World Matchplay 2016 - 1

Iceland is everywhere
Today in Blackpool the World Matchplay started and after the wet and rainy day yesterday Blackpool today showed off with real summer weather - dry and sunny. It was not really warm though and the holiday makers more strolled along the very inviting sandy beach - as probably the elk did whose 13 500 years old skeleton was found here - but almost none went into the water.
While on Friday the town looked rather quiet, it looked many weekend vacationers had arrived and the shops were quite full, what will please the owners which are depended on tourism. Really good the tourism doesn't work out any longer in Blackpool - the British holyday makers prefer now-a-days regions where it is really consistently warm and sunny and Blackpool just can't offer that. Beside the town is not really nice and a little bit rundown. I think it is a pity as the beach is really great and the quite new promenade as well and worth a visit. I've no idea how the country looks away from the coast and whether it's interesting for a holiday. During a tournament I don't have such a lot of time for excursions.
Blackpool never was a town with a harbour. It really always only was a bathing resort after in the midst of the 18. Century sea water treating came into fashion. That's the reason there is almost none industry here. Not even the well know English biscuits producer Fox produces here in Blackpool but in the nearby Kirkham.

At six o'clock the Empress Ball Room opened its doors for the crowd. As always over the weekend the crowd is big. Some put on their costumes just in front of the venue as did the Peperami. With the Peperami appearance on stage the evening began for the crowd. Astonishing that the Peperami is able to play darts in this outfit at all. Not really astonishing it was the chosen crowd member won the leg the two played. Interesting that the European soccer Championship left its marks even here - the Icelanders Hu is by now part of the crowd's cheers.

The finally the darts started and Kyle Anderson and Vincent van der Voort walked on stage. From the beginning the Dutchman was not really clinical with his doubles. Often he was far advance with his scores but couldn't finish and the Australian took his chances and won leg after leg. Eventually van der Voort run out of steam while the Australian started to score better and he won in the end deservedly 10:4. The match had begun quite evenly but it was a clear win in the end.

In the second match with Josh Payne we had a debutant on stage. His opponent was Robert Thornton who this time was not only accompanied by his wife but by his grandchildren as well. Payne and Thornton didn't give each other. While Thornton was more convincing at the beginning the match later was for some time rather close. Near the end Payne run a little bit out of steam and Thornton for the first time managed to win a first round match and to progress into the second round.

Far less thrilling was the appearance of reigning champion Michael van Gerwen against Jamie Caven who really had a bad evening and no chance at all against the Dutchman. With a 10:0 whitewash and the highest average of the evening van Gerwen progressed in round two as well.

The last match of the evening again was a close one. Dave Chisnall started really well but he couldn't somehow get rid of Benito van de Pas who got his teeth into him. But it to be sure racked Chisnall's nerves - in the end he won 10:7.

All it all it had been an entertaining first evening though with the exception of Michael van Gerwen not really high class and without upsets. Thanks to the fast match of the reigning champion it was a rather short evening and I was back in my Bed and Breakfast only a few minutes after eleven - to be sure gratifyingly given the long day of darts which awaited all of us on Sunday.

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