Winmau World Masters 2012 Blog
Its 1st time iv attended the Masters as a seed and on in the TV stages. Id missed out on the tv stages a few times before getting beaten by Ross Montgomery 3-2 in set although id won 7 legs to his 6 and a loss to Martin Atkins in latter stages too. Both now my Red Dragon team mates ironically. The Hull city Hall is a good venue for the tv stages. I like the place because its Oldy worldly with plenty of character.I travelled up on the Thursday and got there in time to watch the latter stages of the Masters qualifier. There were some great matches being played to get through to TV stages to play on Friday. Id had a call from IMG the week before asking if i would do some pundit work which i always love to do so are more than willing. I do make sure that i don^t wish it in anyway to clash with any of my matches.
Friday morning came and i looked at the draw on the BDO site tring to find the time of my Match and who i was playing. I had somehow been missed off the draw with times up on the web site as Steve Douglas v John Boy Walton were on there twice. One of the times was 2:30pm and the other was 6:00pm. So i knew i was one. I called tournament director and he apologised and told me it was 2:30pm i played against Andy Boulton. I had no problem with it as it was 9:30am so plenty of time to get in my routine to prepare for the match. Id met up with Richie George for Breakfast and we went back to his hotel for a throw to prepare us both. I headed back to hotel to get ready about 12 noon and was at venue by 12:30pm.
Andy Boulton is a class act. Iv know Andy and Alan Brown his father and law since iv been on the circuit. They were huge help at the start of my circuit days.One of the first guys to introduce himself and not leave me like Billy no mates in the corner. He is a consistent qualifier at these events doing it the hard way through the qualifiers. The game was not live but was filmed and did not get shown unfortunately for me but i sure Andy will be chuffed about that. I won bull up at 2nd attempt in the back room. With such a short set format its something you need to do. I won 1st set cause Andy missed doubles. I played some good darts but Andy was still there at 1-1 in legs 1st set. Andy missed doubles to take the set and i stole it. Id won the second set the same way. So im 2 sets up feeling comfortable. Andy won the 3rd convincingly so at th start of the 4th with Andy to throw i felt we were heading all the way. I stole the 1st leg and won 2nd to win in sets 3-1. I was really happy to get the monkey off my back of not winning at TV tournaments. Pleasing was the fact the average was a snippet short of 30 and id won 6 legs with 11 darts at a double.
I then headed off for a late lunch, change and shower back at the hotel to prepare for some TV pundit work with ESPN. Let me tell you about Ray Stubbs. He is an avid darts fan which means he asks all the right questions the viewers would like to know. He watches all the games on his monitor with sound between links so he does not miss the big action in the matches, or interesting information about the players that may come up in commentary. He can then use these in the post match interviews. He loves to see the new faces and giant killings that makes our side of the sport so unpredictable. Most think he is drinking coffee and eating Jaffa cakes to pass the time. Top man and so enjoyable to work alongside. I then get offered a slot in the commentary box which i jumped at. My 1st match was with John Rawlings on the Martin Adams v Rune David match. John and Richard Ashdown who was the spotter for the camera men, made me feel very calm and welcomed me into their world. Then i got to do Richie George^s match against Thomas Junghans. That was very special as it was with the legend Tony Green. After the match he had told me how well he thought id done. I wont ever forget that. I did the last link of the live coverage at midnight with Ray and headed back a short walk to the hotel.It was about 12:45am before i was tucked up in bed.
My match on Saturday was confirmed as 7:15pm against James Wilson. I was to have no TV commitments in the evening so i could concentrate. Arrived at 5pm so couple hours before my match. James Wilson and I are mates so we were practicing together for a bit and having a beer when at 5:15pm after half pint each we were told we may have to play at 6pm instead. Ross Montgomery was running late and they were worried that his 6pm match would not happen. This is disappointing that your preparation for our game was disturbed. James and i agreed we would not bull up for another 20Min^s or half hour. That would be 10 Min^s before 6pm. Ross made it for his 6pm match so James and i then had another hour and a half till our match.
We missed Lakeside draw as we were taking the long walk up to the balcony for our walk on. We were listening to it as we walked and id heard id drawn Mark Barelli of Scotland. In the Mock draw in the afternoon id drawn James Wilson !!!. I was supposed to be at my Nephew Andrews 4th birthday. I did a sign for him although he cant read it he was told what it said. Match started and i won 1st leg and James won 2nd and while i went 140,140,100 to leave 121, James had thrown 60,180,140 and left 121 also. I made hash of mine leaving 68 but James shot 121 for 12 dart leg and steal darts and take 1st set. Id played well again in 2nd set and at 1 leg each i missed 3 darts to take the set and went 2 sets down. Held my throw for 1st leg in 3rd set and then missed 11 darts to take the set. So at 1-1 i made a miscount and left myself 165. James back on 232 punished it by hitting 180. Me not able to get out on 165 i threw 133 to leave 32.after leaving myself 165 on a miss count. James had hit 52 game shot to win the match. Id had 29 darts at a double which is not good enough. James in interview with Ray Stubbs had said how hard it was to beat me as his friend. I then after the match had to do some shots for Lakeside and was asked to do a serious mean face. That was fairly easy i have to say. I stayed and watched the last of the matches and headed back to the hotel to get my head down on what felt a very long day. Julie Gore had beaten Tamara Schur earlier in the day was the news of the day in ladies semi final. Lakeside Women^s World Championships line up would be taking one more from the ladies rankings being Trina Gulliver. This is because with both men and Ladies World Masters Champions get a spot in Lakeside. If the winner has already qualified the place goes down one more in the ranking table. Well Happy for Trina in a tough year for her..
Sunday i was doing some TV work but was still disappointed from my loss. We had to be out of hotel by 10am but they kindly let us leave our car in the car park all day free of charge. Thanks to the Royal Mecure Hotel for that. We went to subway for a breakfast Sub. A lad came over and asked for my autograph. His name was Derek Park. He was from Malta but originally from Scotland and he traveled with his Mum and Dad. He had played in the youth masters. He had to leave his darts at home as they had not booked a bag in the hold forgetting they would need to carry the darts. I had asked what weight he used and although it was too late told him if he went to the venue, he could have a set of my 23gm darts. He was so happy to have been part of the masters. It was a breath of fresh air.Id gone to this shopping place to go to the cinema to cheer me up so i was not looking all down hearted on TV. I did still go and see Madagascar 3 in 3D with wife Sharon and Daughter Katie, but i had not needed to. Young Derek had cheered me up no end and we met up back at city Hall and gave him my darts. So thanks mate.
Back at the City Hall i did some links with Ray and Martin Adams was doing some too. Id found out the make up lady had been touching Kylie Minogue two weeks before she was touching me with the same hand !!!!(she had washed it). Martin and I were popping up and down from balcony and commentary box. I did one quarter final and a 4 set spell in a semi final. The second Semi final of the men^s Saw Tony Oshea beating Paul Brown of Northern Ireland. This meant as with the Ladies, the Men^s Lakeside World Championships would also take an extra man from the Lakeside rankings in the form of my mate and Scotland^s Gay Stone. Anyhow i thought i was done with commentary and just few links left. A person had come up with a head set from the sound department on the balcony, producer had asked would i be happy to commentate on the sets 5-8 in the final. I have to say i was made up and so excited i said yeah no problem, but inside my heart was racing. I was at Stephen Buntings 1st ever county match as a 14 year old for Merseyside when Dorset played them in Liverpool.It was my 1st mcounty match too. So to then be part of his 1st final is just one of those crazy stats darts keep on throwing out. Commentating on that section of the game was great. I was co calling the turning point in set 8 where Tony Oshea missed 3 darts at 40 and 10s and Bunting hitting his double took a 5-3 lead in sets at the break Tony was never close again. Stephen winning 7 sets to 4 for his 1st Tv title, another runner up birth for a guy who just seems for ever the bridesmaid Tony Oshea. I did the last TV link to close show with Ray and Martin. I felt rather sad it had to all end. I said my thanks and goodbyes to all in sundry and got into the car at 10:45pm to drive home. Sharon and I had shared the driving and arrived home at around 3:45am in the morning. Up at 7:45am and headed off to work as usual. From Pop star on the TV as Bobby George would sat back to Farmers kid in a few hours. It brings you back down to earth. What great Winmau World Masters for me. Thanks to Sponsors as always and My wife Sharon who was feeling torn in 2 as Daughter Katie was With us, but son Sam was home as he was unable to travel with us. So really tough weekend for her too.