Nearly 300 darts players from around the South Island converged on Oamaru for the Clubs New Zealand Darts Association South Island tournament at the Oamaru Club last week.
The four-day tournament featured some of the South Island’s top players and was contested in mixed pairs, women’s pairs, men’s pairs, and singles formats.
Oamaru players put in some strong performances at the tournament. Izak Tauwhare claimed the junior boys title, while Elton Crane was ninth-equal in the men’s championship singles and third in the men’s championship pairs with partner Ron van der Hilst. Stan Westwood and Danny Ryan were ninth in the same section. Crane was also awarded the Colin Ibell Cup for the highest tournament finish – checking out with an impressive 170.
Organising committee member Ruby Laird won the women’s singles plate title, was ninth in the womens’s championship pairs with Debbie Conway and ninth in the mixed pairs championship with Jason Milne. She also won the tournament personality trophy.
James Grennell and Denise Ramage finished fifth in the mixed pairs plate.
The men’s singles championship was won by Christchurch’s Bernie Smith, who beat Invercargill’s Warren Parry in the decider.
The women’s title was claimed by Nelson’s Tara Mears.
Ms Laird said Oamaru often attracted strong fields.
“It’s because Oamaru is so central,” Ms Laird said.
“The Oamaru Club has a good atmosphere and it’s big enough, so we’ll be back here in three years.”
She said the prolific rise of the sport slowed no sign of slowing down.
Televised darts events draw large numbers of viewers, which in turn had helped grow player numbers locally.
“More people want to come and have a go and there’s more young people coming through .. people are more interested in darts than they have been previously.