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     Darts in Dublin

    PHP-NukeCharis writes "Players Championship 1
    This year again I travelled to Dublin to follow the two Players Championships and the first two days of the World Grand Prix live. And again I stay at the City West Hotel but this year in another wing which feels like around two km away from the breakfast room which was on Saturday morning filled with darts players. The Huybrechts brothers breakfasted together as did Raymond van Barneveld with his wife. Mark Dudbridge sat together with Steve Brown, Jamie Lewis with Arron Monk only to mention a few names. After the breakfast I first went shopping - it was sunny but very windy outside.

     When I arrived in the venue the draw had already taken place. I had a view at the score board and found out that Germans Tomas Seyler and Jyhan Artut had hit the jackpot - they had been drawn against one another. I had another view at the room which showed me only Bernd Roith the third German player who would play Kevin McDine was there. Finally when the first matches were already played Tomas Seyler appeared jaded in the room. As he told me he was supposed to write one of those first matches but had totally underestimated the distances in the hotel. He was lucky he was not excluded from the tournament for being late. Probably he was accommodated in the same hotel wing as I...

    The match between Bernd Roith and Kevin McDine was a very close affair. In the last leg unluckily the scoring power seemed to have left Bernd and he lost 5:6.While I waited for the other German match to begin I watched Simon Whitlock almost throw a nine-darter at the other end of the room.

    The match between Jyhan and Tomas had no clear favourite - the scores were quite similar. But Tomas was much better finishing and he threw four 180s while Jyhan didn't throw a single one so Tomas win was a fair result.

    I had a short look at the two finish players Jarkko Komula and Jani Haavisto. Komula not only optical turned out to be the stronger on the day. He's quite tall and sturdy while Haavisto is smaller and slim. Komula whitewashed Jim Walker while Haavisto lost 4:6 against a good playing Kevin Dowling.

    Than I watched the match between Andy Jenkins and Matthew Edgar - not really high-class but a good match - which was won by the better scoring and clean finishing Andy Jenkins. I changed to the last legs between Terry Jenkins and Chris Aubrey. The match was won by Jenkins "in the sweat of this brow" as Aubrey had his chances in every single let too. At the neighbouring board a convincing John Part defeated Colin Osborne 6:1. Tomas Seyler was eliminated this round, he lost without a chance 3:6 to Justin Pipe.

     As I already stood at Terry Jenkin's board I stayed there for the next two matches and first saw a much easier win for Terry against Andy Pearce. Then a really high-class match developed between Jenkins and Robert Thornton. Despite all his efforts Thornton never had a real chance - especially his favourite double top Jenkins hit with somnambulistic accuracy.

    One hears of Wayne Jones again and so I watched his match against Kevin Dowling after that. It was a good match on quite high level and Jones reached the finish in most legs first. Almost every time he hit his double with the first throw. Only in the last leg both players had their problems. Dowling fought with his eight points, Jones with his 18. Jones had the throw in the leg and a further chance and he finally used it.

    Another player who looks like he's back after surgery at his throwing arm is Mark Dudbridge. He is an old acquaintance and I watched his match against Keegan Brown. Mark really is in good from and he won 6:2.

    Gary Anderson was still in the tournament and I moved to watch him play against Michael van Gerwen. For Anderson to be sure it was a horrible match. Once again his doubles let him down, it really hurt. When I couldn't stand it any longer he was 3:2 down against a not great playing van Gerwen while he should have been in the lead with 5:0. In the end he lost 2:6 without van Gerwen deserving the win at all.

    I moved on to the other side of the venue were the match between James Wade and Wayne Jones started a little bit belated as Wade first had to clean his glasses, Not really easy - it took some time till from somewhere a clean towel appeared. I got the impression Jones got exasperated with the game. One can't say Wade played a remarkable game. He threw a lot of 43s, 45s, 57s, once even a nice 26. But than followed some high scores and a clinical finish. And Jones consistency didn't help at all. But in the quarterfinals Wade met Brendan Dolan who was not as easy to impress and Wade was eliminated from the tournament.

    By then both the crowd and the number of players had been reduced and the semi-finals started. As I already stood before Brendan Dolan's board I stayed there. Dolan convinced again against Mark Dudbridge and progressed to the final and after Mark had overcome his frustration he was really happy with his performance.
    I switched to the last few legs between Justin Pipe and Adrian Lewis and was quite surprised to find myself beside Phil Taylor. I've no idea when he was eliminated that day. Normally Taylor disappears when he's lost as do most other players - but there he was watching the semi-final and cheering both players. It was a really good match, Lewis was just a little bit stronger.

    After the semi-finals the preparations for the final started. Dave Allen appeared with his camera and the crowd gathered around the board. I found a chair in the front row. At the beginning of the final Brendan Dolan was the stronger player, Lewis looked tired and exhausted. But suddenly he was back and managed to draw. In the last two legs he just passed by Dolan who seemed to have no energy left.

    After the match Lewis said: ""My form's been great all day and I had a tough draw. I started off with Jelle Klaasen and moved on to the likes of Joe Cullen, Justin Pipe and Brendan Dolan in the final. It was a fantastic game and it's a great win for me. I've been 2-0 down in a couple of games today and got into it gradually, but fair play to Brendan too because he took out 121 twice for a couple of 12-darters when I was on a finish. I think [my finishing] will give me the world of confidence going into the World Grand Prix, and I wanted to win the final knowing that I play Brendan in the first round on Tuesday. I wanted to hit him now and put it in his head ahead of Tuesday night." 

    Very fast the venue was empty. I ventured on a short walk as the sun was still shining. Somewhere near the hotel a holly well and a standing stone were marked on my map. But I didn't find them and I had to be content with some "standing cows" instead... "

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