Like father, like son, for darts champ

By Jonathan BarnesHIS father is the flamboyant face of darts, and now Richie "Rich" George is aiming to follow in the family tradition.The 14-year-old son of darts legend Bobby George entered his first competitive tournament last week – and wiped the floor with the competition.

By Jonathan Barnes

HIS father is the flamboyant face of darts, and now Richie "Rich" George is aiming to follow in the family tradition.

The 14-year-old son of darts legend Bobby George entered his first competitive tournament last week – and wiped the floor with the competition.

Young Richie, who first threw a dart when he was two years old, is now set for the World Masters under-17 championship in October.

He thrilled his proud parents, who live in Ardleigh, near Colchester, by winning the May Day junior singles' tournament in Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth.

Richie, who has a dollar sign emblazoned on his shirt and uses the nickname "Rich", said: "My dad is my inspiration – I have been playing darts since I was two and he taught me everything.

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"I hit my first 180 when I was six or seven and I practise for about two hours every day. I've beaten dad a couple of times now. "

The Manningtree High School pupil, who plays in the super league for Colchester and has represented Essex, added: "I was confident I was going to do well in the tournament, although I didn't play that well until the final.

"It was great to win. My ultimate aim is to win more things and go on and play for England."

Bobby, 58, a two-time Embassy World Championship finalist, said: "It's great – it keeps the George name going.

"He started when he was about two or three and had a four-year break when we moved here, then took it up again. It's not like me – I was 29 before I first played darts.

"He has beaten me a few times, but I let him or he sulks. He's getting there as a player. He's hit a lot of 180s, but I've told him they don't matter, it's doubles that count – scoring's for show, doubles are for dough.

"I told him he had to go in the tournaments for a bit of experience – sometimes you get beaten up in matches, but that's how you learn. But this was his first ever tournament – and he won it."

BBC pundit Bobby, who is soon to release an autobiography, was not there to watch Richie's triumph because he has had an operation on his knees.

But he will be cheering his son on in his next big tournament – he also presents the television coverage for the World Masters.

"Lots of parents push their kids and it ruins them. I don't do that. If he wants to keep playing darts, it's up to him – and he's got the master to teach him," added George.

n Bobby George is supporting Sport Relief's fishing mega-match on June 21 with a fishing day at George Hall in Ardleigh. To take part in the event, e-mail bobby.george@btinternet.com.

jonathan.barnes@eadt.co.uk

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