BEATING the big boys might be child’s play for 12-year-old Dan Perry – but Dorset’s darts prodigy is making quite an impression on the county’s elder statesmen.
The Hamworthy-based wonderkid has taken the Dorset Superleague – the top standard from which the county selects – by storm with five wins from six matches for Lytchett against adult opponents.
Dan, who often teams up with mentor and England international Scott Mitchell in the pairs, is already taking cash as well as plaudits, using his bounty to enter leagues from which he wins more than his share of prize money against men on the circuit.
And he showed no mercy when Echo reporter Ned Payne turned up at Poole Labour Club for a game, barely breaking stride in easy wins during two legs in front of the cameras.
The Poole High School pupil, who entered his first competition at the age of eight, practices every night in his bedroom and once beat his PDC idol Adrian Lewis in front of more than 400 people at an exhibition in Bashley.
Most of his remarkable achievements came with the aid of a little red stool, which helped him to reach the board from the age of three, but despite remarkable progress while stood on his own two feet, Dan admitted darts was still about fun.
Asked whether he had dreams of playing professionally, the mini marvel said: “It’s hard because I want to be a paramedic really, so it’s not my first choice. When you go away for the weekend it’s nice to have a break from homework and I make a lot of friends I wouldn’t see otherwise.”
Perry has also tasted success at youth tournaments and recently lifted the under-14s and under-18s crowns at the Hampshire Darts Gala at Mill Rythe Holiday Village, Hayling Island.
Recalling his semi-final success over friend Lewis Sinagoga, carefree Dan, who also lists Michael van Gerwen, Tony O’Shea and Trina Gulliver among his favourite players, said: “I won but we played in the ball pit after, it was fun.”
Proud dad Richard Perry, a seasoned county player for Dorset added: “That’s what we have tried to get into him from an early age, to just enjoy it. We did have a sponsor come forward but we looked at it and there were 10 or 12 competitions abroad.
“It was expecting far too much of him and we wouldn’t consider that until he gets a bit older.
“It’s hard to tell what he wants because he is so laid back. I think he will eventually want to do bigger and better things and his aim is to get into Hampshire youth next season.
“He plays on a level playing field with everyone now, it’s just like playing an adult. Everyone plays their best darts against him because he has become so well known. His form has been phenomenal and no one dare give him a chance.”