Re-Studded

By Paul Woodage 08/07/2021

THOSE glued to the darts, on PDCTV, yesterday will have felt a warm glow of recognition and affection, the dulcet tones of Rod Studd were once more guiding us through the afternoon's activity. At one point during 2020, it was in doubt whether the experienced SKY Sports commentator would be heard over the airwaves again. A little less than a year ago our chief reporter spoke to Rod for Darts World 571:

Fallon Sherrock has smashed the glass ceiling!” The iconic words of Sky Sports commentator Rod Studd changed the darting landscape forever in the World Championship last December. Yet horrendously, Studd’s own world was shattered just five months later when he was struck down with a stroke during lockdown.

Thankfully after spending five weeks in a specialist unit Studd was allowed to return home to his wife Louise and two sons to begin his road to recovery. So how are things a few months on? He revealed: “I have to thank the wonderful doctors and nurses at Halifax Royal Infirmary for their kindness and care as well as the ambulance crew who got me to the hospital swiftly and safely in the first place. “I’m pleased to report I am working very hard on my rehab with an excellent team of physios and making steady progress. Very much looking forward to getting back to the darts in due course.”

It is excellent news of a return to action but in the meantime, Studd is very much back alive and kicking on social media. Sadly many believe it is becoming a way to abuse darts players. He added: “Used properly and sensibly, Twitter is a great tool and can be great fun. I have great interaction with some very nice people but unfortunately, there are those who use it to intimidate and abuse which is completely unacceptable. “The onus is on social media companies to police it better and remove offensive individuals. No one should be subjected to abuse.”

Another familiar face sadly now gone from our television screens is Dave Clark. The Sky Sports darts presenter who suffers from Parkinson’s disease decided recently to step down. As a close friend Studd was naturally upset to see him leave. He added: “I have the utmost respect for Dave as a broadcaster and as a man. It was a sad day when he rang to say he was retiring but I respect his decision and he left on his own terms. “I’ll certainly miss him at tournaments, he is a great friend and was instrumental in my becoming part of the sky sports darts team. I don’t know who will replace Dave long-term but he’s a mighty tough act to follow.

“An absolutely maestro who makes a difficult job look very easy. I’ve filled in occasionally and believe me it’s nowhere near as simple as Clarky makes it look.” As the song goes through the show must go on and despite being hit with the loss of commentators, presenters and fans the PDC has managed to keep the wheels turning. He continued:

“I think the PDC and Sky have done a terrific job in very difficult circumstances with behind closed doors darts. “I enjoyed watching the World Matchplay and the Premier League but obviously hope the crowds will be allowed back before too long. They’re such a crucial part of darts.” Studd admits that he is not just a voice of darts but also a huge fan and dearly misses being close to the action, adding: “I love being part of darts. It’s strange watching tournaments on TV instead of being there. I miss the buzz and excitement of watching a big match from the commentary box and feeling part of it. “I also miss the camaraderie and spending time with my friends and colleagues at Sky as well as other members of the darting media. It’s tough not being at a big tournament and able to stand in an arena and just soak up the atmosphere.”

Fortunately, there were far more positives to take from the sport during the lockdown. Young Belgian, Dimitri Van den Bergh secured his first television major as he lifted the World Matchplay trophy. Studd said: “I thought it was great as I’d started to wonder whether Dimitri would breakthrough. He had gotten stuck around No.30 in the rankings but this was a thoroughly deserved success. “His bull hitting in the final was brilliant and I love his obvious joy at his success. It’s impossible not to smile during his enthusiastic interviews.” And there was great news for the women’s game too with the announcement of yet another new PDC initiative. Since Fallon Sherrock’s heroics, last year on the Alexandra Palace stage ladies' darts has been on the ascendancy.

Studd has been a long-time supporter of the ladies' game prior to the Worlds. He said: “It’s great news. I’ve been a long-time advocate of the women’s game as there is huge potential with a major growth area. The Women’s Series is a big step forward but hopefully not the last one. “I’d like to see a ladies TV event tour with say eight or 16 players as well as a PDC Women’s World Championship.

“It’s uncertain what will happen with the BDO Ladies World Championship but after Fallon’s amazing achievements I look forward to seeing more women at Ally Pally as it will be good for the game. The more we see the likes of Sherrock, Mikuru Suzuki, Lisa Ashton and Beau Greaves on that stage and on our screens the better.”

It would also be great for Studd to be back on our screens (and in our ears) where he belongs.

-----ENDS-----
Article original appears in Darts World Magazine (Issue 571) Grab a copy or great value subscription here:

Rod Studd returned to commentary during the PDC Super Series in July 2021 and will be expected to be amongst the team for the Betfred World Matchplay from July 17-15th.

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