AUSTRALIAN DARTS ACE
The name George Foster may not be a name that instantly springs to mind today but rest assured that he deserves his place in darts history.
I was fortunate enough to meet George when we were both guests at one of John Lowe’s exhibitions in Chesterfield in 2008. Not surprisingly we talked for ages about darts and in particular about when George and his darts partner Kevin White took on the world in the Unicorn World Pairs Championship and won.
George was born in Congleton, Cheshire on 1st June 1939. His father John was a bricklayer and his mother Agnes a cook. George told me that when he was young he and his brothers had an old dartboard hanging on the garden shed. Later he learned to play serious darts in local pubs. George said, “I didn’t really have a role model but in the mid-1950s a guy named Herbert Morris was the one setting the standards.”
In his mid-20s in 1964 George immigrated to Australia where he carried on his occupation as a toolmaker and, of course, played darts. His darting skills were soon recognised and two years later, in 1966, George represented New South Wales in the Australasian Darts Championships that year, played in New Zealand. George then went on to represent his adopted country and when he moved to Papua New Guinea to talk up the post of Hotel Manager at the Davara in Bougainville (thinking his darts career was over) he played for that country. During his three-year stay in Papua New Guinea George represented the country at the first Pacific Cup and in the third WDF World Cup.
Back in 1964 George had won through to the Lancashire and Cheshire divisional finals of the News of the World Individual Darts Championship so he took a great darting pedigree with him to Australia. When he returned to England for a short while in the 1980s George again won through to the divisional finals in 1984.
However, George’s greatest darting moment was to occur in 1976 at the Unicorn World Pairs Championship. The event (then in its second year) took place in the plush surroundings of London’s West Centre Hotel in April 1976. Together with Kevin White, George travelled from Australia to the capital and blew away all before them as they brushed aside all opposition eventually beating Belgium (Omer Bauwens and Will DeLaere) 3-0 in the final which was televised ‘live’ by ITV’s World of Sport.
Darts World reported that Foster and White ‘dismissed the top players from the Home Counties as easily as they did the overseas opposition.’ The winners were rewarded with a ‘giant cheque’ for £2,000 presented by Mrs. Ann Lowy, wife of Unicorn’s Managing Director Stanley Lowy.
In the late 1970s Wales’ famous darting son Alan Evans tried to persuade George to go professional but he refused. He told me “It would have meant moving to England which didn’t suit my family at the time. “
After a couple of attempts to retire from darts George finally did so in 1997. He said, “I was happy to do this while I was still competitive.” George certainly had no regrets ‘only lots of great memories’ of his dart-playing years during which he made a lot of friends including John Lowe, which is where my contact with George began. Would he come out of retirement if there was a ‘Legends of Darts’ tour being put together in Australia? George declined to comment but told me “I think the Legends tour is a great idea. I think that all dart players and fans like to see and meet the “Stars of the Game” – whether they are young or old.”
At a time even before the first Embassy World Professional Darts Championship took place, to win a world title was a rarity and that reason alone qualifies George Foster (and his darts partner Kevin White) a place in any darts Hall of Fame.
© 2010 Patrick Chaplin
GEORGE FOSTER AT 80
Following my mention in the June 2019 issue of my global Dr. Darts’ Newsletter of England’s legendary left-handed darts player Alan Glazier reaching the grand age of 80,I was contacted by Vicki Foster, wife of Australian darts ace George Foster.
Many readers of DDN will recall George who is particularly well known for winning the UNICORN World Pairs Darts Championship in 1976 for his adopted country with his good friend Kevin White:
I note that, in the latest DDN, you mention Alan Glazier turning 80 earlier this year. Just thought I would let you know that George also turned 80 on the weekend – 1st June. We had a wonderful party with many family and friends at our place to celebrate. He had a fantastic time and thankfully George is in great health. He has now retired from his part time job as a Maintenance Officer at an aged care facility. About time I would say!
Congratulations George on reaching this milestone. You’re looking well!
I am pleased to say that I am still in touch with George and his wife Vicki.
© 2019 Patrick Chaplin