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The entertainment programme at Butlins looks good this weekend-

Hi De Hi

Posted: 28.11.12 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

The entertainment programme at Butlins looks good this weekend-



HiDeHi by darts analyst

The 2012 (or is it the 2013) Players Championship Finals is the entertainment that is being laid on for darts fans this weekend. We had this confusion of dates last year of course, as the tournament was played twice in 2011. In fact the Players Championship is treated fairly poorly, it is shifted around venues as well as the calendar.

This is the fifth time the event has taken place and it is already on its third venue. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it does give darts fans in different parts of the country the opportunity to go and experience a PDC tournament. This year’s event is being held in a holiday camp, Butlins in Minehead. For younger readers of the blog the sound feature above is from a BBC series from the 1980’s-Hi De Hi which was based on a Butlins holiday camp and featured the catchphrase “Morning campers”.

Butlins, the PDC and therefore darts in general are actually similar in a number of ways. Both have their history firmly rooted as a staple of the “working class”. The inspiration for the formation of Butlins was to provide cheap family holidays with food and of course “entertainment” and organised events from the staff who became known as the Redcoats all included in the price. Darts of course boomed in the pubs and clubs, darts were cheap to buy, the pubs provided the board so anyone could play.

In 2012 both Butlins and the PDC, whilst probably proud of their heritage, couldn’t argue that they are trying to shake off their old image of either being a naff holiday venue or a pub game. Butlins now offer luxury hotel rooms and restaurants and The PDC offer a slick sporting experience played by high earning sportsmen.

Both the long gone Billy Butlin and Barry Hearn exploited their opportunities and both can be described as marketing geniuses. The fact that the two businesses have formed a short term partnership for this tournament is apt when you consider the evolution of darts (and holiday camps) over the past few years.

Anyway, who needs Redcoats when you have Anderson’s shirt to entertain you? Despite the chequered history of this event it should really be given more respect, it has a quality field. Last year players complained it was too close to the World finals and so has been shifted forward by a week or two so hopefully that will mean thirty two focused dart players.

The event should be far more challenging than the Grand Slam. There is no bizarre qualification criteria for a start-it is the top 32 from the order of merit. In other words arguably the best 32 form players in the PDC.

Phil Taylor the two times winner will be aching to win this event. He has been usurped by Michael Van Gerwen, who despite being beaten by Raymond Van Barneveld at the Grand Slam will still surely be the man the rest have to beat. Barney will of course be full of confidence, well at least he should be but actually who knows whether he will be or not? Dave Chisnall won one of the Pro tour events last weekend and throw in Whitlock, King, Ian White, WesWez, Huybrechts, Anderson, Nicholson, Pipe as well as Lewis and Wade and the huge challenge for any player to win it is clear.

With all this on offer you have the ingredients for one of the best ever entertainment events at Butlins. I hope someone wears a red coat to thank Billy Butlin for making it all possible!


Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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