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Article: Tops of Ghent Belgium 2012

Tops of Ghent Belgium 2012

Friday 19th October we headed for Belgium and the Tops of Ghent in Belgium. Why mention the date ? It was my 21st wedding anniversary. No better way to celebrate it than being picked up from home at 8:30am. Im a very lucky fella to have such a supportive family and i think this shows how much not just me, but WE dedicate to being on the circuit.

I was collected by Dorset county captain Mark Porter and headed to the services to collect Hampshire duo Gary Stafford and circuit new boy Sam Head. Sam you may have seen on ESPN at the Winmau World Masters. He lost out in last 16 to Red Dragon teamate Phil Nixon. We headed to the Tunnel and met up with Richie George. Gary jumped in with Richie so he was not driving on his own and headed to Ghent. Gary and Sam were booked in same hotel as us but when we got there,although with proof of booking and reference numbers for them the hotel was full. So a sister hotel had spare room at centre of town, which happened to be better than ours !!!!!

Saturday was the singles. Good start for Dorset pal Mark Porter beating John Boy Walton 1st Rd 4-2. I made my group final to play Max Hopp. Max is from Germany and 16 yo. Keep you eye out for this lad. He is a fantastic tallent. More known for his PDC youth and European tour events. He plays Terry Jenkins this coming weekend in a PDC tour event in Holland 1st rd. Max at 3-3 had 3 darts to take me out leaving me to shoot out 96 in 2 darts to take the match. That put me into last 32. I then played Belgiun Marx Vic. He had beat my Dorset mate Mark in the group final on the board next to me. I beat Marx 4-3 in another last leg decider to make the last 16. My next opponent was another Belgiun Geoffrey Marreel. This one i won 4-2 setting me up for a last 8 clash with Scotty Too Hotty Waites in best of 9 match. A 104 shot  to take 3rd leg after Waites had missed 2 at double 16, gave me a 3-0 advantage. The next leg went against throw to Waites.  leg 5 i was left on 48 after a 180 score to get there. Waites shot 128, 54,54 double 10 to go 3-2. With Waites on throw i scored 140,140,100 and 97 to leave 24 Waites again shot 109 in 15 darts to level match at 3-3. A double 16 saw me take next leg to go 4-3 up. Waites did another 17 dart leg with me sat handy on 56 to go 4-4. I had the throw and started with 180. I got down 1st and i missed 96 leaving 9. Waites had 1 dart at tops he missed and i missed double 4 and double 2 after hitting the perfect single one to leave it. Waites shot 20 1st dart. Disappointed well hell yeah but happy as id bought the very best out in mr Too Hotty. Good points for me early in the season so was pleased with that. Waites went on to Beat Stephen Buntig in the final to take the Tops of Ghent Mens title.

Gary Stafford had got his 1st points of new season loosing in last 32 to Gary Robson. Ladies title was taken by Irina Armstrong and Trina Gulliver was runner up. Fallon Sherrock had a great run getting to the semi final. Sue Gulliver had played well to make last 8 and Suzanne Smith made last 16 was a result after the drama she had to deal with the day before. She had driven over Fallon and Jake Jones. Unfortunatly at the ferry terminal on the way over, Suzanne^s car was T-boned turning into her boarding lane by a frenchman. So had done well to get herself and passengers to Ghent to play at all.

Sunday was Mixed pairs in the morning. I was partnering Sue Gulliver. She had carried on her form from day before and we were soon in the semi final. We played Sam Head and Fallon Sherrock. They set off like a train and won 1st leg easily but the next 4 we had done some heavy scoring to win match 4-1. Great to see them both in a semi final. The final was on stage so it was on to the mens pairs.

I was playing with Peter Mitchell of Kent for the 1st time. Nowe are not related.  But we were soon being called Grant and Phil. We clicked immediatly and soon found ourselves in the quarter finals where we won 4-3 from 3-1 down. We then did the same won our semi final 4-3 from 3-2 down with our opponents missing 2 darts at 40 to take us out. I shot 71 with double top on last dart. So 2 stage finals for me.

In the Mixed pairs we were to play Martin Atkins and Paula Jacklin of Lincoinshire. We raced into a 3-1 lead on best of 9 match. I missed 3 darts at 40 in 5th leg and lost it and 3 darts at 32 next leg and we lost that too. So at 3-3 and lots of confidence from the come back Atkins and Jacklin took the matchTo become champions. Runner u i was very disappointed with as we could have won it 5-1.

In final of the Mens pairs we were to play Belgiuns Gert De Voss and Stefaan Duprez. They had beaten Scott Waites and Stephen Bunting in the quarter final 4-3 and Robbie Green and Dutchman Bryan De Hoog 4-3 in the semi. We won the bull and i started with a 180 and we lost the leg. Te next we scraped but it gave us momentom and soon found ourselves 3-1 up. The next leg with our throw a 140 followed by 180 from Peter saw us sat on 100 which i shot in 2 darts for a 4-1 lead and 19 dart 701 leg. De Voss startwd with throw 180 to show they were going knowhere without a fight. I followed his 180 with one of my own. Peter followed with 140. My next throw was 41 but Peter followed with 140. I hit another 140 to leave Peter 100 which he shot in 2 darts as i had done previous leg but this had been an amazing 17 dart 701 with 41 score in the middle. So we were Tops of Ghent Mens pairs.Champions. Trina Gulliver and Zoe Jones had been crowned Ladies Champions beating Sue Gulliver and Paula Jacklin in the final.

With 2 finals and missed Euro tunnel train we headed back hoping to make the last train at 10:30pm. We arrived at the barriers and Passport control being told we would have to wait till the 1:47am train home. We headed for the terminal thinking how we would kill that much time.As we walked in the terminal one of the assistants came over and saidif we could get tothe train i 2 mins there was room for us to catch it. The 4 of us ran out the terminal like we had just robbed the place.Jumped in the car and drove like the wind and got there very happy and relieved. But as we left the terminal  carpark we passed Clive Barden, Emma Little, Steve Douglas and Peter Mitchell in their car gong into the terminal knowing they had 3 hours to kill and we had got away with it !!!!!!!!!


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