It is my absolute pride and honour to present my interview with the Lakeside World Champion 2015, Scott Mitchell. The BBC, TalkSport, Farmers Weekly and now My Darting Life have all wanted a piece of the 44 year old in the last two weeks. It may have taken a while longer for me to get my interview, but maybe this time next year I’ll be at the top of the pile!
In case you’re unaware and have arrived at this page by complete accident, Scott was recently crowned 2015 BDO Lakeside World Darts Champion on his fifth visit to the tournament. He received £100,000 for beating ‘Wolfie’ Martin Adams 7-6 in a tense final as well as getting his name on the famous trophy, alongside the likes of John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld.
Prior to this title win, Scott was probably best known for two things in particular – his pink darts shirts and working on his family’s farm in Dorset (Bransgore to be precise). Well, those two facts are very much still the case, only now, you can add World Champion and role model to that list.
I’ve played in the same competitions as Scott on many occasions (most recently just last week) and he has always been humble and approachable – a great ambassador and talent for both the Dorset County Side and Wimborne Minster Darts League.
This is what Scotty Dog had to say when I spoke to him earlier in the week…
Congratulations on being crowned the 2015 Lakeside World Darts Champion – how does that feel a couple of weeks after the event?
“It’s taking time to sink in really. As a fan I’ve watched many players lift the trophy and I can’t believe what I’ve achieved.”
You were in most newspapers as well as on TV and Radio – well done on beating Gary Anderson in Trust Darts on TalkSport by the way! Were you prepared for the media onslaught last week?
“No not at all. I went to bed at 4am (after the final), not out celebrating but in the players hotel bar chatting and having pictures with the trophy. The phone calls started at 7:50am Monday morning for radio interviews.”
One of the headlines was ‘Moogic’ and everyone (including this blog) was showing pictures of you with cows and tractors! Just how involved with the farm are you now?
“I have my own cattle at the farm but run my own Landscape Maintenance business alongside that as my main job.”
It was an amazing final to watch, doubly so because we know you, but did you enjoy it?
“Yes I did, as much as I could – you never know if you will ever play a World Final again. I knew I could enjoy it after the match if I managed to win it.”
At what point in the final did you start to believe you might actually win?
“I felt I could win the match when I stole the first set – but at 6-6 I thought I’d given it away until the 158 shot-out brought the belief back that it was mine to win.”
“… I felt I’d given it away until the 158 shot-out brought the belief back that it was mine to win.”
Wolfie was very generous in defeat and seemed to offer you support immediately after hitting the winning double. Is he a close friend of yours?
“Wolfie and I have been friends since day one on the circuit. I played my first Lakeside at the same age as he did. He was also captain for my first England cap. He sees some of his darting life as being very similar to mine.”
Your story of pub player to World Champion could be an inspiration to a whole new generation of dart players in Dorset and maybe across the country. Is that something you feel proud of?
“Yes, I am very proud as I’m not your stereotypical darts pro. We all feel you have to be a World Champion and I’ve proved that you don’t have to be – it’s what the BDO is all about.”
Keeping those young players in mind, what advice would you give them to ease their path to success in darts?
“There is no easy way to the top. You have to be more than very good these days. You also need the right temperament, huge dedication and a respect for all players. I know many players more naturally gifted than me but had no sponsor because of their attitude. The sponsors will come if the other three things are in place.”
Your personal Facebook account reached the 5,000 friend limit even before you reached the final. Just how much Social Media attention has there been and did it surprise you?
“I have had 5,500 friends on Facebook for about 2 years now. I had to start a Facebook fan page which has 4,200 followers and Twitter with over 8,000 followers. Yes, I’m totally gobsmacked why so many people want to follow a farmers kid from Dorset.”
I heard that as BDO World Champion, the PDC offered you a two year tour card. Is it correct you turned them down?
“I was not contacted by anyone from the PDC and offered anything. Many have criticized me on social media for not accepting a tour card, but you can’t accept what you have never been offered.”
“I was not contacted by anyone from the PDC… you can’t accept what you have never been offered.”
Now that you’re the BDO World Champion, are you expected to enter more competitions in 2015?
“I have no plans to play as many as last year. In 2014 I did 29 ranking competitions, 9 county weekends, 4 TV tournaments (covering 5 weekends), 3 England weekends and 3 county competitions on weekends. I think that shows the dedication required from the earlier question. You can even have the sponsors to pay for the travel, but it’s still not easy to do, plus let’s not forget, I work too .”
Your card will be marked at all levels you play at now. Will that make your life more difficult?
“I’ve always played with a target on my back so to speak, so it’s not something new to me. That’s where the league darts experience comes to the fore. The difficulty will come when some characters will be more in your face with it, I just have to deal with it the best I can.”
“I’ve always played with a target on my back so to speak, so it’s not something new to me…”
Will you be defending the five ranking tournaments you won in 2014?
“I’m not sure at this early stage if I will return to defend all the ranking titles I won last year. I’m already missing the Romanian Classic as I have an exhibition date at the O2 in London. It will depend on date clashes really.”
What are you looking forward to most in 2015?
“I’m looking forward to representing the BDO as their World Champion the best I can. I’m looking to take the trophy to as many people as I can – exhibitions, appearances and league presentations – it’s their trophy as well as mine for the year. I will also be trying to maintain my form so I can go back to Lakeside and give my defence of the World title a good go.”
In 2014 Scott won the following ranking tournaments: British Open, England Matchplay, Jersey Open, Muensterland Classic and the Romanian Classic and at the time of writing is ranked World Number One by the BDO.
My Darting Life wishes Scott all the best for 2015 and if the Lakeside next January is half as good as it was this year, then I can’t wait!
Thanks for reading our interview. If you’ve enjoyed reading, then please leave a comment below or follow us on Twitter.