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Article: A Look Back In Time - 1st December 2010

A Look Back In Time - 1st December 2010

Many times we all talk of stars in our chosen sport darts, sometimes that accolade is over-rated but Warwickshire now have a player who has all the qualities to become a real star and he is still at the tender age of eleven years old, his name Luis Barberan.

I am reliably informed by Luis’s dad, Rick that it all began when he was just twenty months old. Rick a regular league player himself for a number of years one day spotted a toy magnetic darts board and purchased it for his son to play on. Rick set the board up on the sofa and showed Luis what he had to do, that is throw the darts at the board and then retrieve them until Luis began to throw them and climb up on the sofa to get the darts and throw again.

The following day Rick returned from work and his wife Debbie informed him that Luis had been throwing darts at the board all day long, he loved it. Rick said “That must be the best £5 I’ve ever spent in my life”. Rick then recovered an old video of the Embassy World final between Phil Taylor and Mike Gregory from the loft and sat Luis down to watch it on the television, but Luis did not want to sit and watch he wanted to throw and watch, copying the players as they threw their darts. Luis continued to play on the magnetic board until he was five years old.

After wearing out a couple of magnetic boards Rick believed it was time to set up a proper darts board at Luis height to see what he would do on that. Then at the age of seven the board was set at match play height and distance something Luis was not too happy with at first until one day he went running to his dad dragging him to the board to see his very first maximum.

Rick had previously had his own successes on the board, playing for Castle Vale Residents Association in the premier division of the Sheldon and District League who rarely finishing below fourth in the table and winning the Punchbowl in the league, but he suffered darts players worst nightmare when he was struck by the dreaded “Dartitis” and stopped playing. So when Luis began throwing Rick began practising with him and began to regain his old form again. Later on Rick bumped into an old friend who said he was playing for the Golden Acres who were short of players and talked him into signing and playing for them. Rick, now with the spark back in his game thanks to Luis, won his first game and notched three 180’s in the first four games mentioned to the team captain about his son’s progress, Luis was promptly signed up on the basis that if the team were short he would play. Rick had his doubts because Luis was still at the stage whereby he was having problems working out finishes, but nevertheless he took him to the next game, by this time Luis was just eight years old. As luck would have it the team were short and Luis was added to the match sheet. He lost 2-1, but the important thing was he had won a leg and that was good for his confidence. The following week Yardley Rugby Club were the opponents and once again Luis was down to play and he won, the opposition were picking him up and hugging him, Rick said it was a truly amazing sight.

Now aged nine, Rick was interested to see how Luis could perform against players of his own age and so he approached Brian Johnson to see if he could join the Warwickshire Youth Team. He won his first game and hit a 180 and has since collected no fewer than four man of the match awards.

During the last twelve month’s Luis has taken huge strides, participating in exhibitions, playing doubles with Wayne Jones, winning the under twelve’s competition at Yarmouth, semi finalist in the Leicestershire Youth Under 14’s, reaching the quarter finals of two senior competitions and the last sixteen of an open event. Locally Luis took part in the very competitive The Individual League 2010 and finished a very creditable fifth in the table, but the highlight of his very short career so far was the day that he recorded a 31.31 average for the Warwickshire Youth team in their 8-7 victory over Leicestershire, what could well be a record for a youth player.

Luis’s ambition is to become the youngest ever world champion and the way he is progressing, together with the huge amount of support he is getting from family and friends, who is going to say that Birmingham’s Luis Barberan, or now as he is better known the “Flame Thrower,” won’t.

A charity night was arranged at the Meadway Sports and Social Club in memory of the late Ken Parker, secretary of the Old Bill and Bull. The evening was a huge success with no fewer than eight teams taking part on the night. The eventual winners were the Sheldon Darts League with a final 5-4 win over the Gulp NI Tribe. Man of the match award went to Jimmy Tough (Sheldon League) who won the decider in both the semi and final.

Biggest winner on the night was the John Taylor Hospice who received a fantastic £450 from the event. Special thanks go to Liam O’Conner, owner of the Meadway who provided both the room and food free on the night. Also thanks go to Mick O’Sullivan (Gulp Tribe League), Phil Brennan (Old Bill and Bull Team), Jimmy Tough (Sheldon League) and organiser Alan Blythe for making the evening a huge success.

The semi finals of the Small Heath League’s Upside Down Cup saw the Custard House narrowly defeat Wagon and Horse in a game that went to the very last leg of the final game. In the other semi Redhill Tavern beat the Devils. The title went to Redhill Tavern after defeating Custard House in the final.

In the League Cup Emerald Club clinched the title with a final victory over the Mitre.

A final reminder that on Sunday 12th December the Christmas Open, which is sponsored by Tyre Force, (Nottingham) will be staged at the Festival Inn, Ilkeston Road, Trowell, Nottinghamshire, NG9 3PX. There will be a maximum of 256 entries, pre entry to the competition is £10 and £12 on the day.

For the men’s event there is a guaranteed £1,000 first prize, £400 for the runner up, semi finalists £125 and quarter finalists £50.

A minimum of16 ladies are required for the competition to take place, should there not be 16 entries they will be invited into the men’s competition and a payment of £50 will go to the lady who progresses the furthest. Should the event attract 32 players there will be a top prize of £175, runner up £85 and losing semi finalists £25.

The entry fee is £5 in advance or £6 on the day.

For any further information either telephone 07843-655352 or alternatively log on to

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