Sutton darts player Darren Bennett has reached a televised national final at the legendary Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green. The Lakeside is the home of the BDO World Professional Darts Championship and has been staging the tournament since 1986.

Darren qualified for the John Smith’s People’s Darts Final after winning the Central England regional final in Coventry.

He will now be coached by darts ace Ted ‘The Count’ Hankey ahead of January’s final.

Listen to Darren here

John Smith’s People’s Darts

The groundbreaking amateur darts tournament will give club and pub players the chance to take centre stage at the 2009 World Championships and play to win a £15,000 prize for charity, £1,000-worth of games equipment for their ‘local’, plus a week in Spain for two people at the BDO Torremolinos Open next March.

Looking to mirror the success of the John Smith’s People’s Race at the Grand National meeting at Aintree, the inaugural John Smith’s People’s Darts Final will take place at Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green on Sunday January 11, 2009, immediately before the final of the BBC-televised BDO Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships.

To enter, players will have to compete in darts events held at John Smith’s pubs and clubs during September and October.

Each venue will then nominate a ‘house champion’, who will be entitled to play in a regional final of the competition in November, with eight subsequent regional champions – representing Scotland, North East England, North West England, North Wales, Central, South Wales, Yorkshire and the South of England – going forward to the finals of the competition in January.

Bobby George heads a team of darts mentors who will coach and prepare the ‘Lakeside 8’, hosting exhibition and tuition evenings at the pubs and clubs they represent, in the run in to the finals.

“It’s great to be working with John Smith’s once again and I’m really looking forward to seeing this event develop from the regional finals to Lakeside,” said George.

“It’s an amazing project to be involved with and a fantastic opportunity for amateur darts players to put themselves up there with the best at ‘the home of world darts’”.

The Quarter Finals and Semi Finals will take place at Lakeside on January 6, 2009, and five days later the two finalists face the extraordinary challenge of competing in the John Smith’s People’s Darts Final before the BDO World Darts Final.

As with the John Smith’s People’s Race, the opportunity for participants to raise money for charity will play an important part in the event. Each of the regional finalists will be invited to nominate a registered charity and the John Smith’s People’s Darts winner will receive £15,000 for their chosen cause (the runner-up will receive £2,500 and the other six finalists will win £1,000 for their charities). The winner will also win a place in the 2009 BDO Torremolinos Open next March, together with a companion, with flights and accommodation included, plus an invitation to compete in two further UK based BDO tournaments in 2009.

“We are tremendously excited about the potential that the John Smith’s People’s Darts competition has to become a ‘must do’ event in the pub and club sports calendar and the unique opportunity it offers to ordinary players to perform on the biggest darts stage in the world,” said Gareth Turner, Senior Brand Manager – Ale, Scottish & Newcastle UK.

Speaking for the BDO, Olly Croft OBE is equally enthusiastic.

“The British Darts Organisation is delighted to be lending its support to this wonderful initiative by John Smith’s,” he said.

“It reflects the very ethos of the BDO because, as the governing body for the sport, we look after darts from grass roots right through to national, international, professional and world levels. We are doubly delighted that the inaugural John Smith’s People’s Darts finals are being played at Lakeside – recognised globally as ‘the home of world darts’.

“The BDO and its players have enjoyed a valuable liaison with John Smith’s at Lakeside for a number of years and this initiative provides a fantastic opportunity to open up the unique World Championship experience to ordinary darts playing members of the general public.”

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3 Responses

  1. Simon Whilocke

    There was a young talent in the name of Paul Barham who threw some sensational darts in the peoples darts open 2009 in the lakeside at frimley green. This boy is a talent sowatchout for him. Best wishes Simon Whitlock

  2. nikki

    where could me friend get a chance to play and go int o a league in the north west

    • admin

      The place to start is a local pub that plays in a league. Then go from there. Ask around the locals and see which one you prefer.