Borders disability darts ace Grant Murray aiming for place in final at showpiece seaside event

Disability darts ace Grant Murray is targeting a coveted final spot on stage in front of thousands of fans during the PDC World Matchplay at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens this summer.

By Craig Goldthorp
Friday, 20th May 2022, 3:41 pm
Grant Murray, left, being presented with his trophy at Jedburgh's Royal British Legion Club by former darts star Jim McGuigan (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Grant Murray, left, being presented with his trophy at Jedburgh's Royal British Legion Club by former darts star Jim McGuigan (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Murray, of Jedburgh, is currently rated number one in Scotland in the classic category for people with physical disabilities, having won that section at two of the first three ranking events of the 2022 season and finished runner-up to Drew Callary in the other.

Another high finish in the final event of the series in Livingston on Sunday, May 29, will secure the 36-year-old Scottish international a place at the British championships at Thornaby, near Stockton, next month.

If he gets to the final two there, he’ll book a showpiece spot during the main competition at the Lancashire seaside resort, featuring darting superstars including Peter Wright, Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen.

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“It would be absolutely amazing to play on the stage at Blackpool,” Murray told the Southern Reporter. “I would absolutely love to do it.

“I have met a few of the top players before and they’re all really nice. Peter Wright is an absolutely brilliant guy. He is genuinely so down to earth.

“I’m feeling pretty confident of getting to the final two at the British championships.

“If I keep throwing the way I am, then fingers crossed I’ve got a good shout.”

Earlston-born Murray, part of Scotland’s world champion team last summer, has had hereditary spastic paraplegia since birth but he hasn’t let that hold him back with arrows in hand over the last 20 years.

“Basically, what it is, in the simplest terms, is that when your brain sends signals to your muscles to tell them how to operate, mine don’t go to my legs, which don’t work as they should,” explained Murray.

“Balance and mobility are very difficult at times. If you are standing still to throw a dart, then obviously it’s not that bad, but getting to and from the dartboard is where the difficulty is.

“Balance-wise, I struggle to stand in the same place over and over again, so it’s not the easiest, but I manage.

“With disability darts, we don’t have an oche that you lean up against, like normal darts, because we have wheelchair players playing as well.

“It’s literally just a bit of paper on the ground, so you don’t have any trip hazards or anything to fall over, which makes life a bit easier.”

Jedburgh’s Royal British Legion Club was the venue for the first official ranking event to be held in the Borders – back on Sunday, May 1 – as Murray progressed from his group to reach the quarter-finals before winning his three knockout rounds, including a final victory over Paisley’s Callary.

The Jedburgh ace followed that up by winning the same category at the next event in the series in Kirkcaldy in Fife on Sunday, May 15, beating John Forrest in the final, thanks to a record high 97.8 three-dart average.

“The event in Jedburgh was an absolutely massive success, a lot better than we expected it to be,” Murray said.

“We made roughly £600 on the raffle as well, so that’s going to help us set up more events in the future. To everyone who put in raffle prizes, it’s massively appreciated.”