GDC Diary: Finals Day

Red Dragon Darts

SUNDAY on the Eurotour means final day as always. But this time it was the final day of the entire European Tour of 2023. It was also my final day in Hildesheim, or so I thought it would be.

The afternoon started with Germany’s number one Gabriel Clemens against European Champion Ross Smith. Smith had a nightmare on the doubles, which gave Clemens the 6-4 victory to make his first quarterfinal on home soil! A very close game between Michael van Gerwen and Joe Cullen then saw defending champion MVG only just get through 6-5. The second German player of the day saw Ricardo Pietreczko take on George Killington. Pietreczko won it convincingly to move into the quarterfinals of an Eurotour event only for the second time in his career!

The first American in the final day of an Eurotour, Jules van Dongen was up next and he played Stephen Bunting. It was another close game, but neither of the players could get going really. In the end it was Bunting’s experience which got him through, as he had now won all of his nine last leg deciders on the Eurotour this year! An incredible stat, which he was very much aware of as he told me! 

Damon Heta and Martin Lukeman then had a third deciding leg of the afternoon, again in a very messy game. It was Heta who denied Lukeman his European Championship hopes then though, and he did not mind who he played next he told me: both Peter Wright and Nico Kurz would have the crowd with them anyway!

In the game between Wright and Kurz it was proven how both were German crowd faves, as Wright got cheered on rather than booed despite taking on a German! It was ‘Snakebite’ who won it in the end to the delight of his wife Joanne who was in the crowd supporting her husband as always.

Luke Humphries then played James Wade, and absolutely destroyed Wade, not giving him any shot on a double with an average of 111. He told me that he felt like he needed to be better than the 106 from a round earlier as Wade would still get some darts at double and take them then. 

Humphries is aiming for a top 4 spot he said to be guaranteed a debut in the  PL for 2024. Last game up was Rob Cross and Michael Smith, another last leg decider was needed to give a winner. It was the 2018 World Champion Cross who won the deciding leg and then told me he thought it has been a good but inconsistent year, and that 1 or 2 majors would make it a real succesful year.

After thanking the staff from PDC Europe for this amazing weekend, it was time to go home. Watching Van Gerwen surviving a matchdart and edging out Clemens in a decider to break the hearts from the crowd and reach the semi’s, the train however stopped working.

Meanwhile Pietreczko wrote more history as he averaged over a ton to see off Bunting and make his first ever Eurotour semifinal, the train still did not work. Then it started going again but instead went back to Hildesheim without saying anything!

Having unsuccesfully searched for a hotel in Hameln then, I decided to go back to Hildesheim and book a hotel for one night there. In the meantime, Wright beat Heta while Humphries continued to ease through the field, almost hitting the second nine-darter of the weekend in a quarterfinal win over Cross.

I finally got back in Hildesheim by the time Ricardo Pietreczko did the unexpected: he beat Michael van Gerwen in a last leg decider 7-6 to go into the final! Humphries then surprisingly lost out to an inspired Peter Wright as I got in my hotel room just in time for the final. Fittingly I watched it with German commentary as Pietreczko comfortably beat Wright in the final, being 8/8 on the doubles as the young German collapsed to the ground after hitting the winning double.

Pietreczko said in his interview he was ‘over the moon to win the title’, which was a sentence I taught him when I talked to him on Saturday. So in the end I still managed to have a part in that final!

As well known sentence in the Dartsworld is ‘adjust your aim’ and that is what I did, as I then changed my internship day from Monday to Wednesday and went home on Monday, not before I saw Dave Chisnall and Stephen Bunting giving their final signatures of the weekend to some fans in the hotel during breakfast.

What an amazing weekend that was, a lot has happened and I have had loads of fun and learned a lot. That’s it for me regarding interviewing this year, up next as a fan though: the World Championship!


Words and Images: Wim Blokpoel

Grab a  50th Anniversary Darts World package 581 here or the most recent print Issue 583 here :

The Darts World 50 limited edition dart set is available to order (Here) in your choice of pack/bundle.

Also Available Free: Darts World Extra 11 – Summer Special

Darts World Magazine‘s fantastic value bundles:
Subscribe or purchase your copy


Latest articles

Newsletter Signup

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here