A pleasant enough morning at Townville on the outskirts of Castleford as the players assembled for the show piece event of the year after 12 months of competitions around the county to determine who would compete in the Grand Finals of 2014. Quite a few players not involved in the main events turned up to play in the Doubles Event, always a great event in itself and well worth the winning as well as sharpening up the players for the individual battles to come later on. In truth not the strongest of line up’s in any of the main events compared to previous years but the Grand Finals have never really been about the best players as such, with points awarded for attendance at each event which rewards loyalty and commitment just as much as skill and results. Still the Grand Finals always make for an intriguing day as the less fancied players get a chance to shine and maybe cause a few upsets while the draw itself always has some bearing on the proceedings although the Top 16 players in the Rankings are rewarded with a bye through the opening round in the Main event.
Tom Gurran 3-0 Sam Hastings Kai Haddock 3-0 Sam Squire
Tom Gurran 3-2 Keaton Haddock Kai Haddock 3-0 Ethan Scully
Tom Gurran ( 17.78 ) 3-2 ( 16.65 ) Kai Haddock
A depleted field of only 6 for the Youth Finals, could of been even lower had Halifax player Ethan Scully not defied the medics to remove his own pot in order to compete after suffering a broken arm recently, as such he didn’t even feature in the Final odds list given his injury and likelihood of playing. As it was the Final would be contested by the 2 big favourites Kai Haddock and Tom Gurran. Kai in fine form especially early season and Tom coming good towards the latter end. With so much at stage neither player able to produce their best darts and the match turned into a hard slog for both with only glimpses of their real form along the way. At 2-2 approaching the finishing line the tension really showed as both players had goes at doubles before Tom managed to get over the line on Double 10. Could have gone either way but the Rotherham youngster edged out the Barnsley youngster in the South Yorkshire battle. Winning legs in 33, 22 and 35 with a 137, 100 and 2 x 90’s scores for Tom, while Kai’s legs were both in 24 darts, the first one taken with a 71 finish as he hit 4 x 100 scores and a couple of 90’s but just couldn’t nick the double at the end.
Laura Tye 3-0 Tracey Gledhill Louise Simmonds 3-1 Lynne Horne Ginny Whittaker 3-0 Michelle Binns Leah Wiltshire 3-2 Sharon Whitfield
Laura Tye 3-1 Louise Simmonds Leah Wiltshire 3-0 Ginny Whittaker
Laura Tye ( 17.84 ) 3-1 ( 15.53 ) Leah Wiltshire
A crunch draw out of the hat almost straight away as tournament favourite Lynne Horne went down 3-1 to fellow county player Louise Simmonds who hasn’t really been at her best this season despite featuring in 7 Finals but always a threat in BDP competitions. However Laura Tye stopped Lou in her tracks at the Semi stage with a 3-1 win, while 25/1 shot Leah Wiltshire who just hasn’t performed at all this season and hardly won a game suddenly found some form to take out Sharon Whitfield and Ginny Whittaker to reach the Final, had ‘The Lioness’ sharpened her claws at just the right time or would Laura put her to sleep in the Final? A blinding start from the Chesterfield girl now playing county darts for Lincs as she opened up with a 180 to cruise the first leg in 26 darts after missing with 7 or 8 at Double 16, a closer second leg but still going Laura’s way in 25 darts and she looked for all the world like completing a 3-0 victory only for Leah to wake up and roar back at the end of the leg with 2 x 100 shots and a 43 finish to pinch it away from her, the Otley girl who seems to have been around the darts scene for years but amazingly still only 17 just couldn’t follow up the last leg with anything big and Laura made heavy weather of it before closing out the match with a tricky Double 3 in 31 darts for another Grand Final win to her name. Always the stronger player in this one Laura hit the 180 plus 5 x 100 pluses, while Leah hit back with 4 x 100 shots and showed what she can produce at long last this season.
Kershaw / Delderfield 2-1 Dutson / Denny Esteve / Hewitt 2-1 Holdstock / Lishman
Esteve / Hewitt ( 29.74 ) 3-2 ( 28.23 ) Kershaw / Deldefield
A keenly contested Doubles Competition with 32 Pairs entering ending up with two of the most fancied pairings in the Final. Both Pairs had tough Semi Final games and in both games had to pull something out of the bag to win it. Firstly Jaz Esteve firing in a 149 to help see off the dangerous Hull pairing of Lishman and Holdstock and then Sir Les Delderfield taking out 113 to win the game against the South Leeds pairing of Dutson and Denny who put in a tremendous effort against their more established and experienced opponents and were sat handily on a double when Les produced his showstopper. The Final itself looked to be going the way of the Shipley pair at 2-1 up and putting in a massive effort in leg 4 to get the win there and then as they left 76 after 12 darts, however the E/W Ardsley SL duo refused to buckle and matched their opponents all the way with Joby Hewitt coming up with the goods this time with a 94 checkout to level up in 14 darts. The Woodbottom SL pair though were still the favourites with the throw but they were simply blown away in the decider as the Leeds team fired in scores of 140, 180, 100, with a 41 set up to leave Tops with Les and Willie fading at this stage as they knew the game was up as Joby nailed the match with his first dart for a brilliant 13 darter to claim a 3-2 win, an excellent warm up for the Main event to come and £200 spending money to boot for their efforts.
Steve Blower 3-0 Adam Kay Steve Silver 3-0 Peter Baker Daryl Bainbridge 3-0 Mark Leonard Neil Sidebottom 3-0 Luke Cathcart Ian Brown 3-1 Danny Hall Callum Hall 3-2 Tommy Walsh Mick Wiltshire 3-0 Rob Sharp Bryan Harrison 3-2 Curtis Turner Rich Winpenny 3-1 Mark Calvert Pete Riley 3-0 Ian Falkingham Tom Neal 3-0 Raymond Long Ian Ward 3-0 Brendan Dawson Steve Kelly 3-0 Ian Holmes Arron Holdstock 3-1 Paul Priestland Kris Namnieks 3-2 Dave Peasgood Lyndon Baxter 3-1 Richard Butcher
The first round contested between the players ranked 17 to 48 with the stand out tie pitting Bryan Harrison against Curtis Turner. The big Kippax left hander still recovering from knee surgery and as a result drifting out to 33/1 in the odds and facing a very dangerous floater in Curtis who just sneaked in the line up on the last day in 48th position and fancied by many pundits to do well today, even with limited movement Bryan can still throw some deadly darts and Curtis became the first big casualty at 18/1 going down 3-2. Former BDP Youth Champion Callum Hall not really fulfilling his potential at BDP this year but putting in a fine performance to dispatch 25/1 dark horse Tommy Walsh 3-2. Elsewhere no surprise results from any of the outsiders with all the players at 66/1 or above going out although Mark Calvert, Danny Hall and Paul Priestland all managed to take legs against more fancied players.
Les Delderfield 3-0 Craig Fisher Jaron Esteve 3-2 Brendan Marren Callum Hall 3-0 Ian Ward Mick Wiltshire 3-1 Ian Brown Arron Holdstock 3-0 Bryan Harrison Pete Riley 3-0 Andy Ward Rich Winpenny 3-2 Kris Namnieks Tom Neal 3-0 Mally Welsh Lyndon Baxter 3-1 Neil Sidebottom Steve Silver 3-1 Josh Scales Willie Kershaw 3-1 Stuart Monaghan David Lammie 3-0 Steve Hattersley Jonathan Hewitt 3-1 Mark Featherstone Gary Cathcart w/o Steve Kelly Derek Lumley 3-1 Cam Hinchcliffe Daryl Bainbridge 3-0 Steve Blower
Huge drama before a dart had even been thrown in this round as Stuart Monaghan walked out of the venue in protest at how the draw was made. The man from Woodhouse in Central Leeds is no stranger to controversy over the years after being involved in a few incidents such as ‘Wallgate’ and ‘Blowgate’ previously and felt that the Top 16 players should have been seeded and not be drawn against each other at the earliest stage, however the draw has always been done this way with the Top 16 given a first round bye as a reward for their effort over the campaign with an uplift of £60, the draw is then a random one like it is at every competition which no other player had a problem with, so very difficult to argue a case for him in this issue as all the other players just got on with the job. The former UK Open TV star did return though to play his match against Willie Kershaw and subsequently lost 3-1, had he prepared properly then with all his talent and ability was more than capable of winning the game and even the tournament tor that matter. Drama too on Board 3 as silver haired Halifax veteran Steve Kelly had to concede the game half way through against Gary Cathcart through injury, a sad end to his campaign. The draw was always going to play its part to a certain extent and it conjured up some big match up’s which would see a few top order players bow out as Les Delderfield beat 6/1 shot Craig Fisher 3-0, Jaron Esteve put out the third favourite Brendan Marren 3-2 and Cam Hinchcliffe also highly regarded at 12/1 went down to Derek Lumley 3-1 in an even looking contest. Meanwhile Mark Featherstone had chances to go 2-0 up on Jonathan Hewitt but missed darts at Tops and was punished as the Harehills man took out 100 and never really looked back to win the game 3-1. Another big win for Callum Hall, the South Leeds Ind SL star hitting a 15 darter on the way to a 3-0 win over 14/1 Pudsey ace Ian Ward to send another top player packing. Elsewhere the highest odds players still in the mix were Mick Wiltshire, Tom Neal and Pete Riley all at 40/1 after good victories over players lower in the odds pecking order. Halifax ace Kris Namnieks at 50/1 gave it a real go though and played well in a narrow defeat 2-3 defeat to Rich Winpenny, while Steve Silver avenged a defeat the previous week at Rowland Road by beating Josh Scales 3-1. Looking like it could be anyone’s Title at this stage with half of the favourites gone already.
Jaron Esteve 3-1 Les Delderfield Mick Wiltshire 3-2 Callum Hall Pete Riley 3-0 Arron Holdstock Rich Winpenny 3-0 Tom Neal Lyndon Baxter 3-2 Steve Silver David Lammie 3-0 Willie Kershaw Jonathan Hewitt 3-1 Gary Cathcart Derek Lumley 3-1 Daryl Bainbridge
If any player in today’s field would be capable of taking out Brendan Marren and Les Delderfield in back to back games then most pundits money would be on Jaron Esteve. ‘The Spaniard’ proving to be the worst nightmare for the 2 players most would have picked to win the Title, having held his own all year on the tough PDC Challenger Tour the Ossett Electrician fears no one and having come close to beating Les the previous week he made no mistake this time to defeat the holder 3-1 and blow the comp wide open with the tournament favourite Willie Kershaw also departing at this stage after a sensational performance from in-form David Lammie to beat him 3-0. If that 3-0 was a bit of a shock then the 3-0 win for Pete Riley over 8/1 shot Arron Holdstock was a major tremor, the Halifax man rolling back the years and throwing the darts of his life to stun the Hull youngster with a succession of big scores and making a mockery of his 40/1 starting odds. Sowerby Bridge ace Lyndon Baxter wondering how he survived after Selby’s Steve Silver had him on toast in the decider but couldn’t put away any of 11 attempts at the winning double, numerous times this season failure to close games out has cost the former power lifter dear and none more so than today. Mick Wiltshire has had a fairly poor season by his standards but always seems to perform on GF day and was doing the same again after taking out Callum Hall who had already done major damage in the previous 2 rounds. Few people would have believed before start of play that none of the Woodbottom 3, Kershaw, Delderfield and Marren would feature in the QF’s with Jaz Esteve now taking on the mantle as favourite at 13/2 with Mick Wiltshire and Pete Riley the dark horses at 40/1.
Jaron Esteve 3-0 Mick Wiltshire Rich Winpenny 3-0 Pete Riley David Lammie 3-0 Lyndon Baxter Jonathan Hewitt 3-1 Derek Lumley
The QF’s proving to be fairly straight forward victories for the players lower in the odds as only a single leg from Derek Lumley against Jonathan Hewitt avoided a clean sweep. Jaz Esteve and David Lammie swept past Mick Wiltshire and Lyndon Baxter, while Rich Winpenny got away with hitting his opponents double before wrapping up a convincing win over Pete Riley who had just run out of steam after his brilliant performance the previous round.
SEMI FINAL 1
Jaron Esteve ( 24.36 ) 4-3 ( 24.38 ) Rich Winpenny
A closely fought match between E/W Ardsley SL team mates Jaz Esteve and Rich Winpenny, captain v vice-captain in a battle to reach the Final. The first blow struck by Jaron as he fired in a 116 finish against the throw in 15 darts to steal a march but immediately broken back as ‘The Rabbit’ hit 3 x 100 scores to help level up in 19 darts. The Woodlesford player scored well in leg 3 too but lost the initiative again as he missed 2 darts at Tops and Jaron nipped in to show his class with a killer 95 checkout on the Bull for an 18 darter. The former Lofthouse man now living in Ossett looked to have put the game beyond his opponents reach by going 3-1 up with a 24 darter but both players were missing a few doubles and giving each other chances, it was all about who could take them to progress. For once Rich managed to hold on to his throw with another 19 darter after missing a couple more darts at Tops and was then handed a lifeline in the next leg as Jaron missed 3 darts also at Tops for the match with the Dewsbury born player stepping in this time to nail a 73 checkout in 21 darts to level the game at 3-3. Given the context of the game it was always likely that both players would get shots at doubles to win in the deciding leg and that proved to be the case as Rich on 64 hit the Treble 16 but then chased the doubles all the way around to Double 1 with the next 5 darts with most of them agonisingly close to the target before Jaron took out Double 10 with his fourth match dart of a really topsy turvey game which could have gone either way. So little in it as the averages testify with Jaron hitting 11 x 100 pluses and 5 x 90’s shots, while Rich hit 12 x 100 pluses and also 5 x 90’s shots but having finished well in his previous games was left to rue too many missed doubles in this one with 3 from 16 attempts costing him, especially the 5 at the end but an entertaining game for the crowd and Jaz going forward to the Final.
SEMI FINAL 2
Jonathan Hewitt ( 26.07 ) 4-1 ( 24.68 ) David Lammie
A very solid all round performance from Jonathan Hewitt as he controlled most of the second Semi to run out a 4-1 winner. The Central Leeds man in superb form this season for E/W Ardsley SL side and featuring high up in the Averages table with an unbeaten record so far and he flew out of the traps with a Maximum score on his second visit to the board and went on to take the leg in 19 darts. The defining moment of the match came in the next leg as David powered in 4 x 3 figure scores but missed a crucial 3 darts at 40 and Jonathan came from nowhere with a 125 followed by a 75 checkout to nick it away, the psychological damage inflicted from taking a leg like that can be huge and instead of it being just 1 leg won it can feel like 3 or vice versa if on the receiving end. The damage had been done with Jonathan then going 3-0 up with a 21 dart hold and the big Scot now residing in Shipley had it all do but did pull one back with a 20 darter but there was to be no denying the former Yorkshire Youth star as he closed the game out in a professional manner with a rock solid 18 darter to give Dave no chance on a shot of 131. Like all of his games today Jonathan not quite at his brilliant best as he can throw well into the 80’s and 90’s on the averages but very solid unwavering darts from him which means his opponent has to play exceptionally well to beat him and David like the others before him not quite up to it on this occasion. Scores of 1 x 180, 6 x 100 pluses and 3 x 90’s shots from Joby, with David scoring well too with 9 x 100 pluses and 3 x 90’s with leg 2 no doubt the big turning point in the match.
Jonathan Hewitt ( 27.03 ) 5-1 ( 23.69 ) Jaron Esteve
A comprehensive Grand Final win for Jonathan Hewitt against his E/W Ardsley SL Captain Jaron Esteve. The final match proved to be just one match too many for Jaron after coming through the toughest section of the draw and doing most of the dirty work for the other players by taking out Brendan Marren and Les Delderfield in the early rounds and then a draining Semi Final left him running on empty for the Final. Jonathan played just like he had all day long, solid on the scoring and missing very little on the finishing, the first leg being a typical example as he scored well with a Ton and 2 x 90’s shots and took out the 68 finish at the end for a 18 darter, the sort of bread and butter finishes that wins games that he had produced all afternoon. More of the same in leg 2 as he broke Jaz with a 17 darter and a 80 finish this time. Big heavy scoring such a feature of Jaz’s game and he looked to be finding it in leg 3 with consecutive scores of 100, 100 and 140 but lost his way with 6 darts from 102 and ended up not having a dart at a double as Joby nipped in at the end with a 118 set up followed by a 24 finish, once again something that he had done to opponents time after time today and putting him in command at 3-0 up. Almost a carbon copy in leg 4 with Jaron firing in 100, 140, 100 scores but doing his level best to throw the leg away at the end but for once wasn’t punished for it and managed to stay in the game with a 22 darter after missing 6 darts at 38. In that leg Jonathan missed with 3 darts at 20 and could have been almost out of sight at 4-0 up but he shrugged it off to fire in another solid 18 darter to go one leg away from the match. Another scoring salvo from Jaz like he had done in legs 3 and 4 but all in vain as he missed a shot at 56 to save the match and Joby punished him again with an unerring first dart into Double 16 to finish with a 16 darter and the best leg of the game. A fine victory for Jonathan with another very solid all round performance as he hit 8 x 100’s and 8 x 90’s scores but his finishing the key as he only missed one chance during the whole game and that was the main difference between the players as Jaz hit his share of scores with 12 x 100 pluses but struggling towards the end of legs which is usually his strong point, he was also playing with a new set of darts totally different to his tried and trusted set which he had misplaced the previous week but after retrieving them had decided to stick with the new ones anyway, a decision vindicated by a achieving a Runners Up spot and a Doubles win.
Jonathan Hewitt joins a list of illustrious names as a BDP Grand Final Winner and well deserved too after a fine year that has seen him really start to fulfil all the promise he showed as a junior player. At 26 and now very much a family man he is now maturing into the finished article having added consistency, steel and a calmer temperament to the natural ability, skill and flair that he has always had coupled with a great maths brain that can work out scores in an instant. All these factors make him a top player who could go on to achieve more great things in the game in the future.
Once again a great and incident packed day of darts but still room for improvement especially regarding the Ladies and Youth Finals which in my opinion should be played as a Mixed Top 16 Event featuring the Top 16 players in the Rankings table, had this been the case then players like Mandy McKenzie and Marie Groves who deserve to be there on success and appearances would have been in as well as 6 Youth players, as it was the Youth Finals didn’t really work as 2 or 3 had barely played all year and didn’t show for The Finals which made it a poor event for a Final of this magnitude. The Youths and Ladies play against each other all year in the competitions so why split them for the Finals, just pool the prize money and have a really competitive Mixed Grand Final Event in future. The only other issue so dramatically brought to attention today is whether or not to seed the Top 16 players, if so the field would have to increase to 64 to even up the numbers as it would be grossly unfair to give the Top 16 players a bye and then be seeded as well. In all honesty I would say 99% of players are happy with the way it is though. With the now defunct BDP Classic no longer played is there room for a BDP Elite Competition at the end of the year featuring all players to have reached a QF or better during the regular season. This would be some line-up and be a great competition to end the season with, maybe the seed of an idea that the Committee could look in to for next year.