Island Hoppers: Channel Island Darters Go Continental

Welcome to the latest edition of Island Hoppers, covering the latest action in the Channel Islands. Both Jersey, and Guernsey (for the first time) were represented at the WDF Europe Cup, which recently took place in Spain. 

Extended from the report in Darts World Magazine 581

Prior to the event, Guernsey were formally granted full Membership status of the WDF, which is a real boost to darts in the region, with Jersey already having that level of affiliation.

The first day of competition saw the respective teams take part in the Team events. In the Ladies competition, the Guernsey team comprised of Caroline La Touche, Debbie Hamon, Tracy Ingrouille and Nicola Williams. Jersey’s quartet were Amanda Cotillard, Ema Hawley, Angie le Bailly and Lorraine Porter.

Jersey were drawn in Group Seven. Sadly they were unable to register a win in their four matches. In their first contest, Norway won 9-4. Scotland then registered a 9-0 whitewash, Latvia won by a score of 9-2 and they rounded out the day with a 9-3 loss to Lithuania.

Guernsey were placed in Group Eight. They began with a daunting match against the Netherlands. A 9-2 reverse followed, but Debbie Hamon produced a superb leg in her opening tie to defeat former World Championship Quarter Finalist Anca Zijlstra. The second of their three matches saw Denmark come out on top, winning 9-4. But the Green Army saved their best till last. They produced some outstanding darts to defeat a decent Romanian side 9-5, with all four ladies contributing to the historic victory. The win also ensured that they would finish in a very creditable third place, ahead of the Romanians.

In the Men’s Team Event, Guernsey’s foursome consisted of Ken Waters, Kyle Hutchinson, Lee Savident and Darren Luxton. Craiq Quemard, Steve Eusebini, Joe de Sousa and Sid Bell toed the oche for Jersey.

The Guernsey Men were handed a tough draw in Group Seven, and only managed to win two legs in their four matches, both courtesy of Savident. They opened with two consecutive 9-1 defeats, against the Czech Republic and Finland respectively, before Poland, and then Catalonia recorded clean sweeps to leave Guernsey rooted to the bottom of the table. 

Jersey started off with a bang in Group Two, with a fine 9-6 victory against Romania. Northern Ireland were up next and came away with a 9-4 victory. Their third match was a real nailbiter. It went to the tie-breaker sudden death leg, but agonisingly for them it was Denmark who found the outer ring for the 9-8 victory. The last match saw them go down 9-2 to Croatia. Jersey finished bottom of the group, but had the Denmark score gone in their favour, they would have finished in third place which would have been just reward for their efforts.

Day two saw the Ladies Singles and Men’s Pairs. Each Island had one from their team drawn in the Preliminary Round of the Ladies Singles. Ema Hawley of Jersey advanced with a 4-2 win over Nikula of Finland, while Debbie Hamon lost 4-1 against the experienced Alannah Waters-Evans of Wales. 

In the last 128, the three remaining Guernsey ladies all departed. La Touche lost 4-1 to the Estonian Tiina Tiisler, whilst Ingrouille and Williams were beaten in straight legs by Midalberg (Faroes) and Forsmark (Sweden) respectively. The same fate befell three of the Jersey quartet, as Porter was seen off by Ireland’s Katie Sheldon while Cotillard departed at the hands of Emily Davidson of Scotland. Hawley lost in five legs to the Dane, Merlit. Angie Le Bailly was able to keep the local interest going, as she only dropped one leg against the Bulgarian Ivanova. The Republic of Ireland’s Caroline Breen ensured that she would go no further than the last 64 however.

There were mixed fortunes in the Men’s Pairs Preliminaries. Savident and Luxton lost in straight legs to Attard and Borg (Malta) but Jersey’s duo of Bell and Quemard advanced over Jonsson and Birgisson of Iceland.  In the last 64, the Guernsey pair of Waters and Hutchinson took Lithuania’s Barauskas and Jankunas to the sixth leg. Eusebini and De Sousa departed the scene against Arting and McIntosh of the Faroes. Bell and Quemard however kept their run going with a 4-0 win over the Egyptians Zoromba and Mosleh. In fact, they were oh so close to making the last 16, but in the last leg Kruusvee and Paal of Estonia managed to end a great run in the round of 32.

It was the reverse on Day Three, with the Men’s Singles and Ladies Pairs. In the Prelims of the Men’s Singles, Eusebini defeated his German opposition, while Jersey teammate Quemard saw off Kulali of Liechtenstein. The Guernsey representatives at this stage were both eliminated. Waters managed to take a solitary leg from the Swiss, Schiertz. Savident also went out in five to Slovenia’s Javornik.  

In the last 128, both remining Guernsey players went out in straight legs. Mika of Slovakia beat Hutchinson, while Luxton departed against the Northern Irishman Gilliland. None of the Jersey contingent got a leg on the board between them. Eusebini lost to Welshman Liam Meek, Gleglu of Latvia knocked out Bell, de Sousa tased defeat against Selling of Estonia while the Belgian Deprez got the better of Quemard.

In the Ladies Pairs, the Guernsey duo of La Touche and Hamon drew the pre-tournament favourites in the Prelims, England’s Deta Hedman and World Champion Beau Greaves. They lost 4-0, but gave a good account of themselves against the eventual winners. Williams and Ingrouille unfortunately had to withdraw in the last 64. The two Jersey pairings also went out at this stage. Porter and Cotillard lost 4-0 against the Dutch pairing of Steenbergen and van Leuven, while Le Bailly and Hawley also failed to get a leg on the board against Schlapbach and Bartlome of Switzerland.

At the conclusion of the event, in the Men’s Standings, Jersey finished in joint 31st place with Guernsey tied for 39th. The Guernsey Ladies ended a momentous week tied for 30th with their Jersey counterparts tied for 32nd spot.

All eyes are now firmly fixed on the World Cup in Denmark next year, but before that, the Islands square off again in January at the inaugural Islands Internationals, which will be held in Guernsey. The Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland complete the four team line up.

In the aftermath of the Europe Cup, Jersey Team Manager Eddie Le Bailly has stepped down after five years in the role, and I would like to thank him for doing a fine job. Craig Quemard has taken over and we wish him well.

“The Pearly King” (Supported by Smilers Ltd and Darts GB)

—–ENDS—–

Images: As supplied

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