Jennings on form for world darts championship

Darts players(left to right) Dave Prinns, Paul Jennings and Kevin Hill pictured at the Hartlepool Catholic Club event.
Darts players(left to right) Dave Prinns, Paul Jennings and Kevin Hill pictured at the Hartlepool Catholic Club event.

Hartlepool-born darts star Paul Jennings enjoyed the perfect weekend as he triumphed in two tournaments including the Rift House Open 2 to continue his preparation for next month’s world championships.

Jennings beat fellow Hartlepool-born thrower Tony Eccles 6-2 in the final at the Catholic Club on Saturday in the annual event to pick up £500, a day after he scooped the top jackpot in a competition in Newcastle.

Kevin Hill, organiser of the Rift House Open, explained the enjoyment of the event, although he was left disillusioned with the amount of participants: “The poor turnout was really disappointing.

“The one’s that said they would turn up did so overall it was okay,” he told SportMail.

Despite expecting close to one hundred entries from around the region, just over 40 attended which left Hill despondent.

Kevin said: “I was let down on the entry numbers, only 42 turned up.

“Just six locals turned up which was poor and we were expecting up towards a hundred.

“The numbers were down by a half on last year and it was even atrocious weather last year so it was baffling.”

“I try to put darts on the map and they don’t appreciate my efforts.”

Hill had threatened to move the tournament away from the town if the numbers failed to show up.

But he has instead revealed alternative plans to generate the interest from the locals in the future.

Kevin said: “Whether with it being so close to Christmas, a £10 entry or anything else, I don’t know, but we are going to go down a different approach.

“We might have the next one at Easter with a £5 entry fee but it will definitely stay in the town.

“It was a first class set up, eight boards all lined up and a good prize-money, and those that did turn up made it a good day.”

Jennings, who beat Eccles 5-3 in last year’s inaugural final, cruised past Paul Knighton in the semi-finals which set up the Eccles final after he overcame the challenge of Tony Gorge.

Kevin added: “Tony (Eccles) was losing 5-1 in the quarter-final but he came back to win 6-5. If you don’t finish, you don’t finish,” he explained.

“Paul missed a nine darter in the final as well but it was a really good high scoring game with Paul clinical in his finishing. It was well worth a watch.

“He won on Friday in Newcastle and on Saturday so it was a good weekend for him and a good build up to the World Championships for him.”