MAD's Garden Party Only Hours Away - The Contenders Series Finals Preview
Doors Open at the Botanical Gardens, Atherton, Manchester from 4.30. The event is sold out but can be enjoyed in its entirety at the MAD YouTube Channel
Chairman Steve Brown set the expectation: "No one wants to lose their MAD title, expect some emotion tonight!"
Modern Amateur Darts is barely a year old but we are stepping forth with their second multi-title extravaganza from a botanical gardens nr Manchester. There is something apt about the venue for our rapidly growing organisation and the evening promises much in the way of top-class darting talent and entertainment.
In the style of boxing promotion, the event features five 'Belt matches' ranging from super region titles, through national belts for England and Wales with the final event of the evening being a World title rumble!
6pm: Rob Collins vs Richard North
Belt: The England Invaders (Super Regional) Title
North, a former PDC tour cardholder who twice reached the last 16 of major events, has fought his way through the qualifiers to earn his shot at a MAD title and he will be very determined to claim it. Richard can be very hot and cold but if he starts to fire his scoring is outstanding. The passionate 31-year-old has been warming up for his shot at a MAD Belt through playing the open events and regular appearances at the MODUS Live League.
Rob Collins also has PDC-level experience as well as winning titles out on the open circuit. Rob has claimed victories on the Challenge Tour and, until Covid - 19 interrupted his progress, was seen as a coming force. He too has been playing the Live League often having to come almost straight from work to take on some of the biggest names.
Could the MAD England Invaders title belt give one of these two players the boost they have been looking for and a path to future glories?
6.50pm - Jim Williams vs Jamie Lewis
Belt: Welsh National Title
Jim Williams has been one of those players hardest hit by the double whammy of the collapse of the BDO and Covid. A major winner, and world finalist, it looked as if Jim was next in the line for the game's biggest titles and a major professional career was there for the asking. Suddenly it all went away. The Quiff has found a way back via the MAD Welsh National title and will be keen to hang on to it and perhaps earn a shot at an all Welsh world title battle in the future?
Jamie Lewis has the talent to burn and is well-loved to boot! One of the biggest 180 scorers you are likely to see, The Fireball is returning from a break from competitive darts after a difficult couple of years. The PDC World Championship semi-finalist and a World Youth Cup winner have also battled through a tough qualifier to get his opportunity and will be keen to grasp it. He is likely to be very well supported in the venue!
This title would mean a lot to any Welshman. But these two superb players would take particular satisfaction in holding the MAD belt aloft.
7.45pm - Scott Taylor vs Stuart Wilson
Belt: England Falcons (Super Regional) Title
Scott Taylor has been in imperious form recently claiming opens events or reaching finals, with monotonous regularity. For many, it is not a question of if he returns to the game's tops levels, but when. Scott has succeeded, to some level, in both major codes, reaching the last 16 of the World Trophy in 2019 and claiming a Challenge Tour title as well as reaching two L64 places in PDC majors.
Stuart Wilson will not roll over in his quest for the Falcons belt! He too has flirted with success on the PDC tours and is in strong open form. Wilson toughed out a high-quality qualifier against in-form and more illustrious names.
This is an intense local rivalry that could produce some real fireworks.
8.50pm - Darryl Fitton vs Ricky King
Belt: England National Title
Fitton needs little introduction in any realm of darts. The former World Trophy winner and Winmau World Masters finalist was enjoying a quiet renaissance over the last couple of years with impressive performances at the PDC Q School and elsewhere. Unlike many of the other competitors, we have not seen much of Darryl in the events that have been held as the Uk has loosened restrictions, such as the Live League or open competitions, yet such is his experience and talent that we can be pretty sure he will turn up firing on all cylinders.
Ricky King is a young man in fine form. He has served his 'apprenticeship and improved rapidly in recent months. Very popular, and an entertaining watch, King will have a large following present and if he gets off to a solid start he is sure to settle in and give the reigning champion as much trouble as he can handle.
"And now for the ........"
9.45pm - Wayne Warren vs Jarred Cole
Belt: MAD World Title
Wayne Warren at one stage looked like going down as the unluckiest World Champion in history, as well as the oldest, but perhaps his luck turned when he captured the MAD World title belt. Ever since things seem to keep improving for the likable Welshman. He claims to be as "hungry as ever" and determined to hold on to his belt. Recent appearances in the MODUS Live League indicate a return to form and an appetite for competition that you would expect from a World Champion.
Challenger Jarred Cole is a 21-year-old from Hertfordshire who has long been tipped for darting stardom. A winner at junior and second-tier levels already, and an explosive scorer, the young Target star's rapid recent development has been commented upon by luminaries such as Paul Nicholson and the astute Chris Mason.
Will the night end with "The King of the Castle", as Cole is known, on top of the world, or will experience triumph and Warren retain his title?
So, there you have it. Five enticing matchups, ten talented and proud players, hundreds of happy supporters back watching live darts, and thousands of armchair fans able to get a double dose of darting entertainment.
It's MAD at The Garden!