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   Friday, 3 January, 2003, 16:19 GMT
Inside Bobby's kingdom



It's not every day you come face to face with a sporting legend, let alone get to pick up a few tips from them.

But that's exactly what happened when I was summoned to George Hall - home of the great Bobby George - for a quick game of arrers.

Whoever thought darts was a poor man's sport should take a look at the house Bobby built and think again.

Set in 12 acres of sprawling woodland, including a fishing lake stocked with trout, George Hall is a stately home crammed with boys' toys.

George Hall
Bobby's Lord of the Manor at George Hall

You've got the full-sized snooker table, fully-equipped bar and, of course, a matchplay dartboard.

Ah yes, the darts - the true purpose of this trip out to the Essex countryside.

Now I wouldn't say I'm the world's worst arrow slinger, but it's fair to say Phil Taylor's not quaking in his boots just yet.

In fact, after Bobby's harsh-but-fair assessment of my action, I'd be hard pressed to give Phil Mitchell a game.

"It's a bit tartish really," he reasoned.

Don't hold back, will you Bob - just give it to me straight.

"You're too jerky, you must go forward and follow through - a little bit more finesse."

Bish, bash bosh

Trying to take everything on board, I agreed to a game of 501, providing Bobby promised to treat me gently.

I needn't have worried. A few throws in and I'd hit the 20 a couple of times (without troubling the treble admittedly) and looked to be cruising to a memorable victory.

Then Bobby took the blindfold off. Thirty seconds later - bish, bash, bosh and I was toast.

"I don't think you'll make a very good darts player," he grinned as I prepared my map and compass ready for the hike up the driveway.

Mickey Mouse
Fancy a game of 501?

"In fact, I'm going to give you some toy ears to wear when you go to the pub, because you're a true Mickey Mouse player!"

And there's me thinking I could have been a contender.

Still, at least after an hour or two in the company of King George I can talk a good game. In fact I'm cushty wushty.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 Bobby George's world
Watch Ray Stubbs explore Bobby's dazzling Kingdom
Embassy World Darts Championship

Barneveld's title

Photo galleries

Bobby's Kingdom

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