Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gold Coast Festival of Darts

I have just returned late last night from Gold Coast Festival of Darts held in the Robina Community Centre, Robina, Gold Coast, Australia . I was one of a group of over 50 kiwis that went over to play for the week. The DPNZ tour party had 41 and Wainui Darts Association had a party of more than 10.

Kevin Berlyn the Chairman of Dart Players Australia told me that there were over 400 people in the venue each day of the festival. There were players from NZ, throughout Australia, a small contingent from Japan, one American and two professionals from England in Phil Taylor and Simon Whitlock.The venue was very nice but a bit small for the 400 or more. Next year Kevin told me the event will be held at a larger venue. He is going to try and get Phil Taylor back and also get Raymond Van Barneveld.  So if you would like to go now is the time to start saving and planning. DPNZ have booked 60 beds at the Diamond Cove Resort for next year.

It was a format that we are not used to in NZ so it took a little adjustment. The men played on 16 boards, straight knockout, best of 11 or if you like first to 6 legs. The ladies played on 4 boards best of 7 straight knockout.

The calibre of darts was higher in my opinion than a NZ championship whether NZDC or Clubs NZ. It was a step up. NZ had some very good players there who did well. In particular Rob Szarbo, Craig Caldwell and Wendy Harper. The Australians had some great players it was just there was more of them. The men's events had more than 128 players in each and there were no easy games. Rob, Craig and Wendy played e particularly well to achieve what they did. Rob amongst other things beat Simon Whitlock a full time professional while Craig and Wendy managed to win tournaments and get other great results. One of the Australians managed a 9 darter. The results are on the Dart Players Australia site.

I very much enjoyed the event. It was very tiring at times with start of play at 10 am and finals being played in the early evening. As there were not many boards, only 4 to practice on, it took a while for games to be played out. I waited 2 and half hours for my first game one day and someone else I spoke to told me they waited 5 hours for their first game. Hopefully the bigger venue next year will allow more boards.

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