World Series Diary: Day 2

A repeat of the Worlds Final in the second round is something you don’t see very often but it happened on day 2 of the World Series Finals. Along with Michael van Gerwen against Damon Heta and Jonny Clayton and Danny Noppert that was one of the ties in the last 16!

A new shirt, again made by my mom, and feeling fresh for the second day of darts. I rushed into the venue cause when I got out of my train, and just managed to take a picture of the crowd waiting to get access to the Afas Live arena, it started to rain.

And it started to rain very hard! But I was happy to go back inside the arena, this time without having to search for the press room thankfully.

First game was Dirk van Duijvenbode against Gary Anderson, and along with most media guys I went into the arena to watch the DVD walk-on, and Gary Anderson’s as well cause I realized it might as well be one of the last times I could see his walk-on, as his retirement might be closer than you think. I didn’t get to ask him about it though, cause Dirk won a nervy game but ‘Aubergenius’ was telling quite a lot as well!

Something interesting he mentioned was that he has basically defended his World Grand Prix money already by doing a lot better at the start of 2022 than at the start of 2020 which means that he’ll still be in or around the top 16 after the Grand Prix no matter what happens there. That’s a terrific way to think about it in my opinion, as it reduces the pressure in Leicester a lot when you keep that in mind.

I also promised Dirk prior to the interview that I would really ask just one question in Dutch this time and don’t ‘lie’ to him again, which made him laugh and probably resulted in a better interview.

James Wade then beat Leonard Gates 6-4, but wasn’t happy with his performance as he said ‘I probably let someone who isn’t capable of pushing me, push me, so that’s my own fault.’

Next up was a very scrappy game between Chisnall and Cullen, where Chisnall missed loads of matchdarts, while the crowd was booing him which made absolutely no sense at all!!

As Cullen entered the room first thing he said was ‘oh my what a shirt are you wearing!’ Not quite sure if that was a positive thing, but at least I gave him a laugh and now know how Wayne Mardle and Denis Ovens have been feeling all those years! The Rockstar didn’t really know how he got through that one, but was honest to me and said he would rather play Matt Campbell next than World number one Price!

First seed Dimitri van den Bergh then got surprised by Ryan Joyce who reached his second ever PDC tv quarter-final! He is very much enjoying his time in Amsterdam, and thinks it’s a great city but doesn’t expect the crowd to be great in his last 8 game against Van Duijvenbode, although he does like a bit of a challenge!

After an inspired Ryan Joyce it was time for an absolutely incredible game between Gerwyn Price and Matt Campbell! Both men were playing very good darts, Campbell was constantly averaging above the ton but missed a lot of chances to break Price’s throw.

The press room was watching this game with a lot of enthusiasm, especially as there were a lot of flat games so far, with Dan Dawson being the most enthusiastic as always.

Price turned out to be the most enthusiastic player as he won a last leg decider against the Canadian, and told me he was really looking forward to the rest of the season, as ‘I rather be defending the title in every event, I rather be defending a million pounds till the end of the year cause it means I’ve done well over the past couple of years!’

Another good game followed, and again if was the underdog who missed a lot of chances as Damon Heta didn’t make it against crowd favourite Michael van Gerwen! A very long wait to interview the best player in The Netherlands has ever known, but at least it was worth the wait cause to interview such a big name in darts is just surreal!

Mighty Mike admitted he puts a lot more pressure on himself in The Netherlands, but does feel confident that he’ll lift the trophy at the end of this day.

Because of that long wait for the MVG interview, as I was done the repeat of the Worlds final had already had 9 legs played! In that last leg Michael Smith took out 101 to beat World Champ Wright with a terrific performance! Smith was looking fresh, only weeks after the trip to Australia!

And for the first time he had his family there as he said ‘it was the first time I’ve actually seen something of Australia cause without my family I just lay in bed all day!’

Very honest indeed from Bullyboy, as was Jonny Clayton after he destroyed Danny Noppert’s hopes of winning in his home country, with a 6-2 win and averaging well over a ton! The Ferrett said: ‘playing Michael in the quarters, it’s a bit earlier than I would have hoped, but you have to beat the best players to be able to win the title!’

The biggest thing I’ve learned today is how extremely kind some dart players are in real life, you know them on tv and can’t really know if they are actually great people, but as far as I can see they are also great people when you meet them in person!

It was then time to go home, but again (or still perhaps) it was raining, a lot! Let’s hope Sunday brings more sunshine, more incredible darts and a great winner of the 2022 Jack’s World Series of Darts Finals!


Words & Images: Wim Blokpoel/ Darts World

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