Inside the pub which has a dedicated practice room for PDC World Championship semi-finalist darts aces Scott Williams and Rob Cross
Sean Trafford knew a young Scott Williams was destined for big things when he first watched him throw against some of darts’ big names in his pub a decade ago.
Thirty-three-year-old Swineshead arrows ace Scott has already become one of sport’s breakthrough stars of 2024, securing his status as a household name as he reached the final four of the PDC World Darts Championship.
Shaggy, as he is known, captured the imagination of Yellowbellies and darts fans across the world last week as he brushed past three-time winner Michael van Gerwen in the last eight to move through to the semi-finals, edge into the world’s top 32 and collect a mouthwatering £100,000 in prizemoney.
But for Sean - landlord at the village’s Green Dragon pub where Scott has a dedicated practice room - last week’s success was never a matter of if, but when.
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“I used to have the Wheatsheaf in Swineshead and Scott used to play football for me, had Christmases with us etc,” he remembered.
“One year the BDO was playing on the telly on one wall and he was throwing against them on our board.
“He was beating them and I said ’you’re going to do this, you’re going to make it. This is your future’.
“I always knew he could do it when you watch him throw. It’s just natural.”
When Sean moved over to the neighbouring Green Dragon, Scott set up a darts team for which both still play, along with a few big-name friends from the sport.
Fellow World Darts Championship semi-finalist Rob Cross is signed on, as is Irish oche ace John O’Shea and ex-pro Nathan Derry.
“When we get the full lot together we’ll be formidable,” Sean said with a laugh.
But as well as competing for the Green Dragon, the village pub is also where Scott, and often Cross who regularly stays in nearby Boston, can be found putting in the hard yards.
The back room, regularly rammed when hosting local league matches, boasts two boards, memorabilia including shirts once worn by the likes of Phil Taylor, Fallon Sherrock and Williams himself and a trophy cabinet filled with trinkets.
The first board Williams ever played on in the BDO also hangs on the wall; once donated for a charity auction but bought back by pal Josh Parks and returned to the pub.
“The room was a bit small and he said he needed a bigger darts room, so we built one in lockdown,” Sean added.
“He’s got what he needs in there to help him along his way.”
With his no-look throws and crowd-pleasing antics, the former Boston Grammar School lad came across as something of a showman at the championships, which were televised on Sky Sports.
But that’s just his everyday personality according to Andy Stukins, manager of Boston League side Swineshead Institute, where Scott is a regular between the sticks.
“Some people think he puts it on for the darts but that’s not the case. He’s like that at the football,” he said.
“We’ll tell him to just be sensible and get rid of the ball and he’s there Cruyff turning people and taking it past two or three.
“That’s not an act, he’s just a confident person.”
And while he may never make the list of the world’s top 30 goalkeepers, football-mad Scott – who put the glitz and glamour of the darts behind him to run out for the Tutes’ second string against Park United Reserves in the Boston League on Saturday – has proven himself as a reliable number one.
“In 2016/17 we won everything apart from the county cup with Swineshead and he was a massive part of that,” Andy added.
“He can kick the ball an absolute mile. He’s even scored a couple of goals out his hands. He’s a good weapon to have.
“He’s good with crosses and doesn’t miss many being that tall.”
But even when turning up to the Causeway for football duty, Scott can’t put the arrows to the back of his mind.
“He donated a darts board to the club and he’s there getting the kids involved before games," Andy continued.
“They’re always mucking about and throwing darts.
“He’s good to have round the changing room. People gravitate towards him, he’s a good person.”
While Scott may well be just a regular guy back home in Swineshead, his friends found themselves cheering on a superstar last week as he beat Dutchman van Gerwen to book his place in the semi-finals, where he was eventually beaten by Luke Humphries, who went on to be crowned world champ.
“He’s made us all proud, he really has,” Sean added.
“He’s done a cracking job but unfortunately came up against somebody who was on fire.
“We’ve had a buzz around the pub as Scott and Rob Cross, who trains here as well, were both in the semis.
“With Rob getting knocked out everyone was a little subdued, but we picked ourselves up for Scott.
“There were a few teary moments but he did what he did and we were in awe of him.”
There were similar feelings of pride for Scott’s teammates at the Institute.
“When he’s been playing the group chat’s been mental,” Andy added.
“When he beat van Gerwen my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing.”
Even with a £100,000 prizemoney in his pocket, there will be no shortage of locals lining up to buy a drink for Scott over the coming weeks, even if his football pals have plans of where those winnings could go.
“The lads were telling him we could do with some new tracksuits, and then someone suggested a pre-season tour to Dubai,” Andy said.
“Hopefully with his popularity people will might want to come forward and sponsor the club.”
What do you think? Did you cheer on Scott? Post your thoughts in the comments below