BOB ANDERSON has vowed that the Limestone Cowboy is finally riding off into the sunset with great memories.
The 1988 World Champion hung up his darts at the World Seniors Masters last weekend in Yeovil.
Anderson, 75, lost out to Richie Howson in his opening round in what he announced would be his last-ever tournament.
He said: “I’ve reached that stage in my career when I don’t really feel competitive anymore.
“It’s all to do with age, I’m in my 76th year. I watched John (Lowe) make that decision last year and I knew how hard it was to make that decision but it was the right time.
“I find it easier now to talk about darts than I do to actually play it to the level I want to play. I always maintained that I would only compete while I felt competitive.
“It’s nice to be back up on the stage with the Seniors but the age difference is too great.
“I can’t maintain the consistency I once had. I find it hard to accept but I’ve not had to.”
Anderson thinks back on his highlights with great pride but admits the defeats can still hurt.
He added: “When I think back the victories always burn brightly as memories but equally so do the defeats.
“I can remember playing Eric (Bristow) in the final of the World Matchplay. I was two sets to nil down and looking pretty bedraggled.
“My wife Sally gave me a kick in the right direction and I came back out and got it back to two-all. I went 2-1 up in the final set and I busted a pretty big out shot which hurt.
“Eric smiled and took out the finish and then beat me eventually. That one still rankles a little bit all these years later. Every now and again that comes back to haunt me!
“My proudest moment was being made captain of England in 1992 at the Lakeside. It was like a who’s who of darts with one exception of no Eric because he was suffering terribly with dartitis at that time.
“I was at the foundations of the split in the sport of what we see today.
“The backroom boys were also so important. It would have been wonderful to bow out with the likes of Dave Lanning doing the commentary.
“The marquee players at the time were a pretty big chunk of what made it happen, the likes of Dick Allix and Tommy Cox.”
Anderson also reflects with great fondness his partnership with Unicorn.
He said: “My relationship with Unicorn is now in its 36th year. It’s been a tremendous journey. The Lowys feel like family to me.
“They have looked after me splendidly, I have to say over so many years.
“It’s almost unheard of now to have such loyalty in sport lasting for four decades. Those days have gone in sport.”
Anderson jokes that he will also always be remembered for his famous walk-on aboard a horse at the Circus Tavern World Championship in 1995.
He concluded: “That bloody horse. I don’t think I’ll be doing any real horse walk-ons like at the Circus Tavern again. It’ll be more like a rocking chair or walking frame. Over the years that horse has got more publicity than ever I did.
“This John Wayne is finally trotting his horse off into the sunset.”
Story by Phil Lanning