I know, from the number of enquiries I receive that darts fans like to hear about former News of the World darts champions. Here’s a name from the past: Harry Perryman who lifted the title in April 1951.
This piece of research all began when I received an e-mail back in September last year from Andy Routledge who wrote:
Hi Patrick, I was just listening to your contribution as part of a documentary on darts on Talk Sport and thought you’d be able to help me.
I’m distantly related to Harry Perryman who I believe won the News of the World championships in 1951 and I’d love to find out more about him and also to try and track down a copy of the paper on the day when he won. I know it exists because amazingly I once saw it in a frame in a second hand shop in Devon and, when I went back to the shop to buy it, it had gone!
Any insight you can give me would be great because I’d love to know more.
Researching former News of the World winners is an absolute joy for me so I set about seeking out information about Harry Perryman and soon discovered that, as Andy had thought, Harry had won the News of the World title in 1951.
I also discovered that Harry had first made it to the Finals of the News of the World London and Home Counties Division in the 1948/49 season, held at the Shoreditch Town Hall, Old Street, London E. C. 1., as the Middlesex Area champion playing out of The Plough, Alperton. He had beaten T. Thiel of The Alma, Harrow Weald in the Middlesex Area final. Harry did not make it past this stage that year. However, the following year was a different story.
In the 1950/51 competition, Harry Perryman, a 46-year-old joiner, made it through to the News of the World London and Home Counties Divisional Final held at the Shoreditch Town Hall on Tuesday 20th March 1951, as the Middlesex Area NoW champion, representing the Home Office Social Club, Greenford and won the title. The extract from the Finals programme for that year shows Harry with lady archery champion Mrs. Clarice Arthur. (A rare photo of darter and archer together.)
Runner up to Harry in the Middlesex Area tournament in 1951 was G. Russell who played out of the Northwood Hills Hotel, Pinner. At present I cannot trace who Harry beat to take the Divisional title but on that evening he progressed to the Grand Finals in the capital as the London and Home Counties Divisional Champion.
The finals were held at the Empress Hall, Earl’s Court, London, before a crowd of 7,000 darts fans. In the actual final Perryman, ‘a consistent player on the 19s’ came up against another 19s expert, Laurie Runchman, a 38-year-old house decorator from Suffolk, the Eastern Counties champion, who played out of the Feathers Inn, Felixstowe. Perryman was too strong for Runchman winning the first leg in 25 darts. (The News of the World individual darts tournament was always the best of three legs.)
The second leg was much closer and ‘produced the tensest moment of the evening’. The News of the World reporter ‘Champ’ wrote
Runchman went to the board needing 76. He threw a treble 20, just missed double eight for game shot (scoring single 8) and before a 7,000 crowd just missed the double 4, scoring a single and missing his chance of saving the leg.
Perryman then stepped up to the hockey (as it was still spelled in those days) needing double 15 and hitting it to become the champion. He had taken only 19 darts to complete the second and winning leg for a 2-0 score line. The victor was presented with his medal and the magnificent News of the World trophy by English comedian Tommy Trinder. (See photo on previous page. Perryman is on the right. (Image: PC Darts Archive. Used with permission.))
Harry Perryman is mentioned in the 1952 News of the World London and Home Counties Divisional finals programme as being the previous year’s Divisional champion; the programme notes adding ‘This season Perryman lost to George ‘Rubber’ Connell (Halfway House, Southall) in the sub-area games, and Connell was himself beaten in the Middlesex finals.
Text copyright Patrick Chaplin 2016. Images copyright News of the World.
Note: This article was first published in Dr. Darts’ Newsletter (DDN) #71, April 2016