When she earned a sponsorship with Winmau in 2014 this world class event took on a deeper purpose and added a target to her back that she wears with great pride. This year the tournament returned to Bridlington for the first time since 2008 and she was very excited to go back to place where her international career began. They paired the Winmau World Masters with a couple of BDO tournaments this year and truly created a week full of world class competition.
After spending a night in London we took the train up to the quaint English holiday town by the sea and found it mostly unchanged except for the newer shops and restaurants. Friday evening was her first event in the British Classic where she teamed with English player Maggie Sutton. Maggie was a good friend of Stacy Bromberg and we first met her on that first trip in 2008. They had a tough draw in Rhina Griffiths of Wales and Sue Edwards of England and got of to a good start winning the opening leg. But things got harder from that point and they missed opportunities in the next 2 legs before winning the fourth leg to even the match. A slow start in the last leg sealed their fate and they lost 3-2.
Saturday brought the Singles event for the British Classic where she received a first round BYE before playing talented English player Anne Scholey. She started a bit slow but soon got into a good groove and fished with a strong game to win 3-0 and advance to play the #2 seed, Aileen De Graf of the Netherlands. Sandy had played Aileen before in the Masters and Aileen had won the event two years ago. Sandy got off to a great start by checking out a 120 in the first leg but Aileen quickly returned the favor in the 2nd leg taking out 113 with Sandy sitting on 32. With the match tied at one leg apiece Aileen played her best game and won the third leg. Sandy came back with a great game in the fourth leg but couldn’t hit her doubles and wasted the opportunity the even the match, losing 3-1. Aileen played great all day and ended up winning the title.
Sunday brought the British Open Singles and her last tune-up for the World Masters on Monday. Unfortunately the extensive travel and long dart days began to take their toll and Sandy wasn’t in top form in a place where not being on top of your game will get you beat. After a first round BYE, she played OK and eventually won 3-0 over England’s Wendy Adams to advance to meet Sue Edwards of England. Sue started on fire and beat Sandy on 18 and 16 dart games to build a 2-0 lead. Sandy started playing better in the third leg and had some looks at the double but couldn’t convert and lost the match 3-0.
On Monday the main draw for the Masters started and Sandy was able to get rested and played well throughout the day. First up was Sharon Jansen of the Netherlands and Sandy started playing strong from the start and defeated the talented Dutch player 4-0. In the second round she took out Angelique Flahauw of France, who never got a look at a double, again 4-0.
In the third round she faced Poland’s Malgorzata Markowski and perhaps played her best match of the week winning 4-0 and playing at a high level. Next up was the legendary English player Tricia Wright ranked #13 in the world. She comes to America periodically and Sandy has competed against her for years. Tricia was playing extremely well throughout the event and jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Sandy. But Sandy came back with a couple of strong games and evened the score 2-2. In the third leg she beat Tricia down the board and had the first look at the double 20 but couldn’t convert, it would prove costly as Tricia hit her double and went up 3-2. In the sixth leg Tricia was untouchable and came down the board quickly with Sandy only slightly behind. She finished off the match with a 16 dart game for the win 4-2. Sandy’s day ended with a Top 32 finish matching her 2nd best finish in the event. She now had a couple of days off before the Lakeside Qualifier on Thursday. We were able to do some sightseeing in the area and Sandy enjoyed having a bit of a break.
Sandy played the Lakeside Qualifier knowing she probably wouldn't have been able to come back in January with it being so close to the Las Vegas Open, but she still loves the chance to compete against world class competition. She started with a first round BYE and then drew the very talented English player Casey Gallagher, ranked #15 in the world. Sandy fumbled the double in the first leg and Casey quickly took advantage gaining the win. That seemed to flip her switch as she went on to win the next 3 legs to advance including a 14 and 16 dart game. Next up was England's Leah Wiltshire and Sandy was still throwing well with a 16 and 18 dart games en route to a 3-0 win. Her 4th round opponent was fellow L-Style teammate Ionue Sayaka of Japan who came out smoking dropping a pair of 140's to win the first leg. Sandy captured the 2nd leg with a 120 out and went on to win the match 3-1. However she had some real double trouble in the last leg as did her opponent, she will tell you she was fortunate to win that leg. On to the bracket Finals and Top 16 where the double trouble continued against Scotland's Olive Byamukame. Sandy won the first leg on a 20 darter and Olive evened things up in the next leg. Then both girls struggled with doubles repeatedly and Olive pulled out the victory. The last leg went pretty much the same way except Sandy also wasn't scoring well and got beat down the board. Even though Olive missed a few doubles Sandy still couldn't convert and lost 3-1. She threw really well at times during these 5 days but had some double trouble at other times. Oh well, there's always next year. This has been and enjoyable trip and strong showing of support this week, really meant a lot.
One of the best parts of these trips are the time we get to spend with sponsor's Winmau and L-Style Global who have both been very supportive through the years along with Dutchman Darts and Flying Bull Darts.