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Article: Hankey happy to be with Humberside

Hankey happy to be with Humberside

BRITISH Darts Organisation world champion Ted Hankey has done it all in the game.

The 41-year-old – nicknamed The Count – has two world titles to his name, won in 2000 and 2009.

He is also one of the most popular men on the exhibition circuit – complete with his Count Dracula cape and bats.

So perhaps the last place you would expect to see the current world champ would be on the oche in a club in Hull – playing alongside the locals and giving it his all.

That is exactly what he is doing though, having agreed to play for Humberside due to his long-term friendship with manager Tony Richardson.

It means Hankey will face many a long journey on the road – as he did last weekend to make his debut.

Having performed an exhibition in Exeter, Devon on Saturday night, Hankey had only a couple of hours sleep at his home in Telford before driving through the night to East Yorkshire.

Registering at 11am at the Cavalier Club on Sunday morning, he was finally called to the oche at 6pm, by which time he was exhausted and fell to a 3-1 defeat.

It promises to be far from easy for a man who doesn^t need to do it – and all at his own expense.

There are no wages in the BDO county darts and players even have to pay for their programmes and hotels at away matches.

But for Hankey, it is an opportunity to give something back, and force his way back into the England side.

"It was disappointing to lose on my home debut but I^m really pleased to be playing for Humberside," Hankey told the Mail.

" I^ve been a friend of Tony Richardson for about 20 years andI seem to remember playing against Humberside in Hull quite a few years ago.

"My team-mates are super lads, they^re all really friendly and I enjoy playing here, I feel at home straight away."

Defeat in his home debut will be forgiven if Hankey can find the form that has made him a household name.

And the man himself admits travel and tiredness will not be an excuse through the season.

"It^s nothing really, I do a hell of a lot of travelling in my work, but I^m just pleased to be playing for Tony Richardson^s Humberside team," he said.

"Tony brought me back into county darts and I^ll be forever grateful."

"The problem was that I was drawn out last but one on Sunday which meant I did not play until 6pm, and I was exhausted by the time my game was played.

"I had left Exeter at midnight on Saturday night and drove nearly 400 miles with only a two-hour kip at my home to be at the registration for 11 the next morning."

Hankey feels Humberside have the potential to earn promotion this season.

And having won the world title twice, he has no doubt a Humberside player could one day do the same.

He said: "It comes down to devotion and concentration, most of the top guys around have the ability it^s just down to playing on the night and hitting those all-important doubles.

"One day we may see a Hull-born player on top of the world,"

"The win over Pembrokeshire shows Humberside do not fear anyone and if I can play my part it would be wonderful if we went up.

"From a personal point of view I want not only to win for Humberside but to get a high enough average to win back my England place.

"That is the thing that rankles at the moment. I might be the world champion but unless I am playing well for a county I do not get picked for England," and that is my big ambition.

"Perhaps now I am playing for Humberside that might change."

Manager Tony Richardson signed Hankey a couple of months ago. He explained: "Ted has been a friend of mine for many years and when he told me he was looking for a new county team I jumped at the chance.

"He is a marvellous player and has gelled immediately with the Humberside team.

"Because of his many exhibition performances he cannot always be available but we will be delighted to play him when we can."

Story By: Hull Daily Mail

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