“Law of averages, law of averages....” was quite the buzz that went around the fledgling but now firm DI darting fraternity before the final of the Darts Premier League 2017 last Sunday. And this was for good reason too. City Knights who were taking on the Sharp Shooters in the final had so far annihilated the opposition on their way to the final, winning all their eight matches. The only thing, it seemed, that could defeat them was the cruel law of averages. However, the Knights proved that evening that when you are playing well, nothing comes in your way. And so it was that the law of averages was brushed aside as well!
The first doubles of the match started with Sumit Mitra and Alan Sweeney of City Knights taking on Jolly Chanda and Saba Firoze of Sharp Shooters. The Knights were up against a champion side and most neutral observers were expecting a cracker of a final. Hardly had the first drinks finished when the doubles was over! After some initial nerves, both teams had settled down, were getting decent scores and were at par. With a score of 78 to win the first game, Alan Sweeney played the round of his life -- 19, 19 and a 20 double left the Shooters dumbstruck and the Knights delirious with joy! Little did anyone expect such a quick finish.
Quickly regaining composure, the Shooters shot off to a huge lead in the second game and looked like they were going to run away with it. The Knights then took advantage of a bout of sudden nerves hitting the Shooters, slowly clawed back into the game and were soon at par with them. Both teams now needed a double 4 to close the game. Hits and misses galore followed till a determined Alan stared at the target and smashed the pin right into it! The doubles in their pocket in the best of three games tie, high fives and hugs followed with a lot of cheers in between.
The players from both teams asked for a short break before the triples started and most of them went out of the Zach's lounge arena to let go of the stress that was building up in the competition. The Chief Referee and one of the big supports behind the darts league, Amlan Raha, soon announced the start of the triples. The Shooters added Robert Martin, while the Knights included their captain Vijay Singh.
A do-or-die tie for the Shooters, and a chance for the Knights to attain glory, then began. Big scores straight away from both teams! No chances were being taken, and again nothing much to close between the two when up stepped Sumit who, living up to his reputation of being a 'finisher', closed the first game for the Knights!
Panic now had clearly set into the Shooters’ camp. They were just a game away from losing the final and the championship! Not wanting to give up, Captain Jolly kept exhorting her players to do well, telling them that it wasn't over yet. It seemed to have worked and once again the Shooters raced off to a big lead. That's when the big man of darts, Vijay Singh, stepped up for the Knights. After two triple 20s he was about to throw the third pin when out came a gentleman from the adjacent King's Pub, who after clearly having enjoyed his evening there, started greeting his friends watching the match in a loud and cheerful voice!
Hell hath no fury than a Vijay Singh disturbed at the moment of throw! He turned around and was about to give what we suspect was a mouthful when out came the reassuring voice of Sumit. “Cappy, Cappy take it easy, take it easy”. The captain with an exasperated look turned back to the board, while the rest of the crowd turned to the gentleman from King's Pub and went “Sshh, sssh!!” As calm restored, out flew the third pin and hit 20, evincing a smile on Cappy's face! There was no looking back from there, and the Knights quickly closed the game! And the match!
This then crowned the City Knights as the first ever champions of the Darts League at DI. An enjoyable tournament had just come to an end.
Darts convener Biswajit Chanda and his team deserve huge applause for carrying out the tournament so well. The Club discovered some amazing talent in its course, Alan Sweeney for one, who emerged the best player of the tie as well as the most promising player of the tournament. Zeenat Lokhandwala was the most promising lady player. All the children who played for their respective teams, and quite well at that, were also encouraged with certificates and gift vouchers.
Club President Jayajit Biswas, in his congratulatory speech, thanked the organisers for the smooth running and all the players for their enthusiastic participation. “In the end, it is not just the winning that matters but the interest and love for the sport,” he said. Indeed, the practice and the matches that stretched from November till last Sunday showed that darts had come to the DI not just to stay but to thrive!