Dutch Open Diary: Day 1

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DARTS WORLD’S continental contributor, Wim Blokpoel, is fast becoming a bit of daeting celbroty in his own right. A rapidly rising social media following, a famous darts shirt and national TV interviews.

All whilst trying to enjoy his favourite event:

Friday the 1st of February: the biggest open of the world returned once again: the TOTO WDF Dutch Open Darts.

One of only two platinum ranked events in the WDF this year, with over 6000 participants.

At 6 in the morning I woke up and the long drive to Assen started. Travelling by car is much more relaxing to me than by train like I have in previous years, though!

As I arrived it took almost half an hour to park my car! And that was just a small indication of how extremely busy the tournament at the Bonte Wever was today.

Probably the only quiet place in the whole building was the press room which was very nice to get some rest in such an exhausting day where I spent 11 hours at the venue!

As always, Friday was pairs day. In the first view rounds we did not have many upsets, then suddenly we got two very big ones: former tourcard holders Jimmy van Schie and Jan Dekker, and WDF top 10 players Alexander Merkx and Moreno Blom were both knocked-out before the L128!

In the ladies event we had a very special L64 game: the real life couple Prisiclla Steenbergen and Tori Kewish played against each other! Steenbergen who played with Noa-Lynn van Leuven beat Kewish who played with Dutch coach Karin ten Kate.

Having spoken to some friends today I wasn’t the only one who just found the venue too busy this year, perhaps I should stop hyping up the weekend everywhere, all the time, but I just love the tournament too much to do that!

Whilst in the press room, I then suddenly got interviewed by Marcel van Roosmalen, who is a big Dutch media personality who was there for a new tv show. He asked me some stuff about my dartsshirt, famously made by my mom, so hopefully I’ll make my national tv debut this autumn!

Over to the darts, we had some big ladies QF contests. Steenbergen and Van Leuven were knocked out by Lorraine Winstanley and young talent Paige Pauling, while Beau Greaves and Jo Rolls beat the last Dutch pair in Aileen de Graaf and Anca Zijlstra.

In the semi’s Greaves and Rolls took out Scottish pair Lorraine Hyde and Sophie McKinlay as well while Winstanley and Pauling beat the German duo Wigmann and Rademacher.

I then talked to the finalists for Dutch media, and Winstanley said she was determined to get Pauling, a player she’s been supporting in multiple ways for a while now, to her big stage debut and she did now!

Pauling has great memories of this venue, winning the girls Winmau World Masters and World Open 2 years ago, while Winstanley has won the pairs event multiple times so both already know how to win here!

Jo Rolls was very thankful for Beau Greaves as it was her big dream to make this final, and thanks to the WDF number one she got her biggest achievement in her career!

Greaves had earlier hit three 180’s and D20 (701 format) for a perfect leg and was very happy about that, but will first search for revenge in the singles event, having lost last year’s final to Aileen de Graaf.

Back to the men: last year’s winners Christian Kist and Michael Stoeten lost in the L16 to Sydnee de Vries and Lars Moinat who then lost in the quarters to Nick Crouwel and Nigel van Milligen.

A returning Wesley Harms made the quarterfinals along with Robin Smees but then lost to Jimmy van Schie and Jeroen Mioch who then also beat Crouwel and Van Milligen to make the final. Van Schie said to me he already booked his flight to England for the Super Series on Saturday but will have to move that as he is into Sunday’s final.

Mioch will fully prepare for that now, as he said he will not play the singles event and get some rest.

In the other half, Belgium’s Brian Raman and Dutch Damian Mol, a pair of recent tourcard holders managed to make the semi’s having survived a lot of last leg deciders along the way, and in the final four they beat Johann Brouwer and Marco hoorn 4-1.

Raman has recently undergone surgery after an injury but, as he told me, he was fine until he took a few days rest and then it started to hurt again.

He learned that he has to keep playing, movong the area, every single day, and today he definitely played a lot.

Mol isn’t aiming for more WDF events this year but if he were to win the singles event, Lakeside would be a very nice reward.

After an exhausting day it was finally time to get to my hotel and get some much needed rest. Saturday is even busier with more players, more darts and hopefully even more fun!


Words & Images: Wim Blokpoel

Grab the current print Issue 584 here  or a 50th Anniversary Darts World bundle 581 here 

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