Matty Hughes is a young darts fan, studying journalism, who is trying to get to as many of the most famous events as he can manage. Here are his thoughts on a recent trip to the PDC World Matchplay:
As a big darts fan, I’ve always wanted to go to the World Matchplay Darts in Blackpool. I’ve been to the Premier League many times and managed The World Grand Prix in Ireland once. So this new year I asked my friends if they wanted to go to the World Matchplay? Luckily they said, “yes let’s go”.
Once I saw the draw, and that Gary Anderson was playing on the opening night, I was really made up because I am a big Gary Anderson fan, Rob Cross and Nathan Aspinall were playing as well, so it was a no brainer.
On the day of the event we travelled from Llandudno Junction in North Wales, we got the train to Chester and then we had a 10 minute wait, then we had to change in Liverpool and then we had 20 minute wait there, we arrived in Blackpool at 3:00 pm and then we walked from the train station into the town and we went for a pint on the pier, well you would, wouldn’t you? before going to the hotel to check-in.
After dropping our bags off it was back into town for the traditional fish and chips tea. By that time, it was doors opening at the Winter Gardens. When we arrived you could taste the atmosphere building, there were a lot of fans from all over the place. When we went in, we went to the bar to buy beer so we didn’t have to go during the games because of the huge number of people who would do that during the matches.
John Mcdonald came on stage to get the fans ready for the action, first up was in form Nathan Aspinall he was facing experienced Mervyn King. King, who had been showing a return to form, showed his quality to beat Aspinall.
Next up was Price vs Bunting, it was a very close game, and both players gave the fans a brilliant game to watch, Bunting won the game on sudden death leg. Not bad for our second match!
Next up was the defending champion Gary Anderson. Anderson was coming into this tournament on back of winning the World Cup of Darts with Peter Wright. However, Anderson didn’t take part in the Premier League due to his back problems. Anderson was far from his best against Danny Noppert. Noppert did not take advantage Anderson was safely through into round two.
The final game of the night was Rob Cross vs Chris Dobey, once the draw was made this game looked a potential a banana skin game for Cross. But the former World Champion was switched on and showed he was deadly serious about this tournament. Dobey was disappointing, if it was Dobey on his true form, it could have been a difficult night for Rob Cross.
My overall thoughts on my experience at the Matchplay, the whole evening was brilliant, all the games were fantastic, a lot of drama, good performances from King and Bunting. There was no trouble or anything like it. All the fans we met were fantastic and simply enjoying their time at the darts.
I would definitely like to go to the Matchplay again, but there are others to tick off my list first.
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