Darts fans eyes were on the Blackpool Winter Gardens this Tuesday to see two Welsh darting greats slug it out during the World Matchplay. Whether we're happy with Gerwyn's 11-3 win or wanted a Clayton triumph it cannot be denied that Welsh darts are in the ascendancy. MAD is offering more dueling dragons this week.
MAD's popular new 'Belt system' will give us the opportunity of seeing the return of Wayne Warren (World belt holder as well as two huge Principality talents battle for the coveted Welsh belt.
In another garden setting, The Botanical Gardens in Atherton, a second ‘Battle of The Dragons’ will take place this Friday night. Although tickets are sold out you will be able to see all the action live on MADs youtube channel.
There will certainly not be a blue corner for a player to be introduced from in this encounter!
Modern Amateur darts, better known as MAD, are staging their second night of live championship darts after their superb, ( although streamed due to Covid) The Dawn launch event.
This time five championship/belt games will be held before a packed house, tickets sold out weeks ago, with some pedigree talent on display. Once more Wales will be heavily represented.
Not only will the Principality supply the World title - or Belt - holder in Wayne Warren, but there is also a titanic tussle in prospect for the Welsh national belt.
The defending title holder is former World Cup singles winner, and Lakeside runner-up, Jim Williams.
The Quiff was in the midst of building a fantastic career in darts when he was struck by a double whammy of almost biblical severity. First the BDO imploded, leaving Jim without a large chunk of his playing opportunities and an uncertain future. He wouldn't even get to defend the World Darts Trophy he had captured in 2019.
Then Covid-19 struck and removed almost every avenue of opportunity left to the 36 year old Welshman. Finally his luck turned when MAD gave him a shot at the inaugural title. An emphatic win over Richie Burnett installed Wiliams as the champion and he will make his first defense this Friday.
The challenger is another fiery dragon whose career has taken a surprising turn in the last couple of years. Jamie Lewis has experienced more than his fair share of highs and lows our sport can throw at any player. The 29 year old was a World Youth Cup winner for Wales way back in 2009. After a few plateau years, with wins on the Challenge/Development tours, he lept forward again in 2015 to reach the qtr finals of the World Grand Prix.
Jamie’s next explosion came at the PDC World Championships of 2018. Finally, it seemed, he was achieving what his ability had always promised. A semi-final place, a huge number of 180s and averages that few have matched. Only the Phil Taylor fairytale was enough to halt the young man.
A torrid time followed for Jamie with a slump in form meaning that only a couple of years later he lost his PDC Pro Tour card and took a break from competitive darts altogether. Again MAD provided a less travelled path. After a break and with a new route available ‘Fireball’ came through a qualifier to earn his shot at the title.
If you've quite calmed down from round one then, ladies and gentlemen: "Let's Get Ready to Rumble".
The Contender Series - Finals
Running order - 23rd July 2021
(All timings approx)
Super Regional Belt - Best of 13
National Belt - Best of 15
World Belt - best of 21
Rob Collins vs Richard North - 6 pm (SR)
Jim Williams vs Jamie Lewis - 6.50 pm (National)
Scott Taylor vs Stuart Wilson - 7.45pm (SR)
Darryl Fitton vs Ricky King - 8.50 pm (National)
Wayne Warren vs Jarred Cole - 9.45pm
MAD's 21 year old Global title holder has more to do.