On February 3, 2002, a moment of darting history was made. Shaun Greatbatch hit the first-ever live televised nine darter in the final of the Dutch Open.
The historic feat saw him become affectionately known as ‘9 Dart’ by Dutch fans, and soon after by darts fans around the world.
In part two of our chat with the former England international and World Championship semi-finalist, Greatbatch recalls that famous leg of darts and the other highs in his career in the sport.
“That nine darter probably changed my whole darting career,” the 46-year-old said. “It got me exhibitions, presentations, I was doing endorsements for darts. I was a popular person in Holland.
“The Dutch gave me the nickname, 9 Dart. I’d be going through the airport at Amsterdam and people would shout ‘9 Dart.’
“All the taxi drivers knew who I was. It was a good feeling at the time.
“It was a good thing I didn’t think about it because I’d have probably missed it! It went in sweet as a nut.
“Everything was in the middle. A few weeks later in Germany I was having a practice before a tournament and I done it again.
“It was good times. Obviously with Sky in the limelight now it never gets mentioned on Sky that I done it.
“But most true darts fans know who done the first live nine darter. I bumped into Jelle (Klaasen) and he talks about it.
“All the top dart players know who done it. Obviously Phil gets the recognition but I think he has been known to say in an interview that actually he didn’t do it and that it was me.”
Greatbatch was born into a family with darting pedigree. His mother Sandra reached the semi-finals of the ladies World Championship in 2002 and also got to two World Masters finals.
At the age of 15, Greatbatch was playing for the Norfolk county team, before being persuaded by Scottish international Trevor Nurse to switch to Cambridgeshire three years later.
In 1997, Greatbatch received his first call-up to the England squad for the British Internationals. He would have to wait though to make his debut, with a friendly soon after in Ireland marking his first appearance for his country.
“I used to get a real buzz playing for England and I miss doing that now”
“I hit 180 with my first three darts for England,” Greatbatch recalls. “The England set up meant everything to me.
“I used to really get a buzz from playing for my country and it’s one of the only things I miss now.
“I don’t miss the travelling but I do miss them big games. I think I played 13 or 15 games and won 11 so I had quite a good record.
“It’s a proud thing to represent your country. Not many people get the chance in their chosen sport and I just thought it was the pinnacle of everything.
“That gave me an inkling of what was available to me. It made me believe in myself and push myself to go on.
“My dad always said I’d be a better dart player if I didn’t mess around fishing and doing things I shouldn’t be doing.
“When I was 30 I made a good go of it. I picked up sponsors and started travelling and was lucky enough to win a few.”
Date of birth 13/7/1969
Place of birth Newmarket
Walk-on music Town Called Malice by The Jam
Dutch Open 2002; Swedish Open 2004, 2007; Denmark Open 2005; England National Championship 2006; 2007
Best World Championship performance 2006 (semi-finals)