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Article: Lakeside Blog

Lakeside Blog

Everyone arrives at Lakeside on Friday 4th January. We have a players meeting the night before the tournament starts at 7pm. Making sure we are aware of certain rules and timings of where we need to be and when. The new players earlier in the day who have not played at Lakeside before, had a tour of the Lakeside complex to let them know where everything is. As the meeting started we were told the brilliant news of the new three year deal with the BBC. As we approached Lakeside 2013 it had big issue for the players. Although you don^t generally take a lot of notice of certain websites when they say there is no TV deal for BDO, you do start to believe them. We head back to the bar in the International Hotel and open our packs and have a read through what we been given and heading to bed. IMG who do production of Lakeside and had asked if i was Willing and able to do the TV pundit work.

Saturday and its up for breakfast. Some are up early as they head of for interviews for recorded segments used on either BBC or ESPN. I always head over to the stage and be part of the lighting check. Your able to go up on stage and have a throw. Its to check no lights are in your eye line or shadow on the board. I felt the throw was long and there was a problem on the Oche wobbling. They sorted that out. I stayed as long as i could and then the time is up and we have to come off the board. Some players dont go but as one of the taller players iv found myself going as part of my preparation to settle my mind that things are right. All players are different. I head back to change as players for the 1st session are arriving to start their preparation. The matches start and iv learned you try to not to take too much in from these matches. If you get too attached to how your mates are doing, you can forget why your there. A stint with Ray Stubbs on ESPN on the balcony as the guest pundit and that was Saturday done. Early bed and watching Football highlights.

Sunday was my day to play and i was up and in breakfast fairly early an back to the room by 9:30am. I went to players practice area and had a throw for half hour and then a diet coke and flick through a paper that was on a table. Few were in there, Darryl, Tony and Robbo plus others an practiced on and off til about 11. Headed back to room to shower and change to be in venue for 11:45/12 noon. We have to be at the venue one hour before the 1st match of the session which was 1pm. Parade of players in the afternoon session takes place at 12:30pm. I was not to play till 4pm and the last game of the afternoon session. So had a bit of time to kill. Having been there 3 years previous an lost, then for the game to be on BBC 2 live adds its own tension. Then add that my opponent Mark Barelli who is a friend, in exactly the same position made the game a very different one for both of us. The match soon arrived. I was out 1st. I had changed alot of things since my last walk out there. Id toned down my shirt to a black based shirt, worn my black shoes and ditched the pink ones and not walked out with my trade mark invisible dog on a lead. Would it work !!!! I flew out of the traps playing fantastic for 5 legs playing like Phil Taylor, then middle of the match played like Dennis Taylor. Id lost my rhythm and had to change my pace to try find it again. So then staring a loss in the face, i reel off 4 legs on the trot like the Scott Mitchell my friends all know to win 3-2 in sets. Out came the tears, just same as my 1st wins for Dorset and England. Absolutely made up. Look to my Wife Sharon and Kids and they are crying. Looked at my sponsors and friends in crowd an they jumping up and down. It was an amazing feeling. They all know the time and effort i put in and are pleased that id finally achieved my target of winning at Lakeside. My old pub football team had all reunited at the pub we used to play for to watch the match. The who pub in tears to apparently. I really felt for Mark but it had been a friendly game in my eyes. Mark and i had made each other giggle a couple of times during the game .At 2-2 in sets he had said at the table "mines not water, its neat Vodka so dont mix em up". I tapped him on the cheek and said "you silly arse". So when i go on my facebook to see a player who on the circuit with us had felt i was cheated Mark out of the match, i was totally gobsmacked. Thanks to those who went on there and stuck up for me. I believe the post was removed shortly after. These posts hurt still hurts closest to you, it is just part of the game now where social media is involved.

Well my next game was Tuesday evening. Just when you feel the monkeys off your back i get a Kong jump on it. I was to play Robbie Green in last 16. The preparation was different for an evening game. It was early one but match was not to be televised live. It was a 5:15pm match. Difficult for me as that^s the time i take my diabetic medication. I have to take it with food as i get stomach cramps. I decided not to take it until after the match. Big wrong move. As the match started its a stress starts to build up the few minutes before you go out adrenalin and nerves start to take over. This effects the sugar levels in your body and i felt very flat by time Robbie had won 2nd set and not totally in control. The alcohol id drunk by now was turning into sugar as well sending my levels up and up.By the end of set 3 i was heading to the water more as my mouth had gone like a dessert. That started to straighten things out a little and i was in more control. and won 4th set 3 legs to 2. But at start of set 5 i was having trouble again. Id shot 130 to take 1st leg and the dizzy spells got longer. I dont remember the last 4 legs until id watched it back on the highlights. I remember leaving the stage an The next thing i remember was i was in the toilets in the players room making myself ill to empty my stomach to stop levels rising anymore. I was taken to the hotel by my family where i took my medication, i relaxed and recovered my levels had dropped considerably. By 10:30pm i was hungry and returned to players bar to get a sandwich. Bit pale but more or less back to normal. I felt i was at a disadvantage cause because we were not on TV we had no breaks. I could have sorted it with a break in the match like all other matches had. I hope the BDO look into that. Cause we all should be given the same chance. There were many rumors going around and players had said things about me. What id done and where i went wrong. Pretty hurtful stuff but unless and you are a diabetic or are close to one, its difficult to understand. Its only happened to me like this once before and that was a year ago and how i found out i was diabetic. I was interviewed by local Radio Solent on Julian Clegg morning show at 9am to explain what had happened to me. Ray Stubbs on ESPN on the Wednesday evening touched on what happened to me while i was guest presenter.I thank ESPN and Ray for that too.

Well when id been knocked out the job description changed. Guest presenter on ESPN with Ray Stubbs and Nat Coombs. Both absolutely love their darts. Do their homework about it. Just fantastic to work with. Id keep my eye on games while they were adjusting scripts to make them up to date as the games were going on. Id mention where id felt matches had turned and why. I really enjoyed it and have to say still felt a big part of the tournament being part of the team of people that bought and try to enhance our beloved game into viewers homes. I owe a big thanks to ESPN and production company IMG, Simon Wheeler and Nairn for giving me the chance to be a guest pundit. The encouragement i got from Nat and Ray and thank them as they treated me as an equal in their TV world. The BBC guys Colin Murray and Rob Walker giving advice and encouragement as they liked how i was coming across. It just turned the Lakeside experience into a great week for me.

Id just like to Extend congratulations to Scott Waites former team mate here at Red Dragon and Anastasia Dobromyslova on being crowned World Champion. Id also like to thank my sponsors Red Dragon, Motor-vation, Branksome Carpets, Designs By Sazz and New Queen public house for giving me the Opportunity to get the Lakeside Experience for myself, Family and Friends at home once again.

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