The 2009 Daily Echo Hampshire Open is being launched early – due to popular demand.

Entries for one of the country’s biggest one-day opens have already been received, prompting officials into clerical action.

Hampshire County Darts spokesman Frank Branscombe said: “Inquires have been getting earlier and earlier each year.

“But this time people have actually sent in cheques before it has even been launched.

“In a way it helps us because it gives us more time.

“At the same time it is satisfying because it shows we must be getting it right if people are so keen to return.”

Around 400 players will be back at Southampton’s Novotel – the venue since 2001 – on May 30 to battle for the £1,000 first prize.

Many will arrive with the intention of taking home the winner’s cheque, but plenty will return again this year just for the experience of taking part.

Full story in today's Daily Echo.