Double Top Darts.

The Great Rab Smith.
The following is an article by the great dart historian Patrick Chaplin. Sign up to this man's great newsletter every month at patrick.chaplin@btinternet.com

In the late 1970s a Scottish national team without him was unthinkable.
Within the space of two years Dumfries’ Rab Smith (pictured, image LAT
Photographic) had won the Sunday Mail Masters (1976), become the 1976 National Darts
Association of Great Britain (NDAGB) Scottish
Champion and won the Evo-Stik “Golden Darts”
TV tournament in 1977. Amongst other successes
in 1977 Rab won the prestigious British Pentathlon
and the Ladbrokes British Matchplay. When the
world rankings were announced in early 1978 Rab
Smith was in fourth place. If he had won just one
more major tournament during 1977 he would have
been Number One.
Robert ‘Rab’ Smith was born 29th May 1948 at
Moniaive in Dumfriesshire, the only son of Robert (a dairyman) and Kathleen Smith.
Rab also has a sister, Kathleen. Rab is married to Doreen and they have two children
Kathleen (43) and Robert (41)
After leaving school (the Wallace Hall Academy) in 1963 Rab was employed in the
timber trade, in forestry. In 1981 darts writer Derek Brown described Rab as ‘only 5ft 7in
(1.70m) and is wiry with a muscular build one might expect of a woodcutter.’ In 1993
Rab changed his career and became a crane operator a job he held until he retired.
A future champion and Scottish international, Rab was introduced to darts by his father
Robert when he was nine or ten years old. Rab loved the game. He told me, “The family
lived in a big house in the country and I used to practice and practice.”
Rab’s childhood passion for darts took a serious turn when he was 16-17 years old. He
joined a pub league in Dumfries; the Dumfries Arms. Rab recalled that his role model was
not someone on the professional scene at the time but a local player at The Hole I’ The
Wa’ (The Hole in the Wall) pub, Dumfries, named Joe Little.
Rab told me, “From the age of sixteen I would go into town to play darts. I met Joe Little
in the pub and we played darts and he beat me. I kept going back and he kept beating me.
I really wanted to beat him. I practiced and practiced and worked on my game, mostly on
Saturday lunchtimes and at night because I worked all day. I also practiced 12 noon and 1
p.m. most days as well… practice, practice, practice. Then all the practice paid off and I
beat him.” Rab was later to reveal the secret of his success as being ‘a combination of
regular practice and being 100% dedicated to the sport.’
Dr. Darts’ Newsletter – Issue 34 5
As a Dumfries county player, playing right-handed and throwing 21 gram tungsten darts,
his success was soon recognised by the newly-formed Scottish Darts Association (SDA)
and Rab was selected to play for Scotland in the 1973 Home Internationals for the first
time in 1973. Rab continued to be selected to play for his country until 1982, the year he
withdrew from the professional game. For five of those years Rab captained his country
having taken over from George Nicol.
According to Derek Brown (The Guinness Book of Darts (1981)) in 1974 Rab was on the
bus out of Dumfries heading for the second Home International series when he was taken
ill. Derek wrote that ‘Rab had a stomach disorder and this lasted for two years before
vanishing as unaccountably as it had appeared.’ Rab was later to tell me that the
‘disorder’ was actually diagnosed as ulcers and that the condition soon cleared up.
Rab’s first major breakthrough on the tournament scene was winning the Sunday Mail
Masters in 1976. Thereafter he took the world of darts by storm; seemingly omnipresent
wherever there was a major tournament to win. He became the NDAGB Scottish
Champion that same year and NDAGB British Champion in 1977. In the latter match
Rab played the north-west’s Eric Barlow in the final; Barlow having earlier brought off
the shock of the tournament by knocking out the world number one, John Lowe. Rab was
not fazed by this and won the title 2-0.
During 1977 whilst title followed title and he
appeared to be virtually unstoppable, Rab decided to
turn professional. In 1978 Rab was selected to join
the newly-formed Marlboro Team of (Darts)
Champions. John Lowe recalled recently, “Rab was a
member of the Marlboro team from the start which
also included Leighton Rees, Tony Brown, Colin
Baker and me as Captain. Alan Glazier was the
reserve player.” (Image courtesy PC Archive)
When asked what his finest moment in darts was Rab
chose three, not surprisingly perhaps all from that
same year. He told me that winning the Queen’s
Silver Jubilee 3’s International Classic in March
1977 with fellow countrymen George Nicol and Eric
McLean at the West Centre Hotel, Fulham, London
was very special.
With everything equal between the finalists (Scotland and England), the teams chose Rab
and Eric Bristow to represent them in the deciding match. Bristow was way ahead after
twelve darts but experienced ‘double trouble’ which allowed Rab, who according to one
report ‘had stolen up like a black cat in the night’, to shoot out on 72 to secure a
memorable victory over the ‘auld enemy’.
Dr. Darts’ Newsletter – Issue 34 6
The image below (courtesy of Rab Smith) shows Rab celebrating that winning dart whilst
‘Big Cliff’ and ‘Old Stoneface’ watch, able to do nothing to prevent the Scottish win.)
Rab’s second ‘best memory’ was beating
Eric Bristow (again) this time in the
Ladbrokes British Matchplay final. With the
final level at 3-3, Rab stood at the oche with
only 36 points left between him and victory.
Bristow seemed to know what was to happen
next as ‘The Crafty Cockney’ put his darts
down on the table and Rab hit single 18 then
double 9. Rab had hit four maximum 180s
during that final.
Victory in the Evo-Stik Golden Darts
tournament that same year concludes Rab’s
‘best moments’ of an illustrious darts career.
Having beaten Belgium’s Andre Declerq and
Wales’ Alan Evans in earlier rounds, Rab
was to meet England’s John Lowe in the final which the Scotsman won. In addition to
the winning cheque of £1,000, Rab was also awarded a set of 18ct ‘golden darts’ plus a
special prize of ‘a mere quarter ounce gold nugget’ for scoring 180. More recently Rab
told me that he later gave the ‘golden darts’ to his grandson Rory on his first birthday in
2007.
John Lowe was able to exact his revenge later when he beat Rab 2-1 in the semi-final of
the News of the World Individual Darts Championship at Wembley Arena in 1981. Rab
recalled, “I was on double four with John back on 140 or 160. He threw and left double
top. In my next throw I clipped the top wire of double four three times. Then John hit
double top.”
Another key moment in Rab’s career was being selected to represent his country at the
inaugural Embassy World Professional Darts Championship in 1978. He beat Ireland’s
Pat Clifford 6-0 but was then beaten in the quarter finals by Stefan Lord 6-3.
By the early 1980s Rab was still at the top of his game but in 1982, and by his own
admission, he had ‘had enough’. Rab told me in 2011, “The kids were young and I was
never at home; sometimes being away six days a week. I didn’t want to lose my family
life so I gave up.” During that year Rab also ceased playing for his county, Dumfries.
When asked if he had any regrets about leaving the professional darts circuit whilst still
relatively young Rab told me, “Not really. There was always too much travel: hundreds
of miles.” He then paused and added, “I think I might have organised exhibitions better.”
Dr. Darts’ Newsletter – Issue 34 7
Asked about the coming of the ‘modern era of darts’, Rab told me, “Darts has changed
now. You used to have a wee drink and a smoke on stage. It’s getting very serious with
big money now. I don’t know what will happen. The crowds are very loud these days.”
Rab took early retirement in 2011 and told me that he now does anything that takes his
fancy and nothing. However, he ensures that he sees his grandson Rory every week.
Although Rab has not played darts for eight or nine years he long ago left his mark on the
world of darts and Scottish darts in particular.
Text 2012 Patrick Chaplin (Images as stated)
Reply
cheers rab, thanks for posting. good read . since talking to you i've been trying to find out some more about him. seems like the should have been better known than he actually is. found out the flights in you profile are known as "Rab Smith" flights to this day in some shops . thanks again
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Reply
Thx for the post mate- ya got a thumbs up from me pal.
Reply
Wow Rab, what a fantastic read. Never realised you were that good mate.

Thanks for sharing that and giving me some insight into your career. +1 from me.
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League High Peg Outs: Monday 160, Tuesday 170, Thursday 170, Friday 160
Reply
(04-01-2013, 10:45 PM)Jimbo21 Wrote: Wow Rab, what a fantastic read. Never realised you were that good mate.

Thanks for sharing that and giving me some insight into your career. +1 from me.

I'm not the real Rab, I'm only a fan of the great man.
Reply
Is Patrick related to Charlie??????? :LMAO:
Reply
[quote='Darts-Lass' pid='2935' dateline='1364853364']
Is Patrick related to Charlie??????? :LMAO:
[/quot

His grand son
Reply
Awesome! Can i meet him??? :LAUGHING:
Reply
(04-01-2013, 10:58 PM)rabsmith2 Wrote: [quote='Darts-Lass' pid='2935' dateline='1364853364']
Is Patrick related to Charlie??????? :LMAO:
[/quot

His grand son
Haven't a clue about the relationship side of things but he is Mr Darts the man has forgotten more than I will ever learn about darts.
Reply
Great Read, Go on are you fan of other players
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this is good

(04-01-2013, 11:02 PM)rabsmith2 Wrote:
(04-01-2013, 10:58 PM)rabsmith2 Wrote: [quote='Darts-Lass' pid='2935' dateline='1364853364']
Is Patrick related to Charlie??????? :LMAO:
[/quot

His grand son
Haven't a clue about the relationship side of things but he is Mr Darts the man has forgotten more than I will ever learn about darts.
Reply
Already read it in Patrick's newsletter, but it is a good read mate
Reply
Thanks for sharing a great story rab
Reply
Good article, I met Rab last year, a real gentleman
Reply
Used to love watching Rab play, he should have achieved so much more.

Dave
Reply
(04-05-2013, 07:49 PM)danny1967 Wrote: Great Read, Go on are you fan of other players
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this is good

(04-01-2013, 11:02 PM)rabsmith2 Wrote:
(04-01-2013, 10:58 PM)rabsmith2 Wrote:
(04-01-2013, 10:56 PM)Darts-Lass Wrote: Is Patrick related to Charlie??????? :LMAO:
[/quot

His grand son
Haven't a clue about the relationship side of things but he is Mr Darts the man has forgotten more than I will ever learn about darts.
Reply




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