The 2023 Australian Darts Open is set to reach its crescendo today when play gets underway at Finals day from 12pm (AEST) at Moama Bowling Club in Moama.
After three days of intense competition – following on from a couple of days of qualifying, the stage is now set with a good sprinkling of Australian, New Zealand and other international players making their way to the final bracket of play.
The third iteration of the event has been a huge success so far and has drawn quality players from overseas, including 2022 WDF World Champion Neil Duff (Northern Ireland), current world number one Andy Baetens (Belgium), world number one woman Aileen De Graaf (Netherlands) and the Lancashire Rose, Lisa Ashton (England).
It is truly a destination event on the World Darts Federation calendar, and according to each of the big name internationals, it is one that is incredible to be part of.
But they are not just here to see the sights – they head into the final day of comeptiion all hoping for one thing… that their darts do the talking and they fly back home with a title and trophy in their carry-on.
We took the time to speak to each of them to find out how they have enjoyed the tournament, what they think of us here in Australia, and how they are feeling ahead of the big day.
“It’s good to be here, I’m happy to be here – it’s a nice venue and so many nice people so it is good.
“I am glad to be here – I hope that I can play well but these are all tough opponents and good players here so we will see.
“It is a lovely club and venue here and everyone has been so nice to me everywhere. It is the first time I have come here and maybe I will come here next year – I really hope so, I’d love to come back.”
Aileen de Graaf
“It’s great to be here – it was a long trip, really long and I always said that I’m not going to travel more than four hours so it was very difficult but it is really nice to be here.
“The people are so nice and it is great to spend a week together – it’s lots of fun and the people are so nice.”
“It was okay to adjust – especially with the time difference it was a bit difficult but I didn’t really have any problem with it, but it’s nice and different to travel so far.”
“We went to go and see kangaroos and finally after an hour waiting we saw the kangaroos so that was lovely!
“Of course I am here for business. The darts is my work and I find it always difficult to play one game on the day – you have to get your focus, you have to practice a lot because it is not a tournament where you can grow into the tournament so that’s difficult but I have many experiences with it. You just never know – darts is a strange game so we will see!”
“This is my second year and I am thoroughly enjoying it, but I’d like to get my sleeping pattern sorted out! We arrived late Thursday night so other than the Pacific Masters we have had a few days off, but myself personally I am struggling big time with getting my sleeping pattern right. I’m getting three hours a night and trying to catch a nap during the day, but when you get to my age it doesn’t get any easier!
“The travelling is a bit of a nightmare – moreso for me because I am having to go from Belfast in Northern Ireland to the mainland first, then come so there’s three flights to get here for me. But hey, I’ve been busy enough the last 16 months – Thursday morning was my 160th flight since last April so I’m used to travelling!
“Australian Darts – it’s unreal. Of everywhere we go they are the most hospitable, they do everything for us – if we need to be picked up or go anywhere they will do it and even the running of the competition is run well, the Pacific Masters is run well – there’s a few countries that could learn a few things from here!”
“It’s always a great tournament – I look forward to it all the time, and I have got off to a better start this time so it’s really good – brilliant!
“It has been lovely and we have even got some sight seeing in – finally see the wilderness, kangaroos and emus and everything so it has been great.
“I love it here – it is a great tournament, the people are so welcoming and I feel that everybody is just brilliant with it and it runs fantastic, so it is a pleasure to be invited back.
“We mingle and enjoy the company with everybody but when you get up there it’s business – straight off, head on, play your game and hopefully you get the victory.”
Don’t forget you can watch every minute of action from the final day of the 2023 Australian Darts Open via the Darts Australia event hub.
You can also stay up to date with schedules, results, news and more by heading to the hub via: https://dartsaustralia.com/2023-australian-darts-open/