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  • Writer's pictureJolene Swanson

George Wallis' brush with greatness!

Now that the regular blogs are dwindling as the year winds down, I thought I would share a story recently told to me by George Wallis of the Legion Shooters.

April 5, 2018 the darting world lost a legend - Eric Bristow - at the age of 61.

Eric John Bristow, MBE (25 April 1957 – 5 April 2018), nicknamed "The Crafty Cockney", was an English professional darts player.

He was ranked World No. 1 by the World Darts Federation a record five times, in 1980, 1981 and 1983–1985. He was a five-time World Champion,[2] a five-time World Masters Champion a four-time World Cup singles champion and 2-time champion of the News of the World Darts Championship. He won 22 WDF and BDO Major titles, he won 62 individual career titles, added to 20 titles in team events, winning 82 overall.[3] In the 1980s, Bristow's skill and personality helped turn darts into a worldwide spectator sport.

In 1993, Bristow was one of sixteen top players who broke away from the British Darts Organization (BDO) to form their own organization, which became the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).

He retired from competitive darts in 2007 and subsequently worked as a commentator and pundit on Sky Sports darts coverage.

Bristow died on 5 April 2018, after a heart attack while attending a Premier League Darts event at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Bristow had finished playing some VIPs at a promotional event and was walking back to his car, when he collapsed and was rushed to hospital.

During the height of his fame, George got the chance to play darts against Eric Bristow. This is his story.

It occurred in the late 70's or early 80's right when Eric was at the height of his career. He was a perennial participant at the World Championships and won the Championship 5 times between 1980 & 1987. During this time he did a cross Canada tour. One of his stops was at the Acton Ontario Legion Branch 197. This was my home branch and we had a very active dart league at the time comprising approx. 16 teams each with at least 8 players per team.

During his visit Eric Bristow agreed to play 15 of our league members in a best of 3 series, 501 straight in double out. The top 10 players in the league were chosen along with 5 more whose names were drawn from a hat. I was lucky enough to be selected.

We set up a stage with lighting and scoreboards and audience seating, just like you see on TV for the event. Prior to my games with him he took me aside and told me not to be offended but because this was an exhibition he was going to throw some unconventional darts. In the first game with 100 left he threw a 94 leaving himself 6. I was baffled because I figured he had screwed up somehow. Then it all became clear, he finished it with double 1, double 1, double 1. I do not remember how he finished the second game but it was as unusual as the first. Over the course of the evening he went 30 - 0. Only one player had a shot at a double but couldn't take it out.

I still have his autograph in my dart case.

Thank you George for sharing this fantastic story about a fellow darter. May he continue to rest in peace.

If anyone else has a story to share, feel free to email me and I will put it on the blog for the rest of the league (and worldwide web) to read.

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