Talking Sport: Salute the three musketeers!

Dave Chisnall
Dave Chisnall

Armed with darts rather than swords, the swashbuckling form of Dave Chisnall, Michael Smith and Stephe Bunting in the World Matchplay Championship at Blackpool put the town firmly on the map as one the country’s top towns for leading Tugsten talent.

Chizzy reached the quarter final stages of the prestigious tournament and while his fellow compatriots fell at the second hurdle, the trio showed the kind of qualities which, in the not too distant future, may lead to one at least being crowned king of oche.

Chisnall, Bunting and Smith - beaten by Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and eventual winner Phil Taylor respectively - have already titles under their belts but not the Holy Grail - the Ladbokes PDC World Championship.

A pipe dream ? Maybe not as all three have time and age on their side and what a fillip it would be for St Helens if even one of the threesome managed to earn ‘the best in the world’ title following in the footsteps of Geoff Duke (six-times world motor cycle champion), and Saints (world club champions 2001 and 2007).

But the standard of darts has improved immeasurably since the days I helped one of borough’s true characters, the late Frank Cunningham, organise darts exhibitions during the 1980s, attracting such talents as world champions John Lowe and Keith Deller.

Neither I suspect would live with today’s players, making it doubly difficult for either Chisnall, Bunting or Smith to reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport.

Only time will tell...

RUGBY League has once again demonstrated why it is widely regarded as a caring and family friendly sport.

Only three days after Aussie scrum half Luke Walsh suffered a horrific leg injury playing for Saints against neighbours Widnes Vikings in the First Utility Super League, the club had received more than 600 ‘get well’ message - and the number is grown all the time.

It will be a massive boost to the Saints’ playmaker at what will be one of the lowest points of his career, but just shows how much the rugby league community in general cares for one of their own.

Saints told me yesterday that they had been ‘overwhelmed and touched’ by the response from fellow clubs, players and fans alike.

It goes without saying that Luke will in due course want to add his own personal thanks to all his well-wishers.