EIGHTEEN months ago, Natasha Eaves would have laughed to be told she would be representing England at darts.
The Fleetwood teenager, now aged 13, didn’t even play darts, let alone harbour any ambitions at the sport.
Fast forward to the present day, however, and the youngster is indeed playing for her country, having already represented Lancashire and won a clutch of individual titles too.
Natasha’s incredible progress in such a short time – just 15 months – has come on the back of a precocious talent which was discovered almost by accident.
Her dad Tom, 43, of Hamlet Road, said: “Her darts skill certainly don’t come from me or the wife! I’ve never been much of a darts player at all, to be honest. This all came about because we were having a bit of a mess about game at home. Natasha kept winning, and it obviously wasn’t a fluke. I realised she has a real knack for it. Ever since then I have encouraged her, and it turns out her talent was way better than I realised. What’s happened over the last 15 months has been amazing.”
Natasha, who attends St Aidan’s school in Preesall said: “We were just playing at home and it sort of went from there. I love it. I never get nervous when I’m playing.”
After a spell practising at home, Tom helped get Natasha into the Fleetwood Gas Workers team (The Tank), where she won singles and pairs titles against more experienced players, before she was picked to play for Fleetwood Town Ladies. Representing Fleetwood against the likes of Blackburn, Accrington and Clitheroe, it soon became apparent that the teenager could perform brilliantly in competitions, and had a remarkably cool head. Her skills did not go un-noticed, and she was soon picked to play for the Lancashire Youth Girls team and then Lancashire Seniors, where she beat some of the best women players in the country. Then came the England under-18s call-up, with her first games coming up next month. Other remarkable successes have included winning the Isle of Man and Southport Opens.
Tommy Thompson, honorary chairman of Fleetwood Town Darts Organisation, said: “Natasha’s talent is truly amazing. She has massive potential.”
The teenager says her favourite darts player is Fleetwood’s own Wes Newton, who has encouraged her and even sponsored her for the Isle of Man Open.
Dad Tom added: “Wes has been brilliant. Supporting a child who’s good at sport isn’t cheap, because there’s a lot of travelling and other costs.”