Dartoids World

Column #HR413 The Cowboy Rides Away

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Column HR413 
The Cowboy Rides Away

George Strait sang, “Now I just found a game that I can’t play.  And this is where the cowboy rides away.”  

But first.  The PDC World Cup 2023 is in the rear-view mirror but, like “The Song is Ended (but the Melody Lingers On)”, so it is for the World Cup.  Of those players that reached the round of 8 only three achieved higher scores than their prior 200 legs: Simon Whitlock (+4.74), Jonny Clayton (+2.05) and Michael Smith (+1.54).

Gerwyn Price?  -5.08.

The PDC women competed in four events in Germany last weekend.  The fable that Beau Greaves talent was fading was fake news or high hopes.  Greaves captured three of the four events in spectacular fashion, losing only to Paula Jacklin 4-2 as she averaged only 75.81.  Beau’s winning averages were 95.94, 89.05 and 104.38. Fallon Sherrock would win the remaining event.

Sherrock had a disappointing weekend although she does cherish the MBE she was awarded on the King’s birthday.  She joins Eric Bristow, Mr. John Lowe and Trina Gulliver as those that have received the honor.  Phil Taylor was on the MBE list until he allegedly misbehaved in a caravan.

Not all were “over the moon” with Sherrock’s MBE.  The Sultan of Sittingbourne, Dave Whitcomb, as usual articulates the view among those that question the award…  

“I don’t get it that Fallon is going to be awarded an MBE.  Good player… yes.  Best woman player… no.  Most achievements by a woman player… no.  Most charity money raised by a woman player… no.  That’s a different award anyway.  Have I missed anything?  A cynical person would say she’s been given golden opportunities by the PDC in this mess of a diversity culture, given unprecedented exposure in the media coupled with unwarranted hype, and now being lobbied for an MBE by the same people.  Whatever it is though, and everything above is incorrect, I’ve missed the reason why.”

The ODC visited his local and tipped a few pints to “Cowboy” Bob Anderson as he played his final competitive match.  He lost 4-nil.  Anderson is unique among professional dart players as he had an athletic career before darts.  At the age of 21 Bob was a member of the 1968 Great Britain Olympic Team heading to Mexico City as a javelin thrower.  A broken arm cancelled that trip and his javelin career. 

Then Anderson transferred his athletic career to the pitch (or footie or soccer) where he played for Lincoln United, Guildford City, Woking and Farnborough Town.  Then another injury, this time a broken leg, ended his time on the pitch.

Bob had played darts since the age of 7, when at 12 he scored his first T80.  His darts were confined to only social play with maybe a pint or two to fit in.  During all this time he worked in local government.

Taking darts seriously was a slow process from high league play, then county and England national team.  Along the way he ran into John Markovic and Linda Batten who became his managers.  As the 70s morphed into the 80s so Anderson morph from a good player to one of the best taking his place alongside Eris Bristow, MBE, Mr. John Lowe, MBE, Dave Whitcombe and Cliff Lazarenko.

In the mid to late 80s, “Cowboy” Bob’s darting career exploded with 3 Master’s titles – a feat unmatched in the Era of Golden Darters.  Later, with the field diminished (no PDC Players) Martin Adams would collect three on the trot.

Anderson’s three wins came in 1986, 1987 and 1988.  Darts fans may be hard pressed to name the three payers Anderson beat: Canadian Bob Sinnaeve (3-2) and Mr. John Lowe twice (3-1 and 3-2).

1988 was a banner year for Anderson as he added the World Championship (called the Embassy back then).  As the #1 seed he would defeat Bert Vlaardingerbroek (3-1), Russell Stewart (3-0), Peter Evison (4-0), Rick Ney (5-0) and Mr. John Lowe 6-4.  This was the era of dart boards with fat wires and four stables in each tribble.  Anderson would average 93.38, 97.20, 98.43, 97.62 and 92.07.  In sets he went 21 and 5 with 4 of those the sets against Mr. Lowe in the final.

North America wasn’t immune to Bob Anderson’s winning ways.  A frequent visitor to Canada, Anderson would take the Canadian Open twice and finish with runner-up on three other occasions.  His wins came against Phil Taylor and Dennis Priestly.  He was runner up finishes came against Mr. John Lowe, Phil Taylor and Mike Gregory.  Bob would capture the 1993 North American Open.  In his career Anderson won 22 events in 8 countries.

As Anderson’s career took off in the 1980s like a cat with battery acid on its backside, George Strait would record “The Cowboy Rides Away”.  On June 24, 2023, that’s what Anderson did.  The odds are 100% that it wasn’t on a horse as according to Anderson, “I love horses, they’re fabulous animals, but they don’t particularly like me.  They normally rear up on their hind legs and make an aggressive noise.  Or break wind at me – which happened on my honeymoon while on a horse-drawn carriage.” 

Looking back on his career Anderson reflects“I’d have liked to have won more but I ran into someone called Phil Taylor – and he put a damper on everybody’s aspirations.”

Getting little credit Anderson proudly “played his part” in the foundation of the breakaway World Darts Council – which latterly began the PDC – in the acrimonious 1990s split from the BDO.

Echoing George Strait, Anderson explained, “I simply cannot compete at the level that I wish to do so.  I cannot play like I did 30-40 years ago, and I don’t think anybody can truly expect me to.”

Bob Anderson surely will not ride off into the Sunset on a horse.  He will stroll away on a brilliant green carpet of a fairway – a golf cart in his left hand while his right holds the left of his wife Sally.

Mr. John Lowe, “Bob Anderson, a champion of champions.”

He leaves competitive darts as an all-time great.  Even more important, in the words of Sally Kelly and everyone that knew him: “He was always a classy guy.”  

Stay thirsty my friends.


  • Howie Reed

    Astute, often controversial, and always humorous, the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed (a former rodeo cowboy and advertising executive), is heralded as the Dean of Darts Chroniclers - the most prolific and widely followed writer ever about our sport. He goes back decades with the legends and knows where the skeletons are buried (just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers!). Here are four well-known facts about the Old Dart Coach: 1) he is a Republican, 2) he loves the ladies, 3) he can drink most anybody under the table, and 4) he throws darts as bad as Dartoid.

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