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The Voice in Oz

Автор Расс Брэй (Russ Bray) 28 Августа 2008 06:26

The Voice in Oz
Well guys and girls, I got back safe from Oz early on the Thurs morning and before I start any thing I must say a very special Thank you to Kevin Berlyn and Rob Denny, not only for the fantastic way in which they run, supported and managed the Australian Open and The William Cross Events, but also for the way the players and officials and members of the public were welcomed to the biggest darts event in Oz.

My adventures started on the day I arrived in Oz after travelling some 25 hours and was picked up at Sydney Airport by Shane and Trevor and taken the one and a half hour drive to Shoalhaven. Stopping on the way for the odd ciggie (remembering I had not had one for over a day..wow what a rush lol). On arrival we dropped into the venue, The Shoalhaven Heads Bowling & Recreation Club for a quick half of ale, where I saw the South African Team and Ronnie Baxter and Dave Honey having a Practise against each other..The scene was set from there, because the intensity in which they were trying to beat each other, although with light hearted banter, was definately there to see. After a a couple of drinks it was then to my bed. I stayed at the Winery in Suite 6 and I can tell you the boys did me proud in selecting such a place to stay...It was fabulous...Well a good nights sleep was had and it was all systems go for my first full day in Oz.

In the morning got picked up Trevor and Robert Thornton, Dave Honey and myself went on a tour around Shoalhaven and surrounding areas...what a place that is, still never saw a Kangaroo, but my time was to come later in the week...After a great day seeing what was happening, it was back to the Winery to get changed and to the venue for a couple of drinks to socialise with all there. They did have a ladies tournament on when I arrived. (in my jeans and tee shirt). Well one thing I found out is the Aussies do like to have a good night out, with plenty of liquid flowing, so being in Oz, act like an Oz. Well it was around 10pm and the ladies had got down to the final stage, and a rather happy dart referee was invited to call the final, best of 9 if he so wished. Well dressed as I was and having had more than I usually do of the local ale, I respectfully declined, but after a few lovely words with the ladies involved, I stood on the stage and called the final for them, first apologising for my attire and the fact that the local ale was very very good.. Well as you might well guess, the match went all the way with the eventual winner, from New Zealand, coming through 5-4. What a delight it was and good fun to do.

Each night of the week there was a Tri Nations Tournament, between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, with a PDC International team, formed to play against the team that were not involved on the evenings. The PDC team were Dave Honey, Robert Thornton, John Kuyzinski(USA) and Scott Kirtchner(USA) and I can honestly say that the concept of having a Tri Nations Tournament was awesome.. Each night was packed, and the standard of the 4 man teams were exceptional, and these were played each night of the week, with Team Australia winning the event, without losing a match.

On the Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend there was The Australian Open Tournament, which I was asked if I wanted to enter. I promptly gave my $30 entry fee for the 2 days and was ready to show my former darting prowess. The Event was run on a round robin system with the top 2 from each board progressing to the knockout stage. There were 6 players on my board which meant that each of us had to play 5 games. 'No problem' After I lost my 5th game on the trot and was given the wooden spoon from the lads, I thought "Bray, stick to calling, that is the only way you will ever make the stage" I sat wand watched for the rest of the day and was happy to call the final, which Ronnie Baxter won, having took out a nine darter on route in the semi-final.

Now I had payed to compete on the Sunday in the same format..."Give it a miss Bray " was in my head,,,So I did. I now know my darts career is definately over, although I did enjoy the Saturday.

Well what with the week with the Tri Nations of an evening, during the day was spent sight seeing...got to Thurs and still have not seen a Kangaroo, although I did see the backside of a Wallaby as he dashed into the undergrowth....so me Dave and Rob, with Trevor went to the local zoo, where they have all the animals, where you can go in there pens armed with a bag of nuts and feed them..well we set off and first port of call was the Koala enclosure, where a very enthusiastic keeper was hells bent on us smelling the thing, because they smell so good, due to the diet of eucalyptus leaves they eat. Well the little bugger I smelt must have been off.

While smelling the Koalas, the heavens opened like I have not seen before, and when I say rain, I mean rain, which turned to hail, and made everything white. You would have thought that it snowed for 2 days solid, that is how it looked. Well me and Dave went to the Kangaroo's enclosure. Rob who is scottish, never braved the snow and wet, it was even too bad for him and he is used to it. We got soaked through to our pants, but did manage to feed one brave 'Roo' (thats what they call them) who thankfully suffered the atrocious weather for a handful of nuts..We took a couple of pics and then went back to the winery to dry off and get ready for the evening of darts.

Saturday saw the start of the Park Trent William Cross Tournament run by the DPA, and is the biggest and best Darts Tournaments run in the Southern Hemisphere. I would recommend any one involved with darts to enter this event. The standard is exceptional, the running of the event is exceptional and the venue is exceptional. The Event ran silky smooth with the eventual winner, World No 3 James Wade taking and retaining his title. Take heed from that because if the World No 3 wants to return to defend his title, then that shows what a top class event this is.

Sunday saw the first PDPA Pro Tour Event which, with the DPA was run and overseen by Tommy Cox, the PDC Tournament Director. Again the event was run silky smooth and as with The William Cross event finished well on time and again was of an exceptional standard...The winner and winning his first PDC event was Robert Thornton..Well done to him for that, but he had a tough game against Aussie Paul Nicholson in the final, which goes to show how the Aussies are within the world of darts, even more so when it was veteran Aussie Russell Stewart who ousted James Wade earlier on in the tournament.

A fantastic job done by the DPA with Kevin and Rob in organising, what is without doubt one of the best weeks of darts any where in the world.

I then spent a couple of days in Sydney to finish off, what has been, one of the biggest highlights in my career.

Please, please please invite me next year, because it is an event I do not want to miss and would love to see a lot of friends I made during my fabulous time downunder...hopefully to be continued in 2009.

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