The Second Grand Final of the season, this time at Townville, Castleford. The warm up Doubles event won by Jonathan Hewitt and Jaron Esteve with a 2-0 victory over Tommy Walsh and Willie Kershaw. A draining day all in all with the Main Singles Event not getting underway until late afternoon which was probably a lot later than most would have liked but darts can be as much about mental strength and stamina sometimes as much as skill and ability and this was certainly a test of all those credentials.
Sam Hastings ( 17.07 ) 3-1 ( 17.16 ) Tom Gurran
Louise Simmonds ( 19.70 ) 3-1 ( 17.22 ) Lynne Horne
Josh Scales 3-0 Ian Holmes Mally Welsh 3-1 Sean Mahoney Craig Fisher 3-0 Pat Blakely Tom Lishman 3-0 Mick Tyler Ryan Hoggarth 3-0 Craig Maddox Mick Wiltshire 3-1 Neil Sidebottom Mark Hanslip 3-0 Andy Ward Tommy Walsh 3-0 Steve Blower Mark Leonard 3-1 Ray Long
The opening round contested by the players ranked 17 to 32 in the rankings and playing for the right to face the players in the top 16 in a redraw. Not a full quota of games though as 7 players who had qualified to play didn’t show for whatever reason which seemed strange with guaranteed prize money at stake. Of the games played there were no real surprises as recent form players Fisher, Lishman and Walsh all came through. Good wins though for Mally Welsh and Mick Wiltshire as they defeated players in Sean Mahoney and Neil Sidebottom that have made a big impression at BDP over the past year or so.
Tommy Walsh 3-0 Mark Leonard Mick Wiltshire 3-2 Mark Hanslip Brendan Marren 3-1 Lance Milburn John Clifford 3-0 Tom Neal Jonathan Hewitt 3-0 Robin Towler Josh Clough 3-2 Josh Scales Tony Darlow 3-2 Craig Fisher Les Delderfield 3-0 Ryan Hoggarth Jaron Esteve 3-1 Trevor Tye Tom Lishman 3-0 Joe Osgothorpe Graham Hoggarth 3-2 Derek Lumley Wayne Butterworth 3-1 Mally Welsh Pete Neary 3-2 Lewis Pride Adam Scott 3-0 Mark Featherstone Jamie Branton 3-1 Michael Townend Willie Kershaw 3-0 Rob Sharp
No doubt about the big tie of the second round as the draw pitted Tony Darlow against fellow South Yorkshireman Craig Fisher who won the inaugural GF 1 comp in its revised form earlier in the season. This time there would be no repeat of the success that day for Craig as he went down 2-3 in a match that was always likely to go the distance between two great players. Derek Lumley another player in fine form in other competitions but losing out today to fast throwing Skipton ace Graham Hoggarth. Elsewhere strapping youngster Lewis Pride had numerous darts to take 2 time Comp Semi Finalist this year Pete Neary out but couldn’t put the double away and Pete escaped with the victory. Emerging Keighley player Adam Scott recording another eye catching victory and maybe his best at BDP to date as he took danger man Mark Featherstone out without dropping a leg.
Tommy Walsh 4-3 Mick Wiltshire John Clifford 4-1 Brendan Marren Jonathan Hewitt 4-0 Josh Clough Tony Darlow 4-2 Les Delderfield Tom Lishman 4-2 Jaron Esteve Graham Hoggarth 4-1 Wayne Butterworth Pete Neary 4-0 Adam Scott Willie Kershaw 4-0 Jamie Branton
A real mixed bag of results from Round 3 and totally unpredictable. A stunning victory for John Clifford the highlight of Round 3 as he beat Brendan Marren with a 4-1 scoreline, not very often Brendan gets turned over by that kind of margin but so many players at BDP these days capable of pulling of results like that. Despite the stiffer competition Les Delderfield has in recent weeks managed to keep the flag flying high for the old guard with a succession of Final appearances but that run came to an end at the hands of Tony Darlow with a 2-4 defeat. Hull star Tom Lishman has also emerged this season as a real force to be reckoned with and showed his win over Jaron Esteve the other week was no fluke by beating him again with a 4-2 victory. Otley player Mick Wiltshire always seems to produce his best form on GF days it seems and today was no exception even though he lost out 3-4 in a thriller to high flying Tommy Walsh.
Tommy Walsh 4-2 John Clifford Tony Darlow 4-1 Jonathan Hewitt Graham Hoggarth 4-3 Tom Lishman Willie Kershaw 4-2 Pete Neary
An amazing comeback from Graham Hoggarth who looked dead and buried at 0-3 down to white hot Tommy Lishman only to storm back with 4 legs on the spin to take a dramatic game which somehow slipped out of Tommy’s grasp but a great way for Graham to reach his first BDP Semi in doing so. Willie Kershaw avenged the 3-4 defeat to Pete Neary at York St at the same stage a few weeks ago by winning another tight tussle between the pair by 4 legs to 2. Hard enough playing Tony Darlow at the best of times but having a number of bounce outs go against you hardly helps as Jonathan Hewitt felt the frustration during a 1-4 defeat to ‘The Tiger’. The final place in the Last 4 made up by Tommy Walsh as his incredible form of late shows no signs of abating with a 4-2 win over John Clifford.
SEMI FINAL 1
Tony Darlow ( 25.83 ) 5-2 ( 25.16 ) Tommy Walsh
The emergence of Tommy Walsh has been a major feature of the BDP Comps this season and it now looks like been just a matter of time before he gets a tournament victory under his belt, like many other fine players before him he may have to endure the agony of a few near misses first though and this game would be one of those occasions as Tony Darlow used all his big game experience to stretch away to a 5-2 victory in the end. Overall Sheffield man Tony was the steadier player but Tommy showed in patches of the game just why he has been a revelation this season, big bursts of scoring seem to be his strong point and he produced back to back 16 darters to force his way back into the game to level up at 2-2 after Tony had forged into an early lead with 19 and 20 darters. Consistency was the key for Tony in the second half of the contest as his scoring stayed at the same level throughout while Tommy’s was a little more erratic which gave the Sheffield Wednesday football fan the leeway to finish legs 5, 6 and 7 in 18, 19 and a patchy 26 darter at the end after a few missed darts at the doubles by both players. The usual gritty solid performance we come to expect from Tony as he hit a Maximum, 11 x 100 pluses and 2 x 90’s shots. More good big match experience for Tommy which can only make him stronger but just coming up short this time as he fired in a 174 shot plus 9 x 100 pluses and a couple of 99’s.
SEMI FINAL 2
Willie Kershaw ( 25.05 ) 5-0 ( 24.13 ) Graham Hoggarth
An emphatic 5-0 scoreline for Willie Kershaw in the second Semi despite being far from his best. The match in reality much closer than the scoreline suggests with little in the scoring but where Willie struggled on his scoring game he more than made up for on his finishing which won him the game as he took every single chance he had with low to mid range finishes of 56, 80, 32 and 54, to go 4-0 up, the sort of bread and butter shots that win matches especially when the opponent is left on similar checkouts and just waiting for the opportunities but not getting any as it turned out. Even harsher to follow in leg 5 for Graham Hoggarth making his Semi Final debut at a BDP Competition as he put together by far his best leg of the match with scores of 118, 96, 45, 100 and 110 to set up 32 after 15 darts and surely at least a consolation leg but he was denied even that by Willie who himself had saved the best till last with a showstopping 141 finish to end what was a fairly mediocre game for the most part with a flourish and show the kind of darts he has produced time and again to win many BDP Comps down the years. Most of the game a bit of a struggle for him with 3 isolated 140’s and a Ton hit in the first 4 legs before the 15 darter at the end rescued the average somewhat but happy to take the win with 23,21,20 and 21 darters also. Unlucky for Graham to lose 0-5 there as he was in contention in every leg but will probably feel he didn’t really do himself justice in this game unlike the early ones as he hit 6 x 100 pluses and 5 x 90’s shots but just too many ranging in the 40 to 60 range which all contributed to him not getting the shots at the doubles he probably should have had but still a proud achievement to be a GF Semi Finalist.
Willie Kershaw ( 27.86 ) 5-1 ( 25.86 ) Tony Darlow
A big improvement on the scoring in the Final from Willie Kershaw after a patchy scoring performance in the Semi which meant that he proved to be too strong for Tony Darlow who pretty much maintained his own standard from his Semi but couldn’t improve on it and that was the difference. When Willie does find his scoring game he tends to score big with a high percentage of 140’s and 180’s rather than just straight Tons and this can often give him the edge in games and allows him to get first shots at the doubles which he usually takes more often than not. Unfortunately for Tony most of his high scoring shots were straight Tons which were more than useful but just not enough against the 140’s that were coming back at him. Apart from a solitary leg it was Willie down to the double first and just like his Semi Final win he made no major mistakes when he got in the position to win the legs and although he did miss with a turn at doubles in legs 1,2,4 and 6 only once did it prove costly with Tony capitalizing in leg 4 to pull a leg back but in all the others he was too far a drift to take advantage. In the end a fairly comfortable win for Willie with all the fireworks again coming in the last leg as he blasted in 140,140 and 180 to set up 41 and a possible 11 darter but in the end had to settle for a 16 dart clincher. In the Semi his finishing was the key to victory while in the Final it was definitely his scoring that did the damage as he fired in 2 x 180’s, 7 x 140’s, a 125, 5 x 100’s and 3 scores in the 90’s. Another steady performance from Tony but he needed to find another gear to live with Willie and he couldn’t manage it today as he hit just one big score which was a 134 with all his 9 others being 100 shots apart from a 101 effort in the first leg, another 3 shots in the 90’s but all in all just outscored in this Final.
A first Title victory this season for Willie Kershaw, a fairly long wait as in previous years he has usually got 2 or 3 in the bag by now but the standard generally across the board is now so high these days it is very difficult for the established BDP top players such as Willie to dominate in the way that they once did, however today’s victory shows he is still a major force and when he finds his range on the Treble 20’s he is a very hard man to stop. Dominant performances from him all day as he only dropped 3 legs all afternoon on route to the Title and the Shipley ace is well and truly back.