Perhaps Kevin Painter should have eaten something else for breakfast...
This year I travelled again to Minehead for the UK Open and arrived here the evening before the tournament started. As always the trip was - well - a little bit tiring. To travel to Bolton where the tournament took place till three years ago had been to be sure more comfortable.
That dart players and fans were around one could see in the Taunton Minehead bus and later in the biggest local supermarket where some players and officials wandered around as I did and it looked as Mrs and Mr Caven had some cooking plays for the evening.
I of course had no chance to cook in my Bed and Breakfast but nevertheless managed not to go to bed hungry. Outside it rained and stormed - it was very unpleasant .
On the next morning almost the sun was shining but it was very cold and windy. While I ate my English breakfast in this case a special with scrambles eggs and smoked salmon - the other guests appeared and at some time I finally realised the as Kevin addressed guest was Kevin Painter. He sat in my back so I couldn't see what he ordered when he ordered the kids choice. But during the tournament day it turned out it might not have been the right stuff as he was eliminated in his first match while I managed to hang on till the end of the day.
Should really the breakfast have been the reason then on the first day of the UK Open Painter was not the only player who chose wrong. James Wade for example who was discussing throughout the match with his referee had once again a big problem with Mensur Suljovic. I can understand one has problems with his way to play, I don't like it either. He always stands at the oche and looks as though he's wondering whether to play at all. But he is a good dart player and it is to be sure not only his way to play which wins him the matches. Robert Thornton had his problems with a strong playing Arron Monk - it just happened for him. Totally demolished was as well Rowby -John Rodriguez by Lee Evans in a match on the main stage on front of a not too big crowd.
The crowd instead could be found in the afternoon in the Centre Stage with its six boards and probably a lot of friends and family of the UK Open amateur qualifiers were among them because in the first two rounds no big names could be found there. After the first round the much anticipated draw for round three took place and then we were all sent into the break. The wind was even stronger now outside and in the press room it was so could the fingers seemed to freeze but luckily there was always enough hot water for tea and coffee.
In the evening again the Centre Stage was the most crowded venue of the three. It only changed when most matches there were over and Michael van Gerwen entered the main stage. But in the evening quite a lot of well known players could be found there. Raymond van Barneveld was among them, who was not really happy that he couldn't play his match against David Pallett on one of the two staged. I t was a very close match but the Barney Army didn't abandon their idol and helped him over the finishing line. It was not the only close match. Michael Smith versus Daryl Gurney was a battle as well - not only on the dartboard but verbal as well. The last match of the day took place in Centre Stage as well - there amateur qualifier Barry Lynn defeated finally already during the draw Brendan Dolan 9:6. A clear loser was the only German participant Rene Eidams who had no chance at all against an unobtrusive James Wilson - to be sure not an unbeatable opponent.
I can't decide which was my match of the day. I though Arron Monk quite impressive and a lot improved to when I am last saw him play. The same can be said for Ryan Harrington. Alan Norris played strong, Mark Webster looked very good. Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis were not really tested - they just were too strong.
From the 32 amateur qualifiers after the first day two were still in the tournament, but they were drawn against Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson. It couldn't have been worse of better.
When I left Butlins the icy wind waited for me and I was really glad when I reached my accommodation. Soon I could be found in bed, it had been an exhausting day. I was almost as sleep when the last dart fans returned to their rooms, to be sure far from sober and with a lot of noise.