I’ve been looking forward to going to the semi-finals of the 2013 Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships in Frimley Green all this week.
We were at Lakeside last year, and I was honoured to meet Tony O’Shea – last year’s beaten finalist, and two-time runner-up and expert commentator Bobby George. I was there as the Mayor last year, so I guess they were happy to chat, as I was in costume, just like the majority of the audience. I’m sure they’ll be just as accommodating to my inane questions. Never mind. They’re both great guys. I’m backing Tony O’Shea to go all the way this year and win the championship.
The atmosphere, as Paul Deach experienced, is electric. I don’t want to underplay the skill of professional dart players, but it’s essentially a simple game. What makes the event so enthralling is that it’s superbly run by Bob Potter’s organisation, the location is perfect, the accessibility of the players, the live tv coverage giving it a sense of importance, and the antics on the oche, where the players emotions are cruelly exposed. Best of all is the audience, which makes it so much fun with their wacky costumes that amuse, and the fervent support for one player or another.
Way back, when a hockey player, I kept a set of darts in my car [with a spare set of flights]. After the match if the clubhouse, or pub, didn’t have a snooker table, or bar billiards, there was always a dart board to enjoy. Happy days and simple fun.
Tonight’s the night we’re going to the Darts. Can’t wait.