"MILE HIGH" CLAIMS STAFFS OPEN IN STYLE
This weekend saw the notoriously tough Staffordshire Open, held in The White Eagle Club, Stafford. The annual event always has a very strong field and is a good get together as well as a tough day of darts. Due to the dreadful weather closing in there was an added sense of urgency to the matches. This years field included PDC form horse Ian White as well as Andy Pearce, Stuart Kellett, Stuart Dutton, Robbie Green, John Burgess and Ian Jones. Our own Mark Hylton was also in attendance and looking to reestablish some form and enjoy his annual outing to this event.
His path was extraordinarily tough and must therefore be extra pleasing to know he has won this title the hard way. Amongst others, he defeated Staffordshire legend Geoff Harvey 3-2 in a tough game where neither player managed to hold their own throw. The dangerous John Burgess was next Mark won 3-2 taking out 121 with John sat on 24 in the final leg. The Quarter final featured Stuart Dutton and “Mile High” turned a corner hear and played some superb darts from 0-1 to win 3-1,Stuart Kellett was not at his best and Mark ran out 4-1. A close final followed against Ian "Whippet" Jones. The pair traded legs but Mark
some time now I have heard stories from Mark regarding one of his mentors, a
certain Lionel Smith. Despite not knowing Lionel I have been very impressed in
the tales I have heard of his love for the game and his encouraging of other
The Staffordshire Open was entitled The Lionel Smith Open for the first couple of years after his untimely death. Mark had never managed to win this event despite a final and semi final appearance in quick succession. Lionel^s name seemed to be dropped from the event after a couple of years and this was a disappointment to those who new him well.
It must therefor be very satisfying for Mark that he has claimed the title this year and was able to dedicate it to his one time friend and mentor, especially after a few weeks of not his best form.
A welcome return to form and we are sure, an emotional day.