Darts enthusiasts had a treat at the weekend with a visit from 14 times world champion Phil “The Power” Taylor.
Taylor and up-and-coming Professional Darts Corporation player Gary Anderson visited the isles to take part in a specially-organised tournament, where they took on two groups of local players over the weekend.
Both nights, at the Burra Public Hall, were a sell-out. Friday kicked off with Anderson, who took on eight locals. Following a short interval, Taylor played a further eight. There were no local winners except George Smith, who beat Anderson fair and square.
To the delight of the 300-strong crowd, the two professionals then played a game of best of 19, which Taylor won 10-9 on both nights.
One of the highlights was Taylor’s maximum finish of 170 on Friday. He also impressed the crowd by hitting the bullseye when the board was covered by a sheet of paper.
The Shetland Darts Association had run two competitions over the previous two weekends to find 16 locals to play the professionals.
While the association had a hand in helping to stage the event, the visit was mainly organised by Gideon Ward from Hamnavoe, who got in touch with the darts champion in January and arranged the trip specially.
Ward said: “Phil Taylor was in Shetland eight years ago and he stayed with me and my wife, Diane. He left his phone number and said to keep in touch, so I called him in January. We yarned away and I asked him if there was any chance of him coming up. He put me in touch with his agent.”
From there, and after a meeting in Manchester, Taylor was booked, along with Anderson and London-based referee Russ Bray.
Ward said the whole event had been a resounding success.
“There was an amazing turnout on both nights and the whole thing went really well. I’ve heard no complaints from anybody; folk think it was professionally done.”
Mr Ward said he would like to thank everyone involved in making both nights such a success and that a full thanks has been placed in the personal column of the paper.
He said: “It’s not often you get a top sportsman in Shetland and hopefully we’ll get another night laid on soon.”