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March 2008:

It’s a busy old time on the International scene at the moment. We’ve just had the Six Nations Cup in Wales, coming up in April are the BDO British Internationals in Scotland – and in between the England Darts Organisation are back at Lakeside for England v Europe later this month (March 22nd & 23rd).

I love going back to Lakeside at any time, but with the World Pro still fresh in all our memories it’s going to be great to see so many familiar faces back at the home of world darts.

It is also nice to see that its not just for the men and women, but also includes some talented youngsters from England and Europe. I am a firm believer in doing as much as we can for the kids…..after all, they are the future of our sport. Thankfully, like the BDO, the EDO is looking after that future by making events like England v Europe inclusive for the boys and girls.

Interestingly, the Europe team is captained by a Turkey player – Emre Torres, and the line-up includes popular Dutchman Co Stompe, Finland’s Jarkko Komula, Northern Ireland’s Davy Glenn and one of the top German players, Andreas Krockel.

As for England, they are led by Martin Adams and the side contains many Lakeside favourites, including Darryl Fitton, John Boy Walton and, wait for it, Andy Fordham. Yes, Andy is turning out for England, having delighted the Lakeside crowd at this year’s final when he came on stage as one of the most popular World Champions of all time.

He’s making every attempt to get back to full fitness and that includes playing in as many top events as possible in 2008. The last 12 months have been memorable to him for all the wrong reasons, so let’s hope the next 12 months see him back on the big stage with a bang!



Turning the clock back to the Lakeside World Pro, because of the tight print deadlines, this is really my first opportunity to write about it.
Everyone knows that I tell it as it is, and I have to say that from the Quarter-Finals on, the 2008 Championships more than lived up to the reputations of those from the past.

The standard of play was fantastic, with truly outstanding performances from Darryl Fitton, who dazzled the crowd in every match he played; the incredible Scot Robert Thornton, who proved that his World Masters victory last November was no one-off; the pony-tailed Simon Whitlock; the emergence of Brian Pecker Woods on the very biggest stage of them all……and, of course a young man by the name of Mark Webster.

OK, he started as No.1 Seed and more than lived up to it, but many thought he might slip up against some of the more experienced ‘big boys’. But he more than held his own and his matches against Darryl Fitton, Martin Adams and Simon Whitlock proved that at the young age of 24 he is going to be a great and modest World Champion.

He produced a performance in the final that was breathtaking, gutsy and above all exciting for the packed Lakeside audience, and more than 4 million BBC-2 viewers on a cold and wet Sunday night in January.

If he did great (and he did) for Wales, then Russia’s Anastasia Dobromyslova (just 23) well and truly lifted the Iron Curtain with her sensational win over Trina Gulliver.

But it wasn’t a ‘cold war’ on the Lakeside stage, because Anastasia lit up women’s darts with her cheeky grins, bouncy style and devastating darts.

She ended Trina’s incredible 7 year unbeaten Lakeside record and, like the sportswoman she is, England’s ‘Golden Girl’ showed great composure and dignity in defeat.

Of course, she hated giving up a trophy that has been on her sideboard since 2001, but she knows that Anastasia is a breath of fresh air for the women’s game, and that she will be back in 2009 to battle it out all over again.


Sport is full of coincidences, and two young men made their ‘Marks’ at Lakeside and then won major titles.

Mark Webster is the 2008 World Pro Champion, and I had the great pleasure of meeting snooker’s Mark Selby during Lakeside week. He actually came down to play ‘A Leg With Bobby’ and turned up in a darts shirt bearing the legend: ‘The Leicester Jester’.

What a lovely young man he is and a useful darts player at that! Mind you, snooker is his No.1 game and no one was more delighted than me when he won the BBC televised SAGA Masters just a week after Lakeside.

Like Mark Webster he is just 24 and has the world at his feet, and it was great to see ‘A Leg With Bobby’ shown as a link from Lakeside to the SAGA Masters.


Staying on the subject of coincidences, I have been having loads of fun with the ‘Darts Legends’ nights – especially having plenty of crack with players like Keith Deller.

As most of my readers know, I am fascinated by numbers so how about this for a coincidence (with a little help from Richard Ashdown).

When Keith won the World Championship with his famous 138 checkout in 1983 he became the sixth World Champion. ‘So what’s so special about that?’ I can hear you asking.

Well, young Keith was just 23 when he won the title, and if you multiply his age by the fact that he was the 6th World Champion:
6 x 23, the answer is 138 – which is the checkout with which he beat Eric Bristow on that memorable night at Jollees, Stoke-on-Trent.

Is this a coincidence or fate? More from Bobby’s Wonderful World of Numbers in future columns!


As you may have heard and read, Setanta Sports are more than a little interested in broadcasting future Legends events. This is great news for everyone who enjoys seeing ‘old timers’ like myself, Keith, Eric, Cliff and others back on the oche, but I think it might have upset one or two others with interests elsewhere. We were even insulted by one person who rarely puts his brain in gear before opening his mouth. He sais that instead of 180 boards in the crowd, we should have 60 boards! What a cheek! We’re going to have 69 boards instead, because us old un’s can still score!


I’m now a Daily Mail reader because the full page article which Sports Editor Lee Clayton wrote after his visit to George Hall, was used to launch Lakeside 2008. I loved it, and out of the blue the Mail sent it to me in a lovely frame. It now occupies pride of place in my bar.

Good things are happening all the time……For instance, I have been consulted by an author who is writing a book on maths. Obviously my knowledge of numbers is becoming well known outside darts, which is nice. Either that or people enjoy picking what’s left of my brains!

I am also in discussions re the possibility of hosting a new DVD on the history of darts – focusing on the wonderful 30 years of the World Pro.

It is early days yet, but there are plans to include every single final, loads of memorable BBC footage from 1978 to the present day, plus interviews and other innovations.

Oh yes. Another posh paper. This time ‘The Observer’ is coming down to photograph me cooking a Chinese in my kitchen. It makes a change from darts!


Lots of you have asked me to repeat some of the ‘Georgisms’ that Ray Stubbs and I did during Lakeside. The very funny feature in which we struggled to keep straight faces, is actually on internet website ‘You Tube’ and has had thousands of hits. The link is a bit of a mouthful, but it’s worth taking a butcher’s:

For those who missed them, here goes. I say: ‘He wants the A40 but has gone up the A1’. Ray says: ‘What Robert actually means is that the player has made a severe mathematical error in his calculations and has gone up the A1 when he really wanted the A40.

I say: ‘He’s got too much trap before he’s got the biz’. Ray says: Robert means that the player is making rash and inappropriate utterances before he’s actually achieved anything’.

I say: ‘He wants his mummy’. Ray says: ‘Robert is saying that the player has reached crisis point and has serious psychological problems that probably require maternal guidance’.

I say: ‘HELLLLLLO’ and Ray says: ‘This is more than a greeting from Robert. It means he is impressed by someone and is often reserved for the ladies, but not exclusively so’.

And finally, I say: ‘He’s very military SPASMOTIC AND HE thinks he’s INTERLECTRICAL’. To which Ray replies: ‘I have no idea what Robert is saying!’

What great fun we had doing that in such a serious way when all we wanted to do was laugh! Priceless Raymond. You are the bees knees……which doesn’t need interpreting. It means that you are the best!


Must close by telling you about a great evening I had at Colchester Garrison Officers Club. It was ‘Captains Night’ organised by golf club captain, Simon Howcroft. It was in aid of Parkinson’s Disease and the RH Dartboard I donated fetched the best price of the night….a magnificent £175.

Earlier Simon asked me if I fancied a game of golf. When I told him that I had never played but had once had a couple of lessons, he put a ball down, gave me a club and said: Hit that to the flag over there.

Well, I gave it a whack and when we walked to the green, it was 2 inches from the hole! ‘What do I do now?’ I asked. He said: ‘You have to knock it into the hole’. I looked at him with my very best Georgeism face and replied: ‘Why didn’t you tell me that in the first place!’



Which brings me nicely to the end of yet another column so remember: Be Happy and Keep Smiling!



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