DCSIMG

Barney rolls into town for darts’ showcase

Raymond van Barneveld

Raymond van Barneveld

The spirit was just as good as the darts as six of the world’s best headed to Eastbourne’s Winter Gardens to participate in ‘The Untouchables’ exhibition last Friday.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld was the main attraction in a star-studded line-up that also featured current world number 10 Terry Jenkins, Dennis ‘the menace’ Priestley, dutchman Co Stompe, former world number one Tony O’Shea and darting legend Andy Fordham.

They were joined on the oche by two local qualifiers, Jim Withers and Dave Creasy, who had earned the chance to pit their wits against some of the biggest names in the sport.

And, in front of a cheery and vocal crowd, they did just that.

Withers, who beat world number 92 Johnny Haines in the final of the Red Dragon Eastbourne Open earlier this year, took to the stage first and did not disappointment his local fan base, knocking out current world number 38 Co ‘The Matchstick’ Stompe by four legs to two. He also raised the roof with the first 180 of the night - one of three maximums for him that match - in just the second leg of the contest.

Terry ‘The Bull’ Jenkins took to the stage next to record a whitewash over former world champion Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham, who was stepping in for the unwell James Wade.

Creasy was slightly less successful in his opening match, facing off against former world number one Raymond van Barneveld, who raced to the 4-0 victory.

Dennis Priestley and Tony O’Shea was the last pair to take to the stage, with the former booking a place in the semi-final with a 4-1 triumph.

The winners returned for the semi-finals - the stage at which brave Withers was to bow out 4-1 to the lively character and notorious runner-up Jenkins.

The other semi-final saw the closest contest of the night develop between Barney and Priestley, with the Dutch favourite eventually losing 4-3.

It meant it would be an all-English final as Priestley met with Jenkins in what turned out to be a one-sided match-up in The Menace’s favour.

He cruised to a 4-0 win to take The Untouchables title with an incredible three-dart average of over 106.

Aside from the tournament, the top-class darts stars took the time to play single legs against raffle winners and highest bidders as people battled for the chance to test themselves against some of the biggest names in sport.

In a jovial and laid-back atmosphere inside the Winter Gardens, one that was constantly uplifted with renditions of the infamous darting soundtrack Chase the Sun and walk-on music such as Eye of the Tiger, players posed for photographs and shared plenty of jokes and smiles with the hundreds of fans who had come to watch.

The night drew to a close with an auction for signed memorabilia - most of which fetched over £100 each- to round off a successful and enjoyable night for both the fans and the professionals.

 

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