A World Champion at 21-years old is almost every child’s dream. Millions imagine it, few achieve it.
But for Jarred Cole, that dream came true when he recently became the Modern Amateur Darts (MAD) Global Champion.
On a memorable night for the youngster from Hartford, Cole defeated Wayne Warren comprehensively to claim the first world title of his career.
Just a few days after a wonderful achievement on an historic night in Manchester, Darts World caught up with the new MAD Global Champion and find out more about the boy with the belt.
He said: “I live in Hartford with my Mum and two brothers. We are really close as a family and have quite a big bubble in terms of friends.
“I like to believe I get on with most people - always up for a chat and a laugh. And yeah, I play darts every now and again.
And so he does. As a qualified chef, the long shifts are plentiful but there is still downtime for Jarred, most of which is spent chucking arrows.
He added: “If I am not at work or practicing you may find me on my Playstation 4. I’m not really a gamer, it’s more the social side of it - I talk to my friends on there, catch up with people for a bit of enjoyment.
“Lockdown was difficult as it came at the prime of my life. Naturally, I wanted to go out and enjoy myself but couldn’t. I’m quite fortunate that I work in a busy kitchen so there is the social side of that - we became our own little family.
“I’ve been known to play a little bit of rugby and football, don’t mind a spot of tennis now and again either. But that is probably about it, darts has taken priority.”
And it certainly looks like it’s playing dividends. But where did the love for the sport first appear?
Explaining, Cole said: “For my third birthday, I was given a magnetic dartboard so technically speaking that was when I threw my first dart. I played county level at 9-years old, senior county at 14 then slowly worked up the ranks, becoming an England international at 17. Oh....and a World Champion at 21!”
“I was massive fan of the game growing up, both parents played county darts so it was always in the family. Whenever it was on TV, it was certainly a priority watch.”
Modern Amateur Darts (MAD) and the Junior Darts Corporation (JDC) are both the brainchild of current PDC player, Steve Brown. The Bristolian has certainly and richly given back to the game which offered him a prosperous career. Now, thanks to his entrepreneurial prowess, many are benefiting from his foresight and wisdom.
“What Steve has done for the game at those levels is fantastic. I loved playing in the JDC where you are constantly against the up-and-coming talents in the game. There’s so many new faces coming through and it’s an exciting time for everyone involved.
Having agonsingly missed out at Q-School in recent years, Cole is keen to put that right and finally secure his passport to the full professional circuit.
With everything falling nicely into place, culminating in a maiden world title, the time seems right to now launching a career in the sport he loves.
On January’s upcoming Q-School tournament, he said “I have some unfinished business there and fancy my chances next time. Right now, I feel really comfortable and confident so don’t see a reason why I can’t win my tour card next time around.
“MAD has certainly helped me in the sense that it’s a new company and it’s a lot of match practice. I am sure they will do very well.
“Then with the MODUS league, I have been playing in it since the beginning of lockdown so obviously that has been hugely beneficial too in terms of quality live game experience. That opportunity came at the perfect time - where most people are slowing down, I felt like I am speeding up.
“You are playing against the icon of darts - the likes of Martin Adams, Richie Burnett, Scott Mitchell and Fallon Sherrock, they are icons. You dream of being as successful as them.
The night finally arrived for young Jarred Cole. Friday 23rd July 2021 will forever be etched in the memory of the 21-year old as he stepped out in the Botanic Gardens, Manchester to a fantastic ovation against Wayne Warren. The objective - to become a World Champion.
Recalling that evening, he said “Preparing to walk out, I certainly had mixed emotions to say the least. Obviously if you are not confident and fighting demons in your head, then you will struggle to play to the best of your ability.
“I just try and block out as much as you can then focus - but there is still the nerves, goosebumps and adrenaline.
“When the moment comes, that is when you mentally prepare yourself. Before that, it’s a case of making sure your arm is loose and you feel comfortable as well as ensuring you are in the right mindset.
“But it’s only when you actually walk out, hear the crowd and see inside the venue that you realise what you are going into. You then fully understand the magnitude of what you are doing.”
On playing in front of a crowd, the inexperienced Cole added: “At youth level I’ve played in front of a couple but never a major event so it was nerve-racking if I am being honest. But there are people there watching you in person and you want to put on a good show - you want to make them remember who you are as well as prove you deserve to be there.”
Shooting into a 5-0 opening session lead was huge as Cole explained: “To get an early advantage was massively important because if you let someone like Wayne get into a game, then you are in for a game. He’s a tough one to crack normally so I was lucky in that sense.”
“At the second break, the scores were 7-3. Every time your opponent wins a leg, you almost have to reset yourself and think ‘don’t let them back into this game’. It’s about refocussing and re-channeling your emotions. Fortunately, I went on from there and won the match 11-3.
“You only gain from learning - every loss is an experience. You have to win and you have to lose - I have done plenty of both but it’s always nice to win an important one.
Winning is a sensation no professional sports person ever gets bored of but they will always remember it with fondness.
Describing his maiden world title, Cole said: “It’s a crazy feeling, it really is.
“That is a moment I will never forget. You can see the smile on my face when I am lifting the belt - I was so happy and a moment I can only compare to what other players must feel.”
“OK, so Wayne was far from his best but I have watched him win a world title and I know how good this guy can be. But I knew I needed to bring my game and play well to beat him.
“Everyone knows he can certainly play a lot better than what he did - but I felt my timing was perfect, when I needed a good shot, I was hitting it.
“Thankfully I won and it’s almost impossible to describe the feeling.”
And does that leave Cole hungry for more? You bet it does.
Without hesitation, he added: “Definitely yes. I like to think that the game is there, the mentality is there and if everything falls into place, I don’t see why I can’t win more titles. I’ll just take it one step at a time and one game at a time.”
Wise advice to himself from a man with a mature head on his shoulders beyond his years. If belief, ability and hard work counts for anything in darts - expect the name Jarred Cole to be a prevalent one in the sport over the coming years.
Lead Image: MAD
Lead Image: MAD