The 28th Scottish Open, this year sponsored by Darts Corner, finally got underway last weekend at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew. The tournament had been in abeyance for the last two years and made a welcome return to the darting calendar.
The much-coveted Golden Ticket, direct qualification for the 2023 World Championships, was achieved by the new Scottish Open champions, Deta Hedman and James Hurrell. Both players came through fields of 75 players and 453 players respectively.
The weekend started with 70 teams contesting the Mixed Triples title.
The final ended up being an England versus Wales confrontation with the England squad running out victors 4-2. The winning trio comprised England youth captain Luke Littler, England International captain James Hurrell and Buckinghamshire’s Suzanne Smith.
The defeated Welsh team were John Roberts, Sarah Roberts and Evonne Taylor.
The top Scottish performance came from Jordan Soutar, Owen O’Neill and Lynn Torrance who lost out in the semi-final to the second-placed Welsh team.
Making up the last four was an Italian trio represented by Aurora Fochesato, Dario Fochesato and Francesco Raschini.
Around 500 players took part in the Men’s Singles and 75 in the Ladies event.
The ladies’ quarter-finals produced four tremendous matches starting with a 4-3 victory for Deta Hedman over Dutch star Ailleen De Graaf.
The Netherlands will have to wait another year for a ladies champion to join 2007 champion Karen Krappen in the record books as their last hope Anca Zijlstra lost 4-2 to England’s Suzanne Smith, who was part of the winning triples team on Friday.
The third quarter-final produced a brilliant effort from Jo Clements to take out the world champion Beau Greaves, 4-3 followed by the runners-up at Lakeside, Kirsty Hutchison beating Scotland’s top player Lorraine Hyde 4-3.
Deta Hedman 4-3 Aileen De Graaf
Suzanne Smith 4-2 Anca Zijlstra
Jo Clements 4-3 Beau Greaves
Kirsty Hutchison 4-3 Lorraine Hyde
Scotland did very well this year with 13 players in the Last 32 compared to 10 from England, 6 from Wales, 2 from Northern Ireland and one from Italy.
At the quarter final stage Edinburgh’s Ryan Murray qualified as Scotland’s last surviving player gaining his semi-final spot with a 4-3 victory over Aaron Monk from England.
The second spot in the last four went to Welshman Jamie Lewis as he defeated Dave Prins 4-2 and he plays Murray.
England’s new International captain James Hurrell had a 4-2 victory over Ayrshire’s Jim McEwan and he will meet James Beeton from England who defeated fellow Englishman David Pallett 4-1.
Ryan Murray 4-3 Aaron Monk
Dave Prins 2-4 Jamie Lewis
James Hurrell 4-2 Jim McEwan
David Pallett 1-4 James Beeton
Rhys Hayden & Neil Duff 3-0 Lee Williams & Mark Blandford
Craig Robertson & Angus Murray 3-1 Robbie Gorst & Terry Roach
Kai Fan Leung & David Pallett 3-1 Francesco Raschini & Dario Fochesato
William Kirkwood & William Stallard 1-3 Andy Davidson & Ryan Murray
In the first semi-final the Edinburgh duo of Andy Davidson and Ryan Murray defeated fellow Scots C. Robertson and A. Murray 3-1 and were joined in the final by Kai Fan Leung from Hong Kong and Shropshire’s David Pallett who defeated World Champion Neil Duff and Bradford’s Rhys Hayden 3-1.
Talita Biagetti & Aurora Fochesato 3-2 Ann Marie Potts & Linda Hindmarch
Natalie Gilbert & Kirsty Hutchison 3-0 Julie Thompson & Phonsawan Whillis
Suzanne Smith & Josie Paterson 1-3 Lorraine Hyde & Denise Cassidy
Deta Hedman & Beau Greaves 3-1 Lorraine Winstanley & Laura Turner
There will be new champions this year as defending champions Deta Hedman and Beau Greaves, going for their third consecutive title, lost 3-2 to Natalie Gilbert and Kirsty Hutchison.
In the final they would play Italian duo Talita Biagetti and Aurora Fochesata who put out Scotland’s Lorraine Hyde and Denise Cassidy from Northern Ireland.
First on stage was Deta Hedman against Buckinghamshire’s Suzanne Smith. Although the score went 4-0 in favour of the five times champion Deta Hedman it was a lot closer than that.
Deta would be joined in the final by Jo Clements as she defeated Kirsty Hutchison 4-3, in their semi-final.
Kirsty took the opening leg with the aid of a 180 and then doubled her lead before Jo hit back, taking three consecutive legs to go within one leg of the final.
But Kirsty was not finished yet as she took leg six in 18 darts to send the match into a deciding game. Kirsty missed a chance to win allowing Jo to check on 70 and take her place in the final.
The first men’s semi-final pitted Scotland’s own Ryan Murray against Welshman Jamie Lewis. Murray lost the opening leg but then reeled off four in a row to win the match 4-1.
Next up was an all-England clash between new England captain James Hurrell and 19 year old teenager, James Beeton. This match was very close with Beeton taking the first leg only to see Hurrell draw level.
Beeton then went 3-1 ahead before Hurrell replied with two consecutive legs to tie up the match at 3-3. The players shared the next two legs to take the match to a decider with Hurrell having the throw and 19 darts later he checked out on 20 to win but not before Beeton had a throw at 115 for the match.
The Mens Pairs final created a piece of history before it started as partnering England’s David Pallett was Hong Kong darter Kai Fan Leung, the first Asian player ever to play on the Scottish Open finals stage. Their opponents were Edinburgh duo Ryan Murray and Andy Davidson.
Leung and Pallett took the opening two legs before the Scots pulled one back in reply. It was not to be two consecutive Scottish winning pairs following the last event won by Cameron Menzies and Ryan Hogarth, as Pallett successfully checked out on 40 to take the title 3-1.
The Ladies Pairs was also to create a piece of Scottish Open history as Talita Biagetti and Aurora Fochesato were the first Italians to play in a Scottish Open final. Their task was to beat the English duo of Kirsty Hutchison and Natalie Gilbert which they came close to achieving as they led 2-1.
But back came Gilbert and Hutchison to level the match in the fourth leg before going on to win 3-2 in 20 darts.
And so to the final two matches at this year’s Scottish Open, played at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew. Could Deta make it 228 WDF ranked titles and her sixth Scottish Open win or would “Twinkle”, Jo Clements deny her this piece of record-breaking achievement.
Hedman won the opening leg before Clements roared back, taking three in a row to hold a good lead in the match.
Hedman then reversed the match winning three legs to go within one of the title. Clements replied strongly in the eighth leg, taking it in 18 darts to set up yet another deciding leg play-off.
It was to be Deta’s day as she hit three tons and checked on 32 to lift her sixth title and be crowned Scottish Open champion.
The men’s final was to prove just as exciting as it too went to a ninth and deciding leg with Ryan Murray bidding to be the fifth Scottish champions at the Open.
James won the opening leg before Ryan squared the match at 1-1. Hurrell then edged ahead by winning legs three and four.
It was Murray’s turn then to win a couple of legs to level the match at 3-3. Hurrell edged ahead winning the seventh leg before Murray produced a brilliant 110 checkout to level the match.
Murray then went 5-4 up only to see his lead cut back as Hurrell took the tenth leg in 14 darts.
Understandably nerves played a part in the final leg with both players having a chance to win the title but it was James Hurrell who threw the winning dart at double four to become the 2022 Scottish Open Champion, the 26th different men’s player and the fifteenth Englishman to do so.
The final provided seven maximums, 3 to James and 4 to Ryan and incredibly only one dart used separated the two players with the champion having used 196 darts to Ryan’s 197.
Words: Jim MacNeil
Images: As Supplied