The Crafty Cockney
Eric won his first world championship in 1980, defeating fellow Londoner Bobby George, and so began a decade's worth of domination, in which he would retain his title in 1981 and win it again in 1984, 1985 and 1986. Like his snooker contemporary Steve Davis, however, he had to cope also with a shock defeat during this period, when young unknown Keith Deller beat him in the 1983 final. He finished as runner-up on four other occasions.
The nickname of the Crafty Cockney was given to Eric when he visited an English pub of that name in 1976 during a visit to Santa Monica, USA. It became a nomenclature which stuck throughout his career. Eric wore a shirt (which he received from the same pub) depicting a uniformed British policeman, a Union Flag and the title "the Crafty Cockney" whenever he took part in a tournament.
As well as his world championship exploits, Eric also lifted the prestigious Winmau World Masters crown no fewer than five times (1977, 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1984). He was the winner of the World Cup singles on four occasions (1983, 1985, 1987, 1989) and won the News of the World tournament in 1983 and 1984, together with countless other major tournaments including the British Open and Swedish Open three times each and the North American Open on four occasions.
Eric was awarded the MBE for his services to darts in 1989.
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