|First of all, let me wish sincere Seasons Greetings to all you darting people out there. I hope you have a Cool Yule and Happy Hogmanay. |
There is not a shadow of doubt that Phil Taylor continues to push the profile of our sport ever higher. Being in the Top Ten nominees for the BBC Sportsman of the Year was great. A darter up there with the athletics and rugby lot? It would have been unthinkable not so long ago.
When I saw Phil on Monday at the Dorchester for the launch of the Ladbrokes.com World Championship, he was still buzzing about the company he had kept till the early hours after the Beeb do. He sipped vintage claret with Zara Phillips, her dad and her fella Mike Tindall, the rugby star. Mike and Zara are well up for a visit to Purfleet to cheer on the Power. That I would love to see – and commentate on. ‘Seen it all now, folks, blue blood in the bleachers…’
CHALLENGERS AT THE CIRCUS
Brian Viner of the Independent newspaper rang me up to ask who I reckoned could give Phil a run for his money. I told him that I have a strong feeling that Unicorn’s two young wizards could have a big say in proceedings at Purfleet.
Adrian Lewis is poised to do great things. He is seeded number five and is now approaching lift-off. As he showed one year ago against Peter Manley, our Adie can handle himself on the oche. In fact he could teach the Aussie cricketers a thing or three about sledging.
And I think James Wade, the 9-dart specialist, could cause lots of trouble in the bottom half of the draw. He could even do for the Power!
At the other end of the age scale, look out for two senior citizens. Bob Anderson is having an Indian summer and Dennis Priestley was in cracking form in Ireland at the World Grand Prix. Look out for these two.
Barney? He could beat Phil in the final because of his superior style. Taylor needs stacking and constantly fiddles with his throw. Barney is the best ‘air shot’ exponent I’ve ever seen. But…Barney is not a good chaser of a game. His head drops. The Power will win any mental battle, against anyone.
HISTORICAL SIDNEY SAYINGS
The Daily Mirror asked me to re-do in my style some of the great sports commentary lines if all time.
Here’s a couple of them….
1966 World Cup. Kenneth Wolstenholme: ‘The crowd are on their feet. They think it’s all over. It is now.’ Sid: ‘The crowd here at Wembley are on the edge of their tenterhooks – but Hurst’s pop means now they can party.’
1981 Botham’s Ashes. Richie Benaud: ‘Well that one has gone into the confectionery stall – and out again.’ Sid: ‘Beefy has bashed that one good and proper. We’ve got a volcano of Cornettos and Kit Kats.’
I’ve been sharpening my wits for the Circus Tavern like D’Artagnan down the sword grinders.