What better way to round off the long Easter weekend than a darts knockout? Well, it worked for ten of us on Monday night: a good turnout. But would the effects of four days of partying (in some cases) tell in the darts? Read on...
Tom v James
Sam v Anne
To narrow the field to 8 the first two pairs of names out of the hat played each other in a preliminary round. Starting the night's action were Tom and James in a slow-paced match where neither player managed to score consistently, and both had some trouble with accuracy on their doubles as the match went to a deciding 3rd leg which James won to finish 2-1 up.
Sam played Anne in the second preliminary match, and neither player showed the form they had demonstrated in recent weeks: it looked as if the 4-day weekend had taken quite a toll, but Sam led in the scoring and took advantage of that to win 2-0.
Andy v Bev
Matt v Ben
James v Mark
Sam v Ram
It was great to see Bev back on the Monday night oche after so long as she took on league regular Andy. Bev obviously hadn't lost her touch and hit some steady scores, outperforming Andy who has not managed over the last few weeks to regain the form he showed during the regular season. This was another match that went to the deciding leg but Bev's finishing was decisive and she won 2-1.
Matt and Ben played next and Matt scored well, drawing ahead of Ben, who started slowly, in the first leg before getting stuck on his double to finish. This allowed Ben to catch up and take the leg. The second leg saw Matt score an impressive 132 but he couldn't maintain that consistency. Again it came down to a shootout on the doubles which Ben won to go through 2-0.
First qualifier James had drawn Mark, Bev's partner, who plays regularly in his home town of Weybridge. Mark looked confident and threw a steady game but James was up to the challenge and they went into the deciding 3rd leg looking evenly-matched. A dip in James's form gave Mark enough of an advantage to take the leg and his place in the semis.
Rounding off the quarters was second qualifier Sam who had drawn Ram. Despite having played one match already, Sam couldn't find her usual form and Ram dominated the match to win 2-0.
Bev v Ben
Mark v Ram
Because earlier matches had taken longer than expected I took the decision to reduce the total in the remaining rounds from 501 to 301.
After her first round victory over Andy you had to fancy Bev's chances against Ben who had not shown consistent form in his earlier match. In the event, however, Ben hit the totals when needed to catch up, set up a finish and take the first leg. Bev came right back in the second leg, dominating the scores and checking out to force a decider. Steady darts in the third leg from both players but it was Ben who found the finishing double to gain his place in the final.
Some quality darts next as Mark met Ram in a match that saw the best scoring of the night with the players hitting the treble-20 regularly. The shorter format left little room for errors and Ram was punished for missing his double and leaving the door open for Mark to win 2-0 and go through to face Ben in the final.
Mark v Ben
These two hadn't faced each other on the oche since a friendly game on holiday in 2009, and the atmosphere remained friendly despite the evident concentration. Mark threw as steadily as he had through the earlier rounds and Ben kept pace with consistent scoring, but it was Mark who proved to have his eye in for the doubles where his accuracy gave him the first leg. After a steady opening in the second leg, Ben lost his focus while Mark built a lead to gain a good advantage which he pressed home to win 2-0.
All that remained was to present the prizes: £17.50 to the winner Mark and £7.50 to runner-up Ben. Honourable mentions to losing semi-finalists Bev and Ram, and a big thank you from me to everybody who turned up and took part.
With the next league starting on the 15th April, it means that the next knockout fixture, on Monday 8th, will also be your chance to register with me for a place in the summer league. We're always on the lookout for new players to join us on Monday nights so if you fancy having a go just come along. Monday's knockout is open to everybody as usual and entry will be £2.50 per player.