Players Championships Weekend Crawley

Crawley is a small town South of London. It's close to Gatwick airport which might be one of the reasons it's this year one of the three venues the PDC uses for the Pro Tour tournaments.
The city centre is very small, only a few shops and some pubs. At one side you'll find a supermarket and of course the usual shopping centre you can find in almost every British town. As I only arrived Saturday morning I had no time at all to have a closer look at it but I was not there for shopping anyway but for the darts.
I couldn't find a flight from South Germany to Gatwick. So I flew into Stansted instead and then travelled with train and underground through London to Gatwick. I had hoped to find on my way to the hotel a grocery but there was only a small newsagent which really offered only the most necessary. So after I had checked in the hotel I walked all the way back into the town to the supermarket and then after I had stored my shopping's in the hotel on to the K2 which was exactly diametrical.
Due to this I arrived at the venue not before the middle of the first round. The K2 is a quite modern sports arena with an indoor swimming pool, a squash hall and other sports facilities.

The Players Championships take place in one of the sports halls. The hall is quite spacey and one can reach it through a side door. As always at the beginning of such a tournament the hall was quite crowded with players, family and guests.
After I had oriented myself and found a place at one of the tables I tried to get an overview. The first players already had been eliminated and were on their way home.
I decided first to watch Michael Rosenauer, the only German player on the Pro Tour. I watched him till he lost third round against Terry Jenkins. He played quite good but Terry Jenkins showed a great performance both days and he was almost unbeatable. I once again realised that the level of the Pro Tour players really differs quite a lot. Of course each player on a good day can have a run but there are certainly some players who are set apart by playing more consistently on a high level and by being able to play on a higher level then the rest. Terry Jenkins is one of those which he proved on both days. That probably didn't satisfy him - he was quite frustrated he lost both days in the final.
On Saturday he eliminated Michael Rosenauer and some other players - for example Wes Newton whom I watched for a few matches and who till his match against Terry Jenkins had hit almost everything with ease.
A very impressive match was the quarterfinal between Simon Whitlock and John Part - both played on a very high level with lots of high scores and high finishes. It was a pity one had to lose. Hopefully John Part can keep up this level - he certainly would find his way back into the top playing like this.
Terry Jenkins then destroyed Simon Whitlock but in the final Gary Anderson just was a little bit better then him.

After the Players Championship another Youth tournament took place. It again was very interesting to watch all those really very different players. To me it looked those players who already play the Pro Tour like Michael van Gerwen and Joe Cullen certainly have an advantage. The format of the Youth Tour is very short and when once behind it's very hard to come back. As most participants come from Great Britain it was surprising that the final was all Dutch.

Bad luck for Co Stompe jr who was supported by his father to lose to the more routined and far less nervous Michael van Gerwen.

Not many Pro Tour players had stayed to watch the Youth, only all Dutch players and Barrie Bates who had a young Welsh player under his wings were still around.
As I had been on my feet till five o'clock in the morning I really was glad I could sit down in my hotel...

On Sunday morning I was at the K2 before 10 o'clock after a strengthening English breakfast - I had an appointment with John MaGowan for an interview as he will turn seventy next month. Most players and company were already there warming up. There is often some kind of grouping when warming up - usually the Dutch players stick together and this time the Irish players had an own board too. At this time the players could use all the boards in the hall - only during the tournament they are restricted to the practice boards.
Every player seems to have his own warming up routine and some kind of routine throwing the few darts at the board which he'll play before he throws for the bull.

Less players had registered then on Saturday and most seeded players had a bye first round. Michael Rosenauer had no problems with Peter Manley in first round but didn't find into his second round match against Ronnie Baxter. Antonio Alcinas played a strong first round match against the luckless Gary Mawson. Richie Burnett and Matt Padgett played a very close match which the Welsh player won. John Henderson already showed in his first match he would be hard to beat as did Scott Rand.
Justin Pipe played some epic matches till he lost fourth round - they all took around twice as long as the other matches. John Part and Simon Whitlock both lost third round. I watched John's third round match - he could just as well have won it. Gary Anderson lost already second round.
Terry Jenkins was as strong as on Saturday and I was almost sure today he would win. Wes Newton showed a strong performance again watched head-shaking by Barrie Bates who's running rough at the moment though he's practicing with Wes Newton.

As usually watching Jenkins and Newton I had no overview what else happened in the tournament and was a little bit surprised when Paul Nicholson appeared to play a semi-final against Wes Newton.

It had been fascinating to watch how especially Terry Jenkins who had played not really convincing in Premier League now scored and finished so impressive in the very quiet surrounding of a Pro Tour event. Though still quite a lot of spectators - mostly players - were in the hall it really from the quarterfinals onwards was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

Paul Nicholson played clinical and won the close match against Wes Newton while Terry Jenkins had a slightly easier win against Scott Rand. But in the final Jenkins once again was left with nothing though probably most people in the hall would have not begrudged him the win. Paul Nicholson was very happy and relieved - finally a good performance from him again.

The tournament was due to the number of participants over quite early and I used the time to take a short walk through Crawley. I always like to know where I am, it could happen I return. As I already told at the beginning it was not really much to see, but the town has got a lot of Greenery and seems to be quite peaceful.

On Monday I returned home luckily unmolested by volcano ashes still impressed by the high level of play of some of the players. Before a fortnight is over I'll be back for the UK Open. Those could turn out to be a rather interesting tournament though much will depend on the draw. But there are certainly beside Phil Taylor other players with a chance to win the title

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