Tony Eccles: I’ll retire

TONY ECCLES
TONY ECCLES

TONY Eccles plans on retiring from darts by becoming the BDO World Champion, writes Chris Bell.

The Viper has sounded his waning love for the sport for the past two years and has made a decision to hang up his arrows after the World Championships which begin on January 4.

Eccles told SportMail of his few regrets during his years on the oche – most notably not playing in a world cup game for England – but would atone for unfulfilled ambitions by taking the Lakeside crown at his eighth appearance at the Frimley Green venue.

Whilst the hunger to end his career with his name etched onto the Lakeside trophy still exists, the West View resident confesses that the time is right to focus his attention away from the board.

He said: “I’m not enjoying darts anymore.

“I’ve hardly been to any tournaments this year, I’m not bothered about them.

“There are a few reasons, one of them is not enjoying the sport.

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“When you’re away from your family the crunch comes when you come back after a few days away – I can’t continue to do that.

“I want to go back to work and be comfortable without going to tournaments.

“I haven’t played in any of this season’s competitions, beside the World Masters, but I’ve still kept my hand in on the local scene and I’m doing okay.”

Eccles has threw with the game’s finest and been rated amongst the game’s best – a fourth seed at Lakeside in 2007 and 20th in the PDC World Championships in 2009 on his CV.

A winner of 13 major tournaments, the 43-year-old looked back with a mixture of pride and missed opportunities as he stepped up his preparations for his first round match against fifth seed Darryl Fitton.

He went on: “I don’t know what my highlight is... maybe winning the Dutch Open in front of 3,500 people.

“I did play for England but my ambition was to play in the world cup for England and I didn’t.

“I got picked but then moved over to the PDC.

“I was fit at that point and I threw it away.

“There are regrets but I have done a lot.

“There’s not much I haven’t played in.

“I have played in every TV competition, but the Premier League.

“It would be good to go out as a Lakeside winner.

“Of course I can win it but even if I do and I will still pack it in. There’s no going back.

“It’s my last tournament, so I want to go out on a bang and I’m confident I can do so.”