Michael Wiles is the Winmau Essex Open Champion
The Weston Homes Community Stadium, which is the home of Colchester United Football Club, provided the impressive venue for the 2012 Winmau Essex Open and Essex Youth Open.
A field of over 320 players entered the Essex Open; amongst them were two players from the World Championships, an England International and players from as far afield as Devon and Northumberland. Meanwhile the Essex Youth Open had over 70 entrants who came mainly from the host and surrounding counties.
In the Essex Open, the last 16 included Jodie Alligan from Hertfordshire who was the last lady in the event, as well as last year’s champion Steve Douglas, Lakeside competitor Clive Barden and an array of County players. The quality on the boards left no doubt in anyone’s mind of the competitive nature as well as that of the players.
In the last 8, it was two Superleague colleagues at the top of the draw who went head-to-head as Michael Wiles overcame his Rayleigh Cavaliers team mate Shaun Walsh. The second match was an all-Kent affair with Clive Barden just missing out to Ben Songhurst. In the bottom half of the draw Basildon’s Phil Halls overcame Hertfordshire’s John Creed, whilst Norfolk’s Darren Webster edged past Steve Douglas.
In the Open semi-finals, Michael Wiles comfortably beat an out-of-sorts Ben Songhurst 4-1, whilst in the second semi-final Darren Webster held his nerve to beat Phil Halls.
The 2012 Essex Open Final was an incredible game with both players scoring heavily and finishing clinically. It was Michael Wiles (30.11) who took an early lead with a 15 dart leg but Darren Webster (30.84) was having none of it as he replied in kind. However, it was the former Essex County Youth player Wiles who prevailed picking up a cheque for £1000 as well as the Essex Open Trophy.
The stage matches saw the Youth players semi-finals on first with Rhys Hayden overcoming his Essex teammate Jamie Ellis in the first match. The second semi saw Shaun Lovett from Rush Green beat last year’s winner Joe Davis from Sussex in the deciding leg.
Both players started soundly in the Youth Open final, but the heavier scoring from Rhys Hayden ensured he had the time when it came to the doubles to go one step further than last year as he overcame Shaun Lovett by three legs to one. Hayden’s prize was a television, Winmau Blade 4 dartboard and a trophy.