Over the course of 10 weeks, the six best darts players at SBHS and one wild-card contested the inaugural SBHS Premier League of Darts.
Following a format similar to the Professional Darts Premier League seen in Europe, every Friday saw one round of games. There were seven round robin weeks, after which the bottom three were eliminated – ‘Judgement Day’.
As Darts is available to all members of the SBHS community, it was announced by the SBHS Darts Commissioner that the contestants would be, in ranking order, Mr Skinner, Matt Kendall, Ryan James, Lachie Watson, Jayden Sincock, Lachie Osikai-Wilson and Jacob Cowie as the inaugural combatants for the 2018 SBHS Premier League of Darts.
The form guide proved right over the first few rounds of competition. With Mr Skinner and Matt Kendall flying through unbeaten. When they meet each other in Week Six, a draw was the inevitable outcome. There were also a number of close tussles with Lachie Osikai-Wilson being unlucky on a number of occasions. He will be one to watch in the future. As always, a highlight of any darts match is the coveted 180 score – three perfect darts in the triple twenty. A feat only Matt Kendall managed, in Week Four.
Week Seven of the SBHS Premier League definitely lived up to the billing of – 'Judgement Day'. Matt Kendall couldn't quite nail top spot and had to settle for second with an average of 54.98. Ryan James did front and came away with a comprehensive 3-1 win and therefore gained third ranking. Jayden Sincock managed to regain some pride to take a leg. However Lachie Watson just squeaked into fourth spot for the Playoffs, over Lachie Osikai-Wilson. After their match, they were both tied on points and a count back had to used separate the pair, with Lachie Watson edging Lachie Osikai-Wilson by two legs over the seven weeks.
After Judgement Day, three more rounds for the top four players occurred. These games cemented the ranking and decided the semi-final match-ups.
And what matches the SBHS Premier League of Darts semi-final were. Drama, precision, quality and an almighty upset in the last game before the final! Semi Final One saw Mr Skinner maintain his unbeaten record with a whitewash of Ryan 'Rhino' James. Semi Final Two, however, saw a tense battle between 2017 SBHS Open Championship winner, and top 180 scorer on the SBHS Darts Honours Board with 12, Matt 'The Spin' Kendall versus the upcoming star and Year 9 Autumn Classic Winner - Lachie 'Dagger' Watson. This match enthralled the large crowd gathered, and 4 tight legs ultimately saw a win for Lachie Watson. A distraught Matt Kendall was not be happy with his sub-par dartsmanship, and vowed to come back even better for the 2018 Open Championship.
Finally the day arrived, 50 plus spectators packed into F1 Arena to witness the giant killing, Year 9 Champion, Lachie ‘Dagger’ Watson try and take down the doyen of darts at SBHS – Mr Skinner. The odds were clearly stacked against Lachie, Mr Skinner was undefeated throughout the round robin phase of the Premier League and was averaging 12 points higher. However the young bull flew out of the gates and threw some scintillating darts which caused Mr Skinner to crumble early. These great early darts gained the ear of the crowd and Lachie clearly enjoyed the crowd’s favour with chants of “Lachie, Lachie, Lachie!” On the back of his support and his great darts, Lachie raced off to a two nil lead, in the best of seven final. A break in play allowed Mr Skinner to re-group and then he forced the pace averaging over 68 in Leg Two. And then taking Leg Three to level the scores two-all, on the back of a brilliant 100 check out. Another break in play with the scores level, meant the crowd really started to get in behind Lachie. However, Mr Skinner had the momentum now and he proved too strong in the end. Taking out a willing Grand Finalist, Lachie Watson. The darts were definitely of high quality with both players averaging over 50 for the match.
The inaugural Premier League proved a roaring success with the music and crowd getting bigger and more involved, and the level of darts also getting better and better, week after week. This was a great advertisement for darts at SBHS and a great lead-in for the Open Championship, which is as it says, open, to all students at SBHS to have a go for the crown. Stay tuned for the next newsletter for the this.