Waites becomes first winner of Blue Bell’s event

Scott Waites with Blue Bell owner Alan Wilson.
Scott Waites with Blue Bell owner Alan Wilson.

A strong field attended the first grand finals of the Blue Bell Hotel Darts Championship, where four professional joined 16 qualifiers to take to the oche in a bid to win the £1,500 first prize.

The day started early for the qualifiers, who played down to the last four in the afternoon session and the standard improved as the day progressed.

Bridlington’s Steve Rice made it through to the evening session as he won by two sets to nil against Pickering’s Bill Hague, averaging 88.41

The evening session saw the introduction of four professionals, BDO world number one James Wilson, Martin Atkins, 2013 world champion Scott Waites and Darryl Fitton.

The first three professionals in action beat a qualifier to book a place in the semi-finals before Rice took on Fitton.

Rice rattled up a number of 180s and he went ahead by two sets to one. They shared the first two legs of the fourth set but scores of 140, 140, 100 and a 105 left Rice on 16 with Fitton sat back on 129 in the decider.

One dart for Rice was enough to see him move into the last four of the event, winning the leg in 13 darts, to complete a match average of 90.33.

England and Yorkshire team-mates Wilson and Atkins faced each other, with Wilson going through 4-2 before Rice’s hopes were ruthlessly extinguished by Waites, who whitewashed him 4-0 in the second semi-final.

Waites’ fine form saw him won the final 5-3 to become the first Blue Bell Hotel Invitational Darts Champion.

Blue Bell Hotel Alan Wilson said: “We will be looking at re-running the event in 2015 with an increased prize fund and possible new structure to the tournament”.

Event organiser Neil Hart, of York Darts Promotions, added, “It was disappointing that the event wasn’t supported more locally and we appreciate the feedback and coments we have received from those attending and playing.

“The enthusiasm and commitment from Alan Wilson was there for all to see. A change in the event format may alter people’s perspective of the event and this will be discussed along with Alan’s views and feedback at a later meeting.

“The event on a whole was a success and the standard of play throughout was very high. The hotel and it’s staff made everyone welcome and we are already looking forward to our next event with Alan.”