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Delirious darting days

Posted by Sid Waddell at 19:42 on 20th February 2010 in UniBlog

It’s been non-stop on the darting front since I stopped mashing the mike at Greenwich at the first Premier League.

1. I went to the BBC early last Saturday morning and chatted darts to Phil Williams and the listeners to Radio Five Live. The item featured bits of the Premier League atmosphere from the night before.

2. Back home I found out that I had been nominated for the TV Sports Broadcaster of the Year by the Sports Journalists’ Association. The short list includes Sky’s Jeff Stelling, ITV’s Steve Rider and BBC’s Clare Balding. Also, the Sky darts coverage is up for the best programme award. Results are expected on 5 March, so watch this space. In 2002 I won a top journalist poll as Sports Commentator of the Year and the Daily Mail sports team put me in the Top Ten All-time, along with Bill McClaren and Richie Benaud one year ago. Fingers crossed…

3. Mid-week I was thrilled to receive details of the new portfolio of darts from the PDC. During the year Sky will cover the final of the Unicorn Women’s World Championship at Blackpool, the final of the Unicorn Under-21 World Championship at Ally Pally as well as the four-day World Cup of Darts in early December. The game is really on a roll.

4. I’ve just hung up my best suit after a visit to Leeds Civic Trust with a petition endorsed by Jeremy Paxman, Barry Hearn et al to put up a plaque at Leeds Irish Centre to honour the Indoor League, the foundation stone of televised darts. In 1973 I was producer of the pub game show that brought the talents of Alan Evans, Leighton Rees and Tommy O’Regan to a national telly audience. You can read about the campaign in The Times on Saturday.

6. Just read in the paper that David Cameron is a big fan of darts and my commentaries. My Dad would turn in his grave to hear that a Tory leader is a follower. What’s the world coming to?

7. Second round of the Premier League.

Since Barney’s fabulous nine-darter in 2006 Bournemouth has been a special darting venue for the Premier League. This year the players relaxed a bit after the pressure of 10,000 fans at Greenwich, and entertained royally a mere 3000 ebullient fans.

I have been bulling up Adie Lewis since his outrageous talent hit our screens in 2004, and was over the moon to commentate on his superb win over Raymond van Barnevald. Adie has been taking guidance from Keith Deller and there was no rush of blood at key moments. His waltz to 6-0 in a smidgeon over nine minutes should go into the history log of darts classics.

I also like the proper pride and self awareness when Adie said in interview that all it will take to see him flower is to win a major. I am convinced that once he gets a UV Open, Blackpool or Dublin title, we will see true darting fireworks.

By contrast, holder of the title James Wade looked again ‘like a pole vaulter who’s lost faith in his pole’. The telly screen showed a young Van Gogh shaking his head and wondering where he’s put his brushes - an artist skewered on self-doubt. Two defeats on the bounce are no confidence booster for a clash with Taylor at Belfast on Thursday. Phil took 7 legs on the trot against Baxter and is getting right on the 100+ pace.

I predict a belter…

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