I can't remember how often I already have been to Bolton for the UK Open. But over the last years the weather was
always good. Might be not really warm but at least dry and sunny.
This year it already rained when the plane landed in Manchester. There it was more some kind of drizzle but it got
stronger and stronger the nearer I got to Bolton. And when I left the train at the station the rain was coming down in sheets. I nevertheless started to walk up to the hotel and for the first time it caught my eye that there were more or less no gullies on the streets and pavements. So everywhere where the pavement and the streets drop the water gathered. Especially it looked to me at the traffic lights and the pedestrian crossings. While it's not big problem usually- you can jump over the puddles - it really is disagreeable when you carry any luggage. Despite my umbrella I was wet all over when I arrived at the hotel. I really needed that cup of tea!!!
When I walked down to the venue it not only rained but astrong wind had turned up from somewhere and for the second
time I was wet all over and rather wind-blown reaching the press-room.
The first evening was as hectic as ever and the short format of Best of Seven matches made it even more so. It was
not so easy to keep the site updated. New is that at some of the boards people with computers take the scores of the
matches - I think that's quite a good idea as there were a lot of good Matches played on the evening offside the
televised main stage. I really didn't see any weak match though of course I was not able to watch them all. First
I of course watched the preliminary match of the only German participant. It was quite a good match and Bernd Roith
played it rather concentrated. It's a pity he couldn't bring his performance to the main stage but I think it's
quite difficult when you stand there for the first time in the middle of all the noise and the action during the
first evening of the UK Open.
The matches the PDC had chosen for the main stage on the evening all turned out to
be interesting matches so none was as thrilling and good as the match between James Wade and Stephen Bunting which
Wade just managed to win. Ted Hankey's second stage match against Mervyn King was more some kind of anti climax -
perhaps Hankey really had run out of steam a little bit after his first two matches. But it looks Mervyn King is
back, he proved it on the second evening as well. And it looks Denis Ovens is on the mend as well - he showed
almost his now usual strong UK Open performance. All in all six of the amateurs survived the first evening.
A victim of his own was Andy Jenkins who had wounded this throwing hand in a hassle some time before the
tournament. Another popular victim of the first evening was Steve Beaton who lost against Riley's qualifier Jon
Jukes. For Jukes it was his second time at the UK Open. In his youth he was member of the FC Chelsea Youth Team.
The evening was pitch black for Mark Walsh as well who lost second round to Jason Crawley - son of Bob Crawley
who himself took part for the sixth time in the UK Open. Co Stompe was eliminated by a whitewash from Alan Tabern
and was together with Tony West, Steve Brown, Brian Woods and John Henderson under the better known players
eliminated on the first evening of the UK Open.
When I arrived very late back at the hotel I found in my newspaper another report about "flooding" though this one
was not weather related. In London during maintenance work at the tube a water pipe was broken and in the end
flooded one of those tube lines which will probably very busy during the Olympics. The passengers of a train
stranded in the flood had to leave the underground by feet.