Dartoids World


Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Column HR419 

While the Old Dart Coach was tied up with the PDC “Squatter’s & Pointers” performing in Blackpool he ignored North America.  Thereby he missed another great weekend for the ‘Queen of the Oche” Paula Murphy who went through the ladies at the Music City Classic like a Taco Bell lunch.

Ms. Murphy won both ladies singles (the 501 defeating Maple Leaf Lass Trish Grzesik 4-nil and the Cricket 3-1 over Cali West), the Cricket Doubles with Kim Panti over Ms. Grzesik and Ms. Kiel and finished runner up in the mixed triples.  Ms. Murphy missed out on the 301 as it appears she didn’t enter – which is definitely an excuse.  That event was won by Sandy Haas who then got dumped as a mixed partner by her “main squeeze” Chainsaw Joe Chaney.  Or maybe she dumped him. Good move.

New Zealand is hosting a pair of PDC events.  Absent will be Jonny Clayton who withdrew.  In his place will be Aussie Damon Heta who is the hottest thing in the submerged continent of Zealandia since their boys discovered sheep were good for other things besides wool and stew.  “Mom this is my girlfriend, Mary.”  The PDC’s choice is as “oblivious” as a zit on a teenager’s face.

The Golden Era of Darts lit up the sky with stars aplenty.  Sadly, some have gone to Heaven while those that are left behind morn their passing.  One star from that Golden Era sky that’s still playing (and winning) is 69-year-old Paul Lim.  Last weekend he won PDC Asian Pro Tour #21 5-1 over unlucky Filipino, Paolo Nebrida.  Nebrida unlucky?  Not only did he lose to Lim, but he finished runner-up in the two other PDC Asian Pro Tour events last weekend.

The Golden Era of Darts lost one of its brightest stars in April with the passing of Lenny Heard.  If there was ever a “one off” it was Lenny…

Born in Plymouth, England, Lenny was already an accomplished dart player when he arrived in San Diego, which became his lifetime home.  He didn’t play upon arrival but one day after work he and some workmates stopped into a pub for a pint – and as it turned out a game of darts.

Originally from Plymouth, England, Lenny was born January 18, 1942, probably to the sound of German bombs dropping as it was the height of World War II.  Asked how he got into darts Lenny replied, “Back in my early 20s, I got my tail kicked every day, and every game you played over there cost you a beer, a pint.  For the first six months, it cost me a fortune to play.  In England, there’s a pub on every corner.  There’s nothing else to do, especially when it’s raining, which is all the time.  Everything revolves around darts there.”  

Lenny played in local league. improving along the way and winning the Devon County championship in both 1970 and 1971.  By 1973, he settled in San Diego where he had a pub that of course had darts.  He’d abandoned playing darts until a few years later when, after work some pals suggested they stop in for a beer after work in Coronado.

His first tournament victory came in 1976 in the Far West Shoot Out which kicked off a string of victories that would vault him to #10 in the World in 1980 and 1981.  In 1977, Heard won the St. Pat’s, then in 1978 he beat top English International Tony Brown in the Santa Monica Open.  In 1979, Heard would reach the finals of the North American only to lose to Eric Bristow.  The following year, Heard would take the North American defeating Fred Boyce, a Canadian Royal Mountie.  That year the North America had over 1,700 players from 35 states and 12 countries on 85 playing boards.

Internationally, Lenny would be part of the 1979 World Cup Squad that consisted of Nicky Virachkul, Conrad Daniels and Jerry Umberger.  The singles that year was won by Virachkul, the only American to win a World Cup singles gold.  In 1980, Heard was joined by Conrad Daniels and Nicky Virachkul in the Nations Cup in England.  They lost in the finals 5-3 to the English Team of John Lowe, Eric Bristow and Tony Brown.

Heard was also part of the 1986 Pacific Cup Team that won its first Pacific Cup – he reached the singles final only to lose to Paul Lim.  It took Heard 5 years, but he got payback against Lim when he beat him to win the 1991 Camellia Classic.

His darting accomplishments set him apart on the oche whether winning a singles, doubles with long time partner Nicky Virachkul or a mixed doubles with Jane Houser.  At any tournament you could tell Lenny was in the hall by the cloud of smoke from his ever-present pipe.  When not in a cribbage game with his fellow Accudart-sponsored friends (Nicky Virachkul and Dick McGinnis have both passed) he was whipping someone on the dartboard.

Darting skills aside, Lenny Heard was one of the brightest of stars in the Golden Era Sky.  He was one of those people whose mere presence shined a brilliant light.  He was as fierce and proud a patriot of his adopted country as he was loyal to his friends.  He was a leader without holding office (with the exception of being the President of the North American Professional Darts Players Association) – which epitomizes the respect other players had for him.

His steel-will could occasionally come to the forefront when something challenged him.  One memorable instance was when a teenage dart player had eyes on his daughter.  Missing nothing, Lenny informed the hopeful Romeo, You even look at my daughter and I’ll cut off your las pelotas”.  Young Lochinvar was smart so he still walks around with full factory installed equipment.

Lenny Heard’s heart was even bigger than his darting talent, which was immense.

The Stacy Bromberg Senior Open (January 19-20, 2024, in Las Vegas) will honor Heard by naming the gentleman’s singles event in his memory.

On Saturday August 5, his friends will gather at the Poway Community Center to celebrate his life.  The address is 13094 Center Drive, Poway, California.

For those unable to attend, his memory will last forever.  Heaven will welcome him with open arms.  That’s especially true of Nicky Virachkul and Dick McGinnis whose first words will surely be, “Got your cribbage board?”

As God welcomes Heard he enhances the brightness of Heaven but leaves us with continuing darkness as we lose another gem.

God Bless you, Lenny Heard.

Tip one for Lenny.



  • 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.