In the week when the BDO World Championships 2015 starts at the Lakeside, I thought I’d share my memories of this tournament on TV from when I was a lad in the 80’s.
When I first started watching darts on TV it was about 1980 and I was eight. To be fair I only watched it because dad was and there was little else to do! TV’s were available in colour then, despite what my children seem to think!
To me it seemed that there was only ever two players involved – Eric Bristow and John Lowe! And actually, at least one of them appeared in every final from the competitions inception in 1978 until the Phil Taylor/Alan Warriner final of 1993 – that’s fourteen straight finals!
Eric Bristow – The Crafty Cockney
He won every game he ever played in didn’t he? Or at least that’s how it seemed to me back then! He wasn’t called the Crafty Cockney for no reason, being particularly confident on the stage, that little finger sticking up on every dart thrown and celebrating a 180 with an index finger raised in celebration, his lips forming a very slight pout that said “yes, that’s right, I’m the best there is”.
The reality is that he did lose matches, but really he should be considered the best player of the eighties, being crowned World Champion five times in that decade – 1980, 81, 84, 85 & 86.
Among the matches he lost were three World Championship finals. In 1983 he famously lost to the 24 year old qualifier Keith Deller who completed a hat-trick of defeating the top three ranked players at the tournament – Lowe (ranked 3) in the quarter-final, Jocky Wilson (2) in the semi and Bristow (1) in the final – the first, and so far only time, any player has ever beaten the top three players in the same World Championship tournament.
Eric later went on to appear in I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here (2012), being voted off after 20 days and not having been given a chance to experience any Bush Tucker Trials.
John Lowe – Old Stoneface
I’ve said elsewhere on my site that John Lowe is the player that I try to model my attitude on at the oche. He was as calm and collected as they come, he never allowed his opponent to see if he was becoming flustered. This approach netted him three world titles in three separate decades – 1979, 1987 and 1993.
He was also runner-up a further five times, losing to Leighton Rees (in the first ever World Championships, 1978), Bristow twice (1981 & 85), Jocky Wilson in 1982 and Bob Anderson 1988.
Lowe was the first player to hit a perfect nine-dart televised leg on (though not live) TV in 1984 against Keith Deller. Each dart typifies his stone-faced approach to the sport – not once does he show any emotion until that ninth dart hits its target – sheer brilliance.
Of course nine-dart legs seem to be ten-a-penny nowadays, but back in the 80’s they were very rare indeed. I’m not sure what the reason for that is – maybe a post for the future.
I hope you enjoyed this post – leave a comment below if you feel the need and enjoy the BDO World Championships from Saturday.