Book review: Scoring for Show, Doubles for Dough by Bobby George and Patrick Chaplin

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If someone told you to ‘get the orange box’ or shouted ‘ladies and children halfway,’ would you know what they were talking about?

For most of us, it all sounds like ‘double bull’ but for darts fans, those well-worn phrases are just a few of a vast collection of Bobby dazzlers.

To be more precise, that’s Bobby George, the laughing ‘arrers’ ace who first made his mark on the professional darts scene way back in 1976 when he won the first singles event he entered.

Since those early days, George has bagged a handful of darts championship titles, represented England on 26 occasions, made a surprise comeback in the early 1990s and taken his place as a respected television studio pundit.

But it’s not just his ability as a player that has won him thousands of avid supporters; his flamboyant personality, trademark sequinned shirt and cheeky humour have made him one of the most popular figures in the sport.

And now we can get to know Bobby George and his ‘darts lingo’ even better in this raunchy, fun-filled, hilarious cornucopia of fascinating facts and phrases which sees the master on top form.

From crackers like ‘a game’s not won ‘til it’s lost’ to the more prosaic ‘Marlene. Start the car. We’re leaving’ (usually muttered from the sidelines), this informative and side-splitting reference book provides hours of fun for both the initiated and the uninitiated.

Darts, like cricket, is a game that has a language of its own – most people of a certain age know that ‘bed and breakfast’ means 26 and that the ‘madhouse’ is double one, but here we can learn just why they mean 26 and double one.

Some of the lingo needs no explanation...‘Gawunmyson!’ would clearly be seen as a word of encouragement, although George’s interpretation is more ‘That’s it my lad. Give ‘im a good thumping’.

‘Floating flight’ apparently refers to the practice by some darters of marking their drink by popping a flight (arrow) into their beer, although this can be dangerous as discovered by a player who swallowed the flight during a momentary lapse!

Chief translator for George’s darts lingo has regularly been BBC commentator Ray Stubbs who was famously flummoxed on one occasion when called on to explain the meaning of ‘he’s very military spasmotic and he thinks he’s interlectrical’.

Such tales are typical of George’s entertaining ‘flight of fancy’ into the very grown-up world of darts and for those not fazed by some smut and bad language, Scoring for Show, Doubles for Dough is guaranteed to hit bullseye.

(Apex, hardback, £9.99)