Knockout night of darts thrills British Legion crowd

Aldwick Royal British Legion was the venue for the Bognor Friday Benevolent League over-60s and ladies knockouts.

Ladies' winner Julie English and runner-up Hayley Gatford
Ladies' winner Julie English and runner-up Hayley Gatford

There were 15 players in each knockout, a bit short on last year’s turnout.

With both finalists from last years over-60s knockout not playing, a new champion was in the offing.

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The first semi-final saw Richard Todd (Bognor Sports Club) take on Roger Hackett (Wheatsheaf). Hackett won a tight match.

The second semi saw Rob Rice (Chi Snooker A) face Richard Pennells (Old Barn)

Rice just had the edge.

The final’s first leg brought an excellent start from Hackett with scores of 95, 83, 95, 114 and 76 to leave his double. Rice was having a nightmare, his highest score 57.

Rice hit a ton before Hackett took his double for a 20-dart leg. The second leg was more even with Rice just behind.

With Rice on his double, Hackett had three darts to hit double four and claimed the over-60’s title for the fourth time.

The first semi-final of the ladies knockout saw Janet Ayres (Chi Snooker A) take on summer ladies’ KO champion Hayley Gatford (Chi Snooker B). Gatford duly despatched her opponent.

The second semi was between Julie English (Friary C) and Paula Duckett (Richmond Rebels).

English beat last year’s winner Debbie Clements (Old Barn) in the first round and made it into the final.

The final saw Gatford versus English – a repeat of the final eight years ago which was the last time English won the winter KO. The first leg saw English push into the lead and Gatford have chances, but lost doubles from both players eventually led to English taking the leg.

In the second, Gatford took the lead with a few large scores and an easy double 16 to finish.

The last leg was more even with shared tons, with Gatford hitting the wrong treble with her second dart for a chance at a 170 out shot. With both players down to their doubles, the finish came in the form of a double one from English for her third benevolent ladies champion title in ten years.