Darts ace Kirstie's bid for world title glory put on hold
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
DALE darts ace Kirstie Hutchinson’s tilt at the 2022 World Championship has been put on hold after the event was postponed due to the ongoing omicron Covid variant scare.
The competition was due to return to its traditional home at the Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green, in the first week of the new year, after an ill-fated move to the O2, in London, prior to the pandemic.
However, organisers said they had taken the “difficult decision” to move the championships to April “due to growing concerns and potential government restrictions relating to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Ms Hutchinson, from Middleton-in-Teesdale, is seeded number six for the event and is currently ranked seventh in the World Darts Federation (WDF) standings.
She said that while she fully understood the decision to postpone, it was still disappointing.
“I had built myself up for it – I was ready and the excitement was there,” she said.
Much has changed in the world of darts since she qualified for the O2 world championships in January 2020.
The move away from the Lakeside for the first time since the competition was first staged there in 1977 was disastrous and contributed to the demise of the British Darts Organisation (BDO).
The UK Darts Association took responsibility for the counties that used to play under the BDO, while the WDF stepped in to organise the elite tour, 2022 world championship and a return to the Lakeside.
When the tour resumed in August, the WDF organised a series of events across Europe, with players able to pick up ranking points for a new order of merit, leading up to the world championships.
A number of premium WDF competitions guaranteed the winner an automatic place at the Lakeside – and success at the Welsh Open in October, where Ms Hutchinson defeated teenager Beau Greaves 5-4 in a thrilling final, secured her spot.
“The Welsh Open was played the same weekend as the Welsh Classic and Beau and I got through to the final in both, which were played on the same night,” said Ms Huthcinson.
“She beat me 5-2 in the Welsh Classic and I came off thinking I had no chance, but I won on the deciding leg.”
Despite the victory, Ms Hutchinson said she has yet to hit top form.
“The Welsh Open was scrappy – it does need a lot of practice and I am still trying to find the form I had before lockdown.”
The WDF World Championships will now be staged from April 2-10 and with the high profile Dutch Open put back to June, Ms Hutchinson plans to compete in a series of 20 women’s events organised by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), whose own world event is currently ongoing at London’s Alexandra Palace. In the meantime, she will turn out for the Forresters, in the Barnard Castle Friday night darts league, and continues to work as a nursery practitioner at Green Lane Nursery, in Barnard Castle.