BOBBY’S BLOG MARCH 2010
So what happened at Lakeside 2010? Mostly good things, but it seems ages ago now and I am still recovering from all the excitement and late nights .
Final figures showed that over 4 million BBC viewers watched the final, plus millions more around the world via BBC Worldwide, Eurosport and Eurosport Asia.
The official BDO website alone received over 12 million hits during Lakeside week!
Not bad figures for a bunch of ‘amateurs’!
And the 25th anniversary of the World Pro being played there was a triumph – despite all the problems with the snow and ice – including the sad and tragic death of darts fan Phillip Hughes in the famous lake.
My personal condolences have been sent to his family and friends.
But returning to the good things, the biggest triumph of all was my new co-presenter Colin ‘Minty’ Murray, whose Irish twang and total enthusiasm for darts, the fans and the players, was a huge hit with Lakeside audiences and the millions of BBC viewers who tuned in all week.
He was like a bottle of fizzy pop with the cork out! Not only a super presenter but also a super fan of everything to do with darts. I didn’t know what to expect after 10 years with me old mate Ray Stubbs, but as much as Ray was missed, Colin was a breath of fresh air and put a completely different ‘edge’ to the darts presentation all week.
It was exhausting trying to keep pace with him – but always great fun! I particularly enjoyed some of his introductions – especially his Oscar winning performance to introduce the 2010 Final, complete with tuxedo and dickie-bow.
And the same could be said of Rob Walker, who was with me at the World Masters and completed the new Lakeside presentation team (well, I’m almost new!) as a true pro. Rob always wears a suit, and he and Colin never stopped smiling (neither did I for that matter!) during yet another memorable Lakeside week..
No wonder the years go by so quickly, because every time Lakeside comes around we go one better than the year before. Last year it was Hankey Panky ‘biting’ his way to the final, this year it was the turn of Wolfie. Not so much the Big Bad Wolf as Mr.Consistency. He never lost his concentration and was super confident all week.
OK. So I tipped Dave Chisnall. He played to win each time he got on stage. I know that sounds obvious, but some players lose their bottle when they have to play in the Lakeside atmosphere with the crowd, the cameras and the lights. It’s what you might call ‘a bit special’! But instead of wanting his mummy, Dave played as though he was born to do it, and the lad from St.Helens had a fantastic week.
Unfortunately, he was described as a Cheshire player from the commentary box early on, but that was rectified and he did Lancashire proud with one of the toughest runs to the final that I have ever seen.
Prior to the start of Lakeside week, how many ‘experts’ would have fancied him to get anywhere near the final? In his way were Darryl Fitton, Tony West, Ted Hankey and Tony O’Shea! Not only did he beat the No.4, 5 and 1 Seeds respectively, but his single dart average never fell below 30!
It was a very impressive display of darts from a player who prefers to let his darts do the talking rather than his mouth. A player of few words, I remember asking him what was the best part of his match with Ted Hankey, and he simply said: ‘Winning’.
Mind you, he was right! And who wouldn’t be lost for words when he went into the final with the highest checkout of 164, only to see Martin Adams hit a magical 170 on his way to the title.
One hundred and three grand is the biggest ever payout for a World Pro Champion and, despite my pre-match tip that Chizzy would complete a great week by winning the title, Martin deserved his second Lakeside crown, albeit a walk in the park till the Semi’s where he had a bit of a scare from Martin Phillips, but took his chances in the final with great outshots and consistency.
Interestingly, both Martin and Dave had eleven 100+ checkouts each at the World Pro and Martin’s highest single dart average of 32.46 was only .2 better than Dave’s highest of 32.44.
Mind you, there’s far too much emphasis placed on averages. The only thing that really counts is hitting the winning double. My saying remains as true today as when I first said it: Scoring’s for show, doubles for dough!
Congratulations to both Martin and Dave on producing yet another great Lakeside final. Martin’s the oldest ever World Pro Champion at 53, but Dave is still only 29, so he’s got a great future ahead of him.
Congratulations also to Phil Taylor on winning his 15th World title and to Aussie Simon Whitlock for doing so well in his first PDC World Championship.
Back to Lakeside, I had to laugh when Martin told all the papers that the secret of his success was that he had no nookie with Sharon all week. I’m not sure she wanted everyone to know that, but when Marie saw it she looked at me as only a woman can and said:
‘If that’s the secret then you should be winning everything!’
How cruel can you get?
Another old ‘un worthy of special mention is Martin Phillips, the most capped player Wales has ever had. He enjoyed his best ever Lakeside by getting to the Semi-Finals and beating No.2 Seed Scott Waites along the way. Not bad for a player who will be 50 next month and was described by Tony Green as captain of Scotland! OOPS!!!!
I think I’m heading for a nightmare with Tony O’Shea because we’ve both asked to take part in ‘Let’s Dance For Sports Relief’. I don’t know about Tony, but dancing is not my forte.
Dancing darts players! Blimey. It could be the start of another reality series! All take to the floor for the Oche Cokey!!
If that’s not unusual enough, how about darts on the radio? Or better still, how about darts with Chris Evans on the biggest rating show on BBC Radio 2??
Good Evans! With a morning audience of something in excess of 5 million listeners, Chris came to George Hall in his Bentley (registration number FAB 1) to take on his regular ‘Sporting Challenge’ with Jonny Saunders on my dartboard!
Not only did it get loads of mentions on his show, but a video of his darts challenge with Jonny was shown on the BBC website. It’s worth taking a look at the darts section of the BBC website. You can see Chris and Jonny at George Hall and there is also an interesting ‘Behind The Scenes at Lakeside’ video, plus my masterclass films with Rob Walker.
Put it in your favourites: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/darts/default.stm
Back to Chris Evans, I have to say that he’s a diamond geezer. He was knocked out with George Hall and my games room. So much so, that he rang his missus to tell her he wanted one (a Games Room) and he handed the phone to me so that I could persuade her!
Next thing I know is that me and Marie are being invited to dinner to talk about it! Luvverly Jubberly!
Anyway, Chris turned out to be a natural at darts. He hit double 16 at the first attempt and looked ‘the business’. On the other hand, Jonny was so useless that I had to say – much to Chris’s amusement – ‘Houston, we have a problem!’
My pals at B&W Darts supplied shirts with the nicknames ‘Chris ‘Seventh Heaven’ Evans and Jonny ‘The Tower’ (he’s a tall bloke) Saunders. They also had darts with their faces on the flights, and I lent them a bit of my bling so that they could feel the part!
After each of them threw three darts I told Chris that he would win easily – and he did! He was over the moon because Jonny had beaten him in the first sporting challenge the week before. That was tennis, and I had to tell Chris that it was ideal for Jonny because he’s so ‘posh’!
As predicted, Chris beat Jonny easily and was delighted when I presented him with a special trophy and a personally signed Bobby George R&H dartboard.
They stayed on for a few bevies at my bar and plenty of chat. We had a great time, and Chris is top of my invitation list for Lakeside 2011.
The video of the day is well worth looking at, and I was particularly pleased with some of the viewer reaction to it – especially one that said: ‘5 minutes, 19 seconds of pure ‘smile’. Bobby is a legend!’
Who am I to disagree? I just do my best!!
And finally, I have to end by sending grateful thanks to Daniel O’Connor from Co.Limerick who has donated £40 to our charity, Woodbridge Mencap Gateway Club.
It’s a lovely gesture and I just wish I could think of an appropriate Limerick to say thank you, but I can’t! I’m a darts player not a poet…..or could that be an idea for another reality darts show? Poetic Darts Players!
Blimey, it goes from bad to verse!!!!!!!!!