Isle of Man Darts Festival starts Thursday

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Isle of Man Festival of Darts 2016 finals the Villa Marina - Tony O'Shea, winner of the PokerStars Men's Open and Lisa Ashton, winner of the PokerStars Open Women's trophy

The Villa Marina will once again be opening its doors to host the 32nd Isle of Man International Darts Festival this weekend.

With more than £30,000 in total prize money up for grabs, it remains one of the most popular events in the British Darts Organisation competition calendar and over 600 participants and up to 1,000 darting disciples are expected to converge on Douglas to be a part of it.

On top of the help Isle of Man tourism provides financially and logistically in ensuring the event returns to the island every year, PokerStars is also continuing its support.

Festival promoter Howard Miller is delighted with how the event is evolving: ’Events like this don’t just happen, it takes a lot of support in numerous fashions and from many different areas. With PokerStars we enjoy a sponsor who not only puts finances into the event, but who throw themselves enthusiastically into every aspect of the festival.

’They even have members of their staff entering the events this time and are making their own dart shirts. Not only that, they also have up to 80 guests and staff who want to attend the finals on Sunday afternoon which is brilliant.’

The festival, which begins on Thursday, has attracted all the biggest names in the BDO including both of this year’s world champions Glen Durrant and Liza Ashton.

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Both runners-up, Holland’s Danny Nobert and Australia’s Corrine Hammond, are also flying over as well as some of the game’s most popular protagonists: Martin Adams, Darryl Fitton, Tony O’Shea, Trina Gulliver and Deta Hedman.

The most significant appearance though will be by the television cameras, who will be showing live action from both Saturday between 3-7pm but more importantly full production coverage on the Sunday from 2-6pm.

It will be screened live on Frontrunner TV, the only free-to-air sports channel in the UK which can be found on either Freesat channel 250, Freeview channel 91, Talk Talk/BT Channel 91 and on Sky channell 468, coverage that has the potential to reach up to a total of 19 million households.

A lot of work, especially by the EDO, has gone into what will be the first live sporting broadcast from the island and, as Miller points out, everybody has pulled together to not only ensure this happens but within the alocated budget to ensure it creates as good a production as possible.

’When asked, the government volunteered an extra payment to get in another cameraman that will go into the crowd to film.’ commented Miller.

’PokerStars did likewise which allowed us to appoint a professional commentator, and spotters for the producers (they are the ones who tell the cameras what darts the players will normally go for so) and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company allowed us to bring all the equipment over on their ferry.

’Hopefully all their support will be rewarded with a great show on the Sunday afternoon which everyone is welcome to come down for – in fact, we invite them to do so.

’The atmosphere will be brilliant, there is no charge whatsoever to get in, people can get their face and messages on the television screens and all we would advise is that those who wish to come down to be a part of it – and we hope many people will – is that they take their seats by 1.30pm.’

The schedule and full details can be found on www.isleofmanfestivalofdarts.com, but in short there will be a mixed trebles event kicking off the festival on the Thursday night.

The two men’s and women’s ranking singles competition begin in earnest on Friday morning at 10.30am and again Saturday.

The men’s and women’s doubles then take place on Sunday morning while the festival’s climax, the finals, start at 2pm on Sunday afternoon.