On Saturday and Sunday I waddled off down to the MECC round the corner to watch some arrars. It was tremendous fun and got to see, talk to and even play some of the big darts stars.
The Qualifying rounds were played on a lanes of darts boards (100 of them). And you could get very close to the action. Most of the fans wanted to follow Jelle Klaasen and Michael van Gerwen, who were playing together in the doubles. So if you wanted to watch others you get get a good view.
Tony Eccles from the 'Boro' and his partner Pieter Otten were drawn against Jelle and Micheal in the last 16 and I saw them knock out the two Dutch upstarts. I got some funny looks from the locals when I was cheering them on.
It was quite bizzare to see how the players are treated. They get treated like pop stars. Being chased for fotos and signatures.
I managed to give Pieter Otten a game later on when he wanted to practise and as the organisers had removed all the marker pens I taught him 'Round the Clock'. He got to 14 before he missed a number. Needless to say I lost and made my excuses that i was going to watch the Final before further humiliation.
Bob ' the Bear' Taylor takes 20 mins to get to the bar under a constant barage of kiddies 'Pick me up Bob!!!!'
Ted 'the Count' Hankey and John 'Boy' Walton won the doubles competition. The first day there was quite a few 'cock-ups' and the big screens weren't even working for the podium matches at the end. And it's not that easy to see if you hit the double when your 100 metres away.
Before I left I had an embarrasing moment with Mervyn King.
me: "Hey Good win Ted" (thinking he was Ted Hankey)
Merv: "You What?!?" ( I then reaslised who it was)
me: "Oh errmm don't you remember me?, we met once in the embassy?"
Merv: "Oh no sorry I don't remember"
me: "Oh never mind seeya"
On Sunday we arrived a bit later and missed all the qualifying. We found out later that a lot of the big names had gone out. Hankey lost to some unknown int he first round as did Tony O'Shea.
For the Semis Eurosport had arrived and it was being broadcast live. so we had to go through the rigmarole of a 'warm up man' who made sure we waved the 180 signs at the right times and wrote 'Hello Mum' on the back etc.
The Semis line up was Mervyn King v Niels de Ruiter and Michael van Gerwen v John 'Boy' Walton. King and Gerwen won and following the ladies final the crowd was getting quite excited about seeing Gerwen take on King.
Anastasia Dobromyslova lost to Carla Molema in the ladies final
King is not the most popular darter, especially in Holland. Gerwen walked the final much to King's disgust. At one point he even started doing impressions of Gerwen 'flycatchin' to the camera, and was seen to mouth 'f%&*$ing p$%&k' when Gerwen went to get a glass of water. Talk about sore loser.
Mighty Mike walks away with the cheque for 10,000 Euros.
On the way home I passed a few darts players having a chat, getting some fresh air. Tony Eccles, Tony O'Shea, Gary Anderson and Bob Taylor. Darts seems to be very 'cliquey'. They have little gangs like this lot. The Northerners. So I had a smoke with them and discussed how bad the organisation of the events was. Tony O'Shea told me that it wasn't at all bad for a first time. "You should see the Finland Open. F*&^ing Hopeless". And it seems Tony was more miffed off at having to sit through the Rene Froger concert on Saturday night. 'My word, he was shit!'
Silverback and Rene are said to be no longer on speaking terms
The whole event will be re-run on Eurosport 2 tonight at 21:30