Imaugural World Darts champion Leighton Rees’s fleshy jowls broke into the widest smile.
And no wonder, the Wales team he was captaining had just seen off Scotland in the Home Internationals at Cardiff.
A rookie reporter, I was thrilled to have grabbed the big man for a quick word.
Of course I didn’t understand a word of what he said.
But worryingly neither did he… he was speaking Welsh and when I asked him what he had said he just shrugged those big shoulders.
The World Championships have come a long way since Leighton’s 1978 triumph.
And just this week Fallon Sherrock became the first woman to win a World Championship match to a thunderous reception from the London crowd…
My meeting with larger-than-life Leighton Rees was just one highlight from a year in the Welsh capital.
Like the best of friends we often take them for granted and Ireland’s nearest neighbour, Wales, www.visitwales.com falls into that category.
But the ferry journey across to Holyhead is legendary and, of course, has been immortalised in song.
As would happen both combine with the launch of Stena’s www.stenaline.com new ferry from Dublin mid-January, Estrid.
Because my old pal, none other than PR Michael Rafferty of the Handsome Princes, promotes Stena.
Now that’s worth singing about.
Of course the smart money is on Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy.
Now the Netherlands has some great pubs and they are big Anglophiles so I suppose it makes sense that they love their darts.
Raymond Van Barnevelt retired after being knocked out of the World Championships but having secured his place in the game’s pantheon.
The thing is though that those narrow Dutch bars don’t leave much room for anything else than an oche.
Now, I could go on and on about my darts brushes.
Bristow and I
Like the time I played the late, great Eric ‘The Crafty Cockney’ Bristow.
And he beat me, kneeling down and with his back away from the board.
But I won’t.
And will only leave you with my memory of an even earlier sports interview with the heroic Sid Waddell when I was in Aberdeen… www.visitscotland.com
Who repeated his praise of Bristow: ‘When Alexander of Macedonia was 33 he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer… Bristow’s only 27.’
MEET YOU ON THE OCHE