Patrick Chaplin: Players Past & Present

Sudesh Fitzgerald
Books His Place In The PDC 2009 World Championships

YOUNG GUYANESE YOUNGSTER BOOKS HIS PLACE IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

Sudesh FitzgeraldTwenty-three-year-old Sudesh Fitzgerald from Guyana has given himself about a month to prepare for a life-defining experience writes Michael Heal.

By winning the Carib Beer Caribbean & South American Masters at The Almond Bay Conference Centre in Barbados on 15th November, Fitzgerald earned himself a place in the PDC Ladbrokes.com World Championships in London where he will play against the world’s top professionals for a combined prize fund of £740,000.

Fitzgerald has been playing darts since he was fourteen years old and this year became Guyanese National Champion for the first time. His task then was made slightly easier because his mentor, Norman Madhoo, was unable to compete because of knee surgery. Madhoo, who was the first player to represent the region at the World Championships six years ago and who impressed observers at the Circus Tavern, confronted the young pretender at the semi-final stage of this year’s event but, in an error-strewn encounter, was defeated by four games to three.

Fitzgerald also had a battle on his hands in the quarter final against Hank Ebanks from the Cayman Islands. The protagonists matched each other dart for dart, leg for leg until the Guyanese took the seventh and deciding leg.

The other half of the draw produced some spectacular darts much appreciated by the knowledgeable spectators. The pick of these matches featured Vivekanand Dyal from Trinidad and Albert Henry from St. Lucia. In the third leg Dyal hit a maximum and Henry immediately followed suit. It left Dyal with a massive score of 132 to finish but, totally in the groove, Dyal hit triple 19, outer bull and then bullseye to take the leg and the crowd erupted.

Dyal eventually took the match by four legs to three and this meant a semi-final clash with Bajan Mark Cummins, who had been in impressive form on the oche. Cummins took the early initiative and had leads of 2 – 0 and 3 – 1 but the Trinidadian stepped up his scoring rate and levelled at 3 – 3.

The momentum was with Dyal and in the decider scores of 140 and 135 gave him the chance of victory but he could not hit those elusive winning doubles and Cummins, at the first opportunity, produced a three dart check out of 80 to take the tie.

In the final against Fitzgerald, Cummins took the initiative by winning the first leg but then failed to convert his chances in both the second and third legs.

The play was tense and edgy with no player getting into any rhythm. For the first time Cummins began to show traces of irritation and self doubt and Fitzgerald, retaining commendable focus for his age, was always in front for the next two legs to land the biggest prize in Caribbean and South American darts.

The man who earned the right to represent the region last year and who performed admirably against World Champion Raymond Van Barneveld, Bajan Anthony Forde, was a mysterious absentee from the starting line up on the night. Forde had taken part in all the other events in the Brydens Darts Festival but, for some unknown reason, failed to turn up to defend his title.

© 2008 Michael Heal