Giants from the world of darts will arrive in Kirkcaldy to pay tribute to the late great Jocky Wilson.
World champions Gary Anderson, Martin Adams and Steve Beaton are three of the names who will take part in the Jocky Wilson Tournament at the town’s Gunner Club.
It takes place on Saturday, June 15, the day before the Celebrating Jocky Wilson show at the Adam Smith Theatre, where Scots darting legend Anderson will also appear.
Wilson passed away in 2012 at the age 62 after years of ill health.
He had retired early from playing darts in 1995 when he was just 45.
Stuart Grubb – a former Scotland darts international who is now social convener for the Gunner Club, as well as a member of the Fife darts Association – put together the tournament with his nephew Rab Allan, which has become an annual affair.
“Rab and Lee Bruce started holding the Jocky Wilson tournament five years ago,” he said.
“After that we started getting involved in exhibitions, then we were asked if we would be able to get Gary Anderson to play.
“I used to play for Scotland alongside Gary and he’s a good friend of mine.
“When I asked he said it was no problem, so it all kicked off from there.
“I also played with Wayne Mardle, the English international, who did a documentary on Sky about Jocky and he’s also delighted to be taking part in the tournament on the day.”
Stuart says getting Anderson to appear at both events was a real coup, but adds he was delighted to be asked.
“When Fife Council contacted us about working together on the weekend for Jocky we were already talking about holding the tournament at the Gunner’s.
“So when we spoke to Gary we said we’d like to take you for two tournaments and he agreed.
“We’re lucky as he’s only doing 12 tournaments a year now, but he’s a real fan of Jocky”
Whilst the tournament at the Gunner Club is sold out, a few tickets remain for Celebrating Jocky Wilson.
It will involve darts players from across Fife who will take part in a series of tournaments to win the chance to play Gary on stage at the Adam Smith Theatre.
Anderson, like Jocky a two-time world champion, cites Wilson as an inspiration to him during his early years as a fledgling darts player, saying his first darts memory of was watching Jocky playing his rival Eric Bristow on TV.
Sadly, the pair never met, but unlike Anderson, Stuart did cross paths with Jocky.
“I met Jocky right at the tail end of his career, but four of five friends of mine who I still and go watch now in the Glenrothes League, played with him,” he said.
As happy as he is to see Jocky getting such recognition, Stuart says he is disappointed that it has taken so long – 30 years since Jocky won his second world title, beating Bristow in 1989.
“Jocky was a well loved man within the sport of darts. He was a real character,” Stuart said.
“For someone to come from Kirkcaldy and to be a two time world champion, yet not get any sort of formal recognition that he really deserved, I think is disgraceful.
“It’s taken 30 years.
“So what we’re doing with our tournament at the Gunners is honouring a great man.”
Ian Gallagher and Tam McCrae were both friends of, and played darts with, Jocky back when he was still competing at a local level.
Ian first encountered Jocky when his career was on the rise.
“I met him when I first started playing darts, this would have been around 1977/78. He beat me in the final of the Kirkcaldy singles around then.
“I ended up going down south with him for tournaments and played county matches with him.
“He doubles played with a guy called Willie Syme – another good player.
“Jocky had great ability but I didn’t think he would go on to be a world champion.”
Ian and Tam travelled together to Stoke’s Jollees Cabaret Club to watch Jocky win his first world title in 1982.
Tam said: “I played with Jocky in the Fife and Scotland teams. This was mid-80s so he was already well established by then.
“Everybody in the Kirkcaldy darts circle looked up to Jocky.”
Ian said: “The final was amazing when Jocky won it. The atmosphere was absolutely incredible.”
The pair both say they are pleased to see Jocky’s home town finally pay tribute to him.
“We have a world champion in a sport that I love and I don’t think it’s been really recognised up until now,” said Ian.
Tam added: “When he was at his peak, I think Jocky was the best darts player in the world. But Jocky was just Jocky. He was a Kirkcaldy man and really down to earth.
“I’m delighted to see him get this recognition.”
Stuart said that one of the greatest players of all time recognised Jocky’s darts genius.
“One of my best friends on the circuit when I was still playing was Eric Bristow,” he said, “and he couldn’t speak highly enough of Jocky.
“He said to me, ‘anyone can win one world darts title – it takes a real champion to win two’.”
• Tickets for Celebrating Jocky Wilson are £25 with VIP tickets costing £50, which includes exclusive time with Gary Anderson.
For more details call the box office on 01592-583302 or visit the website at www.onfife.com.