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August 2008:

Four very busy weeks coming up as the League of Legends tour comes to an end on consecutive Friday’s throughout August on Setanta Sports.

It was a happy night for me in Birmingham!

At last I got back my pride with some proper darts and I just hope August shines on me in more ways than one.

We will be in Reading on August 1st, Bridllington Spa on the 8th, Stoke-on-Trent on the 15th and the very final date of the eight tournament series is the grand finale at the Circus Tavern on August 22nd . All of them live and exclusive on Setanta Sports.

I’m really looking forward to playing in the new look Spa at Bridlington following its £20million re-furb. It was re-opened by ‘F Word’ star Gordon Ramsey recently and now boasts to be the top venue in East Yorkshire.

It has certainly become Yorkshire’s favourite darts venue because from now right through to December it will host three major darts dates.

First up is The League of Legends on August 8th, then comes the final leg of the enjoyable and competitive BDO International Grand Prix, when the BDO British Open is played at The Spa on September 20th.

Finally, in December comes the big one – the Winmau World Masters from the 5th to the 7th.

The International Play-Offs for Lakeside will take place on December 4th (I’ll be trying again!) and BBC Sport will be showing live coverage on Saturday and Sunday (6th & 7th) with ‘yours truly’ presenting all the action with Ray Stubbs. It’s a tough one, but someone has to do it!

Only joking, of course. I love it!


For the more learned among you, I was featured in the prestigious Times Education Supplement at the end of June. There was a big colour photo of me exchanging the blackboard for the dartboard at Langley School for Boys in Beckenham.

I have been going into schools teaching kids maths on the dartboard for over twenty years now, and I still love it! For all those snobs who continually fail to recognise the educational qualities of our sport, the Langley School visit and the maths masterclass that followed was a shining example of how kids react when learning is fun.

There were about 100 kids from Year 9 (age 14) and their Maths teachers (see photos) in the main assembly hall, and I was told that there had never been such a large after-school attendance.

But what impressed me most (and made me a bit nervous to begin with) was the way in which everyone watched and listened as I taught them how to count on the dartboard.

Even the teachers, who told me afterwards that they had never seen maths presented in such an interesting and valuable way (the photo shows me with L to R: Ras Nagra, Head of Maths, Dave Evans, who contacted me originally, Kelvin Smith and Simon Taylor).

This was praise indeed to my old earholes, because I was never what you might call academic, honest! But the dartboard was like my own passport into the world of numbers as a boy – and I always enjoy passing on my knowledge to youngsters who are keen to learn.

Once again, like everyone else I explain it to, the kids and teachers were amazed when I told them about the power of the number 6 on the dartboard.

For instance, if you start playing Shanghai at number one, single, double and treble add up to 6.

Move on to number two and the total of single, double and treble is 12; the number three combination is 18. In other words, the combinations increase by 6 every time.

The mathematical combinations on a dartboard are extraordinary, and there isn’t any other sport that uses all disciplines of Maths – addition, subtraction, division and multiplication – and, as we all know, everything has to be done in the head.

Mental arithmetic as we used to call it at school – no calculators!

At Langley School I was throwing darts, and letting the kids throw darts (the Maths teachers didn’t fancy it because they didn’t want to make fools of themselves!) for over an hour and can honestly say that I enjoyed it as much as they did.

It was rewarding for me to show them just how special counting is in a sport like darts, and for them (and their teachers) to appreciate it.

Just call me Professor George from now on!

To get the message of Maths on The Dartboard across, I not only showed them combinations and outshots, but also stretched their minds with a question that I would like to share with my readers.

It’s a good one for a pub quiz:

There are just six outshots that can only be finished in one combination on the dartboard. Starting at the top, the two highest 3-dart outshots that can only be done in one way are 170 and 167. Can you work out the other four?

The answers are at the end of this column.


That’s the fun part this month – now for the sad part. We have had to say goodbye to a dear friend recently: Top darts lady Lil Coombes, who passed away at the good age of 85.

Lil really was a darts legend in the truest sense. She was a former No.1 in the women’s game – despite the fact that she only started playing at the age of 55. By the time she was in her 60s she was runner-up in the Winmau World Masters and became the No.1 lady player in the world – surely a record that will never be beaten?

When you think of it she showed the world something very special – no matter how old you are you can not only play darts, but also play darts well.

I have many happy memories of Lil, because she was quite a character and great fun to be with, but here’s one that will make you giggle:

I remember going to play in the Canadian Open and there weren’t enough rooms in the hotel for the players. I was at reception with Lil and they were telling me that there was only one room remaining that had a double bed and out of the blue Lil suggested that we share it!

What a darling!! And cheeky with it!! Can you Adam and Eve it, she was in her 70s then and we shared a bed together!! She called me her Toyboy and loved telling people all about it!!!

I made sure Lil was on the pill mind you!

There are many other stories I could tell, but my biggest disappointment for Lil was that, despite her success on the oche, she was never once picked to play for England. It was something that she really wanted to do and really deserved to do on merit alone.

But, much as her playing ability demanded an England place, somehow it never happened. The selectors at that time felt she was too old.

What a shame!

Despite this, she was a much loved character and something of a darts globetrotter – enjoying success in the Los Angeles Open and the Golden Gate Classic in San Francisco – and had darts friends all over the world.

What a lady she was, and we will all miss her. My condolences to her family


Nearer to home there was great sadness at George Hall when our eldest dog Dosh died on Father’s Day at the grand old canine age of 15.

I never thought losing a dog could be so painful, but Dosh played such an important part in our lives that it has been like losing a member of the family. It hit me hard personally because I was the one who had to take him to the vet and hear that there was nothing more that could be done for him.

He’s now gone, but will never be forgotten. God Bless, Dosh.


Going back to the American connection with dear Lil Coombes, I had to laugh when there was yet another upset about air-conditioning during a recent televised darts tournament.

One player wanted it OFF, because he claimed it was causing his darts to fly all over the place, and the other wanted it ON because it didn’t bother him and he was getting too hot on the stage!!

When we played our darts in America all those years ago, there was no argument at all – the air conditioning was always ON and we just got on with playing darts.

In fact, I always won over there, so I never complained!

The funny thing about this latest story is that the venue concerned doesn’t have air-conditioning anyway. The wind ‘problem’ was caused by a more basic form or air conditioning – someone had left a door open!!


(Answers: The four remaining outshots that can only be done in one way are: 153, 156, 3 and 2).

Before I close here’s a PS to Pro-Life: I’m a legend in my own ‘Lunchbox’ mate! Get it right!!

And that’s it for yet another month so remember to be lucky and enjoy your darts. It’s a sport you can count on – in more ways than one!

Now that is clever!! Hasta la vista!!!!!




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