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Byline: By Karen Price Western Mail

Footballers' Wives is loved by millions for its glitz, glamour and sheer guts...but are real-life sport wives the same? Football maybe...but what about darts? We sent Karen Price in search of fake tans, fab frocks, fights and fur coats...

Rachel Larder, 27, lives in Cwmbran with her partner Peter Johns, 42, a darts player and machine operator. They've been together seven years after meeting through friends. Peter has two children - Simon, 17, and 14-year-old Natalie. Peter has made 10 international appearances since winning his first cap for Wales in 1995. He has won one major event - the 1997 Torremolinos Open Mixed event and was runner-up in the 1999 Welsh Individual tournament.

Peter has been playing darts since he was 17 but I wasn't into darts at all. I'm now a complete darts fan.

'I don't play but I go to the tournaments and I have got to know the other wives and girlfriends.

'When Peter plays, I'm more nervous than he is, especially when he is competing in the big tournaments which I know he wants to win so much.

'I sit at the back as I can't watch - I just peek through my fingers. I definitely feel proud of him.

'I work full-time in a doctors' surgery as a nurse technician and I also do the admin. I've converted all of the girls in work into watching darts and when the championships are on we put the telly on in the waiting room so we can watch it with the patients.

'I enjoy going to the gym and socialising with friends.

'Peter goes out to practise darts twice or three times a week. I usually go to all the tournaments with him but this year there are two or three I'm not going on, mainly due to money reasons.

'If it wasn't for the darts, I wouldn't have seen half of the places I have seen. Once we went to Spain and I really enjoyed that as the weather was lovely. It was the first major tournament I ever went to with Peter so it's the one I really remember.

'I don't take part in any sport myself - I don't get time to have any hobbies as I'm always away with Peter.

'When we have spare time, Peter and I go out for meals quite a lot. We usually go to Newport and Chinese and Indian meals are our favourites.

'As far as music is concerned, I love pop music and Peter likes Tom Jones.

'I'm really into Westlife at the moment and am going to see them in Cardiff with the girls.

'On TV, I enjoy all of the hospital dramas, like Holby City and Casualty, and I love Footballers' Wives. I suppose living with a dart player is a bit like being a footballers' wife - but without the glamour!

'We also follow our partners everywhere and go to all of the matches but obviously the darts players don't get as much attention as the footballers - or the money. However, lots of darts groupies do come up to the players for autographs. When they ask Peter I do feel proud of him. I've never seen women throwing themselves at the players though.

'In Wales, there is always a group of women who go everywhere to support the Welsh team but I don't feel threatened at all. They are in it for a laugh - there's never any trouble.

'Just like the footballers' wives I'm a shopaholic. Shoes are my downfall - I have hundreds of pairs and never seem to wear the same pair twice. Peter goes mad when I come home with a new pair!

'I love shopping at Dorothy Perkins - I like casual clothes but I love dressing up to go out. I like jewellery and it has to be gold. Peter buys me jewellery as presents.

'We haven't got a holiday planned for this year yet as there is so much darts - everything revolves around the darts.

'We are hoping to get away in September to Gran Canaria.'
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 2, 2004
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