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Posts Tagged ‘Stoke’

Dartylicious

January 10, 2010 4 comments

dart Just got home from mum and dad’s (funny that nobody says dad and mum’s ?) where tonight, just like every other second Sunday of a new year we watched the final of the darts world championship (well the one that isn’t on a Murdoch channel anyway). “The Arrows” has undergone a bit of a resurgence recently, with rising viewing figures, profile, and prize money. Such luminaries as Stephen Fry and Dave Gorman now tweet about the darts with a surprising passion, and it’s a cert that tomorrow more people will be chatting about the darts than the football, although that may be more to do with only 2 Premiership matches surviving the snow. Wimps, you never hear the darts being snowed off !. Darts is pure sport. No luck, no drugs, no financial inequalities. No Doubt. The dart is either in or it is out. That is it. There is no need for  referees decisions, no requirement to refer to a replay. The winner of a darts match will never need to rely on a Russian linesman. It’s no help to a darts player to bulk up on steroids, the usual British diet and plenty of pints of stuff, will see to that. It doesn’t discriminate about your size and build, fat or thin, either is fine. Having a rich Arab or Russian oligarch won’t buy you victory, and neither can you gain an advantage with some new fangled equipment. A darts match is man against man against the board, and this simplicity is the key to its success. Anyone can understand the techniques, so all the concentration is on the unfolding drama. How is each player, who in the comfort of their own home would real off 9 dart finishes and 170 checkouts for fun, to handle the pressure. Who will crack ? Who will rise to the occasion ? Only the strongest of wills and steadiest of arms will prevail.

Darts is sport at its absolute purest, and should be in the Olympics well before the likes of Tennis, Golf, Synchronised Dressage et al.

Darts And The City

Darts is deep in the hearts of the people of Stoke-on-Trent. For years the world championship was held in the Jollees Nightclub, above Longton Bus Station. This was in the era of John Lowe, Jocky Wilson and “The Crafty Cockney” Eric Bristow, with his cocked pinky. Jocky Wilson the almost spherical Scotsman is almost as famous for Top of the Pops than his world championships. For some strange reason when Dexys Midnight Runners sang “Jackie Wilson Said” instead of a picture of the soul singer a huge image of the literally toothless darts player was projected. To this day I know not why (Have a look below).

 

In addition to Stoke being the birthplace of world darts we have had 3 world champions from the area. Eric Bristow lived just a few miles away in my home village. Ted “The Count” Hankey is a Stokey and of course Phil “The Power” Taylor is Stoke-on-Trent born and bred. Phil Taylor  who’s achievement to many, in winning 15 world titles ranks him alongside Schumacher, Woods and Fedderer, although I can never see him at the glittering World Sportsman of the year award. Stoke has just instigated it’s own sporting Hall Of Fame and the 2 inaugural members are Phil Taylor and Sir Stanley Mathews. That is the esteem in which we hold him (even if he is a Port Vale fan)

Phil, Eric & Ted

stoke darters

Darts and Me

Darts has at times pricked it’s way into my life, and I don’t mean the time that Darren Colclough bounced a dart out that stuck in my thigh. With Eric Bristow living in our village I once did Bob-a-Job for him. I think I washed his car, but I can’t remember what he paid. I am also the only person to hit a 180 (one hundred and eighteeeeee!) in the Stallington Hospital, Frank Quinn trophy heats, when playing for the kitchens against Birch Ward. That same year the Kitchen triumphed to win in front of a packed (about 30 people!) social club. The only time the trophy had not been won by a ward team. I did for a while play for the Roebuck pub darts team, although that was more to do with the fine sausage and onions provided at half time. Darts also gave an excuse for an obviously unfit specimen like me to legitimately enter a sports shop without the fear of a sneer, as I would pick up a gleaming new set of Tungstens or a supply of flights in exciting designs.

I haven’t played darts for years now…. That is a sad thing