The Engineer - Zachary Thornton
While most know Zachary through his hugely popular dart design business, little is known about his promising career as a darts player - I for one had no idea as to the extent of his playing career to date! After a late start to life as a darts player, he certainly has the potential to work his way into the PDC, to achieve his goal of becoming a professional player.
Zachary started playing darts at around 17 years old, playing darts outside against his brother on an old cork board from a Guinness Book of Records darts set. Things quickly escalated from there, with Zachary moving house and buying himself a proper board in order to practice, after taking inspiration from ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Gary Anderson, and his back-to-back World Championship success in 2015/2016. In his words, Zachary was “hooked”, and shortly after purchasing his dartboard, joined a local pub team, where he won his local league singles in his very first season! To him, he “can’t match that feeling [of winning his first title,] especially as I was so fresh to the game”.
His success in his debut league singles competition he describes as “his proudest darting achievement”. In the final, he overcame a very good local player to win his maiden trophy, and for Zachary, “it really got me wanting that feeling [of winning] more”. The trophy, he says, still sits in his cabinet as both a reminder of what he is capable of, and to act as a catalyst in wanting to add to his already impressive collection.
In terms of his most defining moment as a player, Zachary recalled a match in a competition down in Wolverhampton in which he faced former UK Open finalist, and personal idol Colin ‘Ozzy’ Osborne. Unfortunately for Zachary, Colin proved too strong on the day, whitewashing him on his way to victory, and yet for Zachary, the loss presented more positives than negatives. “I managed to stay close to a great player”, he told me, “I’d never felt so good losing before”. For young players, taking positives from a loss, regardless of the situation shows a sign of maturity not often seen within the youth game - a very good trait for any up and coming player!
As well as an established presence as a darts player, Zachary also runs his own business designing darts for companies and individuals alike - a man of many talents!
With a background in design through his job, as well as a college education in the field to boot, it was natural that eventually his two passions would collide into something great - his design business is exactly that! After losing his job at Jaguar Land Rover, where he worked on roof systems on concept vehicles, he quickly found another, and yet, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, was made redundant shortly after lockdown was announced. He began to design darts in his free time, posting them online where he began to receive overwhelmingly positive reviews. With the growth of his designs, he decided to turn it into a business, eventually leading to working with companies such as Loxley Darts! In his words, “it’s great to do something I love as a hobby, as my job so I’m very lucky”.
For Zachary, one of his proudest achievements in design was seeing his darts in action, with Matthew Edgar using his Loxley designed barrels in the PDC Summer Series. The darts, which Zachary had a leading influence on, were used in Matthew’s well documented win over Gary Anderson - which featured a 170 checkout, and for Zachary “I could’ve almost cried, and especially how well [Matthew] played it just made me feel so proud to see some of my work live and doing great things”.
So, what does the future hold, both within design, and from a players perspective? Zachary’s motto is, quite simply, “If I’m not World Champion, I want to be designing for them”. “I aspired to have darts as my job, and that’s come true and now I want to be the best player I can be”. As well as this, Zachary states that he wants to “hopefully turn pro in the playing side of things also as I love being involved in darts”. With a great team around him at Loxley, there are no doubts that Zachary has the potential to go far in the game, and that natural ability that took him to his first title will surely, with practice, prevail and take him into the professional game.
Thank you to Zachary for his input into this profile, and for taking time to answer my questions to provide insight into his career as both a player and designer within darts. Also, a huge thanks to Loxley Darts for the opportunity to write for them - plenty more planned for the future!
Author - Joe Reid