Loxley Darts would like to extend our thanks to Steve Hine for representing us proudly over the past years. We wish him all the very best of luck as he moves on to the next step in his career.

Steve Hine darts

The Muffin Man – Steve Hine

Stephen “Steve” Hine (born 20 April 1969 from Coventry) is an English professional darts player who plays in British Darts Organisation and PDC events. He works as a baker and consequently he is nicknamed The Muffin Man. He is well known for bringing muffins and tossing them to the crowd during his walk-on.

Known and adored for his walk-on antics, in which he donned an apron and hat while handing out muffins to eager fans, Steve Hine quickly established himself as a fan favourite within the PDC. Working as a baker while playing darts professionally, Steve quickly adopted the nickname ‘The Muffin Man’, appealing to fans who swarmed the isle at televised tournaments, hoping to receive some baked goods!

Steve started out playing darts at just 16 years old, when the price of the pool table down his local pub was raised from 30p to 50p! “There was no one on the dartboard”, he told me, “so I went on there instead”. Putting in many hours of practice, his efforts finally paid off as after just two months, he was asked to join the pub’s dart team. With match experience now adding to his already developing ability, “it went from there” for Steve, as he laid the groundwork to what was the beginning of a successful career within the sport.

His greatest achievement in darts was “winning my PDC title”, as he defeated many legends of the game to claim his maiden title victory as a PDC professional. Coming into the 2005 UK Open North East regional qualifiers, Steve was unseeded, and knew that to win, he’d be facing some of the very best in the world right from the first round. This proved true, as he faced off against Dutch legend Roland Scholten, squeezing through a last leg decider to claim a 5-4 victory. An equally difficult task in the L32, as he claimed a big win over ‘The Bull’ Terry Jenkins, winning 5-2 and booking his place in the L16. He was drawn to face former World Championship semi-finalist Dennis Smith, registering a huge 5-1 win to make it through to the quarter finals. Another last-leg decider against Jamie Harvey, and yet Steve again progressed, with a strong performance to put himself just two wins away from the title. The format changed to set play from the semi-finals, which Steve adapted to quickly in defeating the (at the time) young talent James Wade, booking his place in the final. A tough task ensued against ‘The Limestone Cowboy’, and yet Steve was well up to the task, defeating him in straight sets to claim a 2-0 win, and his first PDC title!

For Steve, there were a few moments that proved defining in his darts career to date. Qualifying for the World Championship for the first time helped him understand fully the ability and potential within himself, which ultimately led to further success within the sport. Another defining moment was, 4 years after his World Championship debut, winning his first game, defeating the 32nd seed Roland Scholten in the first round, before falling to a straight sets loss against Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in the second round. Making the quarter-final of the UK Open in 2007 further established him as a top professional, defeating Alan Tabern, Adrian Gray and Colin Monk on his way to his best performance in a televised tournament, and giving him the confidence to push on and continue to develop as a player, in order to secure his first televised tournament win. Ultimately though, it’s the fact he’s “completed it all” that he feels defines him – he’s played in nearly every major tournament there is to play in, establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with, back when he was on the circuit.

For the future, Steve has very clear aspirations. “Firstly”, he began, “[I] want to get my Tour Card back, and then keep it”. While acknowledging this will be a difficult task, he has confidence within his own ability, stating that he will retain his Tour Card, once won, by “making TV events again, and winning another Pro Tour”. While a seasoned veteran of the game, we have seen the likes of Peter Wright and Wayne Warren win major titles – could Steve’s first televised title come in 2021? Time will tell!

Thank you to Steve for taking time to talk to me about his career to date, as well as his aspirations with his new sponsor, Loxley Darts. Keep an eye out, as in the coming weeks I will be taking a closer look at the shirt Steve will be wearing, as he looks to earn back his Tour Card!

Steve Hine shirt review Gen 1

In his hunt to reclaim his PDC Tour Card, Steve Hine has all the tools available to him to perform at the very top of the game. With his flights on sale now, and darts on the way, today I take a look into the third component in his darting arsenal – his new Loxley dart shirt!

Drawing different elements from his past shirts, both Steve and Loxley have worked together to produce a simplistic, subtle design with complimenting colours and an easy-on-the-eye style that will be sure to turn heads – though not in the same way the Loxley Matthew Edgar shirts do!

The front of the shirt utilises darker colours, something that Steve has insisted on throughout his career. Back in 2014, Steve wore a black shirt, with white sleeves, and just last year, Steve adopted a more intricate design of shirt, with red and white stripes, while still keeping the main body of the shirt black. His new Loxley shirt however, seems to be a throwback to 2017, in which he donned a black and purple One80 shirt in the Players Championship, where he famously edged past Peter Wright in the first round.

Steve’s Loxley shirt combines both black and dark blue in elegant fashion to create a more subtle shirt, showing Steve’s focus is away from the artistic side of darts, committing himself fully to the task at hand on the oche, away from all distractions. The sleeves of the shirt are dark blue, with a black trim around the edges. Dark blue lines run either side of the shirt, as well as the collar and zip further utilising this colour. Steve elected for a zipped shirt, rather than a buttoned shirt, as during the heat of a match, he prefers the collar to be loose around his neck, unzipping the shirt to create this effect.

On the front of the shirt are three of Steve’s four sponsors/affiliates. Firstly, Loxley darts, who sponsor Steve and produce his equipment and assist him in his darting requirements. The left hand side features the logo for ‘Crouch Recovery’ – a recovery firm operating in both the UK and mainland Europe. On the right, just above the Loxley logo, is the logo for ‘Wykin & District Social Club’, a local social club to Steve, and a venue that Steve occasionally plays out of in the Central England Darts League. Finally, on the left hand sleeve of the shirt, is the logo for ‘Central England Darts’, promoting the aforementioned Central England Darts League that Steve competes in, alongside another Loxley sponsored player: Jaikob Selby-Rivas.

On the back of the shirt, the same consistent design is retained from the front, with the blue and black combination replicated to create a one-piece shirt effect. Steve’s name is positioned central on the shirt, just around the shoulder blades, with the darker blue writing standing out well, thanks to a subtle white outline. Just below his name, his logo, a cartoon image of him holding a tray of muffins (a tribute to his nickname – ‘The Muffin Man’), is seen. This same design, seen within his flights as well, stands out from the black background of the shirt, and yet does not look out of place, keeping consistent with the theme of the shirt.

The shirt itself is comfortable to wear, with no tightness or restriction around the shoulders. The collar felt, at first, a little tough, and yet after a couple of washes, this quickly felt softer around the neck. After washing, the feel of the shirt never changed, staying light and comfortable to wear, similar to the feel of Harrows shirts. As well as the feel of the shirt remaining consistent, the colour remained that way too, with no signs of fading after multiple washes.

The shirt is made from 100% polyester, which means that it is very durable and lightweight, as well as dries quickly which all helps to aid darts players in the heat of a match. The fibres in the shirt can be stretched without tearing, and always resume their original state when released, helping to maintain the shape and style of the shirt. From a manufacturing standpoint, polyester is preferred due to the ease at which the shirts can be dyed, helping to deliver a quality product with deep and vibrant colours.

Final Thoughts:

Appearance: 8/10 – While an impressive shirt to look at, for me, there’s not enough ‘going on’ within the shirt to help it stand out from the crowd. The colours blend nicely with each other to create a subtle look, with the logos and text standing out well against the darker body of the shirt. It may not turn heads in the same way brighter shirts do (such a Matthew Edgar’s), but it’ll be a shirt you feel confident in wearing to any darting occasion.

Feel: 9/10 – As I mentioned previously, the shirt itself is extremely comfortable to wear. Lightweight and thin, you’ll hardly notice it’s on, with a very loose fit around the shoulders to ensure no restrictions while throwing. The only downside I found was the collar, which caused some slight discomfort owing to how stiff it was when unwashed. After a few washes, the collar felt supple, providing me with greater comfort while wearing the shirt.

Quality: 10/10 – As with the previous shirts I reviewed, I could find no faults with the quality. All logos and text had been integrated within the stitching seamlessly, to the point it was impossible to feel them there. There were no loose threads, nor distortion in the shape. I found no fading either, on the shirt itself, with all colouring remaining consistent throughout the shirt. Overall, a very well made shirt!

Value for Money: 7/10 – For a player branded shirt, these retail in line with the current market, at £37.95. While expensive for a typical shirt to be worn down the pub for matches, if you’re a collector of player shirts, or a fan of the ‘Muffin Man’, these are a must-have!

Thank you to Loxley for sending out the amazing Steve Hine shirts! If you haven’t already, be sure to click on Steve’s profile on the Loxley website, to discover Steve’s intentions going forward, while representing Loxley with his new shirt! More reviews on the way – stay tuned!

Author – Joe Reid