Really - it is!! The Wolverhampton Civic Hall is haunted. What is not really astonishing as till the 19. Century instead of the Civic Hall there could be found a morgue. People saw a man in a suit walking the empty nocturnal corridors. People heard steps without seeing anybody. They felt touched and nobody was around.
So one day a group of ghost busters with EMF meters turned up to get to the bottom of it. I am not quite sure how those EMF meters work but to be sure they hit out during the research. Especially busy seemed to be the big stage and the balcony. The ghost hunters heard steps and knocking noises. Standing on the balcony a metallic object seemed to drop from high up landing on the stage though one couldn't see anything. And in front of the changing rooms the ghost hunters felt a bit scary especially after one of them had the feeling somebody pulled at his pullover.
Another part of ghostly activity was the stage in Wulfrun Hall which is during the Grand Slam the player's room. Here it was a spotlight which seemed to have a live of its own. Even when all power was turned off it still shone. It pivoted itself and positioned. The technician never found an explanation for what happened.
As scary were the incidents with the self-flushing men's and ladies toilets.
Till now nothing strange happened to me there though it really is a bit scary when most people have left and only a few are still in the pressroom. The lights are dimmed and it is very quiet. Might be the ghosts explain some of the surprising results during the tournament. Who knows what it really is the players have to fight with on stage.
On Tuesday evening the last group matches of groups A-D were played. Before the evening none of the players had progressed to the next round and none was eliminated so there was still a lot of tension to be felt as everybody still had a chance.
The first match was a match between a young player from the PDC and a young player from the BDO. The PDC player Arron Monk turned out to be the much better player while BDO's Jan Dekker produced the weakest performance of the tournament and was out.
Then something followed what one could call the resurrection of Co Stompe, who had been more or less invisible on the Pro Tour recently. Now in his last group match he showed almost the darts one was used from him though it didn't help him to qualify. His opponent Mark Webster was defeated for the second time and was out as well. Kevin Painter defeated James Hubbard who one again showed his good to look at throwing style and then had to wait for the other results.
Then followed a really thrilling match - a real close one between Robert Thornton and Steve Beaton. In the end Robert Thornton was the lucky winner and progressed while Beaton was eliminated. Some might have wondered why the Scotsman after almost every throw looked to the left - that's where his wife stood directly at the stage but out of the range of the cameras. Here support seems to be highly important for Thronton.
James Wade had no chance at all against a strong playing Mervyn King as didn't have Phil Taylor against Scott Waites. It almost looked even before the match Taylor didn't really take it seriously and didn't play with total commitment. The following match had a surprising result as well. Dean Winstanley seemed finally to have settled in the tournament, showed a great performance and progressed while his till this moment solid opponent Simon Whitlock was out because of the leg difference and Kevin Painter progressed instead.
The last match of the evening was one most people will not forget soon. Michael van Gerwen played against Ted Hankey. And Ted Hankey looked more then battered and rather unsure on his feet. All those who still believe it was only too much alcohol I can assure Ted Hankey was really not drunk. As one knows by now he was ill and beside had a stroke, it's not known whether before the match or when already on stage. No one was prepared for such a situation which luckily almost never happens.
It was me who felt slightly haggard when on my way home. And I started to believe in the ghosts of the Civic Hall.