UK Open Qualifier 7, Birmingham

The UK Open Qualifer weekend at the beginning of May in Birmingham was the last chance fort he PDPA players to qualify for the tournament in June in Bolton. So I had decided to travel there and not to miss the opportunity. I had hoped a little bit for some nice spring days in England - well, it was of course spring and most of the time bright sun shine but it was rather cold most of the time. And it was quite cold in the venue too. One didn't notice at the beginning when the hall was full but the more players left the cooler it got and around board 16 there was a distinct draught. I had enough warm cloth with me but it can't have been agreeable for all the players playing in short sleeves.

I had arrived already on Friday to have a look around - I didn't really know Birmingham. It turned out slightly difficult to find my way to the hotel though it had looked quite easy on the map in internet. The hotel was located centrally in the middle between the rail station and the NIA but my first attempt to get there ended in a blind lane - well, better a canal. I know there are those canals around, I had walked along them in Wolverhampton already, but I had no idea there are some in the middle of Birmingham as well and there is not always a way to walk around them, often enough you have to look for a bridge to cross them. Those canals once were important for the transport of different goods but as every where transport now-a-days is more on the road and for some time the canals and the adjoining city quarters were neglected. By now you can see a lot of repaired canals, well kept as often are the adjoining city quarters. Many people use them for boat trips, there was quite a lot of traffic in Birmingham, and to be sure they are rather charming and enchanting.
After I had checked in at the hotel I started to explore the way to the NIA which turned out to be situated at "my" canal as well though of course one could get there by car - probably that took much longer.

On the next morning I first did some shopping in the city centre and then walked along the canal in the bright sunshine to the NIA. The Qualifiers were not played in the big hall we could see on TV during the Premier League but in a sports hall one could reach from one of the parking decks of the NIA. It was a big hall and all 16 boards were placed side by side in a row. On one of the front sides were some practice boards and of course there were lots of tables and chairs. The hall was quite full - beside the almost 200 players there were officials, markers, family and guests of the players and it took me some time to find my way. Under the visitors on Saturday was to the surprise of her friends including me Stacy Bromberg who had a plane ticket she still had to use and had decided to visit an English friend for some days. Of course when she heard of the tournaments she found her way to Birmingham.

I first had a look on the German participants and watched Bernd Roith's preliminary round match against Danny Summers which Bernd had no problems to win. In first round he was a little bit unlucky as he missed in his match against Darren Johnson an important double and besides somehow the order of throw was slightly "out of order" - both irritated him a little bit and influenced his rhythm of play. But probably he would have lost anyway as Darren played quite good.
Michael Rosenauer had decided to at least give it a try and won against Dennis Priestley but lost to Mark Webster. Stefanie Luck had a difficult draw and lost to Jelle Klaasen. The fourth registered German player - Wilfried Hoberg - never turned up at all.

I was rather impressed by Colin Lloyd and Terry Jenkins who both showed great performances - high scores and clinical doubles. I was rather lucky that I stood at the right board watching the right match when Kim Huybrechts threw his nine-Darter - or isn't it lucky when 16 matches are played at the same time? Huybrechts nevertheless lost the match - against Terry Jenkins.
Rather impressive as well was the not really well-known Andrew Gilding - nickname "Goldfinger". And outstanding of the young talents was Shaun Griffiths who is sponsored by sky sports moderator John Gwynne. Both, Griffiths and Gilding reached the quarter finals on this day. Robert Thornton looks on the way back to form and played very strong. From the Premier League players James Wade was eliminated first - he lost without a chance 0:6 to Colin Lloyd. Lewis, Anderson and Whitlock were eliminated fourth round, Kevin Painter in the quarterfinals and Andy Hamilton reached the final only to be beaten by Terry Jenkins.

Inspired by the Darts Performance Centre blog about the averaged needed to survive in the PDC I decided to take some scores. I can't tell I did see loads of 180s or loads of high finishes but quite a lot of decent to really good averages.

Bernd Roith 6:0 Danny Summers, Preliminary Round
NameAverage100+140+180High FinishLegs against Throw
Bernd Roith84,62125--3
Danny Summers71,077----

Brendan Dolan 6:4 Brian Woods, First Round
NameAverage100+140+180High FinishLegs against Throw
Brendan Dolan96,85169-903
Brian Woods95,991423-2

Terry Jenkins 6:4 Kim Huybrechts, Nine-Darter Huybrechts, Third Round
NameAverage100+140+180High FinishLegs against Throw
Terry Jenkins94,35983120, 972
Kim Huybrechts105,3111551412

Colin Lloyd 6:0 James Wade, Third Round
NameAverage100+140+180High FinishLegs against Throw
Colin Lloyd104,1077-1063
James Wade94,40812--

Colin Lloyd 6:1 Mervyn King, Fourth Round
NameAverage100+140+180High FinishLegs against Throw
Colin Lloyd100,87672-3
Mervyn King93,94861-1

Kevin Painter 6:4 Dean Winstanley, Fourth Round
NameAverage100+140+180High FinishLegs against Throw
Kevin Painter99,3013511062
Dean Winstanley95,601071-2

Andy Hamilton 6:3 Kevin Painter, Semi-Finals
NameAverage100+140+180High FinishLegs against Throw
Andy Hamilton93,821253-3
Kevin Painter83,40104--2

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