Friday, December 29, 2006


I have become slightly addicted to the coverage of the World Darts Championships that Sky Sports is telecasting to a grateful nation. Some of the matches in Purfleet’s Circus Tavern have been incredibly tense and thrilling with a hint of controversy on occasions. Last night there was a right palaver when Chris ‘The Ace’ Mason verbally abused his vanquisher, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor at the conclusion of their battle. Taylor was not happy. My favourite, Colin ‘The Wizard’ Osborne was knocked out this afternoon. I enjoyed the Middlesbrough-born darter’s modest and unassuming manner; his lack of histrionics and aggression proved a pleasing antidote to some of his less erudite and cultured rivals’ conduct. On achieving a ‘maximum’ or on winning a leg or set, the self-effacing Northerner seemed content to merely nod his approval rather than leap up and down or contort his face as others prefer. He was rather cool and the tournament is poorer for his absence. To be frank, I long to be actually in the Purfleet crowd if only for one evening, imbibing and bellowing unselfconsciously among the other ‘arrows’ fans. I would adopt a look of ironic detachment between matches but in the heat of the action might well ‘lose it’ slightly.

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