DW Diary: Matchplay

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6.30am: No rest for the wicked, or at least that’s what they say. Still, the least I can do, to honour our darting greats, is to attempt to show similar stamina.

My alarm goes off and it is time to get packing and moving. Blackpool awaits..

11.30am: After some initial train delay jeopardy, I arrive in Blackpool to a – for now – warm and sunny welcome. The optimist in me made the right decision to pack my sunglasses.

12pm: I take a brief break to make the most of the sunshine and catch my breath just near the hallowed Winter Gardens. There is something about the restorative powers of the seaside that you just can’t beat. Aah…

12.10pm: I really jinxed it with the weather observations. An albeit brief shower begins, which leaves me fleeing to find where I am staying in order to dump my bags and get ready for the rest of the day.

2pm: It is time to explore Blackpool, after unpacking and sorting a few jobs. It is a very windy (albeit not yet very rainy) day, so after a little meander I take the opportunity to grab some food.

The World Matchplay might be the only show in town for us darts fans, but today is really Blackpool in full flow. Donkeys, trams, sweet shop queues the length of all three piers combined: it’s a very busy summer day.

4pm: Quick stop to get ready and then…

6pm: I arrived at the building, ready to settle in and prepare for the start of the session. Time to do last minute prep and note-taking. I was introduced and put at ease by the PDC’s Head of Media Dave Allen.

7pm: Time for the action to commence and the real fun to begin. I keep track of the Cullen-De Decker game, making notes where I can, and then sit in on Cullen’s press conference.

8.30pm: It might be my first time at the Matchplay but it only took two matches before I had seen both a 170 finish and a tiebreak match. Daryl Gurney was keen to remind present journalists after the match that Cross is one of the top players, and seemed very happy to have won this very tight one. And he has no preference on opponent.

9.30pm: Almost an exact opposite encounter was the following match. Gerwyn Price breezed to victory and seemed quite confident post-match. I reckon that being joint-favourite with Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen won’t suit him, but it’ll have to do.

10.30pm: After Price’s presser is wrapped up, I sneak into the floor of the arena to soak up the atmosphere. The Chisnall-Anderson match had been billed heavily but it sadly didn’t live up to expectations, even to the ever candid Ando’s admittance after the match.

11.45pm: It’s time to wrap up for the day and head back for some sleep. Til tomorrow!


Words and Images: Thomas Bartley

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