What a day of darts, as a record 122 players entered for the fourth Kirkwall Open – and that included 35 ladies and lots of players from Shetland and Caithness.
As with such a big entry, some big names bit the dust early on and, by the last 16 stage, 13 local players were left, with two from Shetland and one from Caithness.
Big Tam Mulraine, from Wick, was the only one from outside Orkney to survive, but he found Kevin Gray too hot to handle in the semi-final, losing out 4-1.
In the other semi-final, defending champion Robbie Stanger beat Mike Bain 4-0.
The final wasn’t a classic, as both players struggled to find form.
At the start, it looked good as the first game could have been a 13-darter, but it didn’t happen as a lack of a finishing double made it drag on, and that seemed to affect both players as they struggled from then on.
But Kevin was the one who hit the doubles to come out 5-1 winner.
Surprise player of the day was a young lady from Kirkwall, Debbie Tait, as she stormed into the quarter-finals, taking some notable scalps, and she easily won the top ladies prize.
Keith Bain won the ‘B’-registered players top prize, beating Ryan Tulloch in a play-off, but only 14 ‘B’ players entered.
In the Williamson’s ‘A’ League, there’s no let-up from the Legion. Even so, they’ve won the title as they pounded the Untouchables ‘A’ 11-1.
The Untouchables are now clear in second spot after a 9-3 win over Quoyburray, while the Wanderers are losing ground after going down 8-4 to the Golf Club, which takes them into the picture for the runners-up place, but games are running out.
The Commodores are still up there in the top half, following a good 11-1 defeat of Sanday who, after showing promise early on, have faded away.
Quoyburray ‘B’ have still to win a game but came close, with a six-all draw with Meadowbank, which leaves them six points behind second-bottom Quoyburray.
It’s congratulations to RBLM on winning the Williamson’s ‘B’ League with games to spare after two wins, firstly in a postponed game in Shapinsay (9-3), then 10-2 over the Bilco Boys.
The Murray Arms are quite safe in second spot after a narrow 7-5 defeat of Shapinsay, who were one of the teams looking for second place. One more win for the Murray’s will take it.
Tankerness also had a very good win 9-3 over Likely Lads. Once again, there was no score from the Shore v Deerness game and, barring miracles, it looks like the Shore are heading for the wooden spoon.
The Shore ‘2’ are doing alright, with a good 7-5 win over the Sands.
There were 180s from Peter Liddle, Roy Griffiths, Brian Murray, Ivan Leslie, Paul Foubister, Stevie Linklater, Keith Brumpton, Ryan Tulloch, Michael Muir Jnr, Mike Bain, Ian Linklater, Davy Henderson, Craig Taylor, Hamish Baillie and two from Ian Wilkie and Ross Donaldson.
High checkouts: 100 from Craig Taylor, Callum Miller, Aaron Edwardson, and F. Tait; 102 Robert Gatt; 104 Magnus Walker; 107 Sean Stanger; 108 Mike Bain and Thorfinn Eunson; 114 Roy Griffiths; 120 Derek Ward Jnr; and 126 Ray Butcher.
It’s back to basics, Friday night, with the Tom Notman Memorial Cup.
It’s a 301-double start singles and any player who has ever played in the K-DDL can play, so it’s a fine chance for some of the older boys to have a go.
Then, it’s back to league darts on Monday.
The team to travel to Shetland on April 20 is: Craig Taylor (captain), Derek Firth, Kevin Gray, Ivan Leslie, Robbie Stanger, Michael Moodie, Ian Linklater, Brian Moar, Stevie Linklater, Bruce Moar, Roy Foubister, Martin Peace and Ian Wilkie. Reserves are Paul Foubister and Mike Bain.
Late in: 180s: both with two Derek Ward Snr and Brian Stevenson, who also had a 12-dart leg.
A final word on the Kirkwall Open: on behalf of the K-DDL, I would like to thank our main sponsors, Carling. They did us proud.
Also, thanks to J. W. Gray, K. T. Sports, who always support us, John Craigie, who set up the Masonic, and the new boards, the Masonic, with Charlie and her staff who kept the bar ticking, Mitzi for the all-day food, and the K-DDL committee who, along with their good ladies, manned the bottle stall and sold raffle tickets all day. And, last but not least, the markers and players who without them there would be no contest.
Semi-finals: Kevin Gray beat Tam Mulraine 4-1; Robbie Stanger beat Mike Bain 4-0.
Final: Kevin beat Robbie 5-1.
Williamson’s ‘A’ League
Meadowbank 6, Quoyburray ‘B’ 6; Commodores 11, Sanday 1; Quoyburray 3, Untouchables 9; Untouchables ‘A’ 1, Legion 11; Wanderers 4, OGC 8.
Williamson’s ‘B’ League
Tankerness 9, Likely Lads 3; Shapinsay 5, Murray Arms 7; Shore v Deerness – no score; Bilco Boys 2, RBLM 10; Shore ‘2’ 7, Sands 5; Shapinsay 3, RBLM 9.
March 16: Tom Notman Singles, Legion, 7.30 p.m.
Williamson’s ‘A’ League: Quoyburray v Legion; Sanday v Untouchables; Quoyburray ‘B’ v Commodores; Meadowbank v OGC; Untouchables ‘A’ v Wanderers.
Williamson’s ‘B’ League: Shore v Shapinsay; Murray Arms v Tankerness; Likely Lads v Shore ‘2’; Sands v Bilco Boys; Deerness v RBLM.