Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Doubles Can Take Me to the Top! Tony Is Driven to Drink in Search for Form

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Doubles Can Take Me to the Top! Tony Is Driven to Drink in Search for Form

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM STEEL

HE has to finish on a double but he will be starting from now on with a treble - vodka that is.

Teetotal darts player Tony Eccles has taken up drinking in a bid to raise himself from the darting doldrums.

A darts rarity in that he has been alcohol-free for the past 20 years due to an allergy to beer and lager, Eccles usually tries to calm his nerves before matches by going outside for a few smokes.

But after considering quitting the game altogether in November and tumbling from 26th place to 34th in the PDC order of merit, Teesside's former BDO No 1 decided it was time for a rocket fuelled change.

The 40-year-old tried a tot of vodka before practice recently and, after feeling no allergic reaction, plans to keep on supping after revealing the effect on his throw was remarkable.

Eccles will put his new tippling routine to the test when he meets Steve Beaton in the first round of the totesport.com Players Championship in Purfleet on January 28.

Eccles, who alongside Jelle Klaasen was one of only two main players on the PDC circuit who don't drink, said: "I'm not going to abuse my system but if you can't beat them, join them.

"I'll just have a treble vodka before a game and it's not like I'll be doing anything wrong.

"If I play anywhere like I've been in practice I will be in the top 10 next year!

"I've hit two nine darters and the 180s have been as smooth as anything.

"It's only practice at the moment and it might backfire, but I've just got to give it a go and see where it takes me.

"I've got too much ability to throw away. Even though I'm not playing well I know it's there and I want to get back in the top 32."

Darts became the butt of jokes in the 1980s when its booze culture was lampooned in Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones' infamous comedy sketch. …

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