Leighton Rees staked his claim to darting immortality at the first official World Championships. His defeat of John Lowe, in the final, capped the early period of Welsh darting dominance.
The ‘red mist’ had featured Rees, Evans, Ridler and Obbard, among others, hoovering up major events and team titles. Rees himself was one of the games earliest professionals. A much loved character and a superb ambassador for the game’s early years.
There appears to be, we are sorry to say, a slightly sniffy tone to the use of the word ‘professional’. The 1970s had become a bit of a battle ground between the ‘amateur’ style, of previous decades, and a more modern structure where players could share in the rewards generated by their skills.
There is a smack of snobbery to this tone, somewhat similar to the Gentlemen vs Players attitudes in Cricket and Tennis.
Sadly, it’s not the last we will see of this divide. It again raises its head during the ‘blood on the carpet’ years.