Day at the Darts 2010 Championships
Another long, tiring, and fun day at the darts is over – and I’m sitting at home watching todays games while writing this – Darts isn’t just for Xmas, its for the new year too!
The three of us set off at 9am, and after a traffic free drive arrived at Alexandra Palace about 10:45am – plenty of time before the noon doors open. Luckily we are now old vets of the worlds, and knew to get ourselves to the 180 bar on the outside of the Ally Pally, for a pint and some grub.
One cracking breakfast bun later (top notch), we settled down in the only seats in the bar to savour our pints and watch the darts fans roll in. This was the calm before the storm 🙂
We made our way in through the hallowed doors just after noon – and as luck would have it, there were no queues to speak of. First things first, we found our seats – claiming out table 1, row G, seats 1,2 and 3 best seats in the house 🙂 If anything it’s a bit close, as you can’t see the board because the players are in the way.
The beer came in 4 pint pitchers – and even better there were ‘beer people’ walking round with beer kegs on their backs serving top ups, quality! I think we got through about 3 of them during the morning session – not bad as only two of us were drinking
We wrote out our 180 cards (a benefit of turning up early is getting your hands on the cards) – the usual rubbish to try and catch the camera’s eye. The crowd filled up quickly, but luckily it wasn’t too hot (although it heated up in the evening – getting uncomfortably hot as it often does).
First game up, Andy ‘The Hammer’ Hamilton vs. the veteran Steve ‘The Adonis’ Beaton. It felt like neither player were at their best, but the hammer was too strong. Being right at the front we managed to catch Andy’s eye as he celebrated, and he threw his darts flights in our direction, and Lee managed to catch one before the scrum descended.
The second game was between crowd favourite, Terry ‘The Bull’ Jenkins, who really seems like a nice bloke, vs. American Darin ‘Big Daddy’ Young. The crowd really got into this game – with a lot of ‘Eng-ger-land’ chanting going on. Darin seemed to take it in good humour – especially
when the humour turned to question if he had any relationships with Tiger Woods… Darin shouted back at the crowd; “He’s slept with everyone in America” which got a good laugh.
Jenkins was far too strong though, and Darin looked a bit crestfallen as he was soundly beaten.
One of the highlights of the darts is of course the walk on girls (well it is if you’re a red blooded guy! 🙂 ). Luckily we were treated to PDC favourite Nicola Cowell, and the just as lovely Sarah Tunnicliffe. They looked cracking in their outfits – quite classy dresses too, and to be honest, thank god the dancers weren’t there – I wasn’t a fan of them prancing about.
Last game of the morning session was Wayne Jones vs. the Aussie Simon Whitlock – a real dark horse!
We ignored the betting odds giving us a clue, and bet on Wayne, as the odds were good for any sets win. We thought it would be closer than it was – but Simon Whitlock was on top form – he really concentrates with a full on intensity. His doubles and accuracy is breathtaking at times. (note: he’s gone on through the next round too! Joining the UK circuit next year).
The session ended in good time – by 5pm, so we got some EXPENSIVE chips from the van outside (£7.50 for fish n chips?? they were having a laugh), and sat in the car for an hour to get out of the rain.
Doors re-open at 6pm, so we rushed back – ready for a big evening. The morning session had felt a little disappointing – the games were a bit one sided or lacking in quality – but we had high hopes for the later games.
Van Gerwin vs. Wade kicked off, and we swapped to pints of cider to pick us up too. If you are going along – I recommend the pies – the chicken balti was a cracker 😉 As we thought, Wade was too good for the dutch player – it’s a shame that Mighty Mike hasn’t yet had the results that was expected of him when he first joined the PDC.
I thought James Wade had the best reception at a worlds yet – the crowd on the most part where cheering him (I’ve seen him booed a fair bit previously) – and I think he appreciated the support.
Then it was time for the big one – and the room was really buzzing as Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor made his entrance. To be honest the wall of sound and singing of Phil’s name really appeared to daunt his opponent, Robert Thornton. You here the commentators say that a player is beat before they throw a dart, and it really looked that way.
It can’t be easy playing a legend on top form, especially when the entire crowd is against you (more ‘Eng-ger-land’ chants to annoy the Scottish Thornton).
My feeling was right, and Phil won quite easilly – showing everyone that he is still determined to win his 15th world championship! The ‘winter wonderland’ song filling the hall.
Then onto the last, and I think easily the best game of the night, Adrian Lewis vs. Kevin McDine. I predicted a lot of 180’s to my brother, and wasn’t wrong! Not sure how many there were, but I think there was at least 12 by Lewis. The atmosphere was fantastic, the crowd roaring and filling the room with sound. Lewis really was on top form, at one point we could see he’d got to an average of 108+!! The standard dipped later on, possibly due to the crowd ‘going nuts’ – singing a tune over and over again – thumping on tables the works. It did annoy Lewis – possibly because he thought it was aimed against McDine and was dis-repectful, but nothing he could do would stop the crowd enjoying itself. Lewis plays Phil next – who knows what will happen (Lewis will lose unless he realises he CAN win).
So all in all another great day at the darts. Beer, darts, girls (walk on variety), and a great party feeling. Bring on 2011! … although my next visit to the darts is the PDC Players championship at the Circus Tavern, only a month away…