NZ Darts Masters: Terry Jowett gets lifetime opportunity to officiate in Hamilton

Porirua's Terry Jowett admits he is struggling to contain his excitement after receiving the opportunity of a lifetime to take part in the New Zealand Darts Masters, but not as a player. 

Instead 'Papa T', has been asked to officiate at Hamilton Claudelands Arena in Hamilton on August 23-24, making him the first Kiwi referee to take part in the event. 

Since the Darts Masters came to New Zealand in 2015, Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) officials Russ Bray and George Noble have alternated between matches, but now there will be a third voice, and one which will be familiar to any Kiwi darts fan.

Jowett is often referred to as 'The Voice of New Zealand Darts' as he's been calling games all over the country for the last 15 years.

But his involvement in the sport in New Zealand stems back four decades, and now the 51-year-old's voice will be broadcast to millions around the world. 

"It's like getting all your Christmas presents at once," Jowett told Newshub. 

"My mate Nathan Greenham likes to help people and one day, he asked for my email, and a week later, I got a message from the PDC asking if I want to take part.

"I've been calling 15 years and playing for 40, so to get a chance like this is overwhelming.

"Of course, playing on the stage would be amazing, but this is easily the next best thing." 

Terry Jowatt in action.
Terry Jowatt in action. Photo credit: Supplied

Being a darts referee is more than just yelling out scores. They also have to make sure the markers are counting scores correctly while making sure the players are behaving on stage. 

Jowett has known for a couple of weeks that he will be on the stage with the lighting shining on him, and he's struggled to keep the news a secret from his closest friends and the local darting community. 

But that hasn't stopped him from practicing from the comfort of his couch. 

"I've been watching the Brisbane and Melbourne Darts Masters in anticipation for this, so when it's on, I turn the sound down and call the games myself. 

"I love calling 180's but anything over 100 you tend to give it extra with your voice.

"It is hard though because you want to have your own call and not be similar to guys like Russ Bray and George Noble. 

"It would be cool to do some calls in Maori and catch everyone off guard." 

Referee Bray says it is great to see a Kiwi official get the chance to showcase his skills. 

"He's competent, he's good, and it's always nice to have a local lad that people know calling, which will excite the crowd," Bray told Newshub. 

Share the stage with legends 

Jowett doesn't know which of the eight first-round encounters he'll be asked to officiate on Friday, but he's hopeful he gets the chance to call one of the five New Zealand players participating. 

At the same time, he can't wait to rub shoulders with the biggest and best names in the game. 

"Would be nice to call a local player," Jowett told Newshub. "I play in the same league as Craig Caldwell, and Haupai Puha, 

"I've been involved in lots of tournament with Warren Parry, Cody Harris and Ben Robb.

"I can't wait to meet Gary Anderson. I'm a big fan of James Wade, and I admire how he's bounced back. 

"It will also be great seeing Raymond van Barneveld before he retires. But just having eight of the best players on our shores is special in itself."

This won't be the first time Jowett has taken part in a televised darts event as he was the caller for the 2015 New Zealand Super League Darts tournament, which was broadcast on live TV.

But how he became came an official happened on chance when a tournament he was at was short on referees. 

"I went to an event, and they needed extra callers, and I thought 'I'll give it a go'.

“I really enjoyed it and haven't looked back since.

"But this is a huge opportunity. I hope I don't stuff up as this is the pinnacle event in New Zealand.

"After doing the NZ Super Cup, there were lots of people coming up to me saying how they saw me on TV."

And being involved in the sport for so many years, Jowett has seen it change from a pub-domination game to something which the whole family can enjoy. 

"Seeing these guys here, makes people want to practice harder to one day be in their shoes.

"When I started, you would get to play one game a week and a tournament every three months if you were lucky, but now you have competitions all the time."