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  • Writer's pictureJo Clements

Romanian Rollercoaster with just a sprinkling of Covid

After a normal working day, taking two planes and being awake for 36 hours we arrived in Bucharest for the Romanian Festival of darts 2022. This was my first time attending this Bronze and Silver WDF ranked comp.

Despite all my travelling there are always lessons to be learned. For anyone new to travelling in Romania do not take a taxi directly from the airport. They cost over 6 times more than ordered ones! Every day is a school day.

Getting to the venue at the Grand Hotel Bucharest in 29 degree temperatures and with just under an hour to spare before Ladies Pairs was to start was less than relaxing. However after a quick freshen up and change I met with my fantastic pairs partner Roz Bulmer to start our Romanian crusade.

Roz and I played well together. Played as pairs should with both scoring and finishing well. I was on to a sixth perfect dart in one leg, until the wire scuppered it. Nevertheless Roz and I did well up until we faced another newly formed pairing of Beau Greaves and Jo Rolls. Beau and Jo ended our charge in the semi final.

Saturday saw the first Bronze ranked singles competition. Seeded 2nd in the competition stood me in good stead. However I just hadn't catered for the extreme heat in the playing areas. I struggled to acclimatise and despite chalking my hands found I had no grip. My darts were far from my best but I managed to get through to the quarter finals. There I met Czech International Jitka Cisarova. It was a fairly even game but the crucial doubles eluded me. I went out in the last 8 which was disappointing.

Regrouped and relaxed I entered Sundays Silver ranked comp with my previous darts behind me. I waited eagerly for my first opponent, however they weren't feeling well so withdrew. I had to wait again to play.

It wasn't quite as hot in the Sunday in the venue. As I had been given a walkover in my first game I had to mark. I found, even standing and marking sweltering so I knew just what to expect in my game. And sweltering it was.

One of my games was against a young lady called Emily Woods. She had only recently started playing darts and whilst studying in Bucharest thought she'd give it a go. I had marked her first game and loved her passion and determination. Emily was absolutely made up that she had won some prize money, but also she was now WDF ranked. I had lovely chats with her and her fellow student friends, so much so when I played her we didn't start until they were all sat there watching and supporting her. It was such a breath of fresh air to see such friendship. It was just a shame I had to beat her and end her darting journey..... For now! I'm sure she'll carry on playing now she has the bug.

I had another tough task against Greek Margeta Chatzi. I had seen her previous games and knew her finishing was fantastic. Focused and determined from the off I dug in to take a nice 4.1 victory in my board final.

I found I now faced Veronika Ihasz for a second time in the Semi Final. She is a very dangerous and passionate darter whom I had previously pipped in Slovakia so I was determined to beat her again to seal my place in the final. After a very tentative starting leg from us both it was up and down for us both. I managed to take a 4.1 victory despite Veronika having a better overall average. I was into the final.

After a couple of hours relaxing it was finals time. I was to face the amazingly talented World Champion Beau Greaves. Last time I played Beau I managed to pinch the crucial final double... I knew she would want her revenge and also to add yet another darting title to her already impressive resume.

There were a few little nerve flutters but they soon subsided once I was on the stage. Having won the bull, I was to throw first. I set off more quickly than Beau however that didn't last long. Once Beau found the treble, she rarely missed it.

I set off one leg with a nice 180 but didn't really follow it up. Despite saving my best game of the weekend to my last, hitting some fantastic scores and cover shots I realised I hadn't hit them at the right times. Darts can also be about the right scores at the right time and looking back at this game that's where I faltered. It was a quite tight game and the white wash scoreline I suffered doesn't really reflect that. To make it up on to the stage in the final and to play well and keep up with the formidable darting force of Beau is something to build. My confidence and take forward to my next games.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable time in Romania and I'm already looking forward to my return. I left with a nice trophy.

I took home more prize money to put towards my next competition and lots of fun memories with a fab group of friends. And yes.... A little step up in the WDF ranking table....

...and YES....My third dose of Covid 19! Here's hoping I'm all clear to start my new job next week and to attend England Darts competition in Brean Sands.

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