Welcome to my new look column. Bobby’s Blog is my new and personal look at the world of darts to celebrate the new look Darts World.
Blimey, so many ‘new’s’ but it’s still the same old me! Get it?
THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT……AND THAT’S THE LAST TIME YOU WILL SEE THOSE LUVVERLY JUBBLY WORDS IN MY COLUMN….It’s time to move on and have a Blog – a Bobby’s Blog!
And where better to start than with a Royal summons? Bobby George by ‘Royal Appointment’ has a ring to it, don’t you think? ‘King’ George of George Hall no less!
You’ve got to laugh! But it’s the truth, I did get a Royal summons, but it wasn’t from the Palace, but from the Sunday People a few weeks back. They asked for my comments on two very special players – HRH Prince William and HRH Prince Harry, two Royal brothers who (according to The People at least) not only play darts, but love playing against each other.
Allegedly, there’s a keen brotherly rivalry on and off the oche!
I’m not being cynical – honest! Who am I to argue? You have to believe what they say in the papers, don’t you?
And why wouldn’t they play and love our game? Let’s face it, there’s a lot of truth in the fact that there’s a long line of Royals who have enjoyed our sport over the years. During World War 2, the lovely Queen Mum was pictured playing darts to cheer up the troops.
More recently Prince Charles has tried his hand (or foot) at the oche, and just last January, Peter Phillips, grandson of The Queen, was at Lakeside watching (and enjoying) the World Pro with rugby star Mike Tindall, who just happens to be the boyfriend of his sister Zara Phillips.
Blimey, there’s enough there for a darts team made up purely of Royals! Never mind a darts team from The Queen’s Head, how about Team Palace?
But, getting back to the ‘story’, Princes William and Harry have apparently been spotted playing darts in a few pubs in Shropshire – home to a member of Darts Royalty: ‘The Count’ Ted Hankey.
Can you imagine William and Harry taking on our Ted? That would be worth putting on telly any day of the week! The Prince, The Count and The Prince (but be careful with the spelling!).
William and Harry have been doing some helicopter training in Shropshire and have been playing darts in a few pubs near to their base.
A ‘Royal source’ claimed in The People that they ‘absolutely love it’ and because they are evenly matched on the dartboard they have not only become hooked on the game, but also keen rivals on the oche.
The report in The People said: “One night Harry won the deciding leg when they were 6-6, but the next time William got his revenge. He’s great on his doubles, while Harry is a bit of a deadeye on the treble-20’s.
A classic reference to my old saying: Scoring’s for show, doubles for dough’!
The Royal source added: “They are both desperate to get better, and Harry even practices at Clarence House (home, not only to him and William, but also Charles and Camilla). Both follow the big TV events and (the source said) ‘a year ago they had no idea who Phil Taylor or Bobby George were, but now they are great fans”.
What can you say to that? Darts by Royal Appointment with a dartboard on a wall in Clarence House! I will be despatching one of my very own ‘Ma\de In England’ RH Dartboards (complete with Royal Crown) to the Royal residence shortly, and might even send another to Buckingham Palace. Let’s face it, they deserve the very best!!
Blimey, how I’d love to be a fly on that wall in Clarence House when Harry and William have a game! What an idea for a new reality show: ‘The Royal Family On The Oche’.
Anyway, when The People asked me for a comment, I simply said what I believe (do I ever do anything else?): This is what I said and what they printed:
“I think it’s fantastic that the Princes are playing the sport of the ‘common man’. I would have expected then to take up polo, cricket or golf, but maybe they feel that’s all a bit ‘Okay – Yah’ for them.
“The good thing about darts is that rain can’t stop play, and it is a game that teaches you to count quickly – something that’s got to be useful for any young man, helicopter pilot, Royal Prince, or not!”
Staying on the subject of Princes, I have to say a very reluctant goodbye to a ‘Prince Among TV Presenters’, the one and onky Ray Stubbs, who has left the BBC after 25 years man and boy to join satellite channel ESPN.
They have taken over where the now defunct (good word) Setanta left off and he has been hired (rightly so) as the main front man of their football coverage during the new season.
It means that after working together for 10 years presenting the darts on BBC, I will be without Ray at this month’s Winmau World Masters at The Spa, Bridlington.
I am going to miss him very much, but wish him every possible success in his new career at ESPN (who knows? We could be working together again in the future??). You never know in the wonderful world of televsion!
But, as my old dad used to say: ‘As one door closes, another opens’ so as I say a fond farewell to Ray, I now say a very cheery hello to my new
co-presenter at the World Masters, Rob Walker.
A case of bye, bye Ray and hello and welcome Rob!
He’s probably a new name and face to many, but he’s an experienced ‘front man’ who has worked for BBC, ITV and Channel 4 among many others.
He was the MC at this year’s BBC World Snooker Championships at The Crucible, Sheffield and also did live interviews, as well as presenting a new highlights show called ‘Snooker On The Red’.
But, just 12 months ago he made a great impression as the sailing reporter during the BBC’s amazing coverage of the Beijing Olympics.
His enthusiastic live interviews and reporting – often on boats bobbing up and down in the sea – brought sailing to life for the audiences watching at home.
And now, by one of those amazing sporting coincidences, he’s back at the seaside for the World Masters! Yes, for Rob Walker it’s a case of going from Beijing to Bridlington and from boats to Bobby!
I don’t think he will get seasick, but he might be asking for his ‘Mummy’ when he joins me in front of camera for some seat-of-the-pants live interviews at The Spa!
Joking apart, I’m really looking forward to working with him, and hope that you all enjoy the Bobby & Rob Show on September 5th and 6th.
I will arrive at the Masters well and truly cream crackered after a summer on practically non-stop touring with The Legends. Thankfully our 23 shows at Butlin’s end at Skegness just before I head up the coast to Brid.
I’ve got nothing against Butlin’s. Far from it, the holiday parks are fantastic and entertaining up to 2,000 people a night (without a swear word!) is a bit special. I’ve done so many now that I reckon they’ll make me an Honorary Redcoat! Hi-de-Hi campers!
The award-winning John Smith’s People’s Darts returns next month with regional finals covering England, Wales and, for the first time Scotland – where Ross Montgomery ‘The Boss’ will be the players ‘mentor’.
I have been involved in the national launch and will be one of the mentor team, which also includes Martin Adams, Johnboy Walton, Darryl Fitton and Tony O’Shea. What an impressive team!
Throughout October and November there will be regional finals in the North West, North East, Scotland, Yorkshire, London & The South, Central (Midlands), the South West and South Wales.
As last year, the players will come through the pubs and clubs and, for want of a better description, will represent the ‘ordinary darts player’. In other words, it is a chance for the man in the street to have his moment of glory.
Last year Tim ‘Teapot’ Jones won the televised final at Lakeside, and the 2010 final will be played on that famous stage on Sunday, January 10th as a fitting ‘warm-up’ for the main event.
Anyone who plays their darts in pubs up and down the country should pick up entry forms from their respective pubs, and have a go.
It’s like the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ of darts!
Which brings me to the end of the first ever Bobby’s Blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
Hasta la Vista. I’ll be back!