Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crazy Golfers Christmas 'Do' in London - Darts Tournament at Rileys Victoria!

Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd wins the 'Rivernear Worlds Professional Crazy Golfers Darts Championships' in 14-player field

Shepherd makes it three wins in three years at Crazy Golfers Crimbo Shindigs!

The un-Bronze Bully Prize!
Photo: The un-Bronze Bully Prize!

On Monday 19th December 2011 thirteen of the World’s best Crazy Golfers and Snooker Ace/Juggler Richard '147' Linden met under the Arrivals Board at Victoria Station (how romantic) before heading to Rileys Victoria for an evening of shenanigans in the 2011 Crazy Golfers Christmas ‘Do’.

Previous years have seen the group play Minigolf in 2009 (a busman’s holiday) and Indoor BIG Golf on a simulator & a bit of Putting in 2010. But for the 2011 Open Invitational event there were a few new options suggested, including Tenpin Bowling, Darts, Laser Tag and Table Football.

With Bowling Alleys either charging too much (read 'extortionate'), or not bothered about the potential booking from the group it was decided that Darts would be a good option and after some research on the Bachelor of Darts’ Capital Arrows website the venue for the ‘Do’ was found and a booking made for three Dart Boards at Rileys Victoria. What was even better was the Boards were free to book!

The 14 players would be vying for the Christmas Champion Title and the un-Bronze Bully in the ‘Rivernear Worlds Professional Crazy Golfers Darts Championships’! Players got into the festive/darts spirit by donning Christmas hats and gaudy shirts for the night out.

Photo: Action from Board 3. Trevor 'The Wraith' Robertson on the oche in his match against Emily 'Ah Bristow' Gottfried. Alan 'Stormin' Norman is the scorer

At 7pm the players began practising their throws and the competitors could get an early idea of who the opposition would be. While the praccy was underway a draw/bracket/format was organised by EmilyLemonyCoach, TevorTheWraithSmeethino and Brad.

Of note is the fact that Seth ‘Zen’ Thomas had brought his own Snooker Cue, which many players thought was a Javelin in a case when they met at Victoria. Unfortunately with so much ‘arrers action going on the group never had time to play any Pool or Snooker. Perhaps next year...

Photo: Seth 'Zen' Thomas and his Pool Cue in a case at Victoria Station. Also pictured, Alan 'Stormin' Norman (l) and Steve 'F1' Gow

One of the early favourites for the tournament victory was Gareth ‘Colleen’ Holmes, who while not present on the Minigolf-scene of late (since a devastating tackle from Brad at an Air Hockey table in Hastings which put him on the disabled-list), was thought to be a challenger as someone said he’d “played a bit of Darts before.” Where he’d played, how long ago and against who is still unclear!? On the walk to Rileys ‘Oh’ Chris Jones had also stated that he’d played before and wasn’t bad, however he then said "But that was 32 years ago!"

Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd on the oche, with scorer Martin 'Smashin' Robertson
Photo: Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd on the oche, with scorer Martin 'Smashin' Robertson

With the competition format decided a draw was then held to decide the groups for the event.

All of the matches, except the final, would be played as one-leg shoot outs of 301 straight-in, double-out games. The final of the ‘Rivernear Worlds Professional Crazy Golfers Darts Championships’ would be played in a 501 game.

For the qualifying round the 14 players were drawn into three Pools and each assigned to a Dart Board to play round-robin matches. The top two players from each group would then qualify automatically to the last-8, with the three players who finished third in their groups meeting one another in a play-off to decide which two would qualify as players 7 & 8.

The remaining players would be placed into a Loser’s Pool to play-off in a round-robin format to decide places 9-14.

The top-8 would play in a knockout format to decide who would make the semi-finals and the losing four players would then play for positions 5-8. There would also be a 3rd/4th place match prior to the Grand Final.

Pool A / Dart Board 1

Seth ‘Zen’ Thomas

Jon ‘The Stance’ Angel

‘Oh’ Chris Jones

Gareth ‘Colleen’ Holmes

Richard ‘147' Linden

Pool B / Dart Board 2

‘Squire’ Richard Gottfried

Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd

Martin ‘Smashin’ Robertson

Lionel ‘The Spoon’ Bender

Pool C / Dart Board 3

Emily ‘Ah Bristow’ Gottfried

Trevor ‘The Wraith’ Robertson

Alan ‘Stormin’ Norman

Steve ‘The Rant’ Gow

Marc ‘The Professor’ Chapman

Due to unforeseen technical issues, the pre-prepared 'Walk-on' music for each player ahead of their matches was unavailable. It wasn't a big problem though as it would likely have been drowned out by the Christmas tunes anyway!

Automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals from Group A was Seth, with Martin and Brad joining him from Group B. Alan was the automatic qualifier from Group C.

In Group A and C there were players tied for the second and third places so a three-way 9-dart play-off was required to decide who finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in each group. In Group A Gareth won with a score of 156 to qualify as group runner-up. Jon was third, scoring 113, and would go into the play-off pool for the third place players, joining Richard G and the third player from Group C. Richard L scored 70 and finished 4th in Group A.

In Group C Emily won the 9-dart play-off with a score of 127, with Steve qualifying for the three-way play-off against Richard G and Jon, having scored 117. Despite hitting treble-20 with one of his last three darts Marc scored 108 to finish fourth in the Group.

The highest three-dart score of the whole tournament was made by Trevor ‘The Wraith’ Robertson in a first-round match when he hit a great score of 111.

Before the matches in the last-8 could commence, the players who would be ‘seeded’ 7th and 8th needed to be decided. In the three-way play-off Richard G beat Steve, Steve lost to Jon, and Jon beat Richard G, meaning Jon qualified as number 7 and Richard as number 8. Steve would join Marc, Richard L, Chris, Trevor and Lionel in the Loser’s Pool for the ranking matches for places 9-14.

In these matches both Marc and Steve managed to complete their games before the Grand Final got underway and finished in 9th and 10th places respectively, with Marc winning four of his five round-robin games. Steve won two and lost three in the round-robin pool. Steve also managed to play the most competitive matches in the tournament, stepping up to the oche to compete in eleven matches overall!

Lionel, Chris, Trevor and Richard L did not complete all of their round-robin games and were tied in 11th place (or 11th, tied 12th and 14th to be ever so precise).

In the last-8 matches Emily lost to Richard G in a grudge match between the two Lutonians. Brad beat Martin in a re-match from the group stages. Gareth lost to Seth and Jon beat Alan.

In the games to decide the rankings from 5th to 8th place Emily lost to Martin who found some of his first-round form to get the win. Alan beat Gareth in an all-London encounter. Martin lost to Alan and Emily lost to bookies favourite Gareth.

In the semi-finals Richard G once again lost to Brad, as he had in their group match, with Brad progressing to the Grand Final. Earlier in the day the two had stumbled across a Pub in Wood Green advertising their Dart Board and had a few games, with Richard winning five-out-of-five, but he could not find the double against Brad in the semi-final.

Semi-Finalists Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd and 'Squire' Richard Gottfried
Photo: Semi-Finalists Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd and 'Squire' Richard Gottfried

In the second semi-final Seth beat Jon to book his place in the Grand Final against Brad.

Semi-Finalists Seth 'Zen' Thomas and Jon 'The Stance' Angel
Photo: Semi-Finalists Seth 'Zen' Thomas and Jon 'The Stance' Angel

Ahead of the Grand Final Richard and Jon met, in another re-match from earlier in the evening, to decide who would finish as the Bronze medallist. In the 301 contest Richard picked up the victory to claim a place on the Podium.

The Finalists Seth 'Zen' Thomas and Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd. With scorer Gareth 'Colleen' Holme
Photo: The Finalists Seth 'Zen' Thomas and Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd. With scorer Gareth 'Colleen' Holmes

With the un-Bronze Bully up for grabs, a fair few drinks imbibed and hunger setting in, the atmosphere for the final saw the other twelve players reaching a sort-of mild fever-pitch.

In the 501 straight-in double-out contest Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd managed to defeat surprise finalist Seth ‘Zen’ Thomas by hitting double-2, leading to a big cheer from the crowd as Brad realised his dream of winning the competitions at three Christmas ‘Do’s’ in three years! Marc the announcer declared Brad the winner and Gareth the scorer presented him with the coveted un-Bronze Bully to shouts of “Bully! Bully! Bully!” from the uproarious audience.

Video: Crazy Golfers Christmas Darts at Rileys London - The Grand Final

2011 Rivernear Worlds Professional Crazy Golfers Darts Champion Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd
Photo: 2011 Rivernear Worlds Professional Crazy Golfers Darts Champion Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd

With the matches over and the promise of some sore heads & throwing arms and bruised egos the next day, the merry minigolfers made their way to all corners of London and the Home Counties (and Canterbury) all looking forward to a Merry Christmas and dreams of toppling Brad’s reign as Crazy Golf’s Crimbo Champ in 2012!

Suggestions for sporting contests for the 2012 Crimbo Contest already include:
- Draughts/Kick-boxing
- Ludo/Fencing
- Connect-4/Arm-Wrestling
- Ping-Pong/Sumo

Other ideas more than welcome, please leave comments below...

Final Rankings and Win/Loss Records for the 2011 ‘Rivernear Worlds Professional Crazy Golfers Darts Championships’

More photos from the event:

Photo: Lionel 'The Spoon' Bender hits the Bullseye!

Photo: Snooker player and Juggler Richard '147' Linden reaches his 'perfect' score!

Photo: Marc 'The Professor' Chapman takes a closer look at Bully (censored version)

The 'Rivernear' Darts Tournament was the biggest in the history of Crazy Golf! In 2008 the first-ever (and only one to date) Links Darts tournament was contested at Planet Hastings Crazy Golf course at the end of the first day’s play of the 2008 BMGA British Minigolf Championships. That contest was won by Sean ‘The Sandman’ Homer. Perhaps the 2012 minigolf season will throw-up a meeting between Brad and Sean in a battle of the two ‘codes’ in a Grand Slam of Minigolf-Darts!

- The Minigolfers Christmas 'Do' 2010
- 2009 Christmas Crazy Golf Challenge at Devonshire Square
- Links Darts at
- Justin Irwin, the Bachelor of Darts
- Rileys
- Rileys Victoria
- The World Darts Federation (WDF)
- The British Darts Organisation (BDO)
- The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)
- The British Minigolf Association (BMGA)

More Darts Blog Posts on The Ham & Egger Files:
- Writing about a little bit of Britain on the Las Vegas Strip for Smitten by Britain
- The Las Vegas Darts Classic - Richard vs. Emily
- Cwmbran Darts Classic 2010
- Minigolf 'Links Darts' featured in We Love Darts magazine


Anonymous said...

I can picture 'The Wraith' doing a little shoe shuffle for that top score!

Anonymous said...

I believe that 111 was not the highest 3-dart score...

T-20, T-20........................T-5 :-(

Richard Gottfried said...

Apologies 'Anonymous'! Who scored 135 then?

It wasn't reported to the 'match officials' or chalked up/highlighted on any scoreboards.

Can anyone else verify it please?

Richard Gottfried said...

Just listened to the Walk-on Music Mix by Trevino. It's brilliant.

If ever there was proof that Minigolf/Crazy Golf would benefit from Walk-on Music this is it!

Anonymous said...

Does no one remember the classic event at Planet Hastings when walk on music was first used in a British Crazy Golf event?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure it was the 2007 BCCs at Planet Hastings. Upset a lot of people.

Lemony said...

Great evening... can't wait for next year :)