Beaver Bank native almost earned invite to two world tournaments in October through qualifiers
BEAVER BANK: It would seem that Emily Alford’s mantra of eat, sleep, and play darts is paying off with big dividends.
The Lockview High student, who hails from Beaver Bank, captured the Canadian Junior Girls darts championship along with a few other pieces of hardware as a representative with Darts N.S. at the Canadian youth nationals in Saskatoon, Sk., held May 17-20.
“It’s been a dream of mine to say I’m number one in Canada,” said Alford. “It took a lot of practice and time. It’s something you can’t do on your first try. You play awhile before you get to this point.”
She said when she first started playing darts years ago, Taylor Probert of Enfield won the junior girls dart championship. That was inspiring for Alford.
“Ever since then I wanted to get to that spot myself,” said Alford. “I’ve worked really hard to get there.”
Alford won the mixed doubles title with Cohen Campbell of the Valley and got joint third in the female doubles with Brooke Martell, who hails from Cape Breton.
While she comes home with the title as the Canadian champ for junior girls, it’s another accolade she was bestowed that stands out as the most important. She was the recipient of the Most Sportsmanship, an award voted on by her fellow peers from across Canada as well as the team leaders.
“I honestly was shocked. It was a “what?” moment,” she said.
When asked how it sounded to hear “Emily Alford, 2019 junior girls Canadian darts champion” she said it gave her goose bumps.
“It’s amazing,” she said, smiling ear-to-ear.
Alford said this past year she practiced a lot more than previous years, and the resulting results showed that. She would be on the dart board at home for a good hour, hour-and-a-half every day.
Besides the awards, Alford also won a $1,000 bursary for post-secondary education, and she was in the final of not one, but two qualifiers for the World Darts championships in England and Romania in October. She competed in England last October.
“It’s pretty cool to go to Romania as I will be part of Team Canada with three others,” she said. “We don’t get to play with each other very much since we’re spread across the country, so it’s neat to be able to go with them.”
Hayley Crowley (NB); Donovan Pilon (ONT); and Nathan Osmond (AB) will team with Alford in Romania.
Now the hard part begins to get her to Romania which will involve reaching out to the community and holding fundraisers. The exact details of what fundraisers she and the other three will be doing are still being worked out. However, anyone wishing to donate locally or businesses looking to sponsor Alford can contact her mom Krista by email at: Krista_hfx@yahoo.ca.
Alford said she’s had lots of positive comments from friends; players across Canada; and others around the world who she knows. She said she’s still on Cloud Nine.
“Others from the dart world have been giving me so much feedback, including a few of the top lady players,” she said.
She said it wouldn’t have been possible to have attended nationals without sponsors like Ken-Etic Auto in Windsor Junction; Acadian Fish and Chips in Hammonds Plains who surprised her with a on-the-house supper upon her return on May 20; her parents who help out with everything and support her 100 per cent of the way; L-Style; 180; Smurf Darts; BullsEye Magazine; Terri’s Place in Lower Sackville; and C&A Automotive.
“They all made it so I could get out to the nationals and just focus on playing darts and not worrying about the money side,” said Alford.