November 17, 2008

Bellini’s hailed as top venue

Although hosting the event for the very first time, Bellini’s in Newry has won the acclaim as the best ever venue to host the Northern Ireland Open Darts competition. The event organisers, the 425 men, 91 women and 32 youths from all over Europe who took part in the event were wholesome in their praise for the Monaghan Street venue in all aspects of their hosting of the event. The dart throws, hospitality, food, service and warm welcome left nothing to be desired.

The atmosphere only enhanced the high standard of darts that was on offer over the three days as the mixed, individual and pairs competitions were played out in front of record attendances.

 With main sponsor of the event Michael McLoughlin, of Bellini’s, promising an even bigger all in one improved setting, it is no wonder that most of the overseas throwers have already confirmed their bookings for next year’s tournament. The Northern Ireland Open has been a huge boost to the local economy with all Hotel, Guest House and B&B bed space in the immediate vicinity booked out for the week-end.

Michael and his team of workers along with the Northern Ireland Darts Organisation, under the chairmanship of Trevor Ditty and Secretary Tom Forsythe are all to be highly commended for the manner in which they ran the event.

Stephen ‘The Bullit’ Bunting is the Open Champion

Stephen “the bullit” Bunting was crowned the Northern Ireland Open Mens champion after defeating Darryl Fitton in a thrilling final on Saturday night. The 23 year old Liverpudlian, walked alone as he inflicted a third successive Northern Ireland Open defeat on Fitton by 2 frames to nil.

Fitton lost the inaugural final in 2003 to Gary Anderson and was also the bridesmaid in 2006 to Mark Webster, 2007 again to Anderson and now heartache once again in 2008.

 The quality of the Northern Ireland Open cannot be underestimated given that the second one in 2004 was won by Raymond Barnevald. The 2005 title went to Michael Van Gerwen with Mark Webster winning in 2006.

There was a measure of compensation for Darryl Fitton as he teamed up with his buddy (whom he beat in the singles semi-final) Tony O’Shea to win the open pairs event.     

Ladies title goes Dutch

She may have been 2-0 down but Francis Hoenselaar showed real Dutch courage as she rattled off 5 legs in a row to defeat Trina Gulliver in the Ladies Singles final. In front of a large Dutch contingent Francis hit 4x 180’s as she ran out a comfortable winner in the end over Gulliver who was losing in the final for the second successive year. Francis was gaining a measure of revenge after losing the 2005 title to Trina.

Francis made it “Double Dutch” when she teamed up with Anglea De Ward to capture the ladies pair’s title.

  Mark McCurdy was the winner of the youths title.