WHILE most of the world came to a standstill amid the COVID-19 pandemic – not many people could say a combination of farming and online darts had kept them busy during lockdown.

But for Dorset star Scott Mitchell – juggling the two disciplines had, in fact, been extremely hectic – as he looked to ply his trade on and off the board.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the 2015 BDO world champion has been competing at darts over the past months with promoters Modus, while balancing duties with his family on the farm.

But now the 50-year-old finally gets the chance to travel to a venue and compete – when the PDC’s Summer Series begins in Milton Keynes tomorrow.

Before he takes to the oche in the same draw as the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright and Gary Anderson, Mitchell must return a negative COVID-19 test – with safety at the event being paramount to bringing back the sport.

Speaking ahead of the series, which will see five Players Championship events take place until July 12, Mitchell said: “Me going to play in the Summer Series at Milton Keynes is probably safer than the wife going to Bransgore to buy us a pint of milk!

“That’s the way you have to look at it. Fair play to the PDC and well done to them.

“Before we get to the oche there’s a lot of jurisdiction to go through – before we even get to throw a dart.

“We will be tested on arrival then then put in our room for around 12 hours until the test results are back available.

“If we don’t pass the test, we either stay there and keep taking the test until they get a clear test, or if it’s inconclusive, we have the choice of coming home.

“It’s got to be perfectly safe for all the players and the PDC have done that and fair play to them. There’s lots of things behind the scenes that have gone on to make this happen.”

So, with 12 hours stuck in a hotel room waiting for his test results to return, what does Mitchell plan to do to pass the time?

He said: “I am looking forward to a good rest!

“I have been playing darts online three days a week and then trying to cram seven days’ work into four.

“My wife said ‘you’re really looking forward to this 12 hours isolation, aren’t you?’ And I said ‘yes I am!’.

“With the online darts I have been shooting in and out the house and doing bits and pieces on the farm, checking certain things and then coming back. Your mind is not always set on darts.

“To go into the hotel room and think ‘darts, darts, darts’ that’s the way you play your best game.

“I will take a practice board and everything. What’s happening is, the minute you leave your car – everything you have in your hand is what you can take in.

“You cannot return to the car. I’ll be taking backpacks and whatever I can carry to make things easy!

“Because I’m tested in the afternoon, my results probably won’t come back to the morning of the games.”

Provided his test comes back negative, Mitchell can then turn his focus to stepping up to try and pocket a share of the £75,000 prize money on offer on each day of the series. To do that, however, he will also have to abide by the safety measures put in place – or risk being thrown out of the competition.

“There’s social distancing when you are actually throwing,” he added. “We have a throwing area while one guy is a the oche and taking his darts out. Then he must take the darts out with his left hand and go to the right.

“There will be tape on the floor so that when you are going back by the oche you are going to be a metre away from the guy that’s coming in next to throw.

“There will be a standing area a metre away from him and you have to stand in that box to wait for him to finish his throw.

“Where you see guys having their water behind, we’ve got separate tables. Things are going to be very different.

“There are new rules. If we leave the bubble or leave the building, we are out of the competition and we get sent home.

“If you have a bad game and you want to go and stand outside for two minutes by yourself – you can’t do that. You are not allowed out of the building.

“To restrict the amount of people that are in the venue, there are no markers. We have all got to mark our own game. Once we lose, we have then got to mark the next game for somebody else!

“Although it’s kind of back to normal playing another player being stood in front of you – it is going to be very different.”