Column #CM24 Winmau World Masters – Day 1

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Column CM24
Winmau World Masters – Day 1

Of all the tournaments I visit the Winmau World Masters is usually the most exhausting…

Nowhere else are so many players around, nowhere else are several tournaments played at the same time, and nowhere else do the participants come from so many different countries.

This year the ‘Winmau World Masters returned to the Bridlington Spa, a building which looks a little bit like the Winter Gardens in Blackpool but it is much smaller. Apparently the BDO/WDF thought we should stay fit – so the press room is located at least two floors above the venue. But the rear wall of the room is mostly glass and gives you a great view on all that is going on in the venue. Women and men played their events at the same time. Since there are usually many more men the women competed at the same time but even still the women’s tournament took longer. The reason was that for the women only eight boards existed and they were squashed in somewhere to the left of the stage – and half of them were almost impossible to watch. The men on the other side had about three times more boards to play. While down on the main floor where the grown-ups played the boys event took place in a small room on the first floor. The girls started to play their event when the ladies moved over to the men’s boards for their last 16 matches.

New this year: the last 32 of the men and the last 16 of the women were played as floor matches at the end of day one – and all of the men’s matches and, later, all of the women’s matches were played at the same time. The idea was to make the second day a little bit shorter. But the first day was a very long day and it was impossible to follow all of the matches. As always, the venue was rather busy on day one. I’ve no idea whether there were paying fans in the crowd or if all were friends and relatives of the players. But it was crowded and confusing. I tried to take as many pictures as possible.

Many of the BDO/WDF players I only know by name and have no idea how they look. Some have changed over times and I didn’t even recognize them – like Toon Greebe who till a few years ago seemed to switch between the BDO and the PDC all the time. Even worse – I had no idea at all what the German participants looked like, but finally managed to identify the German number 1 Michael Unterbuchner, and Ricardo Pietrecko. It was not difficult to follow their matches as they played most of the time on neighboring boards. Both managed to reach the last 64 and reacted completely different. Pietrecko was delighted. Despite losing to Northern Ireland’s Neil Duff it was the first time he played in such a big tournament.

Unterbuchner however, was devastated.

More successful in the men’s tournament was the third of the German trio – Gabriel Clemens, who reached the last 16 and will play on stage during the second day against Dutchman Chris Landmann.

But even this success was not the best the German had to offer on day 1: Nico Blum played himself into the boy’s final and will tomorrow stand on the stage of the Spa as well. As I was unable to watch the boy’s event I did not have the opportunity to see Nico compete and I believed had he had been eliminated early. Of course, I not only kept an eye on the German players – I spied others as well. For example, I watched Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski, a participant in 10 of 11 European Tour events this year so far, who reached the last 16 as well. And some of the big names in the BDO were around as well like Ted Hankey, Andy Fordham and Martin Adams.

When I look at the results I must say that the idea to play the last 32 or last 16 on the first day of the event didn’t seem to work. The opponents of the seeds had warmed-up all day while the seeds were plunged in at the deep end. Nine from 16 seeded men and 3 from 8 seeded women didn’t survive their first matches – among them Lisa Ashton who lost to Japanese Mikuru Suzuki and the men’s number 3 seed Scott Mitchell who lost to Tony O’Shea (who had looked out of form for some time).

The venue soon was empty after the last match and I switched from the poor Internet connection in the press room to a better one in my guesthouse.

I already wonder what the second day will bring…

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Charis Mutschler
The founder of Global Darts, darts journalist Charis Mutschler hails from Marbach, near Stuttgart, Germany. A regular at most major PDC tournaments, a lover of literature, dance and music and cats, Charis' popular writings about darts and its players often transcend the usual. She brings something unique to the chroniclers of the sport we all love.