The Scotsman, 16 January, 1989: Jocky Wilson, the new world darts champion, believes that his never-say-die spirit was the deciding factor in the greatest triumph of his career.
Wilson, renowned for his jerky action, defeated five-times winner Eric Bristow 6-4 in the final of the Embassy World Professional championship at Frimley Green on Saturday, but says it was a much sweeter win than when he first won the title back in 1982.
“To beat Eric, the greatest name in darts, in the final is something I will never forget,” said the emotional Wilson, who collected £20,000 in prize money.
But the 38-year-old Scot, who won the first five sets before Bristow came storming back to win four on the trot, added: “I must confess I had my luck during the week because I had one hard match after another.”
In the second round, Alan Warriner, a male nurse from Lancaster, had eight shots at a double to beat Wilson, but missed tham all.
Then Wilson scraped home 4-3 against west countryman Mike Gregory in the quarter-final, winning the final set in a sudden death finish by six legs to five.
But that was not all, for Wilson also beat the reigning world champion, Bob Anderson, of Swindon, 5-4 in the semi-finals after being 2-4 down.
“My big secret is that I never give up,” said Wilson, who now lives at Wallsend, Northumberland. “Whatever the position, I always feel I can win.”
Wilson agreed that he thought he would lose to Bristow when the 31-year-old ‘Crafty Cockney’ pulled up to 4-5 in the final.
Wilson, however, has no plans for mathematics lessons in the future after his classic blunder in the ninth set against Bristow.
Needing only a double 18 to clinch the title, Wilson miscounted and threw at double top instead. “I don’t know what went through my mind,” he said. “I needed 104 and then hit treble 18 and a single 14 which left me 36. But for some reason or other I thought I needed 40. I guess I got too excited.”
It could have been crucial because instead of the little Scot winning the title 6-3, Bristow won the ninth set and then had a superb check-out of 130 to pull up to two legs all in the vital tenth set.
Had Bristow made it 5-5 even Wilson admitted that he would probably have lost.
“But I kept my nerve in that final leg,” said Wilson. “And that’s what counts at this level.”