LAKESIDE it may not be, but nevertheless on March 18 the Volunteer Hall in Galashiels will be reverberating with the resounding cheers that usually follow the popular proclamation: “Let’s play darts!” writes Fiona Scott.
Around 400 local darts fans will arrow in to give two of the world’s best players – Phil (The Power) Taylor and Gary (The Flying Scotsman) Anderson – a hearty Borders welcome.
Billed as The Battle of Britain Charity Challenge, the event is the brainchild of Five Star taxi driver Kevin Green who is responsible for setting up and organising the biggest exhibition darts match to be held in the Borders. “I’ve had this in mind for a long time and it was just a case of getting it up and running,” he told TheSouthern.
Kevin’s timing couldn’t have been better. In December 15-times world champion Taylor was named runner-up in the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and this week enjoyed the honour of being enrolled into the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) Hall of Fame. And, earlier this month, Anderson, originally from Eyemouth, was runner up at the PDC World Darts Championship.
Kevin added: “I made a start on organising it last April and got in touch with all the people I needed to. I thought if I was going to do it I would be as well to start with the best.
“The response I have had has been amazing. It’s totally sold out. We have people coming from Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, Earlston, Coldstream as well as Galashiels, so there is likely to be some great banter between the tables on the night. People are welcome to come in fancy dress if they like.”
Kevin is hoping to raise around £2,000 for the Borders General Hospital kidney dialysis unit and now has Rob Goudie, co-manager of The Woodcutter pub in Galashiels, on board to help with the admin and staging of the event.
He added: “I want to make as much money as possible for this charity.
“As part of my job I take dialysis patients over to the BGH and through doing that have really got to know them. Some of the stories they have to tell are amazing and now the new ward is being set up I feel it would be a great opportunity to help out.”
Anderson and Taylor play in the Sky Premier League of Darts in Glasgow the night before their Gala appearance and Kevin will go up and bring them to the Borders. Before the match they will be treated to a meal at The Scullery, courtesy of Grant Orchison, and afterwards will stay at the Abbotsford Guest House. Abbotsford proprietor Raymond Hamilton also runs mytartan.com, an internet-based Scottish attire saleroom, and is having kilts made up in the Anderson and Taylor tartans to be presented to the players on the night. Guy Frater, of The Trophy Guy in Galashiels, will provide the trophies.
z This Saturday it’s business as usual for Kevin who will travel with the Border Area Darts Association pool of players to play West Lothian away. The squads are:
Women: Alison Burnett, Karen Darling, Irene Hogarth, Nicola Hogarth, Myra Ledgerwood, Linda Marshall, Julie Martin, Moira Middlemas, Janice Mitchell and Jackie Robertson. Reserves: Steph Dalgliesh and Trish Condy.
Men: Graeme Bell, Davie Carnagie, Michael Culley, Norrie Forsyth, Kevin Green, Graham Hogarth, Ryan Hogarth, Ewan Hyslop, Gary Logue, Craig Martin, Davie McEwan, Jimmy McGuigan, Graeme Patterson, Gordon Peters, Kevin Richardson, Paul Scheibe, Stuart Whellans and Craig Wilson. Reserves: Robert Hay, Stean Patterson, Stevie Patterson and Kevin Wright.
Buses will be leaving Kelso at 9am, Newtown St Boswells 9am and Gala 9.15am.