29th February 2012
Top Players step up for International Darts Festival
The Isle of Man is hosting its 27th International Darts Festival from the 9th to the 11th March where Manx darts players will be competing for a place in the prestigious stage finals. Local residents are invited to watch the event free of charge at the Villa Marina which runs over three days.
With more than 1000 darts players and fans expected to travel to the Island for the event, which carries top prizes of £5000 and £3000 in the men’s and women’s singles competition, the competition is an all important points ranking which will be the target of most of those competing. The points can help a player win a place on the sport’s most famous stage – the Lakeside Country Club and the British Darts Organisation world championships at Frimley Green in Surrey.
The festival starts on Friday 9th March at 8.30pm with the Mixed Pairs Competition and the Winmau Masters Youth Competition. On Saturday 10th March spectators have the opportunity to watch the Ladies and Men’s Individual and Pairs competitions taking place.
The finals day commences at 10.30am on Sunday 11th March and features top players from the UK, Northern Europe, Ireland and the Channel Islands battling it out for a £22,800 prize fund.
For Isle of Man residents, the tournament is an important event on the calendar providing them with a unique opportunity to ‘toe the oche’ alongside players who competed in the recent World Championships, as well as other leading international players and top-name inter county players from the UK.
Geoff Corkish MBE, MHK, Political Member for the Department of Economic Development, said:
"This prestigious event features heavily in our year round programme of top class sporting events which attracts the best names in the darting world. Les France of L.F. Promotions, the players and Isle of Man Tourism are firm partners who together are working hard to ensure that this year’s International Darts Festival will be another success."
Once again this year there is a special incentive to encourage local residents. Steam Packet Holidays are offering £100 to the best player - who is resident on the island – who gets the furthest in both the men’s and women’s singles competitions.
Twelve months ago Colin Tyrer became the first Manx darts player to taste the big stage atmosphere when he earned the right to play in the finals, after qualifying for the play-off which decided the winner of the £600 Okells "Early Bird" Trophy, emerging from the 192-strong starting field.
Tournament promoter Les France, of LF Promotions – a former England selector – believes that the Manx players have the ability to inflict shocks on the big names of the sport.
Les France commented:
"Local Residents have made rapid strides in the competition over the past five years highlighted last year by Colin Tyrer’s success in the Okells competition. Darts is all about confidence and if you put your opponent under pressure, they can suffer nerves and buckle, missing costly doubles."
The International Darts Festival is organised by LF Promotions in conjunction with the Isle of Man Darts Organisation and is sponsored by the Department of Economic Development, Winmau Dartboards, Okells Brewery, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and Sleepwell Hotels.