When you visit peaceful Minehead today you almost can imagine many of the rebels of the Monmouth rebellion 1685 during the Civil Wars came from the small coast town. But honest many decided this year to join the Duke of Monmouth, who claimed to be an illegitimate son of the English King Charles II and who after the death of Charles II made demands on the throne. He claimed as well his mother had been married to Charles which never could be proven. The Duke of Monmouth grew up in the Netherlands and first came to England in 1663 and married an English noblewoman. He joined the navy and thanks to his achievements soon grew very popular and climbed up the social ladder. 1685 he tried to get on the English throne by the Monmouth rebellion, but the legitimate successor of his father, his uncle James II defeated the rebellion and the duke and many of his supporters - as well those from Minehead - were executed. Till today you can find the gate where the Minehead rebels were hanging - it's part of a family home.
2012 one did a DNA Analysis and could prove the Duke of Monmouth to be sure was an illegitimate son of English King Charles II but that wouldn't have helped him anyway as never any kind of marriage certificate turned up and illegitimate children were and are excluded from succession on the throne.
The only hordes you can find today in Minehead are the dartfans during the events in Butlin's Resort or the holiday makers in summer. But in March the weather is still quite cold and it looked most if the dart fans stayed in door - everything was quiet. I can only hope the accommodation is well heated - not like the pressroom where heating facilities don't seem to exist. One does well to wear all functional underwear you can find to survive without a cold. Nevertheless fingers get numb and the nose starts to drip.
But the darts on day two of the tournament consoled the cold and in the different venues it was much warmer.
The second day started with round four and again thanks to Paul Hogan another favourite to win the title was eliminated from the tournament. So unbelievable it seemed but with an outstanding performance he defeated Adrian Lewis as well, who besides head shaking had no idea what to do to save the match. The crowd around the second stage had been tuned in by MC Richard Ashdown and the venue was crammed.
Peter Wright's ankle looked recovered and he was able to do his usual dance on stage. In his outfit he had moved up St. Patrick's Day two weeks from 17. to 4. March and Dave Chisnall was so much impressed by the conglomerated lucky clover, he was not able to resist his opponent. Most of the fourth round matches were rather one-sided matches, beside the Klaasen/van der Voort battle no other match went into a deciding leg. It was a small upset Vincent van der Voort won the Dutch battle. Beside Paul Hogan with Martin Lukeman another surprise player progressed into fifth round.
When the draw came up I almost feared Hogan would be drawn against Peter Wright because that would have meant no favourite would stay in the tournament. But Hogan's next opponent was Gerwyn Price and this match took place on the main stage.
As the fourth round matches were over soon the following break was longer than planned. Outside the weather had changed from sunshine to rain and wind and when the fifth round begun it was rather unpleasant to change from the main stage to the second stage as you had to go outside.
Gerwyn Price played a very good match and Hogan didn't hit as sue as in his other matches. Might be the main stage affected him. In the end it was quite a clear win for Price. What a pity, he had become the crowd's favourite. On the second stage at the same time Ian White destroyed Martin Lukeman - White won 10:3. As White is so unobtrusive you tend to forget what a good and dangerous dart player he is.
On the main stage Alan Norris v Michael Smith followed. One can't say it was one-sided but Norris form is really good at the moment while Smith is struggling and so Norris deservedly won the match.
Due to the weather I had to miss Simon Whitlock v William O'Connor. Whitlock got an umbrella bearer for his way back to the press room but no one turned up to offer me one.The next match on second stage was a strange one - Alan Tabern v Raymond van Barneveld. To be sure it should have been quite an easy match for van Barneveld as Tabern had told he never practices just takes the darts as they come. But van Barneveld was in trouble even in big trouble. In the end the Dutchman won, but was not at all happy with his performance and very reserved when asked whether he thinks he's one of the favourites to win the event. On main stage meanwhile the match between Kim Huybrechts and Joe Cullen was on and at first all went well for Joe Cullen. No one can fret as nicely as Huybrechts though his reactions were rather reserved on the day. He managed somehow to draw 9:9. The deciding leg started with low scores from both players but picked up space finally. Joe Cullen had the first match dart but couldn't find his double 18 and Huybrechts used his chance. In the last match on the second stage Daryl Gurney and Vincent van der Voort stood at the oche and for the Dutchman it was from beginning a lost match. Daryl Gurney didn't give him many chances and won 10:5. After the match the Irishman got carried away.
In the last match of the fifth round again Peter Wright appeared on stage - this time all in glowing green and with even more lucky clover too much in fact for his opponent Rob Cross who had been one of the impressive amateur qualifiers last year who had only be stopped by Michael van Gerwen in fourth round. Cross had some problems to get into the match at all and it was quite an easy win for Wright.
And that meant day two of the UK Open was over as well and I would say all of the players who reached the quarterfinals could win the event in the end. None had shown a really outstanding on the second day, each player in the end had more to fight against himself then against the opponent. Probably the winner this year will celebrate in the end a laboured victory as there is no high flyer in sight.