Another big darts day

Sam Head

Sam Head

First published in Sport Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Rugby correspondent and sub-editor

As soon as one famous oche was being dismantled at Alexandra Palace, another was being installed on the other side of London.

Dutchman Michael van Gerwen was crowned Professional Darts Corporation world title holder after beating Peter Wright in a gripping final on New Year’s Day – a tournament televised live on Sky.

TV arrows fans had to wait just three days before it all started again – the British Darts Organisation’s Lakeside World Championship (formely known as the Embassy) which gets under way this afternoon at the famous Frimley Green venue in Surrey. That tournament can be seen on BBC with a selection of games being broadcast live.

Historically, Hampshire players have had a say in both world championships – Les Wallace being the most memorable after winning the Embassy in 1997 – and the latest competitions have been no different.

Arron Monk’s time in the PDC event was shortlived – even though the former Andover man was playing one of the slowest players on the circuit – as he lost out 3-0 to Justin Pipe.

Aldershot’s James Wade rarely looked comfortable and went out in the quarter-finals.

Both Darren Webster and Andy Smith had darts to beat the five times major winner out, but he rallied to defeat them, and Devon Peterson 4-0, before losing out to Adrian Lewis 5-1.

Two players who live on the edge of Hampshire, but represent other counties, will be on the famous Lakeside stage.

Scott Mitchell, from Bransgore in the New Forest, will be making his fifth appearance and Basingstoke’s Paul Hogan, who now plays county darts for Berkshire, his seventh.

Landscape gardener Mitchell has been a regular for England since 2009 and has won seven of his ten matches in the British Internationals.

Hogan first toed the oche at Lakeside as a West Midlands player in 1995, where he reached the quarter-finals, before making five appearances while representing Hampshire in 1996, 1999, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Mitchell and Hogan will meet if the latter wins his first game on Monday.

Making his debut in the tournament is 20-year-old Portsmouth player Sam Head, who has been showing his talents on the BDO circuit full time.

Tomorrow (evening session) Mike Day (New Zealand) v Sam Head (England).

Monday, January 6 Kafrel Sedlacek (Czech Rep) v PAUL HOGAN (England).

Tuesday, January 7 (afternoon) SCOTT MITCHELL (Eng) v Karel Sedlacek (Czech Rep) or Paul Hogan (England).

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