Speedy has helped to cement Stoke-on-Trent as the capital of darts, after hundreds of amateur throwers flocked to the city to qualify for one of the biggest events in the sport’s calendar.
In the week that Stoke City prepare to face Bolton at Wembley, qualifying for the competition known aptly as the ‘FA Cup of Darts’ was taking place at the Speedy Stoke Superstore in Lowfield Drive.
Speedy threw down the challenge to amateurs to take aim, with eight players qualifying to play at the UK Open at the Reebok Stadium in June, in front of a huge television audience – and possibly Phil Taylor.
Out of hundreds of entrants, Stuart Daniels (Ellesmere Port), Colin Appleton (Warrington), Andy Beardmore (Leek), Robbie Green (Merseyside), Paul Cartwright (Oldham), John Jackson (Eccles), Kevin Simm (Bolton) and Brandon Walsh (Doncaster) eventually prevailed and are now dreaming of a date with ‘The Power’ and current world champion Adrian Lewis, who has put Stoke on the map as a hotbed for darts.
Their first obstacle was to score enough points with 15 darts to qualify for a one off leg of 501 against another successful amateur.
They then held their nerves in the all-or-nothing games to seal winning doubles and progress into the FA Cup of Darts, where they will share the same stage as some of the world’s finest players.
Speedy, the UK’s leading provider of equipment rental and support services, is staging a further qualifier in Glasgow on
Friday April 15th, which will unearth a further 8 budding stars, after also visiting Bristol and Dartford earlier in the week.
Speedy enlisted the help of 2004 World Champion Andy Fordham to offer expert advice and he was again overwhelmed with the quality.
He said: “When I knew we were coming to Stoke, I expected the standard to be good, but the guys at the oche exceeded my expectations.
“To see hundreds of fanatics crammed into the Speedy Stoke Superstore was a great sight. The fact that people have been able to walk in off the street, throw some darts and now dream of playing the world’s best players is brilliant.”
Speedy’s group marketing director Steve McIntyre said: “Our visit to Stoke was a huge highlight from our week of qualifying events for the Speedy Hire UK Open.
“We saw hundreds of fanatics here and a handful of excited winners who we look forward to seeing again at the UK Open at the Reebok Stadium in June.”
The darts qualifier coincided with an open day to celebrate the first anniversary of Speedy’s Stoke Superstore.
The 20,000sq ft site employs 15 people and houses a full range of tools, lifting and surveying equipment.
For more information about Speedy and its sponsorship of the UK Open, visit www.speedyhiredarts.com