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May 2008:

What a great weekend we had at Lakeside with the EDO’s England v Europe friendly a few weeks ago.

Yes, I know England won it easily enough, but that’s not the point I am making. It was a great weekend of darts, and lots and lots of fun for the players and public alike.

In my opinion it was better than the England v Netherlands friendly of 2007 – and that was very good as well. I am not surprised that the EDO have already asked Bob Potter to reserve some dates for another weekend in 2009.

What makes these get-togethers so enjoyable, is the crack between the players – and everyone knows that I am very partial to a bit of crack in my life and my darts!

Because Co Stompe was unable to get to Lakeside, the Europe team was a man short and, with my Scottish heritage (I’m half Scottish) the England and Europe selectors decided I could play as part of the Europe team (let’s face it, we are all Europeans nowadays!).
Originally I was drawn to play Andy Fordham, but he had to withdraw and I played Tommy Aldridge. Everyone nicknamed me ‘Bobby Mac Van George’!
To be honest it was a real giggle and I ended up being ‘banned’ by Europe for ‘match-fixing’, and then England decided to ‘ban’ me for playing in the Europe side!

Blimey, I didn’t know whether I was coming or going as an English, Scottish ‘adopted’ Dutchman, but surely having a laugh is what a ‘friendly’ match is all about? Just as well with me around!


I also played eight ‘Legs With Bobby’ and hopefully raised a few bob (get it?) on the way.

It was also good to see lots of darts fans at Lakeside and I can honestly say that it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. Just shows what a boring life I lead!! (Only joking).

Well done to the EDO, and thanks to the European team, all the officials and everyone at Lakeside for making it happen.


Richard Ashdown, who everyone knows as ‘Little Richard’ is an absolute genius when it comes to numbers, and as well as working with me on ‘proper’ darts events like the EDO tournaments and the World Pro, he is often with me on my fun exhibition nights – and adds to the humour of the evening considerably!

Anyway, I always tell the audiences a funny story about how I met him, so I would like to share it with my Darts World readers……

It happened in 2002 when I was on a trip to Ireland. I got lost and suddenly came across a Leprechaun at the end of a rainbow.

I almost knocked the little fellow over (the Leprechaun not Richard!) and as a reward for not harming him he told me that I could have a pot of gold. “Well, that’s very kind of you’ I said, ‘but as you can see, I already have enough bling for several rainbows”.

At first he looked a little downhearted, but then his face lit up and he offered to grant me any wish I wanted.

‘Well’, I told him, ‘what I really want is a four foot Dick with a good head’. And that, dear readers is how I ended up with Little Richard Ashdown!

He’s a proper four-foot ‘Dick’ with the best head for numbers that I have ever come across!


Anyway, as a ‘first’ ever for this column, I have invited Richard to be my ‘guest writer’ (I’ll have to call him ‘Scoop Ashdown’ from now on!) and he has written the following report on my recent night at Premier League Reading Football Club with Phil Taylor for the first ever Royal Families Charities darts night:

Here’s his ‘exclusive’ report on a great night of darts and fundraising:

Played out in front of over 400 fans and guests, it all started off with the big walk-ons of Bobby, complete with cloak and candelabra, and Phil's traditional "Power" entrance.

Then there were a series of pairs matches involving Reading FC stars like Nicky Shorey, Bryn Gunnarsson, John Oster, Stephen Hunt, Kevin Doyle, Ivar Ingarmarsson and Dave Kitson.

Phil and Bobby were in fine form early on, hitting the big shots, and both really got into the spirit of the exhibition. With Bobby, I'm used to that of course, but I was very impressed with how much fun Phil was on stage.

Two head to head matches were staged. First up was Phil against Reading’s best darts player, John "The Hammer" Oster. I must say, John is a great lad. You expect a lot of ego from footballers, but it wasn't the case with him, or any of the other Reading players for that matter.

So, it was best of 3 legs 501. Game on!

Phil stepped up and hit 180, 180 and then just missed the next treble. He took the leg in 12 darts (Port Vale 1 Reading 0!).

Next leg, Phil hit 180, 180 again, and ended up leaving 84 after 9 darts. At this point, I thought it only fair to swop scores, and what does John do? Two darts: Treble 20, double 12!

Into a decider, Phil started with yet another 180 (5 consecutive scoring attempts and 5 x 180's!). I have never seen anything like it! Phil again had some fun with John at the end of the leg, and John eventually hit double 6 to claim a famous (if unlikely) victory.

Then to the climax of the evening and a clash of two eras as Bobby, a champion from the seventies and eighties, took on Phil, the champion of the nineties and naughties!

I assured the audience that this would NOT be a whitewash... Phil would win at least one leg! How wrong could I be?

Bobby had a seldom-seen ‘business’ look in his eyes, and was determined not to be shown up by ‘The Power’ on such imperious form. This was the first time they had ever played each other and what a match it proved to be!

Bobby hit a 180 in the opening leg and finished on D4 for a 13 darter, with Phil waiting on a double.

In the 2nd leg, against the throw, Bobby hit another 180 and was on 93 after 9 darts... 25 and 18 left bull for the second leg in 12 darts!

The crowd were now well into this special game and played their part, with more cheering and singing than at a Premier League night (but come to think of it, it was a Premier League night out at a Premier League football ground – the magnificent Madejski Stadium in Reading)!

The third leg saw Bobby in control. He left 135 and hit Bull, T15 and just pulled his last dart to miss tops. Phil was on 80 and hit T20 with his first dart and then missed the next two at D10! Bobby to stepped in to hit the same double with one dart to complete a fantastic 3-0 victory.

What an end to one of the best nights I've ever worked on. Great fun with the footballers, sublime scoring from Phil, and Bobby showing there's life in the old dog yet...!!


On top of all that, Phil and Bobby helped raise over £6,000 for charity! Everyone was a winner on a great night.


Now it’s back to me with the sensible stuff! I must tell you that the Royal Families is a fundraising group set up by the wives and girlfriends of the Reading FC players, which just goes to prove that everything the media try to tell us about WAGs is not necessarily true.
The money raised on the darts night has taken the total raised so far this year to just over £80,000, and the two main charities benefiting are Daisy's Dream, for children suffering bereavement, and Berkshire Cancer Centre.


Must close by going back to my game with Phil. I had gone up to the oche with a big white hankey in my pocket, because he was playing so well that I thought I might have to wave it in ‘surrender’.
I also took one of my ‘Man Of The Match’ awards, which I did present to him at the end of the night…….after all, he’s got his name on practically every trophy in darts, so it’s only fair that he’s now got something with my name on it!
On that night at Reading FC he showed that not only is he a great player, but he’s also a great sport.


So I will now turn off the power (again) and say Keep On Smiling and Be Lucky because summer is here (allegedly!)



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