World Darts Scene
The Boyle Sports Grand Slam of Darts concludes this Tuesday (24th) after nine days of sharpshooting from the worlds best. Broadcast by Sky Sports from the Ricoh Centre, Coventry, two times and defending champion Gerwyn Price aspires to make it three and once again lift the magnificent Eric Bristow trophy, he won last year in Wolverhampton.Three times champ Michael van Gerwen, through to the last sixteen, is chasing Phil Taylors tally of six “Slams”.
The field of thirty two participants are split into 8 groups of 4, playing each other in a “round robin” format, the top two from each progressing to the last 16. Group stage is best of nine 501, with winning legs all important in a loss, as leg difference counts in the event of any ties. lt’s possible to lose 2 matches and still qualify. The tournament then changes to a straight knockout for the 2nd round first to 10 of 19legs, leaving just 8 players. Quarters, semis and final are then determined by a first to 16 of 31 leg marathon.
Tuesday nights winner will receive a £ 125,000 cheque from the £ 550,000 pot, runner up £ 65,000. Darts is certainly moving on, fourth place in the group stage still means a £ 4,000 payday, to keep the bank manager happy, plus the possibility of a nice £ 25,000 bonus for a nine darter.
Grand Slam Snippets
** lan White and Adam Hunt, 1st players in Slam history to qualify from group stage, after losing 2 of their 3 matches.
** Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton, recently crowned World Cup champions, both progressed from the same group.
** Lisa Ashton (England) and Mikuru Suzuki (Japan) although unsuccessful and on their way home gave very creditable performances. Particularly Suzuki who had 4 match darts against Gerwyn Price, before the Welshman nailed D10. The girl from Japan had already posted a 135 and 116 finish in the contest.
** lan White’s 5-1 victory over Dirk van Duijvenbooe required only 5 winning darts, a 100% record rarely seen.
** Simon Whitlock continued his fine run of recent form, achieving 10 maximums in his 3 group games.
** My P.D.C. spy tips Michael Smith to win his 1st major, who seems to be overcoming his inability to finish the job after doing all the hard work. Recent Winter Series victories prove the point. However when pressed for an alternative, 007 named 6 from 10 PDC ranking event victor this year, Price, as most likely to take the 125k. Reason, he is by far the fittest of the bunch, so important, particularly after the squeezing and number of tournaments recently and yet to play, due to the pandemic.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT – ANDRE WING
Having travelled extensively throughout Europe, Andre determined it was time to settle down some 11 years ago, Spain being his first choice. Originally from Frankfurt, his children Vivienne (21), Luna (20), Patrick (28), and Nicholas (14) currently enjoy Germany. The interior / exterior design and decoration wizard, previously ran 4 betting shops, what’s the odds on that? Require a translator? don’t go any further, German ( obviously ), Yugoslav, English ( of course ) and a decent command of Spanish, are all in the locker.
His love of darts is unquestionable, daily matches via video link with best pal Simon Williams, helped to keep his eye in during ” lockdown,” although his statuesque throwing style remains intact, but better suited to a museum piece. Naming Peter Wright as his fave pro player, l wonder if a “Mohican” is on the cards for the likeable Frankfurter, don’t bet against it.
Like many of us, Andre’s music tastes go back a decade or two, his to the 80’s, but pretty varied, Simply Red, Michael Buble, plus the requisite “R n B” in the collection. Socially it’s rare to see him without a “rum n coke” ( don’t forget the ice), whether playing darts or eating at his regular haunt, Fairways. lf at home it’s Schnitzel a personal favourite.
Top of the artists “bucket list” is a family cruise around the Caribbean, during which a 10,000ft sky dive is a must. Assuming he survives the ordeal, another is scheduled, as 3rd, is a week with Bengal Tigers, more like 30 minutes if he’s lucky.
Finally if you enjoy a real belly laugh ask his best pal to impersonate the amiable German, it’s hilarious and “unbelievable” (a fave term), the exaggerated darts stance, arm waving and funniest accent ever, is all in his repertoire. The one laughing the most, Andre.
BAR SPOTLIGHT – THE GAP
The ” Gap ” lounge bar, La Zenia, is situated adjacent to the roundabout and alongside numerous other commercial enterprises. The area is ideal for day to day shopping, the Gap providing a welcome respite. Why not enjoy one of James Browns specialitys’ an ” Espresso Martini ” currently favoured by Bradley Walsh.
Joining James behind the ramp, is partner Bliss, hosting and playing for the three dart teams enjoying the Gap as their home venue. Having successfully run Gogartys bar for 16 years, James determined it was time for a change, choosing the premises now known as The Gap. A popular golf society run by Maurice Flint, meets three times a week,( Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday ) recently visiting Villa Martin with a hefty 56 entries. Sounds a pretty busy society, but new members are always welcome to improve their handicap at El Valle, Lo Romero and La Finca, 3 other courses, usually on the society’s play list.
For those who enjoy a vino, James offers a good selection of wines by the glass, in this friendly establishment. Why not try a table outside to watch the world go by, or join the regulars inside for some local banter.