Premier League Darts

Photographer Steven Paston covered the preview and play offs of the Premier League Darts this week.

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Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld poses with Premier League trophy Photo steven paston

“I find myself back covering darts again, with the conclusion of the PDC Premier League Darts season. Over the course of sixteen weeks, ten of the game’s top players compete with each other on Thursday nights at venues up and down the country. During this year’s competition, although I haven’t covered every event, I have travelled as far afield as Exeter, Cardiff and Brighton in pursuit of stars such as Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, and Raymond van Barneveld. I do have to leave some darts for my colleagues to shoot!”

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General view of Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen during the final steven paston

“The previous week’s match in Brighton determined which of the top four players in the the league table would go through to the play-offs at London’s O2 Arena. The day before the the play-offs, the PDC invited the media to attend the launch with Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld, Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson all available for interviews and pictures with the tournament’s trophy.”

General view of a fansteven paston keep
A fan displays a banner wishing Manchester City player Yaya Toura a happy birthday during the play offs. Photo steven paston

 

“I’ve attended events like these before, and they can be a good opportunity to get a set of one on one portraits with the players with and without the trophy. The location for the launch was the head offices of title sponsors Betway in Camden, London. Whilst I didn’t have much room to set up my equipment, I did find a nice couch that I thought could help the players to relax during the shoot. We added a dartboard to the wall behind, and with the trophy on the table I was ready to start.”

Phil Taylor poses with Premier League trophy steven paston keep
Phil Taylor poses with Premier League trophy steven paston keep

“On speaking to the PDC’s press officer Dave Allen, I discovered that I was the only photographer attending the launch so I had a lot more time to plan and shoot each player, which is not usually the case. Whilst wandering the offices I found a neon sign against a wall with the words ‘Everything is possible’ which was ideal for the players to pose under whilst holding the trophy, making for another nice preview image.”

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Raymond van Barneveld celebrates with Premier League trophy. Photo steven paston

“The following day I headed to the O2 Arena, where the crowd attendance exceeded 10,000 people. If you had said that darts would prove that popular ten or fifteen years ago people would have thought you were crazy! It just goes to prove what a great job PDC Chairman Barry Hearn has done, and the contribution that Sky Sports’ coverage has made to the game over the years.”

Raymond van Barneveld celebrates wining Premier League   steven paston keep
Raymond van Barneveld celebrates wining Premier League. Photo steven paston

“In the first match Michael van Gerwen had edged out Gary Anderson 8-7 to book his place in the final, whilst in the other semi final Raymond van Barneveld played long-time rival Phil Taylor. Taylor took an early 3-0 lead but on the 4th leg missed three attempts at double 16, which enabled van Barneveld to fight his way back against 16-time world champion Taylor. From that point he started to win legs against throw, eventually taking the lead and winning the match.”

Mark Selby with his wife Vikki watches steven paston keep
Mark Selby with his wife Vikki watches. Photo steven paston

“Whilst at the darts you never know who is in the crowd, and in VIP area for the play-offs were injured Tottenham Hotspur player Andros Townsend, who sadly will be missing out on this summer’s World Cup with England, and snooker World Champion Mark Selby along with his wife Vikki.”

Raymond van Barneveld celebrates wining Premier League   steven paston keep
Raymond van Barneveld celebrates victory over Micheal van Gerwen in the final Photo steven paston

“The final was an all-Dutch affair as Raymond van Barneveld took on Michael van Gerwen. ‘MVG’ narrowly missed out on a 9 darter in the opening leg, at which point I started to think ‘What a match this could turn out to be’. After a short break in play and photographing some general views of the arena, I headed back to my photo position next to the stage, waiting patiently for one of the players to edge into the lead. In the end van Barneveld powered his way through and ended his nine year drought to lift the Premier League trophy, a huge achievement given that he only entered the competition as a wildcard pick.”

Raymond van Barneveld poses with Premier League trophy steven paston keep
Raymond van Barneveld poses with Premier League trophy. Photo steven paston

“At this point I was particularly happy about the preview shoot the day before, where I shot a lovely picture of Raymond van Barneveld lifting the trophy above his head beneath the neon lettering.”

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Premier League Darts

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