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Darts: BDO star Scotty 'The Dog' Mitchell continues to bite back after early-career savaging
IT IS not often a first round exit gets you more airtime as a darts player, but then Scotty ‘The Dog’ Mitchell is not your conventional character.
The farmer’s boy from Bransgore, who ditched darts for a decade in favour of motocross, became the unlikely face of ESPN’s BDO World Championship coverage by chance after sticking around to watch the 2012 Lakeside event unfold following his early exit.
And while Dorset’s first England international loves his work with renowned presenter Ray Stubbs, Mitchell still has ambitions with the arrows in his hand on the world stage.
Having missed out on this year’s WDF World Cup squad to Martin Adams, Tony O’Shea, Scott Waites and Glen Durrant, The Dog still feels he can have his day despite being labelled barking mad while struggling for his county years ago.
“The punditry was an absolute fluke,” Mitchell recalled in an interview with the Daily Echo.
“ESPN had Tony O’Shea and Martin Adams lined up but after Martin had beaten me, he faced Tony so they had no pundit.
“The floor manager Rob was in a bit of a pickle so I offered to help. Anyone that knows me knows I don’t mind talking! It sounds hard but it is very easy to answer the questions about your fellow players when you know them all so well. It is like talking about your own brother.
“Tony (O’Shea) summed it up recently – we spend more time with each other than we do with our wives.
“Ray (Stubbs) loves the darts and he makes it a real team affair.
“He is really good and makes you feel at ease. He shakes your hand and tells you to remember you are in people’s front rooms and to give them what they need. He is brilliant.”
It all started when eight-year-old Mitchell stood on the back of a chair and took aim at the board on the back of the kitchen door, emulating his parents’ hobby.
But it would be another 10 years before Mitchell started on his path to Lakeside, featuring on the pub scene for the New Queen Inn, Avon.
Mitchell added: “My friend was short for his team on a Thursday night. Funnily enough, it was Trevor Chant, who ended up becoming a Dorset player himself. We were just a few young lads in a team of older guys and they taught us how to play.
“I started playing well but I didn’t really take it seriously until I gave up motocross at the age of 24. Five years later, I was called up by Dorset but played terribly and got dropped four times within around 15 games.
“I was trying so hard but I was freezing on stage and the manager at the time, Eddie Pilley, said ‘You’re embarrassing yourself, you’re embarrassing your family and I’d advise you to give up and find something else’.
“Eddie hasn’t got a nasty bone in his body, he was just telling me how he saw it and some of my fellow players felt the same, but I said I would prove them wrong because I knew I could do it.
“He went as manager and the new guy, Dave Jenner, put his arm around me and said he believed in me. I suddenly hit some form and got back to the A team within three games and I have not been back down since – that was my big turning point.”
Indeed it was. Mitchell has gone on to represent Dorset 114 times.
Dorset sports enthusiast Mitchell, a keen follower of Poole Pirates and AFC Bournemouth, has also won seven out of 10 matches for England.
And while he is set to comfortably qualify for the BDO World Championships at Lakeside yet again in 2014, the landscape gardener insists the England games give him his biggest buzz.
Mitchell said: “It is lovely to play at Lakeside for yourself. It is great.
“But my long-term ambition is to continue with the England side because for the family and friends who support me, that would be a pretty awesome achievement. My dream is still to play for England at a Darts World Cup.”
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