AFTER witnessing the disgraceful behaviour of supposed Scots darts supporters at Glasgow’s SECC on Thursday night, Borderer Gary Anderson was only too glad to receive a warm welcome on home ground the following evening.
The 42-year-old from Eyemouth spoke out after his Premier League match against reigning world champion Adrian Lewis was spoiled by a mindless minority. During the game, which saw home favourite Anderson slide to an 8-3 defeat, Lewis was hit with a pint of lager and pelted with coins thrown from a rowdy 6,500 sell-out crowd.
Speaking to TheSouthern, Anderson commented: “I never ever thought I’d see that kind of thing at a darts match in Scotland. It shamed me.”
In contrast, fans at the Volunteer Hall on Friday couldn’t have made Anderson and 15x World Champion Phil Taylor any more welcome. More than 400 people crammed into the local venue with darts followers from all over the Borders joining together to cheer on the highly acclaimed visitors.
Anderson added: “It’s nice to be back, it’s been a while. I’ve seen a few faces in the crowd I have known from the past and a lot of darts players also that I used to know, it’s been good to catch up with them.”
For Taylor, the visit marked his second to the town, having played in the Woodcutter bar early on in his career.
He told us: “Darts has moved on tremendously since I was last in the Borders. The game has gone global since then and I consider myself lucky in that my fame has come over many many years so I have been able to handle it. Youngsters nowadays who are being thrown straight in at the deep end are finding it a bit more difficult to handle.”
“Tonight is a bit of fun and it’s about entertaining the crowd, but as we always do, Gary and I play serious.”
And that they did with Anderson coming out with a rare victory against his adversary with a 5-3 win in the head-to-head battle.
The evening was expertly compered by Sky Sports MC Phil Booth, who had the crowd singing and dancing within minutes of arriving on stage. Anderson was first to make an appearance and delighted the fans by coming out to Flower of Scotland before switching to his accustomed walk-out anthem. Seven Borders players lined up to challenge the Scots star, with only 40-year-old Barry Dalgleish from Gala and Peebles’ Norrie Forsyth, 46, managing to beat the Eyemouth wonder.
Taylor arrived to a rapturous standing ovation and proceeded to do just what he does best – play darts. Throughout the evening he notched seven 180s and the only local to beat him was Kelso new dad Graham Patterson, 28, who produced a stunning 66 check-out to blow the champ away.
The evening raised more than £3,000 for the kidney dialysis unit at The Borders General Hospital, a total that has exceeded the expectations of organiser Kevin Green, who told us: “The whole thing has just been absolutely amazing.
“Everyone involved in the organisation has been overwhelmed by the response and we have to thank our sponsors and everyone who helped make the evening a great success.”