Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Knockout - 17 December 2012

Well, that's it for 2012. Last night's Christmas Knockout rounded off the year, but before we set our sights on the new season there's the small matter of the match report.

Match Report
Nine players took part, a good turnout considering this was only the second week that the darts had been back up and running after the extended break since summer, and it was great to see two new faces. A big welcome to Tom and James H.

Matches were played as the best of 3 legs of 501: the usual format. The draw involved one preliminary round match to reduce the field to 8, the winners of that round going forward to the semi-finals and so on to the final: 8 matches in total.

Tom v Ram
Tom started well, getting a good lead over Ram in the first leg but experience tells and Ram carried steadily on while Tom struggled with his finishing. 2-0 to Ram.

First Round
Ram v James H
New player James H was more than modest about his throwing skills but put in a creditable performance against Ram, scoring consistently and reaching a finish in both legs; however Ram proved too strong and won the match 2-0.

Ben v James Y
After a cracking start - 75, 85, 125 - to build up a decent lead in the first leg Ben suffered yet again from the inconsistency that has dogged his game and allowed James to catch up. He put the pressure on by reducing his total to 40 but James responded in style by checking out 85 with a confident 15, 20, bullseye. The second leg followed for a fairly comfortable 2-0 win.

Anne v Andy
If there was a prize for entertainment value Anne would win hands down: a real crowd-pleaser who always gets the audience behind her. Unfortunately she didn't manage to exert the same influence over her darts and her scoring, usually decent, let her down. Andy put in a slightly below par performance - not as many treble-tops as we are used to seeing - but in the end it was more than enough and he won 2-0.

Matt v Darren
Matt has played in a few of our knockouts over the past couple of years and showed a marked improvement over time so Darren couldn't underestimate his opponent here. Scoring-wise Matt looked steadier but was weak in the finishing: when the first leg got down to both players in the madhouse (double-1) it could have gone either way. Shades of last week's opening leg for Darren - he was in a similar position - but he managed to find the bed eventually to take the longest leg of the night. The scores in the second leg were also close but Darren's finishing proved much better this time and he won 2-0.

Semi Finals
Ram v James Y
Strongbow- and Doritos-fuelled James was confident enough going into this match and with good reason after winning last week's knockout. However Ram had found his range by this point and simply threw better than James to win 2-0.

Andy v Darren
I don't know whether it was the pressure of the match or the pressure on his bladder that got to Darren but he couldn't find the form that he showed last week when he put dart after dart into the treble-19. Against scoring like Andy's that proved fatal and Andy won 2-0 to book his spot in the final.

Ram v Andy
Twenty to eleven and the two finalists were ready on the oche. Andy landed nearest the bull to secure the opening throw and we were away. Both players showed a little more inconsistency than we have come to expect but it was a close first leg that Andy won to gain the advantage. Ram opened in the second leg but fell behind in the scoring as Andy tightened up his throw. Despite a little shakiness on the checkout Ram was too far behind to mount a serious challenge and Andy sealed the match and the title 2-0. Ram was presented with the runner-up prize of £7.50 while Andy received £15 and the trophy. Many thanks to everybody who played and also to those who came along to watch and support.
Winner Andy is presented with the trophy
New Year, New Season
There will be no darts for the next two weeks as it is Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve and other events are taking place in the pub (and elsewhere no doubt), so we will return on Monday January 7th for a knockout and to sign up for the new Premier League season. If I don't see you before then have a great holiday and I hope to see you in the New Year.

A Final Note
I've been asked by Tom to put out a request for people who are interested in playing competitive darts in a local league (Aldershot & District) to get in touch. The winter league has already started so this will be for the summer league. You can contact me directly or via the Royal Standard and I'll pass on your details to Tom. Thanks.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Knockout - 10 December 2012

Darts returned on Monday night with surprisingly few teething problems. The board had been replaced two inches too high and the new carpet meant that the rubber mat with the oche wouldn't stay put. It didn't take long to reposition the board but we spent some time experimenting with taping the mat in place before resorting to a simple strip of tape on the carpet at the appropriate distance. I'm happy to report that a more permanent solution has been found: two metal strips are now in place at 7' (for the ladies) and 7' 9¼". The lighting in that part of the pub is poor - I couldn't see well enough to fit the flights on my arrows - and we had to appropriate a table from elsewhere, but otherwise it's not a bad location.

Match Report
Six of us played in this opening knockout, not a bad turnout after the unexpectedly long break. James and Andy were drawn first with Andy hitting some very respectable scores including a 132 but his finishing let him down and James won 2-1. Darren and Ben played next; Ben's darts were all over the place with a 3-dart average that must have been hovering around 20! but when Darren failed time after time to hit double-1 Ben sneaked in a finish to take one of the unlikeliest legs ever. There was no way that was going to be repeated and Darren finished up the winner 2-1, scoring three 133's along the way.

With the preliminary round out of the way it was on with the semis. First up were Ram and Anne who received byes in the draw. After a shaky start by Ram this settled down into a familiar pattern with Anne scoring some decent totals along the way but not able to keep up with Ram's more consistent darts: 2-0 to Ram.

The two qualifiers, James and Darren, completed the semi-final line-up. I don't know whether it was through warming up in the previous round or the effects of the cider but James certainly found his form this time. Darren continued throwing consistently, hitting another 133, but James was ahead all the way, achieving the night's highest score of 140 along the way to a 2-0 victory and a spot in the final.

All James had to do was keep on throwing that consistently and against Ram in the final that was exactly what he did. Ram looked a little rusty after the months away from the oche, as did most of us compared to the heights of last season, but James seemed to find his old form and won convincingly 2-0.

Next Week
The Christmas Knockout is next Monday, the 17th. Starting between 8 and 8:30 it will be £2.50 per player to enter and is open to everybody. Even if you don't play why not come along and watch?