Column #CM30 Grand Slam – Suffragettes (or Behind Lock and Bars 3)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Column CM30
Grand Slam – Suffragettes (or Behind Lock and Bars 3) 

When I walk from my hotel into town I always pass a house with a blue plaque. The plaques remember important persons of the town – and most of the names I’ve never heard before. Out of curiosity I Googled the name from this plaque, Emma Sproson, and of course I learned something new.

Emma Sproson born nearby Wolverhampton as one of seven children of a builder and in 1867 was not only a suffragette but the first female councilor of Wolverhampton. Today, she is known in Wolverhampton as the “red Emma” as well…

Sproson became interested in socialism and feminism and in Wolverhampton joined the Independent Labour Party. In 1896, she married the local party secretary. At about the same time, he invited the Pankhurst sisters (who were well-known suffragettes) to Wolverhampton. In due course, the Pankhurst’s invited his wife to London to take part in a demonstration. The demonstration ended in a riot and Sproson and 61 other women ended up behind lock and bar for a fortnight.

A few years later due to similar incidents, Sproson again ended behind lock and bar – the suffragettes were not approved of by the larger share of the population. When in 1907 Sproson founded the Women’s Freedom League it was looked upon as illegal – and once again Sproson passed some time in jail. Sproson always worked for charity beside her work for women’s rights – especially for the right to vote for all women. When in 1921 women for the first time were allowed to be councilors Sproson offered herself as a candidate and was successful. Until her death in 1936 she worked for women’s rights and sick persons.

On the third day of the Grand Slam in Wolverhampton the last group matches of groups E-H were played and with them came a lot of decisions as only Gary Anderson and Glen Durrant had already qualified for the Knockout phase.

First, Gary Anderson and Simon Whitlock walked on stage and Whitlock just couldn’t keep up with Anderson who is getting nearer and nearer his best. Whitlock lost 2-5 which meant he was out of the races.

In the second match of group H, Berry van Peer and Cameron Menzies played against each other. I am really not sure for whom I felt worse. Menzies tried his best but somehow suffered much more by van Peer’s dartitis then van Peer himself. He just couldn’t play with such joy as he had shown in his first two matches as he emphasized too much and in the end lost a very close match 4-5. I had really hoped for a win for Menzies and now van Peer was celebrated as a hero although he forced the other players not only to deal with him as the opponent but also with his dartitis. It was not an easy situation for the players and Menzies to be sure was the victim.

All was decided in group H – Anderson and van Peer progressed, Whitlock and Menzies were eliminated.

The next group was group E and the first match was Glen Durrant vs. Corey Cadby. Cadby showed a strong performance, stronger than in his two matches before and Durrant suddenly had a problem. Cadby won the match 5-4. The match between Peter Wright and Alan Norris followed – a match in which the winner won all. Before the match started the board was turned to and fro at Wright’s request. Wright quite often complains about the board. Sometimes his opponents join the complaint, sometimes they ignore it. I believe most of the time the board, after the adjustments, hangs in the same position as it hung when the players came on stage. This might be a way for Wright to get rid of his nerves or might be he does it to destroy his opponent’s focus. The match, when it finally started, was another close one in which Peter Wright prevailed.

So from group E Durrant and Wright progressed and Cadby and Norris were eliminated.

The next matches were group G matches. First, we had Michael Smith against Mark McGeeney. From the start Smith dominated. But it looked like McGeeney suddenly realized he had nothing to lose and for a few legs he showed why he is the #1 of the BDO. He seemed finally to enjoy playing darts again and his smile was back too. It was not enough to win the match but at least it might have been a consolation for his debut Grand Slam campaign.

The second match was between Mensur Suljovic and James Wilson and depending on the result a nine-dart shoot out could happen. James Wilson turned up. It was enough to level 4-4. But in the deciding leg he had only one chance to finish 130 – and was unable to do so. Suljovic won the match. So no nine-darts shoot out. Suljovic and Smith progressed. Wilson and McGeeney were out of the tournament.

The last group on stage was group F and first on was Dave Chisnall vs. Jeffrey de Zwaan. It was another close match in which Jeffrey de Zwaan prevailed 5-4. Might it be we would see a nine-dart shoot out in this group? That would depend on the result of the match between Stephen Bunting and Scott Mitchell. And once again we had a close match which ended in a deciding leg. It was a good match from both players. The deciding leg was won by Bunting. So again no nine-dart shoot out and Stephen Bunting and Dave Chisnall – helped by the Bunting/Mitchell result – progressed into round two.

A thrilling evening! Heated up by it, I felt it was especially cold outside. In addition, it had been very warm in the press room and on stage it got even warmer as the evening progressed…

Hats off to the players that they manage to stay focused.

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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.