Back to the UK Open...

After the excursions into the world of football now back to the third day of the UK Open. To be sure the sport of darts contributes its share to international understanding as well. Though it might be sometimes difficult to find a dartboard in foreign countries when you've found one there'll be no fear of contact whatever nationalities have assembled.

There were members of several nations taking part in the UK Open too. In the early round one could find beside the players from Great Britain participants from the Netherlands, Canada, Begium, Northern Ireland, Germany, Australia, Spain and Gibraltar at the oche. In other years some American players were there as well. Admittedly at the end the British were among themselves...

When I returned to the Reebok on Saturday morning the weather was even worth then before. I had to do some shopping first for the long dart day and it certainly was shopping morning. Some officials were among the shoppers as well. Luckily the superstore is directly besides the Reebok but nevertheless I was a little bit envious that sky sport had as in Wolverhampton a mobile restaurant for their staff at the players entrance to the Reebok. When I arrived at the venue my umbrella was totally ruined and I was a little bit early too as one is only allowed into the pressroom one hour before the action starts. So I waited there together with some colleagues watching players arrive plainclothed and others smoking.

Over night the hall had changed again. The number of boards had been reduced from eight to four, some more tables and chairs had been added. As I could see later in the day the event was not sold out, several chairs stayed unoccupied.

In Fourth round were still 1,5 Australians, one Begian, one player from Northern Ireland and three Dutch players in the tournament. The Belgian eliminated one of the Dutch players, the other two Dutch and the 1,5 Australians won their matches. In a not really interesting rerun of the final 2009 Phil Taylor defeated Colin Osborne 9:1. In the final 2009 Osborne had won a few more legs... World Champion Adrian Lewis was thrown out of the tournament by Wes Newton. He lost 7:9. With the same result Robert Thornton won the battle of the Scots against Gary Anderson. There were a few really close 9:8 results. One of those got Denis Ovens - who had chosen this time out of his seemingly unfailing fund of shirts an unostentatiously striped pattern - against Brendan Dolan from Northern Ireland. I had walked from board to board and when I first looked at this match Denis was 1:5 down and I had believed he would be eliminated soon. But when I returned he had levelled and the match was so thrilling I got stuck till Ovens win.
In the last match of the afternoon Michael van Gerwen won with an impressive performance over Mervyn King on the main stage.

During the break between the sessions two more boards were demounted as the evening session was played only on the main stage and the smaller and lower stage 2. The loud music was replaced by punding and drilling. We in the press room took a break as well and watched the football match between Denmark and the Netherlands. I couldn't make out which team was the favorit in the press room but the goal from Denmark was received with a lot of cheering.

Around an hour before the evening session started the music began again. The crowd started to fill the venue, though the evening was not entirely sold out. I had no problems at all to find a place with sight at the small stage or to squeeze through to the main stage. The atmosphere was great - for me much better then in Premier League-. While there the corwd often is occupied with celebrating itself here it really came along with the action. In the deciding moments there was breathless silence before deafening cheers blazed up. And there was a lot of cheering at the evening!

All matches on main stage were impressive and interesting. Great how Terry Jenkins won against Michael van Gerwen. Very impressive was Dave Chisnall. Phil Taylor and Ronnie Baxter supplied best entertainment when in one leg both players threw six perfect darts - it's a pity none managed the nine-darter. The last two matches both ended in an all deciding leg. Those were the matches between Raymond van Barneveld and Peter Wrigth and Kim Huybrechts and Wes Newton. Especially in the last match between Newton and Huybrechts the atmosphere was unbelievable. The crowd cheered Newton and Huybrechts alternately. The tension before Newtonm threw his last dart was palpable. The matches on the small stage got almost lost in the shuffle though the the games between Joe Cullen and Jamie Caven and Paul Nicholson versus Denis Ovens were hard to beat in dramatics. Both winners Caven and Ovens- had to come from behind to their wins.

Not much was left of the nationality richness at the end of the evening, besides the British only one Dutch player was in. And still in the tournament was Denis Ovens, who was during the last PDC World Championship almost unable with pain to get on the stage and who had told me a few weeks ago in Birmingham that the pain had mostly gone but he still felt numbness in his fingers and had some kind of blockade in his head. He was quite lucky in the draw that evening - with Jamie Caven he got an opponent he was capable to overcome.

When I left the venue after a long day of darts the rain had stopped and there was no wind at alls. What a nice surprise!!! Another a little bit weird surprise I had reaching the hotel. A taxi had just arrived and an older couple in cat habits was leaving it ...

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