Hales gets a kick out of his second sporting love

JAMIE Hales is well qualified to contrast Australia's highest profile sport with one of its lowest.

The 24-year-old spends his winter Saturdays playing footy for Campania and throughout the year plays darts twice a week for Bagdad Community Club.

It is the latter that has seen him represent Tasmania on the national stage and brought him to Launceston this week for the national 25-and-under championships being held at St Ailbe's Hall.

Hales said he first started playing darts as a 14-year- old.

"I was messing around with a few mates in a shed and Robbie Walker who plays in Hobart came along and got us into darts," he recalled.

"I started a young gun side and have been playing since then. I also play footy but I have as much fun with this."

Hales is contesting his fourth national championship after previous ventures to Western Australia, Dandenong and earlier this year in Darwin.

He is proud to be playing in his home state but said it has a way to go to catch up with the mainland.

"It's not as big as other states, there's only a few competitions per year here, and this is a high standard playing against the best in the country.

"I know a lot of people don't like darts but it's great fun and playing it really helped me with maths as well."

Hales made an impressive start to the pentathlon event, which began yesterday and concludes today, top scoring in the Shanghai leg.

An all-Queensland final of the men's doubles was won by Ricky Jones and Cameron Fagg over Ryan Pinney and Jeremy Banks 6-2.

However, the Sunshine State was denied in the women's final when Western Australia's Tamara Brown and Leeanne Watkins defeated Brooke Reynolds and Bree Anderson 5-1. Brown and Watkins had earlier beaten Tasmanian pair Lauren Seabourne and Rebecca Smith in the semi- final.

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