Lakeside darts beckons for Alan Norris

FALKIRK darts is in good shape, according to Alan Norris.

So good infact it's helped

him reach the BDO World

Championships at the

world-famous Lakeside

venue for the third year in

a row.

The 38-year-old Somerset

native plays with Pennies'

Bar in the local league

after winding up in Central

Scotland via Spain and

Sweden.

"It's a good, competitive

standard," Alan assured

Heraldsport.

"I play in Pennies' young

team. It's not the best team,

but I'm helping to bring

through the younger guys.

There are a lot of good

players here and although

I'm going down to Lakeside

this year - my third in four

years of top-level darts -

many more could join me."

It was a chance encounter

at the Lakeside that

prompted Alan to wind up

playing with his team.

"One of the young guys

recognised me as I'd

recently moved to Bo'ness

from Sweden and he asked

me to play - I said alright at

the time, and it escalated.

I'm enjoying it."

It had been in Sweden

where Alan, a joiner by

trade, ?rst took up darts

competitively.

"I walked into a bar and

threw a couple of darts,

then got the call to play for

the pub team. It took off

from there.

"I was working there as

a salesman for a cleaning

company - cold-calling and such like - but now I'm

focussed solely on darts.

"I was fed up of joinery

so walked out and took up

the sales job - it was based

in Spain but a Swedish

company - that lead me to

Sweden and a career in

darts."

The joinery has come in

handy though, as Alan has

kitted out Pennies' Young

Team's new home - The

Crown in Bo'ness with ?ve

new dartboards.

But although he's been

jet-setting for the past few

years, Alan didn't enjoy

being stuck in Holland a

fortnight ago while playing

the Zuiderduin Masters.

"Iwasstuckforafortnight,

so all I could really do was

wait for a ?ight to come up,

and practise.

"I do about ?ve or

six hours a day, it's a

very mental game and

in matchplay situations

you have to be mentally

prepared and have the right

attitude.

"My attitude is right and

that's making me con?dent

ahead of the Lakeside.

"Qualifying

tournaments for next

year's competition have

started too and I'm

currently seeded third

for next year - so it's all

going well."

He's taking no chances

though, and today will

be in Liverpool training

withfriend RobbieGreen

to ensure he is that little

bit closer to the Lakeside

just incase the weather

deteriorates further.

"I don't want to take

any chances because I

think I do have a chance

this year.

"That's why I don't

drink when I'm playing

- a lot of the guys do, but

I don't. There's a whole

preconception of darts

and drink because it's a

pub culture sport - but

more and more guys

are easing off the drink

because physical ?tness

is important for mental

strength.

"Once you're up on

the stage you need all

your focus and all your

co-ordination.

"I might have a couple

of pints but I'll just as

happy go up on the stage

sober."

And Alan has another

reason for a clean-mind.

"I did a little bit of

commentary with the

BBC last year and I'm

hoping to do it again this

year."

Thecompetition will be

televised again this year

and Alan still has one

badge-space available for

an interested sponsor to

get on the BBC coverage.

"I'm hoping it'll be

me that wins so that's

?ve rounds I have to

negotiate.

"It doesn't sound too

much, and quite easy, if

only it were."