Nelly on Tour - Sun Parks Darts Masters (Belgium)
So far this is what I have seen and the first is the ability to play the game. That^s obvious but having the ability without the consistancy isnt good and will make breaking in the higher ranks very difficult indeed.
Dedication is plain to see not just due to the amount of travelling and not just dedication from the players but that from their partners/girlfriends and wifes some of whom travel but many who are left at home.
The travelling and time away is immense and this was shown to the extreme by some of the Dutch contingent who after playing in Saturdays Czech Open and leaving late on travelled for nine hours to participate in the Sunparks Masters in Belgium. That I wouldnt expect any player to do and makes me wonder why two such events are played on the same weekend.
Another quality is the ability to pace yourself over the full weekend. Playing darts over three days, especially where seating is minimal or none existant, the need to rest where possible or take a break is important as is controlling the quantity of alcohol that you consume. Finally for now making sure you have plenty of sleep is a must.
Im one of the worst for staying up late but since joining the tour its been early nights, have definately cut down on the alcohol, just need to work on the ability and consistancy. Im sure that will improve with the experience and as the events come along.
After my last event over in Northern Ireland I realised one big mistake I made and that was the preperation. Didnt get my head right or the build up to the event. This wasnt going to happen again.
I didn^t play in Friday^s mixed pairs event and with an 11.30am start on Saturday in the pairs I had plenty of time to get myself organised. Being new on the tour I have been playing with different people at all of the events and it can be quite a daunting task especially when I find myself pairing up with top players such as England International Zoe Jones in the Mixed Pairs at Tops of Ghent and in the Mens Pairs with a young but very experienced and talented player in Josh McCarthy. Then at Sunparks with former Belgium No.2 John Desreumaux.
One of the important parts of pairing up with a new player is making the time to get to know each other and have some practice time together. I met and played against John at Tops of Ghent and decided to pair up at Sunparks and knew we would jell and we did very quickly winning our first game 3-1 against Belgiums Wim Dierckx & Geert Gijbels with us including an 18 dart 701 leg.
Two 3-0 victories over Dutch pairings Dennis Zijderhand/Thomas Van Wieringen and Marc Van Hout/Tim Legius saw us set up a last 32 match with Belgiums Stefaan Deprez (World Ranked 35) and Roger Janssen. After going down 2-0, one leg in 18 darts, we dug deep, gritted our teeth and fought back to win 3-2 but then disappointingly went out 3-1 in the following round to Niels Kippersluis and Daniel Brouwerer. We had a great run getting to the last 16 out of 299 entries and one we both will look to improve on next time we pair up. Was happy with my pairs performance hitting 5 x 180^s plus 3 x ton plus finishes narrowly missing the bull for 125 to make it four. John added 2 x 180^s also hitting a high pressure finish in the last 32.
The singles event took place on Sunday attracting 577 entrants, with my first game being a 10.30am start, it was early to bed the night before. I set off with a 3-0 win hitting every double first dart which boosted my confidence. This was followed by 4-0 and 4-1 wins in the next two rounds.
One more win and I collect my first Ranking Points....try to hard...yes I did and went down 4-2 to Netherlands Pedro Heijnen. Plus I wanted to win the match more than ever as my next opponent would have been Remco Van Eijden who had tried to get me kicked out of the event for failing to mark an earlier game. One I was told I didnt need to mark. All I say is what goes around comes around.
Overall I was happy with my performance still need to improve on the consistancy though. Still learning at 51 so cant be bad. My next tour events will be the Dutch Open at the end of January 2015 followed by the Scottish Open in February. Two tough events both will large entries.
The running of the event, equipment and information availability.
We arrived early on Friday and took a tour of the venue and where the darts competitions were being played. Found the dart stands, oches and equipment good although the Havik dartboards, were fairly hard and when throwing a few practice darts some dropped out. Must add I only throw light darts and do not throw them hard. On Friday it was the Mixed Pairs and an Amateur Competition. I didnt play in the Mixed Pairs as I wanted to relax on the Friday night and focus more on the Pairs and Singles and if you played in either the main event singles or pairs you couldnt play in the amateur event. Saturday saw the turn of the Pairs with the singles on Sunday. I never saw the draws for any of the events posted anywhere around the venue and had feedback saying it couldnt be found on line.
If you won the early rounds you had to mark the following game which made it very difficult to get chance for a drink or a few moments relax before your next game. I dont think this is a fair system. If you lose and mark you get to do one game. In my singles I won three matches before going out in round four so would have had to mark four games.
I found all the organisers very helpful when asking questions on certain aspects of the event and the only problem I had was after I had won my 2nd match in one room and was moved into another I asked did I need to chalk the next game. I was told I didnt so went to relax and have a drink before my 1.20pm match. Whilst Sat John Desreumaux came upstairs and told me Remco van Eiden was trying to get me scrubbed for not marking. Needless to say I wasnt happy but the issue was resolved and I still carried on.
The only other comment I would have is, I understand the event is one of their major ones and the need to make money at the bigger events to help cover costs over the year is important, but even so the prize money against number of entries seemed low. In follow up to that I was very surprised to receive €15.00 for finishing in last 128.
The venue and accommodation were both the same which was at Sunparks Kempense Meren, Mol, Belgium. You didnt have to saty on site to enter the event and there were cabins on site as well as rooms in the main hotel available. Take a look at my pictures and you will If you see the view from our room which was very picturesque. The rooms in the venue are large, spacious and very clean and when booking we were informed it can be a bit noisey if staying in the hotel. It was at times but nothing too unterward and after a long day once my head hit the pillow it was lights out anyway.
The facilities in the venue were good with swimming pool, reasonable choice of catering/restaurants and on site supermarket. Once again the token system was in operation but must say this only works well if enough staff are at the respective bars etc to make it work. Something they could have definately improved on.
The darts competitions were played in two seperate rooms but once again there were no drinks, whatsoever, allowed in the darts area^s. One bar was upstairs in a seperate room and a second on the bottom floor which, added to the lack of staff mainly on the Sunday made service a little slow.
Both darts rooms were very hot and I found the Belgium beer, although not drinking alot, made me feel very dehydrated and wasnt allowed water in the darts rooms. I have just played three events so far on tour and In Northern Ireland drinks were allowed but at the two events in Belgium no drinks have been permitted and I think an allowance should be made for water if the temperature in the darts areas exceeds a certain temperature.