Island Hoppers: From World cups to cancelled campaigns

By The Pearly King 14/04/2021

WE begin with a packed round-up with the WDF Virtual Cup. Jersey’s Craig Quemard and Bobby Williams competed in the Men’s Event but were unable to make it out of the Round Robin stage. Quemard won four of his nine games while Williams registered just the solitary victory. The Ladies fared better. Angie Le Bailly had three wins while Ema Hawley’s five victories were sufficient for her to make it into the knockout stages. Hawley then took a deciding seventh leg to move into the last 16, before a fantastic run was ended at the hands of the vastly experienced Aileen de Graaf.

Following the completion of the Cup, the WDF formally announced that Guernsey’s application for membership was successful, and this means that the Islands can launch a two-pronged assault on both the World and Europe Cups which can only raise the profile and standard of darts in the Channel Islands still further. Unfortunately, the restrictions have put paid to the planned four-team tournament planned for the Isle of Man in January where both Guernsey and Jersey were slated to compete with the hosts and the Republic of Ireland, but it is hoped this will now commence in 2022.

October saw the second staging of the Herm Festival of Darts. Sadly travel restrictions prevented the Jersey contingent from attending, along with those from the UK mainland (although your correspondent did go through mandatory 14-day isolation in order to cover the event). Despite this, the Guernsey darts fraternity supported it in good numbers, and the event attracted attention across all forms of broadcast media, with the regional ITV cameras attending on a Saturday.

All four competitions were keenly contested with everyone determined to compete in the final session of play when the titles would be decided. Tracy Ingrouille was defending both the Open and Classic crowns, and this time round was defeated in the final of each. Jo Fallaize (35.93) claimed the Classic with a 4-1 win, and the Open saw a fine game which went right to the wire. Yvonne Le Gallic (42.73) gained the early advantage in the decider and held on for a deserved win. Nick Ogier and Adie Exall made it through to the Men’s Classic Final after seeing off Michael Ogier and Lee Savident in the Semis. A ding-dong battle ensued, and it was fitting that it went all nine legs. Both players missed doubles before Exall (66.02) found the outer ring in a game that neither player deserved to lose.

The Open was a bit more straightforward. Ken Waters and Michael Ogier had fairly comfortable wins in their semis against Lee Smith and Tim Cotterill. The Final followed in a similar vein as Waters (68.98) bagged the prize in the seventh leg of the contest. Another enjoyable weekend was had by all, and hopefully, those that couldn’t make it in 2021 will be back for the third edition which is already established as a fixture in the Islands’ darting calendar. The dates have now been set for mid-October and there has been a good early take-up for places.

Given the current climate, it is good to see that the event has managed to retain both sponsors as well. The ongoing pandemic has once again affected the Annual Inter-Insular match between Guernsey and Jersey, which has unfortunately been postponed for the second straight year. It is now slated to be hosted by Guernsey in 2022. Guernsey has recently played an online match against Hertfordshire, losing by 18 points to 8. Despite the result, it was a good learning curve for them with some very close games indeed and the players will benefit from coming up against opposition who have plenty of experience on the county circuit. The post-match reaction from both teams was very positive and there was talk of a game to be played in a more traditional manner at a later date. However, there might be a friendly argument over who was to host the match as I suspect both would like to visit the other!

The various leagues now have been suspended on both islands, as a result of Guernsey entering lockdown just before this article was written. Hopefully, the situation in either Jersey or Guernsey will have changed for the better before the next issue, when I can give the latest updates on the latest action should any have ensued.

Article originally published in darts World Magzine (Issue 573) current and recent copies here
The Pearly King is supported by GB Darts & Smilers UK


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