HULL - THE NEW STOKE-ON-TRENT? By Rob Finch Darts true voice.
The capital of the darting world for many years has unquestionably been Stoke-on-Trent and its surrounding areas. Not only has it been home and host to a certain Philip Douglas Taylor for nigh on 5 decades. The area is also home to the legendary Eric Bristow - who is now more Stokie than Cockney after moving North a number of years ago. Andy Hamilton and Adrian Lewis are two more top names from the area. Whilst reigning BDO Champion Ted Hankey lives a mere throw of an arrow away.
Taylor, Hamilton and Bristow, have all at one time or another been publicans in the area and it has become something of a mecca for both professional and amateur darts players, who knew that a decent pint, a willing top-level practice partner could be found in abundance.
It^s not just the people but also places that have become part of darting folklore. The delightfully named ^Saggarmakers Bottom Knocker^ pub has become something of a darting museum having played host to the growing array of trophies won by Taylor over the years, whilst the now sadly defunct Jollees Cabaret Club was home to the Embassy World Championship from 1979 - 1985.
However with rising BDO youth stars Reece Robinson and Leon Bailey taking all the recent plaudits - as well as the trophies and Ted Hankey decalring himself available for Humberside on the County Circuit and with the world^s longest-running dart tournament - the Winmau Master also on the East Coast in Bridlington. Could the Stokies have some competition in the form of Kingston upon Hull?
The city is home to the world^s first darts school of excellence - based above Brownie^s bar near to the KC Stadium. It has helped turn Robinson and Bailey into two of the games rising stars whilst numerous other youngsters are being groomed for potential stardom. With Eric Bristow as it^s honorary patron and a number of darts players having visited to play exhibitions. The odds on a Hull born World Champion are tumbling fast. WATCH THIS SPACE !