As the month of March began, the Whyalla Darts Association was frantically preparing to host a significant national competition in the city on the weekend of March 7th to 9th and were very excited to welcome players from cities across the country. The Whyalla Darts Association assistant secretary, Graham Hall stated that there were players registered from Victoria, New South Wales, Darwin and many other locations and the tournament also included more than 100 local players. Not a single spot was available once the tournament began and the turnout was considered a grand success. The competition hosted Harley Kemp, Eddie Sims, Chris Vasey and Peter Machin who are regarded as four of the top players in the country. Players competed for a top purse of $2,000 with a total of $16,000 worth of cash prizes up for grabs.
The top sponsor was Telstra Store Whyalla who is committed to supporting community endeavours across the country. Store manager David Whetstone said the company began conversations around sponsorship last fall and are happy to be a part of engaging with the darts community.
Additionally, to continue the investment into the region, the event was held at South Whyalla Football Club in an effort to extend the support to another local sports organization.
The event began with a social evening on Friday that gave players to the opportunity to meet each other and to get to know some of the other competitors both in and out of the region and to also give them a chance to engage with some of the country’s top names. This was well attended and everyone had the opportunity to mingle in the spirit of sportsmanship prior to hitting the contests over the weekend. It was on Saturday and Sunday when the real action began and included a single competition on the first day and the doubles tournie on the second and final day of the event.
After quarter and semi-finals, the winners emerged from the events. Becca Heidke of South Australia claimed the Women’s Singles title and James Bailey of Queensland was the winner in Men’s Singles. On Sunday, in the doubles event, the Women’s prize went to Corinne Hammond and Melissa Sinnott. The men’s pair claiming the doubles prize was Harley Kemp and Eddy Sims. A sincere congratulation goes out to all of the winners and to those who competed for all of the prizes!
With no cost to attend the event as a spectator, the hosts and sponsors expected a respectably sized turnout of fans of the game. This was an initial opportunity for local citizens to get out and support a competitive darts weekend that is hoped to develop into an annual event in Whyalla.
As well as the sporting contest, players and other attendees were also treated to available meals on site at the football club to make the event both an exciting competition as well as a chance to socialize and come together as a community in support of darts.