The Oldham Open. Held at Tara Leisure Centre, Shaw on 28th & 29th January 2007

St Helens player Dave Chisnall had a day he won’t forget in a hurry as he took the Oldham Open title, beating Mark ‘Top Banana’ Holden in the final. He almost capped the win with the ultimate achievement, narrowly missing double twelve for a 9-darter. He did hit it next dart though to win the leg in ten darts and powered on to lift the trophy. He had overcome Mark Wainwright in the semi-final with Holden beating Gary Thompson the other match.

All four semi finalists then went on to contest the Champions against four legends of the game in John Lowe, Bob Anderson, Steve Beaton and Dennis Priestley. Seven world titles between them and countless years of experience.

Reputations count for nothing though and Chisnall continued his fine form, beating Bob Anderson to get through to the semi finals. The three other ‘legends’ had no such trouble and went through safely enough – John Lowe looking most impressive against Mark Holden.

In the semis it was Lowe up against Priestley and Beaton with the tricky challenge of a cock-a-hoop Chisnall. Priestley took care of Lowe fairly comfortably and was starting to find a groove. Beaton looked to be cruising against Chisnall and needed just one more leg for victory. However Chisnall hit back and levelled the game at 3-3 with a great 115 checkout under tense pressure. It wasn’t to be though as Beaton kept his calm to win the deciding leg and set up a final with Priestley.

The final itself was all one-way traffic as Beaton couldn’t hit his finishes. Priestley could and won the match with a 5-0 whitewash. Nice preparation for his debut in the Premier League on Thursday. The winner bagged a trophy and cheque for £750 with the runner up receiving £350. Chisnall added £250 to the £200 he’d already won and can boast about beating an ex-world champion for some time to come.

The weekend was run with immaculate organisation once again by John Gwynne and company, and everybody looked to have a great time. There were 180 signs being waved about, walk on music for the players and good quality darts – the 9-darter would have capped it all. The familiar face of one Alan Glazier in the crowd was nice to see and a quick chat revealed that he’s recently been recovering from a broken arm but is still throwing and still enjoying it after all these years.

If you haven’t been to this event before, mark it in your diary for next year and get yourself along to a great afternoon of darts in Oldham.

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