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APRIL 2010


Hope you all saw (and enjoyed?) me and Tony O’Shea dancing on BBC-1’s ‘Let’s Dance For Sport Relief’ with a couple of snooker’s finest: Dennis Taylor and Willie Thorne? If not, I hope you enjoy the photo’s in this month’s Blog.

It wasn’t an early April Fool’s Gag – although it might have looked like one, especially to my Marie and Tony’s Gill!

Neither of us have ever been much cop on the dance floor (I do enjoy the odd jive with Marie) so when we were asked to do it I suppose the natural reaction (certainly mine) was ‘No thank you very much’!

But Sport Relief raises so many millions for charity that me and Tony thought it was well worth making prats of ourselves!

Tony even gave up the opportunity to play in the Scottish Open and happily exchanged the oche for the dance floor.

And it really was well worth it, because a staggering 8 million BBC viewers tuned in to see us boogying like we’ve never done before (or are likely to do again without the back up of several pints) to ‘Walk This Way’ by Run DMC.

We actually trained and rehearsed with Dennis and Willie before the live studio show, and it was great fun. Like Tony, they are lovely blokes who enjoy helping good causes and having a good laugh – which is just as well, because they had to dress up and wear wigs!

We made no mistakes in rehearsal, but at the end of our dance Dennis Taylor slipped and took my legs away and we all ended in a heap! Mind you, I thought I was very professional because I managed to keep my hat on! Mind you, I had to depend on Tony to pull me back on my feet!!

We were absolutely knackered on the night because it was exhausting prancing (sorry dancing) about with big grins on our faces for most of the time. We might have looked like we were having a ball, but the truth is, we couldn’t actually breathe with all that exertion.

I pulled a couple of muscles I didn’t know I had!

The most nerve-wracking bit of the night was standing on stage waiting for the results of the voting. We didn’t expect to win, which was lucky because we didn’t! But as the old saying goers: ‘It’s the taking part that counts’.

Anyway, how could anyone have beaten the splendidly named Rufus Hound (barking mad) who did an amazing spoof of Cheryl Cole’s ‘Fight For This Love’ which was probably better than the original!

Or the bubbly Katy Brand (no relation to Russell, and much more entertaining) taking off Beyonce?

We got on well with all of them, and it was an experience that both me and Tony will remember for a long, long time!

Let’s Dance for darts!

So what else has been going on?

Well, I went up to Edinburgh for a bit of after-dinner spewing (I call it that because it is nerve-wracking getting up in front of a load of strangers who are daring you to make them laugh!).

I also had to get up at 5AM the other morning to be ‘Sofa Guest’ (even though there was no sofa) on the Ray Clark Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Essex. That was a marathon two-hours from 7 to 9 on the radio, but it was over in a flash and I really enjoyed it.

And while on the subject of Essex, it’s great news about the BDO moving the British Classic, Teenage and Youth KO Cup to Towerlands Park at Braintree – it’s about 100 miles closer for me than the old venue in Kettering!

I can get there in 20 minutes, and it’s also on the doorstep for another Essex ‘veteran’ Martin ‘Let’s Play Darts’ Fitzmaurice, who is based on Colchester, and fireman and part-time referee Barry Gilbey, who lives on the other side of Braintree.

What with them, my Richard and all the Essex county players, it’s a darting hotspot.

Towerlands is also going to be a good venue for darts, because if Olly Croft says it’s ok, then it will be. He went along to see it following a phone call during the World Pro, and was shown around by one of the top men there – Andrew Moses.

Can you believe it, God and Moses together in Essex!

It reminded me of the story of the bloke who came down from heaven and said to me: If you can identify the tattoos on the thighs of our most beautiful angel, I will make you the greatest darts player to ever walk the earth (now where have I heard that phrase before?).

Anyway this naked angel opened her legs and I said: ‘I reckon the one on the right is me as a young man, but I’m not absolutely sure because I’ve always been handsome, and I did think the other one was a young John Lowe until I realised he’s never been young. But I certainly know the one in the middle!

But back to Mr.Moses, never mind leading Olly to the Promised Land, I reckon he’s led him to the Promised Venue!!

Whatever the case it has inspired me to come up with 10 April Fool style darts commandments that Mr.Moses might announce for Towerlands Park:

Here they are:
Thou shall welcome BDO players and fans
Thou shall drink only in the venue
Thou shalt not bring your own food and drink
Thou shalt not smoke inside
Thou shall smoke outside
Thou shalt not hear Sam Hawkins on the microphone
Thou shalt not see Olly Croft without food
Thou shalt not boo Ted Hankey (or Phil Taylor if he turns up)
Thou shalt not stand on the oche inebriated
Thou shall feast only on great darts.

Just like me and Tony dancing on the telly, it’s only a bit of fun but I would love to hear any more suggestions for darts commandments.

Before I forget, congratulations to England’s men and women on their great victories in the Six Nations Cup in the Republic of Ireland.

Lisa Ashton had an outstanding single dart average of almost 28, and Johnboy Walton popped up with another 9-darter. He hit one at the World Masters a couple of years back, and that was a first. Now he’s hit the first ever 9-darter in the Six Nations. Come to think of it, has there ever been one in an International?

I know he got an award for it, but just a bit of advice Johnboy: Save the next one for Lakeside and pocket 52 grand! Now, that would make life really grand – 52 times over!

Staying with England, the BDO British Internationals will be played at The Spa in Bridlington this month on the 10th and 11th, and I send my congratulations to young Dave Chisnall, whose success at the Lakeside World Pro has earned him a place as Travelling Reserve for England.

Just think about it, he was runner-up to Martin Adams in the World Pro, and now Wolfie is his captain in Brid. Good luck and also to Stephen Bunting, Steve Douglas and Paul Hogan, who have been re-called to the England squad at Bridlington.

In fact, even though I am fiercely patriotic, I send my best wishes to all the teams from England, Scotland and Wales. The British Internationals are always keenly contested and there is lots of national pride at stake.

That’s all for another month folks!




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