Thursday, 23 January 2014


January is a depressing time of the year but imagine how bleak it would be without the darts at the Lakeside.

After the excess of new year (and our new year stretched long, long, long into new year's day which led to a bit of boo hoo), it always takes us a wee while to get through the paranoia and rediscover the unquenchable thirst for lager we enjoyed throughout December. But this year, on January 5 it was darts o'clock. We had no choice but to man up and get our drink back on. Not swilling ale down your gob and down your front at the darts is as unthinkable as walking past a Gregg's and not ducking in for a chicken bake. Outrageous.

We watched the highlights of the first day at the Lakeside to get us in the mood for our first round session on the Sunday of this year's competition. From our first viewing, Alan 'Chuck' Norris definitely marked himself out as a real contender. It was the combination of his winning way with the arrows, confident pot noodle chat and 'Asbo darts' case for his spears. He had all the makings of a star. A Saturday evening viewing also ensured that by the time Sunday morning rolled around, we were knowledged up, thirsty and ready.

Getting the train to the Lakeside felt like we were on the train to nowhere. The only clue that this was the darts express was a man dressed as a Saudi oil baron and the group of 'lads' in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle attire. Other than that, it was just a bunch of morose-looking blokes eating M&S butties with all the vim and vigour of a day at work ahead. Even when we disembarked in Farnborough, there was no way you'd think there was an important sporting event going down in the near vicinity. It was as dead as fuck.

After a taxi ride to the Lakeside complex, we bundled our way inside the Lakeside - it feels like a massive working men's club in the 'arena'. It's one massive boozer with a darts board on a small stage - but you could feel the magic in the air. We found our table and bought a jug of pissy lager which set the tone for the afternoon. We got carried away during the first match while watching Japanese pretender to the throne Hiroaki Shimizu against Christian Kist and downed the jug amid all the shouting and throwing of arrows. It set the quaffing pace for the rest of the afternoon.

While we caughy some serious arrows, the bits in-between the matches were almost as fun as we sought to meet some of the 'stars in the building. BBC presenter Colin Murray was caught outside having a gasper and requested that, while he would happily sign an autograph, he'd prefer not to have his photo taken smoking a cig. No worries Col - but sign my Ryan Gosling autograph book yo. He did. Nice one.

Feel the magic
Martin Wolfie Adams stumbled into our path and was game for a photo, as was Robbie 'Kong' Green while we caught up some of the refs for a pose and a grimace. As we got more pished up, the subjects of our photos widened to embrace members of the shit-faced crowd including a woman dressed up as a character from Avatar, The Mask, a smoking priest and a collection of Oompa Lumpa's. By the time the final match wrapped up at 9pm, we'd gone cross eyed and become firm 'friends' with our fellow pissheads sitting at our table. All the gallons of Carlsberg made venturing into the nearby bar/club seem like an amazing idea. This was where the drunker contingent of the crowd (who must call Farnborough home) stumble about drinking as much pissy lager as they get in their gullets without passing out or getting in a ruck. We left after one of the Oompa Lumpa's (from Brum) announced he was a military man and had killed some 80 men. His faintly depressing words sent us off in a taxi to our nearby Premier Inn on the other side of Farnborough. But neither of us can remember getting into. The next day I woke up farty, bloated with half my memory, a dry mouth and an overwhelming feeling that we'd been part of something truly amazing. That my friends is pure darts...

Me and Colin Murray

Wolfie and me

Kong and Kathyyyy


A smoking priest. Probably not a real priest.

Avatar meets the Mask in the darts...

Oompa Lumpa

Just justin'

One of the refs

The wolf of Lakeside

Clapping like darts-loving bastards