccer, snooker is the second most popular sport in Malta. We have a snooker academy in Malta and lots of youngsters play snooker, boys from 8 and girls from 9 years old.
And what about the money in Malta darts?
We don’t have professional players in Malta. You can find local sponsors, which cover your costs when playing an open abroad, two or three shirts and that’s it. My club has three or four sponsors, but it is not as a deal. This year they can sponsor you, but they don’t know the next year.
And players in the clubs are paid?
It depends on the club. For example, you can sign for a club, they give you an amount of money, than you play all league matches for them and also tournaments. But you are registered only for one season, than you can change the club. We don’t have the kind of 3–5 years contracts in Malta.
How many divisions are there in Malta?
This year we have the first division with 8 teams (no more than 12 registered players per team) and the second division with 12 teams (no more than 12 registered players per team). Together there are about 200 registered players which play the league and other 40 registered players which play only tournaments.
And what about Malta open?
Malta open has a long tradition. It is a three day tournament, from Tuesday to Thursday and is held in the North of Malta, in Bugibba. Not all the Maltese players take part, only something like 60-70 maltese players. The open starts from 6pm, and so one has to take vacation leave from work and not all Maltese players are able to do so. In my case, I also have to apply for vacation leave and it is not guaranteed that I would be granted same. Working in the Police Force and being part of the national team, I always get guaranteed vacation leave for representing my country, but for the open is a different situation. There are several other players working for the government and they are in the same situation as me, of course. It is not possible to change the dates of the Malta open and make it during a weekend since the weekend before and the weekend after there are other open tournaments and lots of foreign players will choose these tournaments, because of higher prize money and ranking points.
Prize money at the Malta open?
This year 2015 we have 1200 EUR for mens winner and 500 EUR for runner up. In ladies open we have 500 EUR for winner and 200 EUR for runner up.
What about the history of Malta Open?
We have had here a few famous players playing the open, like John Walton, Ted Hankey from England, John Michael from Greece, and also the locals Andy Keen, Vince Busuttil, Charles Ghiller, Tony Demanuele, Godfrey Abela, Norbert Attard, Albert Scerri and loads of others. I played against Ted Hankey in the 1996 Malta Open final and I lost and three weeks later I played against him again in the Winmau World Masters in the first round and he managed to beat me 2:0 ( 2:1, 2:1). I had a very good experience…
Malta open pairs final 2015:
Text and Picture: Roman Zvara