Gemma Spence wins silver and bronze at Australia Junior Darts Championships

Bullseye: Gemma Spence has enjoyed a rapid rise through the junior darts ranks and recently represented NSW in the country's pinnacle event. Photo: Peter Hardin 060220PHC013
Bullseye: Gemma Spence has enjoyed a rapid rise through the junior darts ranks and recently represented NSW in the country's pinnacle event. Photo: Peter Hardin 060220PHC013

Gemma Spence has been around darts most of her life.

But it wasn't until about 12 months ago that she actually picked one up herself in competition.

Since then she has enjoyed a rapid rise.

That was underlined at the recent Australia Junior Championships in Perth, where competing against 28 of the best junior girls darts players in the country the Tamworth native finished third.

Representing NSW, Spence also won silver in the teams event and received the encouragement award for the tournament.

The youngest member of the five-strong NSW team, the 13-year old was happy with how she played, especially for her first time competing at that level.

"It was a bit nerve-racking, but exciting and a bit of an adrenaline rush," Spence said.

The fourth generation, on her mother's side, to be involved in the sport, she recalled having watched her mum and dad play since she was really young.

But until about a year ago her own involvement was really confined to just mucking around with them at home.

Then a couple of the local clubs started up some junior nights.

From there things progressed pretty quickly with Spence travelling to Forster, Newcastle, Mt Druitt and Campbelltown, among other places, to compete.

It was while at Forster that she was approached about trialing for the NSW team. Up until then she knew nothing about it.

Spence, who is naturally left-handed but throws right-handed, said what she has achieved so far is well beyond her expectations.

"I didn't think I'd come this far in 12 months," she said.

It hasn't come without a lot of hard work.

She trains for two hours every morning at home and every Thursday afternoon at Oxley Bowling Club for a couple of hours. A lot of her training is about setting targets and challenges, like hitting every number within 50 darts or hitting a certain number of doubles.

She also plays in the Monday night social competition at Wests Leagues Club and of a Friday at Oxley.

Adam Minnett and Andrew Bowden have played a big role in Spence's development. She is also very grateful to the support of the various sponsors that helped her get to Western Australia.

And while the breakthrough win of Fallon Sherrock, the Englishwoman becoming the first woman to win a World Darts Championship match, is an inspiration, for now Spence is just seeing where things go.

Next on her radar is the Australian Open and Newcastle Classic, which is a World Darts Federation (WDF) event, on March 7. She is also hoping to make the NSW team again.

This story Tamworth teen on target for a bright future first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.