The 2018 England Classic proved to be another successful weekend, run by England Darts at Bunn Leisure, Selsey.
The BDO-ranked events kicked off on Friday evening with the England Masters. Defending Champions, Deta Hedman and Andy Baetens were both in the line-up to defend their 2017 crown.
Hedman cruised through to the final, with convincing wins over Maria O’Brien and Fallon Sherrock 4-0 and 4-1 respectively along the way. Anastasia Dobromyslova also fought through an equally tough field to claim the second final spot, registering a 4-3 win over the Lancashire Rose, Lisa Ashton and a 4-1 over 10-times World Champion, Trina Gulliver MBE in the semi-finals. Dobromyslova denied Hedman her third consecutive Masters title by taking the final 5 legs to 1. The victory signified Dobromyslova’s fifth England Master’s win, each time at a different venue!
Baetens entered the Masters unseeded, however progressed through to the last 32 with wins over Matt Harris, Atle Berger and number 11 seed Willem Mandigers, before James Hurrell put an end to his title hopes with a 4-1 win over the Belgian International. The semi-final line-up was Sussex’s Robert Collins vs Scottish International Ross Montgomery, and number three seed, Jim Williams against Middlesex’s Joshua Burksfield. Montgomery won his place into the final in a 4-0 whitewash of Collins, whilst Williams had a closer battle with Burksfield, with Williams holding his nerve to win 4-3. Williams won the final 5-1 to take his fourth title of the 2017/2018 season.
Saturday’s England Classic saw over 350 male and female competitors take to the oche and attempt to emulate the successes of 2017 Champions Lorraine Winstanley and Jeffrey Sparidaans.
In the ladies tournament, the semi-finals were an exact repeat of Friday’s Masters, with Gulliver MBE pitted against Dobromyslova, and Sherrock against Hedman. Gulliver MBE had taken out Winstanley 4-2 in the quarter-finals. Both Hedman and Dobromyslova took 4-2 victories over their opponents to reach their second final of the weekend. Dobromyslova was able to hold her form and complete the double, with a 5-2 victory over England’s Hedman.
Sparidaan’s title defence was cut short by fellow Dutchman Willem Mandigers in the last 32, who was subsequently knocked out in the last 16 by eventual semi-finalist Reece Colley. Colley faced ‘Sparky’, Wesley Harms in the first semi-final, where the experienced Harms continued the form which saw him beat number 1 seed, Glen Durrant 4-2 in the quarters, to claim a 4-0 win and a place in the final. The second semi-final was between England Master’s Champion Jim Williams and World number 2, Mark McGeeney. Williams won through to his second final of the weekend with a 4-1 victory over McGeeney. In the final, despite Williams leading 4-2, checkouts of 161, 135 and 96 from Harms saw him deny Williams the double and take the final 5-4.