Diary of a Datrs Player with Andy Relf - Andy’s back!

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JUST when you thought it was safe to read the Sussex Express again... I’m back, and this time in print, not just lost in cyberspace. Hopefully that will keep Ronnie “Ratcatcher” Cousens and Kevin “Mad Dog” March happy anyway!

Where to start... The final UK Open qualifiers at Wigan. We left on Friday, just after that kiss on the balcony that occurred last Friday, luckily most people seemed to have been celebrating so the motorways were clear.

Myself, wife Kristina, and mate Dave checked in to the hotel, and then set about locating the rest of our darting gang nearby. Unfortunately Justin Pipe’s tractor was a bit slow getting away from Somerset, so he was running late... so we met up with Adrian Gray and a couple of others for some food, before Mr Pipe and Gary Anderson arrived for a bit of a chat and a coffee.

Gary picks us up in the morning and we head off to the venue. Usual practice with Justin and Adi, then the draw goes up.

Now, I’m needing a good draw this weekend, so who do I get – Kevin Painter!

Not a great draw, but I give it my best shot... that isn’t good enough though, and despite being on his tail all the way I get beaten by the better player.

Kris then decides to go with Adrian (he’d been beaten by Justin) and the others to watch Wigan v Everton across the road, and Dave and I stay to support Justin and Gary. Justin lost 6–2 to Phil Taylor, and Gary went all the way to meet Mr Taylor in the final. For the second time in a few weeks, Gary took a great win by 6 legs to 2.

Once that was over, the five of us went back to a restaurant to celebrate his win... this is a good habit he’s got into, and at least I get to be happy about something once I’ve lost!

Next day, same routine again, my opponent today would be Mark Frost.

Not a name that many of you will recognise, but trust me, an outstanding player. Determined to get something from the weekend, I set about the task ahead of me.

The first leg, I throw 95, 140 and 180... Not bad eh! Trouble is he was better than that, and checks out in 11 darts. OK, the next leg 125, 125, 140 and 57, guess what... he checks out.

There is a trend here, and despite hitting an average of around 100, I lose again.

Mr Taylor avenges Saturdays loss, and beats Gary in the semis, then wins the final against Colin Osborne.

Back home again, and the Kings Head team loses against our namesakes from South Road, with “Ratcatcher” Ronnie taking the win with a superb 125 outshot!

Superleague got underway again on Wednesday, this year playing for Brighton Nomads, I get off to a winning start, and our team beats Rileys 8–1. A great start to the new season.