PDC Players Championship – Crawley 26-03-11
Exclusive Markers Eye View of the games at the PDC Pro-Tour
At around 11.45 the draw goes up, it’s easy to spot when this has happened because 100+ players clamber round 2 TV screens to see if the draw has been kind to them.
The usual procedure follows whereby the first game is announced for each board with the volunteer official.
This will be the only call made all day and it’s the player’s responsibility to watch they’re board and make sure they are ready to start once the preceding game has been completed…… (More of which later).
Round 1 Last 128
I am allocated Board 11 for the day, as only 120 players had entered Colin Lloyd as the number 7 seed is allocated a bye in round 1 so straight onto game number 2/
Shane O’Conner 6-4 Darren Johnson
Not two of the most established names (certainly as far as TV darts goes) but this game just underlines the quality at which all these pro’s play. Darren won the bull to throw first but was quickly broken as Shane took the first leg. Not to be out done Darren immediately broke back in just 15 darts and the next 6 legs were shared with some very high scoring taking the game to 4-4 with Darren still holding throw. Shane then produced 2 excellent legs of darts winning them in 16 and 15 darts with Darren having missed one dart at 32 to draw level at 5-5 but alas it was on the wire not in the bed. Both players thanked me for my efforts, shook my hand and it’s on to game 2.
Jelle Klaasen (26) w/o Tim Hope (DQ’d)
As I mentioned earlier the announcement is made at the beginning of the day and then it is the players own responsibility to keep an eye on the board so that when the preceding game is completed they make their way to the board. Unfortunately Tim thought there were 2 games before his not 1. He was given the allotted time allowed but failed to make it to the board and was eliminated. Expensive mistake when it costs £100 per tournament to enter !
Maybe a new nickname name of Tim “No” Hope would be better for this game….
Louis Blundell 6-0 Adrian Bolitho
Louis showed far too much class in this very one sided game. Having said that Louis threw some excellent darts including four 180’s and his finishing was lethal. Overall this result was never in doubt at all.
Round 2 Last 64
Colin Lloyd (7) 6-0 Shane O’Conner
Having marked my first ever whitewash in the game before I didn’t have to wait long for my second. I don’t know what happened to Shane in the 45 mins since his first game but he was like a completely different player. The former World Matchplay champion making light work of his Irish opponent.
Louis Blundell 5-6 Jelle Klaasen (26)
This game was played with a bit of an atmosphere. Although no words were exchanged it was clear to me that these two guys would not be going out for a drink together anytime soon. Jelle Klaasen was in superb form racing in to a 5-1 lead and I believed that this game was close to its conclusion. Louis on the other hand had other ideas and started to produce the kind of darts he had in the earlier round. The players were exchanging 140’s and 180’s for fun but Louis was executing his finishing with stunning accuracy. So it comes down to a single leg shootout and Jelle finds his form again with a superb 14 dart leg to take the match. On a side note if ever you ever have a chance to watch Jelle play its not only the speed he throws at that can make it difficult for a marker, but his arithmetic is superb, he really does use all the board t17,t18,t19 nothing is offline for this Dutch former World Champion. I was just grateful that he was playing a slower more methodical player in Louis allowing me a little more time to work out what had been hit and what was left !!
Round 3 Last 32
At this point I am really rattling through my duties for the day with a time out and 2 6-0 victories helping.
Jelle Klassen (26) 6-5 Colin Lloyd (7)
This game was played in the best of spirits and it’s clear to see that these two guys get along well. I believe this helped with the quality of the game as it was played to a very high standard. Every leg went with the darts which shows the importance of the “bull” at the beginning of the match. 7 180’s were hit between the guys. 13,14 and two 16 dart legs from Colin were not enough to stop Jelle who himself had 2 12 darters and closed the game out with a classy 11 darter including an 86 two dart finish.
So the board 11 winner was Jelle Klassen who advances to the last 16 with a guaranteed £600 in his back pocket. Nice work if you can get it ! At this point I believe my duties are over for the day. However this was not to be the case as my PDC board official Andrew Davies (overseeing boards 9-12) says to me board 12 is running behind (Justin Pipe was on that board so no surprise there lol). Would I mind helping out? Well I’ve drove 150 miles to be here to chalk so lets chalk. So a little sorting from Andrew and I have another round 2 match (wow they really were behind !!)
Round 2 Last 64
Justin Pipe (23) 6-2 Colin Monk
If you’ve ever watched Justin play you will know how, let’s say methodical he is. This as a marker brings its own challenges. Concentration being the main one, also Colin is not the fastest of players either. However slow Justin may play this does not affect his accuracy although I do believe his pace did affect Colin who could not find any true rhythm and Justin ran out a comfortable winner which included 5 180’s. It was my first time marking for Justin and I have to say a nicer guy you couldn’t wish to meet. Really friendly and very appreciative of me and my fellow volunteer officials.
Round 3 and its Justin Again !!
Justin Pipe (23) 5-6 Adrian Lewis (10)
What a game ! A total of 9 180’s. Adrian, in 3 legs where he was looking second favourite hit 180’s at just the right time to leave single dart finishes which he clinically finished. Justin was a little unlucky in fairness as this game could have gone either way but those are the realities of the pro tour and I am sure Justin will come back even stronger and is surely a big name of the future.
So surely that’s me done for the day phew !!! Wrong again as I was again approached and asked could I do the fourth round game between Jelle Klaasen and Adrian Lewis ? Two former World Champions ,you bet I can !!
Adrian Lewis (10) 6-3 Jelle Klaasen (26)
This for me is why I do the travelling. Where else and in what other sport could I officiate an officially sanctioned match between a former World Champion and the current World Champion? The difficulties in this game are obvious as these are two of the fastest players around. This gives me little time to think. Whilst writing the previous scores up you can feel the next player is at the oche and you hear the darts hitting the board. Blimey guys slow up a bit lol. 9 legs played to the very highest standard and in leg 6 Adrian goes 5 darts into the perfect 9 darter before a cruel deflection scuppers that but is decisive in giving Adrian a crucial break which he holds onto to take the match out and progress to the last 8.
My day is now officially done but I hang around to watch the remaining matches with Adrian losing out in the final to an excellent Paul Nicholson who pocketed the £6,000 for his days work with Adrian taking home the £3,000 runners up prize.
After watching a friend in the youth tour I set off for home and arrive back in Northamptonshire at 11.00 a fifteen hour day leaves me exhausted but happy !. A quick take away for supper and off to bed and looking forward to the next one.
Thanks to Red Dragon for their support and to you for reading.
Yours in Darts
Adie PDC Marker