Richie 'Mr Patel' Lawrie
17th March 2007
Bigwigs, Audenshaw @ UK Open NW Regional Finals
DartsMad – So firstly Richie, tell us a bit about yourself, what your involvement in darts is, and why you enjoy the sport so much.
Richie Lawrie – Well, my full name is Richie Lawrie and I’m from London. I love my darts as my first sport, as football does not appeal to me anymore. They get ridiculous money and it ain’t a sport nowadays. I used to watch darts all the time as a kid when my dad used to have it on all the time on the telly. I used to love watching Eric Bristow, John Lowe and Jocky Wilson. But as I got older, darts seemed to die on the telly. Then in the 90's it all changed and all of a sudden it was all go again and I was interested again. I went to the Circus Tavern and Richie was born on the circuit. Mine and Jamie Harvey’s friendship was cemented and then I started to manage a few of the lads. Sadly I missed out with Taylor! I don’t know why, I’m top draw me! Still, I’m ever present on the circuit so come and have a Guinness with me you gits!!! Better still - buy me one! Cheers...
DM – Do you play darts yourself? Are you any good?
RL – I do play darts yeah. I often play just to keep my 10-year-old son Adam interested. He does love the game too but as he is young he can lose interest quickly. I don’t want that to happen as he has got it. A natural throw and when I play him he is rat tat tat! He has beat me a few times and recently bashed up Graeme Stoddart in an exhibition! He started with a ton then two bulls and so on.
DM – I know you like to have a flutter on matches and I know that you are friendly with lots of players. I think this can be useful – you can maybe get the inside track on a players form. I also think it can be dangerous as your heart may rule your head at times. Do you find this is the case? And has your heart lost you money in the past?!
RL – Oh dear, what a question. I suppose I have to tell you about the time with Jamie Harvey then. He is my best pal on the circuit and yes on this occasion my heart ruled the head. Me and Robby Nolan (Mick McGowan’s sponsor) heavily, heavily pumped on Jamie to beat the lad Tomas Seyler in the world pro a couple of years back. Jamie lost 3-0. Jeez I was so gutted, but when I saw how Jamie was I put it in perspective. He knew that the loss could be a decline as the money order was coming in to play and he needed a good run. I then thought forget the money. I’ve lost some dosh but think about Jamie and his career. I was sponsoring and managing Jamie at the time and it hit us all that loss. In betting it is true, if you are unsure you should never let your heart rule your head. Saying that though, last year at the UK Open another good friend of mine, Keith Deller, played Steve Beaton who on his day is still one of the best in the world. Not many people were giving Keith a chance. Again my friendship took hold of my betting head, so I had a £100 on Keith to win and copped £435!!! The only bloke I didn’t tell was Keith as knowing him like I do he would have wanted a cut. Forget that son.
DM – Who do you think is playing the most exciting darts at the moment? Who do enjoy watching play the most?
RL – I have to say Ray Barneveld. I think he is the most exciting to watch at the moment. I just love the way that when he hits a treble his lip moves as if he wants to laugh as he knows the next treble is going in. He really hasn’t got a bad game in him and it normally shows on his face. On the fact of who I love to watch the most. Well, I’m a character darts player fan. Terry Jenkins is a great, great darts player and a friend. The same is true for Scholten. But they are just not my cup of tea. Dennis Priestley you could say the same about, but with Dennis you get all the shown emotions plus his son Adam and wife Jenny to boot. I call that class. A sad thing for me that started a good few years back is the fact that I may never see Bristow, Lowe, Jamie or even Stoddart on the box again. Although the UK Open may still give me the chance to reunite once a year. And further more Mark Holden is playing fantastic again and believe me it won’t be long before he is firmly back on our telly's again. Boooooooooooooosh!
DM – Lets get a fans viewpoint on this one - in the mid 80’s there were reportedly 14 televised tournaments! Do you think that’s saturation? Which maybe fed the decline? Do you think the current balance is right? Do you wish the PDC tourneys were on The BeeB? And do you think it will happen in the near future?
RL – Well, to answer the question about PDC comps on the beeb, I couldnt give a hoot as I’m not tight and I pay for cable so I always see it! I admit if it goes on normal telly it will get even bigger but I’m not complaining at the moment. With regards to the 14 TV comps - well a good things a good thing so how can it be that being popular is the downfall? Darts is taking over from most British TV sports and the quicker that someone gets a legends tour on the go with the likes of Jocky, Lowe, Bristow, George, Gregory, Harvey, Whitcombe, Deller, we will have
yet another great competition on the box. You could even add to it by declaring that the winner of the legends comp will win a wildcard into the Premier League. Now think about that for a second.
DM – That’s a very interesting idea worth following through I think. Golf, tennis, etc all have a seniors tour and I think there’s a place for something similar in darts. Ok you’ve just mentioned the Top Banana Mr Booooosh so who has the best nickname in darts? And who has the worst nickname in darts?
RL – Well, the Crafty Cockney is a great name. It has everything - fear, the name and power. Plus if you played him in the 80's you lost. Hohoho. Top Banana I do love also. Says it all. There’s other good nicknames though - Bravedart, The Power I like too. Again its simple and straight to the point. Mr. Patel ain’t bad either! Sorry, Adrian Lewis's ‘Jackpot’ - no. Too cheesy. And Scholten's Tripod. Whats all that about? I could guess. And lastly, I have to agree with Mark Holden about Wes Newton’s ‘Avit’. Nonononono. But, everyone is entitled to nickname themselves whatever they choose.
DM – You can pick one person from past or present, alive or dead, to play a leg of 501 with. Who would it be? And would you ask them to let you win?!
RL – Bob Marley. I would have loved to have met this man. Can I also say John Candy. He would have made me laugh so much whilst having a throw with me.
DM – Clarkson – perceptive or a prat?
RL – Both! Plus there are worse knockers of darts than him mate believe me. Some closer to the sport than we would all like.
DM – Ok on to the UK Open. The ‘FA Cup of darts’ is a real fans tournament. The regional qualifiers are great days out and anybody has a chance of qualifying for the finals. The final weekend itself has a superb atmosphere and for me it is probably my favourite tournament. Where does it rank for you? And what are you feelings on the tournament?
RL – I personally think that the World Matchplay is the best darts comp ever. Pure party week in everyone’s eyes. Including the players. But, the UK Open is a cracking comp and it is second in my eyes only to the Matchplay. You can watch who you want, where you want and you get lots of unknowns playing which is always nice. Plus there’s the added aspect of the lesser ranked players doing the biz. All in all a great comp that if it was a week long it could possibly be one of the best on the circuit.
DM – During the finals much depends on the luck of the draw. Last years quarter final lineup was one that few would have predicted. I suspect it could well be a similar story again this year but given a bit of luck, who do you think can have a good tilt at the title this year?
RL – Colin Osbourne without a doubt. Also with a bit of luck and plenty of guaranteed support, Mark Holden can do well. But my tip this year to do really well, as he needs it and trust me he wants it badly, is Keith Deller. On his day he is still a cracking player and he is capable of hammering the treble 20. I will be standing right behind him when he is playing so you will probably hear me!
DM – Cheers Richie, see you at the bar soon!