While Manx players still seek the elusive singles titles, Dennis Harbour and Dutch player Aileen de Graaf were crowned singles champions at the end of the four day festival of darts at the Villa Marina.
Peterborough-based Harbour followed up victory in the Scottish Open last week with an impressive 5-2 victory over Glen Durrant from Middlesbrough, who reached the semi finals of January’s Lakeside world championship.
Sharing the glory on stage was flying Dutchwoman Aileen de Graaf who toppled world champ Lisa Ashton to lift the women’s singles title with a clinical 5-3 victory which included a brace of 180s.
And fittingly it was a record-breaking year for the tournament in every way – a record £30,000 prize purse, more than 1000 travellers, a new event for those with a disability and a record entry for the Winmau World Youth playoffs, showing the future is bright.
The only disappointment was that the man who made it all possible - with his late partner Colin Evans – Les France of LF Promotions was unable to travel to join in the celebrations. His doctor ruled he was too ill to travel.
And the Department of Economic Development showed their appreciation for Les’ efforts to give the tourist trade a post winter boost by presenting son Steve with a special memento to pass on to his father – a replica Isle of Man Sword of State.
There were 75 pairs in the women’s doubles with the powerful duo of Lisa Ashton and Trina Gulliver failing to make the last eight, losing to Josie Patterson and Maggie Sutton with the bottom half won by world number one Deta Hedman and Rachel Brooks.
In the top half, the highly fancied Lorraine Winstanley/Anastasia Dobromyslova combination dismissed “new kids on the block” Casey Gallagher and Fallon Sherrock 2-0.
Winstanley and her Russian partner were the favourites to lift the title but countless missed doubles let in Hedman and Brooks for a 2-1 success.
In the men’s event 220 teams toed the oche and the best of three format ensured the competition raced down to the last 16.
The strong Cheshire duo of Tony O’Shea and Darryl Fitton edged ominously into the last four after dismissing Mick Nixon and Ted Hankey and then their booked final spot, dismissing Mick McGeeny and Martin Atkins 2-1.
In the bottom half Geert de Vos and Sven Verdonck were showing good form and ended the run of Micky Stocks and Micky Baker 2-0.
A 180 in the opening leg of the final laid the foundations for a 2-1 victory for the Cheshire sharpshooters, hitting their second maximum in the third leg, as they clinched victory on double eight.
There was disappointing turnout for the Specsavers Women’s Isle of Man Classic with just 64 players lining up, despite more than £1500 on offer.
Cambridge’s on-form Paula Jacklin proved a stumbling block for islanders, dismissing Ballasalla’s Rachel Robertson and then in the quarter finals, Margaret Kelly.
Trina Gulliver apart – who lost to ever-improving Casey Gallagher – the main protagonists moved ominously into the last eight with defending Manx women’s singles champ Lorraine Winstanley whitewashing double world champ Anastasia Dobromyslova 4-0 – the score-line not doing justice to the match.
Current world title holder Lisa Ashton swept aside Jacklin 4-0 to set up a showpiece final with five times Manx champ Deta Hedman, who dashed Winstanley’s hopes 4-2.
Hedman stole the initiative taking the third leg against the throw and then annexing the next for a 3-1 lead with the world champ struggling to settle. Ashton took the fifth with the throw and then levelled the match before clinching victory with double five, as Hedman was left to reflect on what might have been.
In the Okell’s Men’s Isle of Man Men’s Classic, visiting players dominated the competition, thwarting the attempts of islanders to make it into the last 16 in this 30th birthday year. Best Manx performances came from Port Erin’s Colin Tyrer and Paul Kelly from Douglas.
There were more than 320 hopefuls toeing the oche with Ted Hankey, Martin Atkins, Darryl Fitton, Geert de Vos, Jamie Hughes and The Viking Andy Fordham amongst those failing to make the last 16.
World champ Scott Mitchell missed out on quarter final spot after toppling to Tony O’Shea who in turn lost to on-form Glen Durrant, who swept Dave Labanowski aside 4-1 in their semi final showdown. In the top half Pip Blackwell defeated Mark McGeeney, who won a seven game quarter final thriller against Scot Ross Montgomery.
Blackwell roared into the final with a 180 helping him to take a 2-0 lead after stealing the throw form Durrant.
A brace of 180s from Duzza saw him take the throwing advantage in the third and then double 16 gave him the fourth, adding the fifth against the throw as Blackwell struggled to match his opponents heavy scoring.
Throwing first in the sixth leg the Middlesbrough man hit his third maximum of the match and clinched victory with his third dart for a double.
It was fitting that in this the 30th year there was a record turnout of 22 players for the Winmau Masters Youth playoffs.
And it was diminutive Dean Birks (13) who captured everyone’s hearts with his infectious enthusiasm. Darts has been responsible for a massive improvement in his maths at school, so much so that other children are being encouraged to take up the sport!
Birks lost out by the odd leg in five against Kallum Graham, who lined up against Callan Rydz in the final.
Twice Rydz from Tyne and Wear trailed to the Lancashire player but a 180 helped him level and he clinched victory with double 10.
The Mixed Pairs attracted more than 200 teams with the strong pairing of Lisa Ashton and Glen Durrant toppling Jamie Hughes/ Paula Jacklin in the top half semi final and Aileen de Graaf and Darius Labanauskas dashing the hopes of Deta Hedman/James Hurrell in the bottom half.
On paper the Ashton/Durrant duo were probably favourites but lack-lustre scoring was punished by their opponents, who clinched victory on double four after Ashdown missed double 18 for a match-levelling 110 checkout.
In the festival’s newest competition – the World Disabled Darts Association singles – which attracted eight entries on its competition debut – it was a classic “war of the roses” final with Wakefield’s Paul Gelder in the white corner and Fred Carter from Accrington in the red corner.
Both suffered with nerves as the opening legs were shared, two tons steering Gelder to victory in the third with double nine.
Just under 130 hopefuls lined up for the prestigious Isle of Man Women’s Singles and top prize of £3000 and the main protagonists made it through to the last 32, where in-form Paula Jacklin had her title aspirations thwarted by impressive Dublin teenager Robyn Byrne, the defending Winmau World Youth champion. The previous evening Byrne reached the quarter finals of the youth playoffs.
She beat experienced Margaret Sutton by the odd leg in nine in the next but then the bubble burst at the hands for former world champ Anastasia Dobromyslova 5-1. She joined nine times world champ Trina Gulliver – hammered 5-0 by Deta Hedman - defending Manx champ Lorraine Winstanley and the island’s last representative Margaret Kelly on the sidelines.
World champ Aston – who the previous weekend lifted the BDO World Trophy - continued her winning ways dismissing Hedman 5-2 in the top half while Dutch sharpshooter Aileen de Graaf clinched her spot on stage, defeating Dobromyslova 5-3, firing out an 11-darter and match-winning 14 dart checkout.
When Ashton took the opening leg of the final against the throw it appeared she was going to chalk up another title success but De Graaf hit maximums in each of the next two legs to edge 2-1 in front, annexing the next two as the world champ buckled.
Ashton rallied to take the next to pull within a leg of De Graaf but the high-flying Dutch player clinched victory in the eighth leg, finishing the match with a 25.43 average – Ashton slightly higher with 26.90.
The lure of a £5000 top prize and rankings points attracted 520 entrants for the Isle of Man Men’s Singles and with Stephen Bunting moving across to the PDC it meant that a new name would be added to the trophy.
Ross Montgomery, Ted Hankey and Darryl Fitton were notable early casualties as the nine hour marathon to determine the finalists got underway.
Battling islander Glen Morley reached the last 32 before dipping out to new England team member Mark McGeeney but Morley went away a bonus cash prize of £150 for being the most successful islander (courtesy of the Steam Packet Company) and a further £100 (from Quids Inn, Douglas) for the islander hitting the top checkout – 117.
Andy Fordham in a striking new Viking shirt, Welsh veteran left-hander Martin Phillips and the two Martin Atkins (Yorkshire and Lancashire) failed to make the last 16, where they were joined on the sidelines by Gary Robson.
Black Country sharpshooter Jamie Hughes missed double 12 for a nine darter – there have only been two previously in the 30 years – as he moved into the quarter finals only to see his aspirations extinguished by man on a mission Glen Durrant, the 44-year-old Middlesbrough man who was a losing semi finalist in January’s world championship.
In the pick of the quarter final matches – and a repeat of January’s world final – Martin Adams battled from 2-0 down to lead world champ Mitchell 4-3, Scotty levelling with a 142 checkout, completed on double 11. Not to be outdone Wolfie roared back in the deciding ninth leg hitting a match-winning 156 victory flourish after a maximum from Mitchell.
But Adams’ bid to lift the Manx title for the first time, was dashed 5-1 in his semi final clash with Peterborough neighbour Dennis Harbour, who came into the event with good form, having annexed the Scottish Open.
In the bottom half of the draw Duzza whitewashed Belgian Geert de Vos 5-0 – who the previous weekend took the BDO World Trophy - to make the final and showdown with Harbour – a new destined to be engraved on the trophy.
Cambridge-based Harbour took the opening leg of the final with the throw after Durrant missed doubles to steal the initiative. Both hit 180s in the next, Harbour exiting on 70 and then taking the third with the throw.
With his back against the wall determined Duzza took the fourth but Harbour, the next two going with the throw.
Durrant’s big scoring deserted him in the seventh leg as Harbour fired in a 140 and two tons, having the luxury of taking three attempts to clinch the match-winning double 10. Harbour’s match-winning average was 26.17, compared with Durrant’s 27.48 return.
Director of Tourism Robin Bischert thanked everyone– players and sponsors – for helping to put on such “a great event.”
“This is the 30th one and we are very proud to support this international festival of darts which has attracted players from the mainland UK as well as Russia, Switzerland , Holland and Belgium, plus this year for the first time, players from the World Disabled Darts Association.
“Unfortunately one person could not be here – Event Promoter, Les France. We are very disappointed that he could not be here for the 30th event. We appreciate his tremendous passion and enthusiasm for darts and this tournament,” he said.
Plans are already being drawn up for the festival 31st, next year.
Specsavers Ladies Isle of Man Classic
1 L Aston £500; 2 D Hedman £250; 3= P Jacklin, L Winstanley £100; 5-8 A de Graaf, M Kelly, A Dobromyslova, Z Jones £60; 9-16 G Davies, M Sutton, S Thame, R Robertson, C Gallagher, C Ball, S Cusick, J Thompson £50; 17-32 D Waugh, N Yates, J Brownley, R Brooks, D Bateman, S Balaban, A-M Swindells, A Ward, N Librers, T Gulliver, H Lodge, M Paine, K Falla, S Goodwin, J Thompson, T Cunningham.
Okells Men’s Isle of Man Classic
1 G Durrant £750; 2 P Blackwell £450; 3= M McGeeney, D Labanowski £250 ; J Williams, R Montgomery, T O’Shea, P Brown 5-8 £100 ; 9-16 R Hogarth, S Robertson, J Welding, P Jennings, S Mitchell, C Nicholl, M Baker, G Thompson £50; 17-32 N Astley, R Hughes, M Atkins, P Boughey, R Gorst, K Burness, R Baillie, P Clarke, G Cresey, G de Vos, A Rainey, S Plank, S Proctor, P Morelissen, D Adshead, P Kelly.
1 A de Graaf/D Labanuskas £500; 2 L Ashdown/G Durrant £250; 3= J Hughes/P Jacklin, D Hedman/J Hurrell £125; 5-8 R Montgomery/Z Jones, R Hogarth, M Phillips/A Dobromyslova, S Hewson/T Gullivery £60; 9-16 N Kenny/D Bateman, SHead/F Sherrock, M Stocks/C Ball, N Linford/M Payne, D Williams/R Davies, C Nicholl/G Williams, T Martin/L Winstanley, S Robertson/A Kuitjen £40; 17-32 M Atkins/S Cusick, A Bone/PHind, P Lynsey/D Davies, P Blackwell/C Gallagher, L Shewan/T Cunningham, D Evans/A Ward, J den Bavin/S den Bavin, K Lane/N Liberi, S Coote/G Jones, A Edwards/T Marran, M Atkins/A Waslin, S Dockerty/K Wellerby, S Gierke/G Davies, D Turnbull/J Fisher, A Bradley/H Martin, S Gullivery/S Mitchell £25
1 D Hedman/R Brooks £400; 2 A Dobromyslova/L Winstanley £200; 3= C Gallagher/F Sherrock, S Cusick/A-M Swindells £100; 5-8 D Ijpelaar/A de Graaf, J Thompson/D Waugh, H Kirkbride/S Bode, J Patterson/M Sutton £50; 9-16 Z Jones/C Ball, S Goodwin/D Davies, T Hughes/T Cunningham, J Broxton/J Mottram, A Smith/W Pearson, S Thame/P Hind, L Ashton/T Gulliver, E Tapp/A Lawrie £30
T O’Shea/D Fitton £500; 2 G de Vos/S Verdonck £250; 3= M McGeeney/M Atkins, M Stocks/M Baker £125; 5-8 J McCarthy/N Kenny, M Nixon/T Hankey, T Stone/R Winder, M Craddock/S Carroll £60; 9-16 J Byrne/D Concannon, J Holmes/P Coughlin, T Gregory/W Jinks, J Hurrell/P Blackwell, M Haggard/K Bramall, C Nicholl/S Rattray, M v d Horst/P Morrelissen, T Watters/N Linford £40.
Winmau World Masters Youth playoffs
1 Callan Rydz £200; 2 Callum Graham £100; 3= J Kynaston, D Birks £50; 5-8 J Bell, A Brockhurst, R Byrne, J Singleton £25
World Disabled Darts Association singles
1 P Gelder £350; 2 F Carter £150; 3= T Pass, P Lees £75; 5-8 D Kennish, R Chilton, A McEwan, M Herbert £50
Isle of Man Ladies Singles
1 A de Graaf £3000; 2 L Ashton £1250; 3= D Hedman, A Dobromyslova £500; 5-8 L Winstanley, T Gulliver, R Byrne, M Kelly £150; 9-16 Z Jones, C Gallagher, B Dyer, R Brookes, M Sutton, F Sherrock, C de Sousa, D Bateman £60; 17-32 W Turton, C Neeley, P Hind, J Clements, J Thompson, T Cunningham, D Waugh, L Hepburn, P Jacklin, H Lodge, K Bellerby, C Ball, T Marran, S Gulliver, E Tapp, G Jones £40; 33-64 D Indred, L Griffith, A Ward, N Jones, S Goodwin, S Thame, K Livermore, S Reading, J Halsall, N Libreri, D Lipelaar, J Fisher, K Falla, A Waslin, A Kuitjen, G Williams, J Paterson, F Blay, S Bode, J Bailey, E Nation, A Brocklehurst, D Davies, H Draper, E Barlow, G Craig, J Robertson, K Conway, R Davis, J Wright, K Wilkinson, A Rossier.
Mens Singles (Category A points)
1 D Harbour £5000; 2 G Durrant £1500; 3= M Adams, G de Vos £600; 5-8 M Mc Geeney, S Mitchell, G Thompson, J Hughes £175; 9-16 S Pearce, W Mandingers, D Reynolds, S Bousfield, G Robson, P Blackwell, S Rattray, R Hobarth £60; 17-32 G Morley, M Nixon, G Stafford, L Davies, S Coote, D Concannon, A Fordham, S Henson, M Phillips, M Atkins (Lancs), P Jennings, S Verdonck, M Atkins (Yorks), B Dawson, S Dockery, P Morelissen £40; 33-64 J Hurrell, A Green, A Roger, R Guest, A Rose, E Price, D Fitton, G Welding, M Malone, L Hendricks, S Derbyshire, I Fields, N Hart, D Smith, M Mcdonald, A Umney, T Green, C Hough, L Freeson, R Veenstra, K Lane, R Bell, M Razmar, V v d Meer, PJ Woods, P Boughey, D Ayres, A Edwards, T O’Shea, M Blanford, S Proctor, D McNicol £25
Quids Inn Highest Checkout Prizes
Overall £250 – shared between Sven Verdonck and Steve Proctor (170)
Islander £100 Glen Morley (117)
Isle of Man Steam Packet – best island performances
Women £100 Margaret Kelly (last eight)
Men £150 Glen Morley (last 32)
Photo - Robin Bischert, Director of Tourism for the Department of Economic Development, presenting the winner’s trophy to Aileen de Graaf.