Thursday 11th February 2010
What’s next, Darts at Wembley Stadium? Well for now we’ll have to make do with the expected 10,000 fans for the first night of the new Premier League season at The O2.
In recent years, Premier League Darts has gone from strength to strength, adding more and more fans along the way. So much so, it’s now able to stage an event at the impressive O2. Only 2 of the 6 of us actually made it to the event, which meant we ended up with a front row table to ourselves.
Unlike at Alexandra Palace, the tables were really spaced out. Personally I would have added a few more rows of tables and had less people in the seats miles away from the stage. Not to pack them in like at Ally Pally, but enough for more people to get closer to the action. And another thing, unlike Wembley and Alexandra Palace, it was freezing in there, which should help Barney and The King.
First up was Ronnie Baxter (No. 6) against Terry Jenkins (No.5). The Rocket has been around since the BDO days, so it was no surprise that he was taking photos from the stage at this historic event. The match itself was tight, with draw specialist The Bull clawing his way back to earn a 7-7 draw.
Next up was Mervin King (No. 4) and wildcard entry Adrian Lewis (No. 7). Much is expected from Jackpot this season, as among all the players, he has the most potential to be a star in the sport. But like Jimmy White at Snooker, the worry is he may not fulfil the great talent he has been blessed with. King on the other hand is a real battler and is throwing better than he’s ever thrown. A good match entailed with King just coming out on top 8-5.
Time for a repeat of last year Semi-Final between Raymond van Barneveld (No. 2) and James Wade (No. 3). The Machine came out on top and then went on the lift the trophy, that Taylor had held for the four previous years it was staged. This time around Barney was up for the challenge and triumphed 8-5.
The final match was a repeat of The World Championship Final staged 6 weeks earlier between Phil Taylor (No. 1) and wildcard entry Simon Whitlock. There was a possibility that The Power was going to miss out due to a virus, but not only turned up, pretty much destroyed The Wizard 8-3. It seems The Power really want HIS trophy back.
Loads of fun at the Darts and The O2 proved a good venue. Being colder than other venues probably did help Barney and The King. However the performance of the night was from The Power, even though he was far from 100%. Great start to the tournament, and next up for me is a visit to the Brighton Centre for week 6 in the Premier League season. Can’t wait!