Blunders in Belgium
Thursday 8th August saw the Morecambe mob high tail it from our local premier league darts into the mini bus and head out on our 13 + hours travelling to get to the Belgium double header. Left in good spirits following another premier victory. Eagerly awaiting where it would place me in the standings for qualification. Top 8 from each group qualify for the playoffs to the final and the championship title and prize fund which goes along with it. And after a very shaky period ( following personal & family related issues ) I may not have done enough to pull it back.
It is very tight in the qualification stages. My final game is against a formidable opponent and current top of the table Stuart Holden however darts is a funny old game. It's all on the night.
More miles covered driving and ferry via Dover & Dunkirk before we finally arrived in Belgium. Our accommodation was fairly basic. We had a hotel next to us where we could go sit and have a relaxing & cooling drink. The other side of us was an all you can eat Chinese restaurant. It was certainly great value for money and also enabled me to tick of another of my bucket list ...eating an Oyster. Oysters are very much an acquired taste and definitely not something I will be attempting again. However whilst they were there and free why not..
Early to bed and early up to get to the venue for the first day of darts. It was not quite as warm as it was the previous year but the prices for drinks were still as expensive 2.50 Euros for less than 1/2 pint of Pils, soft drink and even water!!!
I had to check with the organisers of the competition as it seemed there was only 30 minutes between my first 2 games ( 10 of those were to go and register for next beforehand ) they advised it was correct but my opponent and darts pal Sandra held the same reservations. The way it had been organised also was that first seed Fallon Sherrock was marking our game but had to play the winner straight after. Taking the initiative we solved the issue, we played ahead of times on sheet.
Playing ahead solved one issue but the disorganisation caused another...it meant that both Sandra and I were far from relaxed before our game, we hadn't prepared how we normally would and practise was none existent. Despite this is was a very close game where I narrowly pinched the winning double to win 3.2.
I next faced Fallon who had marked.... As we were slightly ahead it gave us both time to chill and prepare more adequately. I rarely remember what happens during my games but one thing I could remember was that the treble was being very kind to me and I got some great darts at crucial times. After breaking Fallon to take one leg I started the next with a nice 180. I also hit a great 140 to bring me back into contention in the decider. I could not believe that I was all square against the fantastic Fallon. Fortunately for me Fallon missed her winning double. I had to compose myself and with my third dart hit a central sweet double 10. I had finally beaten Fallon another fantastic darter who I have always gotten close to but never beaten.
To beat any of the ladies at these competitions is an achievement as all are extremely capable but to beat those who are ranked in the top 10 is something special. With the wait between games becoming increasing shorter I was next to play Romanian Andrea Braad. Andrea is another opponent who does the BDO ladies circuit so I knew it was going to be yet another tough draw. I struggled a little after beating Fallon. The treble was quite illusive and the wires were playing more of a part than the doubles themselves. Lady luck was shining down on me here and I edged another 3.2 victory. I was into the last 16 ladies and next faced Ice Queen Kathy Geerherts.
Kathy and I normally have great games however this was far from our best. My trebles were none existent. We shook hands with Kathy taking 3.1 victory. However due to such short space of time it wasn't long until she was playing her last 8 match against Astrid Trowborst whom I'd beaten 4.0 the previous week. It was then I found out that the match should've been best of 7. Therefore technically not finished however we could not go back to complete as she was already playing her next round game. Again this is something that needs to be made clear at competitions. It is very expensive, draining both physically and mentally tiring trying to accomplish ones dreams and it doesn't help when event organisers just and to the stresses and strains.
Sunday was was much of the same arriving at venue at 9am. However I had a bye first game so wasn't playing until 13.30. I reported in 10 minutes before my game and proceeded to head to my board to practise. 20 minutes went by and no opponent ( she was there the previous day ) I went back to the desk to be advised I was through to the next round. Therefore I would now play my first game at 3pm. Going into my first game versus Dutch lady Marjolein Noijens with not having any warm up matches is far from ideal.
Also unbeknownst to myself that any points I may have accrued already would not be collectable as I had not won any games. I think this is definitely something which needs to be looked into as people pay a lot of money and dedicate a lot of time to the sport. It seems very unfair that if your opponent does not turn up that you are the one penalised re points. Those few points could be crucial!
I played well against Marjolein. Consistent scoring and finishing took me once again into the last 16 with a nice 3.1 victory. I knew now it would be best of 7, and against a very in form Laura Turner. I remember very little about this game other than I was a little in consistent at crucial times. The second leg I threw brilliantly and leveled up the game however Laura was more consistent and clinical and took victory 4.2.
With 80 euros winnings and points that don't really help my dream of getting to the Worlds I move on to the next. My dreams of playing at Lakeside have been shattered but like the circuit we have to move on.
I really need to work on keeping my focus, composure and the kill of the game so if anyone has any suggestions they will be gratefully received.