I'd like to start by thanking James and others for pointing out that it wasn't a Bank Holiday. However it was still a knockout night - I wasn't about to shuffle the fixtures around yet again - and produced some good performances.
Andy and Anne got the ball rolling, Andy putting in some very good scores including a 180 followed by a 2-dart 120 with an unlucky deflection off the darts in the bed causing a bounce out on the third. Anne played steadily but was too far behind in the scoring to mount an effective challenge and Andy won 2-0.
James played Sam in a neck-and-neck match, Sam winning the first leg and James coming back to level it in the second. Well matched score-wise, it came down to the finishing. With both players having a little shakiness on the doubles it could have gone either way but James was the one who hit the target first to win 2-1.
In the third match it was Ram against Darren. In another close match it was the deciding leg that sealed it with Ram's steady eye for his double giving him the 2-1 victory. Completing the first round matches were Ben and Craig. Ben had a slow start and was still well away from a finish when Craig reduced his target to 32, but at that point the gremlins set in and even with more than 20 darts Craig didn't manage to check out, leaving the door wide open for Ben to catch up and steal the leg. Ben then hit a purple patch and led through the next fast-paced leg, checking out comfortably to win 2-0.
In the first semi-final Andy was up against Ram who it seemed could do no wrong. Andy appeared to suffer from some uncertainty setting up his out shots while Ram just powered on, hitting the targets with confidence to win 2-0 and book his spot in the final.
James and Ben faced off in the second semi and Ben's form continued as he took the first leg. James threw with more focus in the second leg and with both players on a double he proved the more accurate making it 1-1. Another very close leg decided the match 2-1 in James' favour.
And so on to the final: Ram versus James. The first two legs were steady but unexceptional performances with neither player showing quite the same level as the previous round, but in the deciding leg Ram pushed himself up a gear and kept finding that treble-20 to build up an almost unassailable lead. A steady hand on the doubles was all that was needed to finish on top and collect the night's prize.
Congratulations and £10 to Ram, and a bonus £5 prize to Andy for his 180. Thanks to everybody for taking part.
It's a big, long weekend coming up and we'll be joining the celebrations on Monday night - it's Martin Adams 56th birthday so come along and have a go in the Martin Adams Birthday Knockout. No work for most of us on Tuesday because there's something going on that day as well - party at the pub with a live jazz band and BBQ in the afternoon, followed by a disco into the night to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.