Dutch Open Diary: Day 1

Red Dragon Darts

Our favourite Dutch Contributor Wim Blokpoel is once more enjoying the Dutch Open weekend. Partly as a diarist, player, and party-goer:

Today was the start of my favourite tournament in the world, and the one with the most entries too: the WDF Dutch Open!!

Friday is pairs day, as I paired up with fellow darting journalist Henry Cheal. We had to play early so it was an early practice as well. Practice went well, the game not so much. The highlight for me was a 121 score in a leg which Henry won on double 3 as we got the leg! Unfortunately, I didn’t do much more and we lost 1-3. Still a great experience though, my first ever pairs game in real life!

Over to the real players😅 early exits for the likes or Barry Copeland and Wesley Plaisier, both World Masters finalists but not too many shocks in the beginning.

Another fellow journalist who did do well though was Patrick Bus who won 3 games including one on the dartconnect boards with a big crowd, along with Iceland’s Petur Rudrik Gudmundsson, before they eventually lost too.

What was the worst thing of the day was watching some of our Dutch talents struggle with dartitis, Pim van Bijnen being the most obvious one. Ironically I watched a player struggle with dartitis with Berry van Peer next to me, although he is one of the best examples that you can get over it as long as you keep fighting.

The only other negative thing was me losing 7 Dutch Open coins, which was over 20 euros quite literally thrown away. A shame but at least the food is class in Assen!

In the women’s event, favourites did not disappoint as Aileen de Graaf and Lerena Rietbergen, last years winners, did not lose a leg until the semi-finals, and neither did their opponents there: Beau Greaves and Deta Hedman! Greaves and Hedman dominated that game too to reach the final!

In the other half of the draw it was more open, and we got a semi with Rhian O’Sullivan and Suzanne Smith against Anca Zijlstra and Aletta Wajer. This game wasn’t as high standard as the earlier mentioned semi, but Zijstra and Wajer won it comfortably against an out-of-sorts O’Sullivan and very emotional Smith, hopefully, they come back stronger tomorrow.

Over to the men’s event, where World Champion Neil Duff and Boys World Champion Bradly Roes had a great run until they lost in the last 32 to Joey ten Berge and Mike Zuydwijk. Ten Berge and Zuydwijk went on to reach the semi’s. There they played Jelle Klaasen and Chris Landman, who just beat Moreno Michels and Nigel van Milligen, in a battle of two players nicknamed ‘the cobra’. In that semi, Ten Berge and Van Zuydwijk lost to Dutch Open Champ Klaasen and Landman.

Former Lakeside winner Christian Kist was also in the final 4 where he and Michael Stoeten beat surprising semifinalists Eddy Merlijn and Mitchell von Schukkmann 4-2, as we’ll get a final between two Lakeside World Champions in the pairs event on Sunday!

A great first day but more notable names in the singles event tomorrow so that will be even better!


Words and Images: Wim Blokpoel

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