Herm Open Gets Off to A Flying Start.

The ‘Pearly King‘, who contributes his ‘London Pride’ section to Darts World, has dropped us this excellent summary of a new event taking place in the channel islands:

Many of the top players in the Channel Islands recently travelled to the beautiful island of Herm to compete in the inaugural Herm Open and Classic, with more than £3000 in prize money up for grabs over the weekend of the 18th and 19th October.

Although the ranks from Jersey were depleted due to the recent WDF World Cup in Romania, there were still plenty of “crapauds” who made the boat crossing from Guernsey confident of coming away with the spoils of victory.

The festivities started with a blind pairs to get everyone into the swing of things before the serious business started later on the first evening. The pairing of Mark Fletcher and Mark Buckingham looked to be a tough one to overcome, and so it proved as they made it to the final. They then eased to a straight legs victory against the duo of Simon de la Mare and Roger Spencer.

Friday night’s action started with the Classic, which was kindly sponsored by The Mermaid Tavern, the hosts for the weekend. The women would play their final the following evening, which would also see the men play both the semis and final.

Although only 12 ladies had entered both competitions, it did not detract from the quality of darts and it was difficult at the outset to predict who would walk away with the trophy. The first round saw some close games and that set the tone. Yvonne le Gallic and Liz Drew were among those who advanced but were pushed all the way by Angie le Bailly and Lorraine Porter respectively. In the quarters, Paula Exall and Gigi Fletcher had a real battle before Exall took it in the last leg. One semi saw Tracy Ingrouille defeat Exall in straight legs, but the other was another nailbiter, with Liz Drew going all the way before shrugging off a determined Ria Monamy to book her place in the final the following evening.

Tracy Ingrouille had a superb weekend at the Herm Classic and Open events.

There were some tough games drawn in the early exchanges in the Men’s Classic, where it was equally hard to choose who the winner might be. The preliminaries saw Mark Fletcher go up against Nick Ogier. Simon de la Mare and Jason Allez were rewarded for their wins with another difficult game. De la Mare had to dig deep to see off Craig Quemard in five legs, and Allez lost another tight encounter that went all the way against Lee Savident.

The last 16 was equally tough, with 4 of the 8 games going to the decider. In the quarter-finals, Gao Gaspar, Mark Fletcher, Simon de la Mare and Ken Waters won through to finals night.

Saturday continued in the same vein, as the Manor Farm Open took centre stage. Again there were some very close games in the Ladies competition as they chased the prestige of becoming the first Champion. The semi-finals saw the winners advance in more comfort. Jo Ellis didn’t drop a leg to Gigi Fletcher, whilst Tracy Ingrouille got the better of Liz Drew in a dress rehearsal of the Classic Final.

The Men’s Open saw more games only go the minimum three legs but still threw up some surprises as well as some good performances. Jason Allez only needed 40 darts to overcome the challenge of Sid Bell, and Dave Parlby, who played well all weekend, overcame a tricky opponent in Callum Ferbrache. The quarter-finals saw plenty of fine darts, none more so from Lee Smith who cracked in a 152 finish to beat Parlby. Jason Allez beat Tim Cotterill, Eddie le Bailly saw off Neil Hutchinson and Nick Ogier defeated Mark Buckingham in the tie of the round.

The weekend culminated with the competitions drawing to an exciting conclusion. First up was the Men’s Classic Semi-Finals. Gao Gaspar started well, but couldn’t sustain his early scoring after taking the first leg and Mark Fletcher took advantage to rattle off three on the spin to advance. It was a closer affair in the other semi, as Simon de la Mare was taken all the way by Ken Waters before securing his spot.

Next up saw Tracy Ingrouille and Liz Drew battling for the honour of being called the first Herm Ladies Classic champion. Both ladies matched each other in the scoring department, but it was Ingrouille who was just that bit more clinical on the outer ring to take the best of seven contest in the fifth leg and pocket the trophy and £300 first prize.

The Men’s final was evenly poised after four legs. Mark Fletcher had the chance to break throw in what proved to be a pivotal fifth leg, but spurned the chance on offer. Simon de la Mare held on, and having first use of the oche in the last leg was to be crucial. De la Mare had that advantage, and he took out the winning double for the trophy along with £500.

The Men’s Open semi-finals followed, with Eddie le Bailly taking on Nick Ogier. With “Tedward” watching on from close quarters to provide inspiration, le Bailly was playing well and giving the Jersey supporters plenty to shout about. Ogier though had ideas of his own, and in the fourth leg struck the winning double against an honourable and sporting opponent who lost nothing in defeat.

The second semi turned out to be more one-sided than was anticipated. Lee Smith never really got going at any time in the match, and found Jason Allez in no mood to let him find his form and get back into the contest. Allez only needed to win in minimum time to book his place in the final.

Tracy Ingrouille was going for the double after taking the Classic, but Jo Ellis had hopes of her own in having her name on the Manor Farm Ladies Open trophy. Ellis nearly brought the house down, wiring double top for would have been a brilliant 114 checkout under pressure, but Ingrouille hung in and took her second title of the weekend in the sixth leg to add another £300 in the bank.

Jason Allez claimed the final event of the weekend.

The last game of a thoroughly enjoyable weekend saw Nick Ogier and Jason Allez compete for the Manor Farm Open. Ogier played well, nearly hitting an 11 dart leg, but Allez just had that little bit more consistency at the vital times and it was he who took the £500 prize when hitting the match-winning double in leg five.

The weekend proved to be an overwhelming success, and in particular, thanks must go to Caroline La Touche who organised the event and made sure it ran so smoothly. The dates have already been put in place (October 16th and 17th) for the second staging of what is hoped will become a mainstay in the Channel Islands darting calendar, in what must be one of the most picturesque locations anyone could wish to play darts.

If you attend, play in or organise an open even or exhibition e-mail us a summary or report (with images if possible) to articles@dartsworld.com