Great darts abounded throughout the three-day Herm Open weekend, but some surprise results headlined the Classic, where the relative newcomer of impressive football pedigree edged established star Nick Ogier in a 5-4 thriller.
The competition ran from Thursday’s lottery pairs preliminary to the big classic on Friday and the namesake Herm Open on Saturday, concluding with a finals night.
In the event’s second year, the global pandemic came as no barrier to Darts World writer and official Roger Spencer as he travelled to Herm and self-isolated in advance of heading up the organisation alongside the hard-working Caroline La Touche.
The result was a very well-received competition where even the early preliminaries featured some impressive passages of play.
Twelve-darters are seemingly very fashionable at the moment and Kevin Brouard was the latest addition to the club, finishing from 121 to conclude a superb leg in the early stages of the Classic sponsored by Manor Farm Foods.
Meanwhile, former Hampshire cricketer Lee Savident set the weekend’s leading checkout of 132.
It was against Savident that Exall had booked his place in the Classic final, where the previously Sark and now Herm-based Ogier took to the oche in opposition.
The leg results went against the darts on numerous occasions and Exall was to see his opponent maintain a higher three-dart average throughout the clash.
Exall had his chance to kill the game at 5-3, but a missed 140 checkout kept the parity.
The eventual result came down to the title-winning double, leaving the former Muratti football regular celebrating a triumph like nothing he has achieved before.
‘Definitely the biggest I’ve won so far, and hopefully there’s more to come,’ he said.
‘I think we both played really well and there was quite a lot of pressure to win.
‘It was an amazing event. Really good atmosphere and everybody gets on so well together – it’s a great community as well, to be fair.’
The equivalent female honours and £300 prize went to Jo Fallaize.
Fallaize dispatched the reigning champion of both the Classic and the Open, Tracy Ingrouille, 4-1 on top of a dominant series of results in the rounds.
In the Open, sponsored by The Juggling King, the men’s title headed in a more predictable direction.
Current Western Individual League star and previous Herm winner Ken Waters came out top over Michael Ogier.
Ogier has also showcased fine form since lockdown and lined up in opposition, but Waters eventually emerged a 5-2 victor to add another £500 to his growing pile of winnings.
Waters had commanded the play with a superb three-dart average of 68.98.
Ingrouille also saw her title bound for new hands in the Ladies’ Open, though she maintained a firmer grasp this time around.
Yvonne Le Gallic had dropped only a single leg in her three rounds prior, but here she just about pinched a 4-3 result from the pulsating best-of-seven contest against the defending champion.
The two Lees – Smith and Savident – were the key draw of the earlier lottery pairs as they beat Jo Fallaize and Andy Norman for the title.
‘A fine event which saw lots of good darts thrown and also produced some very nail-biting games which really added to the tension and excitement,’ a delighted Spencer said afterwards.
‘A great time was had by all and many are already looking forward to locking horns at next year’s renewal.’