THE grand final of the Mark Williams Memorial Trophy men’s darts competition took place on Thursday night at Bedlingtion Station WMC with a £1,000 winners prize up for grabs.
It was to prove to be a tough night ahead for a lot of players with the early exit of some of the top names from around the region, with Andy Lynn, Tab Hunter, Paul Knighton, Dave Prins, Yogi Young and last year’s champion Alan George among the casualties early on.
Two players not having such problems were James Foster and Keith Wright. Foster taking his chances against Ryan Joyce and Phil Borthwick to set up a semi-final against Dave Gradwell, who came out on top against Hunter and Paul Bell.
Meanwhile Wright was making his way to the semi-final with good wins against Graeme Stoddart and Paul Jennings to set up a semi-final against Gordon Dobey, who proved too strong for Prins and Gary Robson.
The first semi saw Foster take an early lead over Gradwell.
Scores of 100, 139, 94, 56 and 112 checkout taking the first leg, 140, 100 and 91 scores helped extend the lead in a 17-dart second leg, 96, 59, 84, 180 and 83 checkout made it three-nil before Gradwell responded with 140, 90, 11 and 70 checkout in 18 darts to pull a leg back.
But Foster proved too strong and won through with scores of 96, 125, 140 and 116 and double 12 in a 16-dart game.
The second semi between Wright and Dobey saw the latter take early control with 121, 80 and 130 scores.
Wright hit back with 140, 140, 96, 105 and double ten in a 14-dart leveller.
He followed up in the next with four straight tons in a 17-dart leg and continued the good form with three 100 scores in a 19-dart game for 3-1.
Dobey hit back with 121, 80 and 180 scores in a 20-dart leg and went on to level the game, 89, 99, 100 and 91 scores helping to make it three all
Wright then found another gear with 140, 60, 100, 100, 69 and double 16 taking him through to the final.
Foster and Wright had won the right to contest this final coming through tough games and this one would prove no different.
Foster showing the best of early form with 100, 83, 140 and 93 scores securing the first leg.
He increased his lead in fine fashion with 123, 180, 100, 66 and double 16 in a 13-dart leg.
Wright hit back with two tons and 120 scores to pull a leg back but Foster found his rhythm again with 84, 136, 140, 100 and 41 in a 15-dart game making it three-one.
In the best of nine legs, scores of 96, 99 and 94 in a nervous fifth saw Foster go further ahead before taking a well deserved win with 96, 180 and 134 scores in a 17-dart winning game and another new name on the Mark Williams Memorial Trophy that of James Foster.
A big thank you went to the sponsors Molson Coors, The Newcastle Beer Company and Bedlington Station WMC.