Darts fans miss out on festive party at PDC Championship
- Credit: LAWRENCE LUSTIG
Local darts fans will not be getting their regular mid-December Christmas party treat of William Hill PDC World Championship action for a while due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
With London moved into tier 4, its looks very much that the world's greatest darts event, which ends on January 4, will remain behind closed doors.
To their credit, Barry Hearn and his PDC organisation are still carrying on with the whopping £2,500,000 event at the iconic Wood Green venue and fans will still be able to watch the tungsten action from the warmth of their own living rooms on Sky Sports.
The small number of fans who attended the opening night last Tuesday were treated to defending champion Peter Wright, in his usual typical flamboyant mode, stealing the headlines dressed in an all-green eye-catching Grinch-inspired attire while dispatching Steve West in his second rounder.
There was a total different atmosphere a day later when Ally Pally was completely closed off to the public.
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Germany's Max Hopp, who went out to Mervyn King in round two, praised the PDC for the way they revamped the arena since shutting their doors to the public.
"Its a really nice set up," said the 24-year-old.
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"It looks good but it's totally different from what you are used to with a full crowd. You just walk out then you think 'alright, there is no one here'. It's an empty venue and its really different."
Callan Rydz, who dispatched James Bailey in round one before heading out of Ally Pally in the last 64 to world number seven James Wade, felt surreal by the whole occasion.
"I just found it weird," said the 22-year-old from Newcastle. "But just got to get used to it now until this virus has the full vaccine for everyone."
Former BDO world women's champion from Bolton Lisa Ashton, who narrowly lost to Adam Hunt in a thrilling fifth set final leg decider, said: "It's heart-breaking. We all wished the crowds were here but playing on the tour it helped me take a bit of experience of doing the Grand Slam with no crowd.
"It makes a massive difference so hopefully I just keep going. It's just something we've got to learn with the consequences of what's going on. Hopefully it will soon disappear and get the crowds back in and help us."