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Caithness News Bulletins May 2003

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Caithness Office Supplies Darts Weekend                         Darts Weekend Picture Gallery
Report by George Sutherland                                                  John Baikie Photographer More Pictures

The fourth annual Caithness Office Supplies Darts weekend held in the Francis Street Club Wick got under way last weekend with a blind draw triples and this year’s competition proved all the more interesting as thanks to sponsorship from Subsea7 and MacKay’s hotel Wick players had the prospect of playing alongside 10 times world champion Phil Taylor.

There were some very interesting match ups but local player Brian Cassie and visitor Rab Townsend (Lanark) were the luck duo who had the champion as a third man.

Alec Mackay made an impressive start with two 180`s to help his team off Marion Clark and Fey Deuchar (Perth) through the early rounds but the Taylor trio made few mistakes as they fulfilled the odds on prediction off a finals appearance, bottom half of the draw saw trio Stuart Tait, Greame Campbell (Aberdeen) and Tam Davidson (Glasgow) cut a swath to the final with a win over local trio Malcom Begg, Willie McAdie and Fraser Malcolm but with Taylor entertaining the crowd with a stunning display of scoring and some tidy finishing it was he and his team who lifted the honours and the cash prise to set the week-ends pace.

Saturday’s main event kicked off with the shock defeat of defending champions R.Byrne/A.Mackay to K.J.Stephen/B.McLean (Elgin) who also accounted for local pairs D.Coghill/F.Malcolm and S.Tait/J.McPhee on their way to the semi-finals. Scottish International G.Morrison /W.Cooke (Inverness) defeated locals B.Cassie/M.Campbell and Aberdeen county duo M.Goldie/G.Campbellon there way to a semi-final spot but it was the pairing of M.Begg/J.Howden and J.Scollay/H.Duncan that had the visiting crowd cheering as the battled to there respective semi-finals spots with wins over R.Bisset/L.Miller and J.Geddes/W.McAdie and I.Sutherland/R.Sinclair. First semi-final between Stephen/McLean and Morrison/Cooke got the crowd warmed up with the Elgin pair of Stephen /McLean just edging out the Inverness pair for a finals spot, with the crowd in great vocal spirits the local derby between Duncan/Scollay and Begg/Howden proved a noisy affair with the new pairing of Begg/Howden who have both seen finals action in previous years getting the better of a close exchange by the odd leg in seven. The visiting pair from Elgin must have felt they were up against the whole county in the final and the crowd seemed to act as a third man for the local duo who after sharing the first two legs raced to a four one lead and the Haster man who first won this title in 1979 made it third time lucky for James Howden when he sent an arrow into double 8 and the roof well and truly off the Francis Street Club.

The ladies pairs saw M.Ogg/R.Philips through to the finals with wins over mother daughter duo L.Sutherland/A.Begg, Thurso`s T.Wrighton/M.McLeod and locals A.Coghill/S.Nicolson.  Top half of the draw saw the ever-present sister pairing of C.Sutherland/S.Swanson battle through the tough field off D.Scollay/R.Stewart, M.Anderson/R.Young and Keiss duo B.Swanson/L.Ronaldson for their place in the final. The final was another partisan affair but even with a superb 80 check-out from Carol the local girls could draw little help from the crowd with missed doubles the visiting duo off Marion Ogg and Rhonda Philips lifted the cup from the presentation party of K.Rotherham (Caithness office Supplies) and ten times world champion Phil Taylor.

The Sunday singles saw a large turn out off players and spectators alike with the mouth-watering prospect of one off the locals claiming the scalp of the visiting darts star. George Calder had the pleasure off the first lesson from Taylor who went about his business like the true professional he is, Malcolm Begg was next up but was unable to produce his previous days form as Taylor showed that he had been watching the pairs and duly dispatched Malcolm to the spectators bench. After his early exit the previous day Scottish international Alec Mackay had spend Saturday practicing with Phil and showed his true ability as he raced into a 2-0 lead over Taylor but the visitor is not a ten times world champion for no reason and he produced the goods with a 12 dart leg and a 142 checkout to leave Alec to dream off glory for another day.

Taylor had made the final and with x Scottish internationals Drew O`Neil and Steve Falconer in the top half the crowd waited for his opponent to emerge, it was to be none other than local hero Stuart Tait who came from 2-0 down in his match to claim his final spot and a chance at the champ.  Taylor produced two max scores and back to back 12 dart legs for the early lead but Tait hit back with a max of his own to pull back a leg, was there to be an upset though the crowd? No was the answer as Taylor stepped up the gears again as he had done all day and with a 15 and 20 dart legs and a 145 check out to delight the crowd Phil lifted his first singles title for 2003 but promised in his post match speech to win one for Wick over the next twelve months.

Phil donated two off his world championship shirts to raise money for the Special education units in the county as a thank you for the great treatment he received on his visit and then as a further thank you to local organiser George Sutherland made the importune gesture off an expenses paid week-end at the end of July for two people to attend the Matchplay darts finals in Blackpool as his guests which was won by local darter Sharon Swanson who also received Phil’s darts he had used on his visit. A big thank you must go to the Francis Street club and all the local sponsors who have helped in keeping this tournament going and Phil has vowed that if he is invited back next year he will endeavour to make it even bigger, a true peoples champion.