It was a highly emotional 4th Andover Youth Open at the Entertainer on the 1st August which had been renamed the Jamie ‘G’ memorial in honour of young Jamie Gentleman which tragically died in March this year.
It was fitting that this year’s event again raised the bar in performance, dignity and sportsmanship as youngsters from neighbouring counties took to the oche under the watchful eye of Adrian Lewis and other distinguished marksmen.
The early round robin format saw some excellent performances full of character and determination and those who took their chances claimed the top two spots from each group and progressed through to the knock out stages.
In the young men’s event reigning champion Sean White progressed to the semis along with Unicorn stablemate Arron Monk. The draw was kind to these two and for once kept them apart. In the first tie Arron with a 15 darter clinched a 3-1 win against Berkshire’s talented Jonathon Mulley then Sean won through by the same margin against the exceptional 13 year-old Shane Waters from Wiltshire to set up an all Andover final.
By this stage the ladies had closed ranks as Charlotte Burgess, Samantha Pike and her sister Christine again made it to the stage accompanied by Amanda Paine in her first competition.
Amanda’s run was finally ended by Sam and Charlotte defeated Christine to set up a repeat of last year’s final. Charlotte who has had a fantastic last three years showed her greater age and experience was enough to give her victory for a fourth successive year yet 16 year old Sam is surely destined to be a winner too.
A third successive title was Sean’s aim especially as he had mentored Jamie ‘G’ during his time at the Academy however it was not to be for Arron was more decisive in his finishing and took the title in a highly entertaining final.
Jackpot who for the past three hours had been signing and talking away to his adoring public made his way to the stage to conduct the presentations including mementos and photos for all who had taken part during the day setting the scene for a wonderful and emotional finale as the remarkable Gentleman family were welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation by a packed Entertainer.
Co-organiser Mark Thorne presented Ivan, Jacqui and Tommy with a cheque for just under £2000 which had been raised by the Academy and its coaches over the last few months.
The day’s activities were drawn to a close by a fabulous young darts professional surely destined to become world champion. ‘Ade’ is not only world ranked number 7 but also Jamie’s favourite player and despite partner Katie being less than a week away from having their first child, Adrian stayed until everyone who wanted to play darts with him had had a game.
The Academy would like to thank to MC Dave Dempsey and its fantastic sponsors; Mike Kirkby director of 1-2 Call Taxis who sponsored the champion’s mountain bikes, Unicorn Darts for their continuous support of advice and equipment, The PDC in donating World Championship tickets and editor Michael Beeken for Darts World yearly subscriptions.
Mens winner; Arron Monk, 2nd Sean White, 3-4; Shane Waters and Jonathon Mulley, 5-8; Xy Maynard, Joe Kavanagh, Aaron Bentley and Dan Read.
Ladies winner; Charlotte Burgess, 2nd, Samantha Pike, 3-4, Amanda Paine and Christine Pike.
The academy’s junior events were won by Shane Reidy and Ellie May in the boys and girls defeating Charlie Deavall and Amy Thorne in their respective finals.
Boys’ winner: Shane Reidy, 2nd, Charlie Deavall, 3-4, Nathan Richards and Ryan Morgans.
Girls’ winner; Ellie May, 2nd, Amy Thorne, 3-4, Sian Monk and Molly Dawkins