Nicholson pays tribute to Bray and Noble in referee column: "Russ and George are the two godfathers of darts referees as far as those following in their footsteps are concerned"

The players receive plenty of praise but Paul Nicholson used his latest column with Sporting Life to pay tribute to the referees both past and present and among them are Russ Bray and George Noble.

Nicholson discussed the iconic voices and called the duo 'godfathers of darts referees' and that they responded after the initial legacies left by the likes of Bruce Spendley and Freddie Williams.

He believes though that the likes of Paul Hinks, Kirk Bevins and Huw Ware who currently referee alongside Bray and Noble can be in the same standing in the future.

"The BDO did initially struggle to get a strong marquee referee after the split but then a young man with an unwavering voice called George Noble comes in, gets the nickname ‘the Puppy’ and goes on to become one of the best referees of our time," said Nicholson on Sporting Life.

"If it wasn’t for his willingness to referee in the 1990s, then I’m not sure we’d have the crop of refs that we do these days. He had the courage to do things his own way and that gives inspiration to others to follow suit.

Russ Bray obviously has one of the most iconic 180 calls and it is now folklore in sport, let alone darts – but they didn’t used to be as long as they are now. Perhaps in this era they have to be punchier and longer due to the size of the crowds!

Russ and George are the two godfathers of darts referees as far as those following in their footsteps are concerned such as Paul Hinks, Kirk Bevins and Huw Ware.

They have the pressure of living up to their standards – both in terms of not making mistakes and also possessing unique delivery – and I’m sure they’ll deliver in the same way Russ and George responded to the legacy of Bruce (Spendley) and Freddie (Williams)."

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