It was a respectable turnout for the first Monday of the new year with 8 players competing in our opening knockout.
Tom played Ben in the first match and outscored his opponent to reach his out first, but double trouble struck. Ben steadily reduced his total to set up a checkout and stole the legs: slow and steady won the match 2-0.
Second up were James H and Anne. Some good, steady scoring from James, including a 120, gave him a comfortable lead and he took two legs to book his spot in the semis: 2-0
They were followed by James Y against Darren. Forced to use a spare set of darts after losing his own, James looked uncomfortable and struggled against Darren's more consistent throwing. Result: 2-0 to Darren.
The fourth and final first round match pitched Ram against Andy in a close-fought encounter. Andy had the edge in scoring but it was his sharper finishing that proved the deciding factor, Ram missing the double for a 113 checkout in one leg, and Andy won 2-1.
In a change inspired by the FA Cup 4th Round draw the previous day the pairings for the semis were drawn at random. Ben was drawn against Darren, a pairing that both players relished, especially with the addition of a friendly side bet involving a pie for the winner. I'm not suggesting it was all down to the prospect of the pie, but Ben's darts were much more consistent than in the previous round and he had the edge in scoring over Darren. This in combination with a steady eye on the doubles was enough for a 2-0 win to Ben and the first final spot.
The other semi saw James H play Andy. Despite James's best performance so far, Andy's experience showed and he did enough to keep his nose in front, gaining the second berth in the final with a 2-0 win.
Regular finalist Andy had to be the favourite against Ben, making his first appearance in a knockout final for quite some time, but it was Ben who got the advantage of first throw and put in some good scores, keeping the first leg fairly level. However Andy edged it and made the throw for his finishing double count to take the first leg. A shaky start by Ben in the second leg didn't help much, but there was no arguing with Andy's 180, followed shortly after by a 140 to set up a 2-dart out shot for a 22 dart leg - probably the best of the night - to win the match and the competition in style.
Congratulations to the winner Andy who took home £12.50, well done to Ben who trousered the runner-up prize of £7.50, and a big thank you to everyone else who took part. Thanks to those who came along to watch and support, and finally a big thank you from everybody to Anne for the lovely food: it had been missed.
The Royal Standard Premier League Darts returns next Monday 14th and all the players from tonight have signed up. There are still places available if anybody else is interested: it is a friendly individual league involving a round-robin draw of matches against the other players in the league. This will be the third year I have run this league and it continues to be a lot of fun for everybody who takes part. See you next week!