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  • Writer's pictureJo Clements

Isle take the positives!

Despite all the havoc the weather brought to transport, the darts continued on a revised schedule. Our coming over the day before to avoid the rush was definitely not needed however I am so glad we did as it was one of the best sailings we've ever had, also we had already made it here - unlike many who couldn't make it due to the force of Mother Nature and the IOM Government.

The 1st singles was a Silver WDF rated competition. My first 4.0 game against Scotland's Debbie McBride gave me lots of confidence that my game is still there. With great scoring and hitting the doubles straightaway, I was looking forward to my next opponent.

Next opponent, I was up and down again. I dug in and battled hard to get back from 3.1 down to win 4.3, with much of the same in my 3rd game however, I had a more comprehensive 4.2 win due to my opponent missing her chances and me taking mine.

Facing Deta in last 8 made me realise I really need to work on my darts stamina. Playing just 1 leg of darts in my local Wednesday league, potentially 3 legs in the men's Tuesday league and the odd Superleague and County fixture in the month is clearly not enough for me as I felt I was running out of steam quite easily, losing 4.2 in the Quarter final.

It was then mixed pairs time. Thankfully, (but only just) my mixed pairs partner Jamie Cassidy managed to get over in time to play. We set of like a train, playing some fantastic darts. Both hitting 180s, Jamie also hitting a 177. We were cruising. We were 2.0 up in our final game but all of a sudden our energies were zapped. Perhaps due to me playing earlier, or the stress of travelling over to the Island not long before by Jamie - we both missed darts at the winning double and were sent packing.

Saturday saw the second WDF ranked (Bronze) event. My first opponent was Kel Mckinnon. Kel is one of the fastest lady players I have ever seen, let alone played against. It was very hard not to be swept up in her speed but I managed to play at my own pace and take a 4.1 victory into the next round with some really good darts being played. I continued this great form into my next game against Glad Davies from Wales moving into last 16 with another 4.1 win.

The last 16 was certainly one of the hardest games I have EVER played. I was playing the extremely talented and very capable young lady, Sophie McKinlay. From being TOTALLY dead and buried at 3.0 down - I fought back BIG TIME.

With my big girl pants on I managed to claw myself back from 3.0 down to take a more respectable result of a leg back. Sophie is such an amazing talent and had her followers behind her as we were playing. One of her supporters was very supportive of her darts, needless to say his vocals annoyed me a little which rallied and spurred me on whilst also, perhaps adding extra pressure on Sophie as she was initially cruising. There is nothing wrong with supporters, don't get me wrong but in such a quiet, small space they can sometimes hinder more than help. They certainly helped me here.

I then pulled it back to 3.2. I went from strength to strength and pulled another leg back in 13 darts to tie the game at 3.3, the treble 20 was being my best friend.

In the last and deciding leg I felt so confident and determined. I stepped up to finalise my awesome comeback and hit a superb 12 dart leg - 140,135,121 with a 105 out against the fantastic Sophie. This was certainly a game of 2 halves and despite having no darts connect or records of the game (just a small crowd of spectators) it was likely to be among one of the best of the ladies games over the weekend. It would've been very interesting to have known the averages.

Sophie has many great years in front of her on the darts scene and from what I have seen of her game and know about her as a person she is going to be a major contender in the future of Ladies darts!

Into the quarters, again facing Deta. This time I felt totally exhausted. Playing Sophie several minutes before took everything out of me. Deta took no prisoners and set off like a train, rarely missing the treble. Sat on 216 I hit the magical 180 to leave me a nice 36 outshot when I returned. When I did return I just didn't have the strength nor reach and narrowly fell inside both the double 18 and 9 respectively. Deta wasted no time in knocking up. I lost out again in the quarters to Deta but this time 4.1.

Final event of the IOM weekend was pairs. This year I played with darts legend Vicky Pruim. I'd most certainly like to play with Vicky than against her. Vicky knocked me out in the 2nd round of the England Open the day before.

There was no nice warm up game for us, the draw was throwing us in at the deep end as we were drawn against Rhian O'Sullivan and Anca Zijlstra. It was all set to be a great game.

Playing best of 3 meant that you had to hit the ground running. I was quite uptight and tense not only with wanting to do my best for myself and partner but also I was very tired from the late finish the night before. Both Vicky and I had a few wayward darts before settling. We managed to tie our very up and down game at 1.1 to take it to the deciding leg. Rhian remained consistent throughout. I was left on top but went inside on each of my 3 darts, before Anca stepped up to hit the winning double.

The annual IOM darts weekend was over. The positives I take from it is that I played some awesome stuff with my least darts being a 12 & 13 dart leg. I hit quite a few 180's throughout the weekend and my finishing was good in bursts. I am also proud to know that I have a fighting spirit and despite being on the brink of defeat, I know that I have the game and the mentality to battle back and win. I am taking some confidence from the 2 x Quarter final results and the great form I intermittently found.

I am going to practice hard on the areas needed and take this onward and upwards into the next competition.

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