Not many Borders sportsmen or women can claim to have beaten a three-times World Champion and been given a special mention on World of Sport by Dickie Davies in the process.
Kelso darts legend Harry Patterson can.
It was all part of a long and happy association with the international circuit, and on Sunday, at the place where it all started, Kelso Royal British Legion, Harry, 68, was presented with a Service to Darts award by the Scottish and Borders Darts Associations.
Harry played darts for Scotland, alongside the unforgettable Jocky Wilson, from 1981-89, gaining 26 caps in the 12-man team and many more times in the four and six-man teams. He was part of the side that lost to England 9-7 in the World Cup final in 1983, won the Scottish singles in 1988 and was Kelso and Borders singles champion many times.
Harry told The Southern: “I’m very honoured to get this award, to me it shows that I was appreciated for what I did.”
Having started working life in the Navy, Harry was no stranger to representing his country. A former Kelso RFC stand-off, he was called up to play for the services.
“To be honest, I always considered it a privilege to be asked to play for my country,” he added.
On retiring from his Navy post after 12 years, Harry made a life for himself in Kelso with wife Freda and sons Mark and Steven. He got a job at Forbes Plastics but it wasn’t until his rugby career was hampered by injury that he turned to darts at the age of 30. Five years later he was asked into the Scotland team for his first match against England, where he was drawn against the great Eric Bristow.
“I remember just thinking ‘what a baptism, I’m playing the World No 1’,” he recalled, “Fortunately I held my nerve and was only beaten narrowly on the third leg.”
Harry’s crowning glory, however, was beating three-times World Champion John Lowe in a Home International fixture, winning all his games and being named ‘man of the tournament’, an achievement that got him a mention on ITV’s World of Sport.
Since suffering a viral infection a few years ago, Harry hasn’t played much, but still enjoys going to the Legion to watch his sons compete.
His award on Sunday brought added poignancy as it was four years to the day that his wife of 41 years, Freda, died.
He revealed: “Freda played too and often came to the internationals, we had some great times and I feel very privileged to be left with some great memories.”