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October 2010

The Essex Boys – me, Wayne Mardle, Kevin Painter and Colin Lloyd, together with our ‘dad’ Martin Fitzmauric e (only joking, boys!) - were all reunited recently, but it was a sad occasion as we said our fond farewell’s to Vic Perryman, one of the big characters in Essex darts.

I always thought of Vic as a bit of an Arfur Daly type, always wheeling and dealing and dipping and diving, but never less than likeable. Above all else, he was a dedicated county official, just like Pauline Stafford who also passed away last month.

There were great turn-outs for both Vic’s and Pauline’s  funerals – especially from players and fellow officials.  Though they are sad, funerals are always time for a few happy memories and stories. We certainly had a few smiles at Vic’s send-off, especially with Wayne who never stops smiling.

He’s now moved from Dagenham to St.Osyths, near Clacton with his mom and dad, and Colin Lloyd is just 5 minutes down the road from George Hall.

It was good to be in the company of so many darts people and I send my condolences to Vic’s family and friends, and also to Pauline’s. 

We must always pay tribute to officials like them, because they give their time, and ultimately their lives to make sure that our great sport runs smoothly.  God bless ‘em.

Those who follow my Blogs will know that I am not the greatest fan of eight seeded players going straight through to the televised stage finals of the Men’s Winmau World Masters, but this year has thrown up an interesting situation that could ( and should) add to the excitement for those who are in the audiences at the City Hall, Hull or watching the exclusive coverage on BBC-1 and 2.

Although top players like Martin Adams, Tony O’Shea and Ross Montgomery are there as bill-toppers, they are joined by a couple of exciting ‘new’ names in Cheshire’s Stuart Kellett and Yorkshire’s Dean Winstanley.

These two aren’t new to the darts community, but they are certainly new faces to BBC TV viewers and are a couple of prime examples of the talent which the BDO produces on a regular basis.

Dean Winstanley has had an outstanding year and is reigning German, England and Belgium Open Men’s Singles Champion, while young Stuart is reigning Scottish Open and Antwerp Open Champion.

It’s also great to see an ‘old’  pro like Garry Thompson in the seeds. He hit the highest overall average in the Inter-Counties last season and is probably the most laid-back player I have ever seen.  He just gets up and plays his darts without a care in the world (or so it seems) and they are usually very tasty darts as well!

But, there is no place for Ted Hankey, Darryl Fitton, Gary Robson or John Boy Walton among the seeds. They will have to play on the floor in order to get to the stage – and we all know how hard that is!

I reckon this could be great for this year’s World Masters, because none of the seeds are going to fancy taking on the likes of The Count, Big Robbo or Dazzler – especially when those players will have already got their eye in playing in those tough floor matches.

Although some think that being seeded through to the stage is a bonus, in truth it can be a handicap.  The Seeds go on stage ‘cold’ on Saturday and can be caught out as a result.

That’s why I reckon this year has thrown up an unusual scenario that I for one am looking forward to.

It’s also an opportunity for Martin Adams to equal Bob Anderson’s marvellous record of winning three Masters on the trot:  1986, 1987 and 1988.  If Wolfie does it then it will have taken over 20 years to equal Bob’s record, and even then it has to be remembered that Bob had to do it the hard way by winning through from the floor to the stage.

Eric Bristow won the Masters title 5 times, but only successfully defended it once: 1983 and 1984

The World Masters is my favourite event (next to the World Pro) and I wish all those talking part the very best of luck – not just the men, but the women and, of course, all the boys and girls who are the future of our sport. Congratulations to Winmau for their continued support of the ladies and youth.

Just had a thought! What an appropriate year it would be for Ted Hankey  to win his first World Masters.  Why?  Because the final is being played on Halloween – just the right night for The Count and his bats!

By the way, there is some extra good news this year because Colin Murray will be joining me at the Winmau’s new home, the City Hall, Hull (not easy to say after a few sherbets!) to present the Masters on BBC over the weekend of October 30th and 31st.

Colin proved at Lakeside this year that he’s far more than a darts presenter – he’s a massive darts fan who loves every minute of being with the players.  They also recognise his enthusiasm and the viewing public love him.

Since Lakeside he’s become the regular presenter of BBC’2’s ‘Match of The Day 2’ every Sunday through the football season.  He took over from Adrian Chiles, whose downbeat  Brummie style is completely the opposite of Colin’s non-stop chatter......sometimes (only sometimes) it’s even  hard for me to keep up !

He’s like a bottle of fizzy champagne with the cork taken out!!

Colin will be making his World Masters debut and is already part of the team for Lakeside 2011 next January, and so am I!

I’m not playing much darts at the moment, I’ve been too busy chasing rabbits (we’ve got hundreds of them) and taking on my Bob The Builder role as I take on the never ending task of keeping George Hall shipshape!

Oh, and in between earning my corn at after-dinner spewing!

Keep on smiling until next month.





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