Bognor darts player thrilled to take on Van Gerwen

Ben Marley with Michael Van Gerwen
Ben Marley with Michael Van Gerwen

World No1 and No3 Michael Van Gerwen and Peter Wright headlined the second instalment of the Brighton Darts Masters at the Amex Stadium. Fellow PDC professional Vincent Van Der Voort and Sky Sports commentator Wayne Mardle completed the line-up as they took on four amateurs from Sussex.

One of those selected to play was Ben Marley (Chichester), along with Russell Vanner (Brighton), Simon Morris (Crawley) and Andy Relf (Uckfield).

Marley was drawn against Van Gerwen and said: “To be invited to play in this event is something any darts player would jump at the chance and to have the opportunity to share the stage and play against the world number one is like a dream come true.

“To play in front of a 600-plus crowd was extremely nerve-wracking. I was trying to stop myself shaking on stage.”

Van Gerwen won 4-0 but Marley did have attempts to win the first and last legs, missing the double for a 101 and 110 checkout.

All four professionals won their games, moving into the semi-finals – and in an upset Mardle hit five 180s in six legs against Van Gerwen taking the match 4-2. Mardle is known for his entertaining style and ran through the crowd and high fiving after each 180.

To share the stage and play against the world number one is like a dream come true.

Ben Marley

Wright eased past Van Der Voort, setting up a fan-favourite finish against Mardle.

Mardle hit two more 180s in the final only to see Wright hit his first maximum of the final and follow by celebrating through the crowd. Wright won the match and the event with a 170 shoot-out.

Mardle will be coming to Seasons at Bognor FC on February 4 for an exhibition. Tickets are £10 and available from Seasons or by calling Ben Marley on 07539 209525.

The Sandy Carter Memorial mixed pairs knockout took place at the Newtown Social Club.

Some 26 pairs turned up to compete, but last year’s champions were not among them.

Last year’s runners-up and champions from the 2016 summer league Paula Duckett and Dave Owens were up for the challenge, as were 2014-15 champions Janet Grinstead and Gary Blackwood.

The first round saw three-time finalists and two-time summer mixed pairs champions Debbie and Ashley Clements make it through, but they lost in the second round. Duckett and Owens went out in the second round, beaten by Grinstead and Blackwood.

The first semi-final saw Tracey Reeves and Ben Todd lose to Michelle Skeites and Adam Hall. The second saw Rachel Hall and Adam Judd bow out to Grinstead and Blackwood.

The final saw Blackwood win the bullseye and start with a 140. Later in the leg Hall scored a ton, but that still left them trailing.

After 26 darts between them, Blackwood hit 52 in two darts to take the first leg. The second leg saw Blackwood start with a ton and late follow that with 102 but Skeites hit 85 and 125, while Hall hit a ton, taking them in to the lead.

One dart was all that was needed for Hall to take the second leg in a total of 25 darts.

Hall started the last leg with a ton and 81, giving them the early lead. Blackwood followed with 85 and 100, but they were still behind.

Hall tried first for the double but missed, as did Skeites. This gave Grinstead a chance, but she could only leave double top.

Both teams started missing, either busting their scores or leaving odd numbers. Skeites and Hall ended up on double one, while Blackwood had left three for Grinstead.

Grinstead’s second dart hit single one and followed it with the double to take the leg and the title of the Sandy Carter Memorial mixed pairs champions 2016-17.

Friday Benevolent’ Darts League

In catch-up week, the best display came from Ben Marley (Newtown Amity) with 21 and 22 darts and a 23.30 average.

Results - Div 1 - Aldwick Legion 10 BRSA Wanderers 14; BRSA Ravens 6 Squash Club 14. Div 2 - Chi Snooker ‘A’ 4 Newtown Amity 17. Div 3 - POW Galleon 14 Friary ‘C’ 6.

Other stats - Div 1 - player of match - Richard Ragless (Squash Club) 21 & 24 darts [22.27 av]; Bradley Marshall (BRSA Ravens) 22 & 23 darts [22.27 av]; Gary Blackwood (BRSA Wanderers) 22 & 23 darts [22.27 av]. Other good games - Dave Bourne (Aldwick Legion) 25 & 26 darts [19.96 av]; Nathan Warren (BRSA Wanderers) 25 & 27 darts [21.36 av] - 1st leg 8 left in 18 darts; Simon McDougall (Aldwick Legion) 27 & 27 darts [18.56 av]. 180s - Bradley Marshall (BRSA Ravens). High out shots - Simon McDougall (Aldwick Legion) 56; Dave Stone (BRSA Wanderers) 56. Div 2 - player of match - Ben Marley (Newtown Amity) 21 & 22 darts [23.30 av]. Other good games - Stuart Rose (Newtown Amity) 20 & 25 darts [22.27 av]; Keith Robinson (Chi Snooker ‘A’) 20 & 27 darts [19.47 av]. High out shots - Alex Norgett (Newtown Amity) 158 [pairs]; Keith Robinson (Chi Snooker ‘A’) 75. Div 3 - player of match - Richard Pennells (POW Galleon) 26 & 27 darts [18.91 av]. Other good games - Ian Dendy (POW Galleon) 24 & 30 darts [18.56 av]. High out shots - Ian Dendy (POW Galleon) 54.

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