A FIFE darts player will hit a unique double this weekend when he earns an international cap in a second sport.
Ballingry thrower Colin Feeley will represent Scotland on the oche for the first time at the British Darts International in Wales this weekend.
But it will be the second time the former Lochgelly High School pupil has turned out for his country – he has also previously played for the Scottish Under 16 football team.
Colin, who turns 24 this month, was an aspiring footballer in his youth, and earned his Scotland call-up while turning out for Hill of Beath Swifts.
However, after suffering three broken legs on the pitch, he hung up his boots at the age of 21, and swapped kicking leather for throwing tungsten.
“I was in the pub one day after a football match and some of the guys were playing darts so I picked up a set and discovered I was quite good at it,” Colin said.
“I was really into football growing up and had a chance to sign for Dunfermline as an apprentice but injury problems meant it never happened.
“I broke my leg three times, and after the third one things were never the same, and I was losing a bit of pace.
“I was playing in the juniors with Lochore Welfare but I had started to play darts a lot more, and was earning some pennies by doing well in tournaments.
“It was either football or darts, and I decided to stick with darts.”
Colin quickly perfected his aim, and was soon starring for the Craigie Bar team in the Lochgelly District League, as well as the Lochgelly A side in the Fife Super League.
However, his big breakthrough on the national darts scene came in June last year when he won the prestigious Granite City Open in Aberdeen.
“There was 600 players in the tournament so I was quite shocked to win it,” he said.
“Things have really pushed on since then. Before darts was just something I did on a Friday night – now I’m playing for Fife and Scotland.
“The guys that won the Granite City Open before me are the likes of Gary Anderson, who won it twice when he was in the BDO, and Martin Adams.
“Seeing my name alongside theirs was a big confidence booster.
“My prize money was £2000 and that made we want to put in more practice so I could play in more big tournaments, and gain more experience.
“The money mostly goes to the missus, the wee one and the house – for me it’s just about playing in tournaments and trying to win as many as I can.“
Colin will make his international darts debut in this weekend’s tournament involving the host nation, Wales, Scotland and England. He will travel with the only other Fifer to make the 12-man squad, international stalwart Stewart Rattray from Cowdenbeath.
“As my dad says, there can’t be many people who have played for Scotland at both football and darts!” Colin said. “I’m over the moon with the call-up.
“It can only be a good experience playing against such experienced players, and win or lose I will try to think of it as a positive thing.
“I’ll just try to keep it relaxed and play my own darts when I’m up there. I’ll go away from it and keep building, practising and hopefully get more caps in the future.“
Colin’s call-up to the Scotland squad comes just a week after Fife’s former darts world champion, Jocky Wilson, was laid to rest in his Kirkcaldy home town.
“I’ve always followed darts but I’ve only ever seen Youtube videos of Jocky,” Colin added.
“It would have been good if he had stayed in darts, the way Eric Bristow has with the commentating, but I don’t think Jocky was ever in it for the money.
“I know a lot of the lads from the league went to his funeral last Monday. It was really sad to hear of his death.”
Colin’s future aim is to qualify for the BDO World Championship at which Jocky Wilson made his name, held annually at the Lakeside Country Club in Surrey.
He made it to the latter stages of the qualifiers in September last year, only to be cruelly thrown out of the competition over a technicality after it was alleged that he had arrived too late to register for his last 32 clash with Alan Norris.
A heated debate took place as Colin had been marking a match to help keep the tournament running, and had arrived in time, but Norris refused to play.
The BDO were called in to make a decision, and ruled against the Fifer.
What made matters worse for Colin was that his opponent went on to qualify for the Lakeside, leaving him to rue a very costly disqualification.
“Norris is a good player so there’s no guarantee that I’d have beaten him, but the way it happened left me a bit cheesed off,” Colin said.
“I learned my lesson though. I’ll be making sure I have half an hour early to the future. I think it will make me a better player.
“I’ve just renewed my passport so I’m planning to travel to Germany and Holland to take part in bigger tournaments and try to gather ranking points.
“My ultimate aim is the Lakeside – it would be great if I could make it onto TV.”
Another goal on Colin’s list is to achieve darts’ elusive perfect game – a nine-dart finish.
Last October, he came as close as you will ever get in a Lochgelly District League match in the Craigie Bar when he started off with a maximum and followed it up with a second 180 on his next throw.
Requiring 141, Colin’s seven dart went into the treble 20 and with his team mates and the opponents from the West End Bar falling quiet, he followed it up with dart number eight bang in the centre of treble 19.
Eight perfect darts had been thrown and double 12 was beckoning – but agonisingly Colin’s ninth dart went the wrong side of the wire and ended up in the double five bed and he was only millimetres away from the perfect leg of darts which would have been the first ever in the history of the League.
With his head in his hands both teams gave him a round of applause for his effort and although his 13-dart leg was a great achievement, he was inconsolable.