World champs competitor keen to promote local businesses

Gore’s sole competitive female darts player, New Zealand No 2 Desi Mercer, is seeking further...
Gore’s sole competitive female darts player, New Zealand No 2 Desi Mercer, is seeking further local sponsors to help carry her to the WDF World Championships in the UK later this year. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
A top Gore sportswoman wants to put local businesses in the international limelight as she heads to the world champs later this year.

Gore’s only competitive female darts player, Desi Mercer, is seeking two additional local shirt sponsors to help carry her to the World Darts Federation World Championships at Lakeside, in the United Kingdom, this November.

Mercer remains New Zealand’s No 2-ranked woman in her chosen sport, and is No 9 in the world.

The 59-year-old — nicknamed "Rascal" — hit the New Zealand No1 position in 2022, and said she was now "clawing" her way back to the top slot after a successful double hip operation 18 months ago.

"Like many sports, your results at other tournaments during the year help you qualify for the major tournaments, like Lakeside, at the end of the year.

"I work full-time, six or seven days a week, and put that and prize money towards competing on the circuit throughout the year to get those qualifying places.

"So although Lakeside is the big target on the big stage, there’s a lot of travel during the year, which is also helped by whatever sponsorship I can get."

She said MLT had recently come on board as a sponsor, alongside Maaka Rangiūai Shearing of Mataura.

"All the world champs games are streamed live on YouTube, there’s UK TV exposure, and I make sure my sponsors get a shout-out in any PR I do.

"I’m proudly Gore, so I’d love all my sponsors to be local, but I’m willing to talk to anyone who’d like to come on board as a shirt sponsor."

She said places were limited by international rules to a maximum of four names on the shirt, meaning two slots remained.

Mercer said she had never looked back since starting to play competitively as a stand-in with her father’s association, Eastern Southland, aged 18.

"He asked me to fill in, and I just kept hitting doubles.

"It got to the winning throw and I needed a double-two, I think.

"He told me to miss so as not to upset my opponent, who was a very experienced, long-standing player.

"I thought about it, but couldn’t help myself and threw the double. I remember sidling up to dad afterwards and whispering, ‘oops ..."’

These days, Mercer said, she enjoyed helping bring the next generation of juniors through in the sport.

"There’s a lot of talent down here, right across the South.

"I think the future of the sport here is pretty bright."

Mercer can be contacted at