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Cancelled flights didn’t stop darts winner

Darren MacNevin of Charlottetown Branch is the singles winner.
Tom MacGregor
Singles dart player Darren MacNevin from Charlottetown Branch was just glad he was playing at all.

No stranger to the Dominion Darts Championships, he qualified to represent Prince Edward Island for the 2018 championships held May 4-6 at Terrebonne Heights Branch in Mascouche, Que., but he didn’t make it to the Friday night meet-and-greet. Bad weather in P.E.I. had delayed his team’s flight and then it was cancelled.

The team’s only hope was to catch an early flight on Saturday morning—which they did. Arriving at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal at 7 a.m., the team was whisked by a volunteer driver to the branch, 55 kilometres away, in time for the opening ceremonies.

“I kept waking up all night, thinking the morning flight would be cancelled,” said MacNevin.

An opening ceremony was held outside the branch at a small cenotaph. In a short ceremony which featured the firing of the branch’s Second World War-era field gun, a representative of each team placed a wreath. Norman Shelton, a member of both the branch and the Dominion Command Sports Committee, placed a wreath on behalf of Dominion Command.

The three events are played in round-robin format, with each leg consisting of three games for one point each. Players must double in and double out to complete a game. Singles count down from 301 points, doubles from 501 and teams from 701.

MacNevin shook off his lack of sleep in the afternoon when it was his turn to play in the singles competition. It didn’t take long for MacNevin and Ontario Command’s Jack Robinson of New Hamburg Branch to lead the pack. By the end of the eighth round, MacNevin had 20 points to Robinson’s 18. It was then that the two faced each other for the first time in the competition.

Robinson would have to take all three games to win the contest. He took the first one, but MacNevin came back in the second game for one point. After that, he was impossible to beat. Robinson won the third game but it didn’t matter. MacNevin won with 21 points to Robinson’s 20.

“I wasn’t paying any attention to the board. Obviously when you are winning games, you know you are doing well but it was only the last game when I realized everybody was watching me that I knew I could win,” said MacNevin. It is the second time MacNevin has won a singles event at the Dominion championships.

Things were not as clear earlier in the day when the doubles championship was played. The Alberta-Northwest Territories pair of Steve Russell and Wayne Russell for Jubilee Branch in Calgary and the Ontario team of Jack Robinson and Matt Parsons of New Hamburg Branch seemed clear leaders. They met in the fourth round. Ontario won two games to Alberta’s one, leaving both pairs tied with eight games each.

Chester MacKenzie (left) and Glen MacKenzie of MacDonald Memorial Branch in Lakeside, N.S., take home the doubles title. At the presentation of the team trophy.
Tom MacGregor
Things started to shift and the two teams found themselves in a four-way tie by the end of the seventh round along with Nova Scotia’s Chester MacKenzie and Glen MacKenzie of MacDonald Memorial Branch in Lakeside and the New Brunswick team of Scott Tracey and Derek Hanley of Blacks Harbour Branch.

However, Alberta and New Brunswick faltered and regular play ended with Nova Scotia and Ontario tied at 18 games each.

That forced a best-of-three tiebreaker but it was all over in two as Nova Scotia took the first two games.

Though they share a last name, Chester MacKenzie and Glen MacKenzie aren’t related. “I knew his last name was MacKenzie and he came from Cape Breton, like I do, so I figured he would have to know how to play darts,” said Chester who was half of a winning team in the 1990s. “We tried three other times to make it to the Dominion championships but this is the first time we are here as a team and to win; it doesn’t get much better than that.”

The next day was the team championship. At the end of five rounds, the Alberta team of Steve Russell, Wayne Russell, Bill McDowall and John Hill from Jubilee Branch led with 11 points, followed closely by the Nova Scotia team of Coady Burke, Scott Shea, Jason Smith and Jeff Boutilier from MacDonald Memorial Branch with 10 points and the Quebec team of Sebastien Gagnon, Jerry Hull, Kevin MacArthur and Jason Hurley of LaSalle Branch with nine.

(From left) Sports Committee representative Norman Shelton, winners Jason Smith, Scott Shea, Coady Burke and Jeff Boutilier from Nova Scotia and Terrebonne Heights Branch President Jean Filiatrault.
Tom MacGregor
Alberta’s lead disappeared when it came up against the British Columbia/Yukon command team of Chris Purdy, Bryce Book, Jim Brown and Brad Campbell from Kamloops Branch. B.C. took all three games, while Nova Scotia jumped into the lead with 12 points.

Nova Scotia met B.C. in the ninth round and won two more games to give them the winning score of 20.

“Three of us have played in Dominion darts before, but it is the first time for the four of us as a team to be here,” said Burke.

The tournament wrapped up with a banquet at the branch, featuring a méchoui, roasts of pork and beef done over a grill on a trailer attached to a pickup truck.

President John Filiatrault, who has represented Quebec Command at several Dominion Darts Championships, thanked his local arrangements committee, which had spent a year preparing for the event. It was the first time Dominion darts had been held in Quebec.

Shelton presented trophies to the winners.

“This is what it’s all about. You come out to play and support your branch and the community,” said Chester MacKenzie.



2018 Results

Team: N.S./Nunavut (MacDonald Memorial Br., Lakeside) 20; Quebec (LaSalle Br.) 17; N.B. (Blacks Harbour Br.) 16; B.C./Yukon (Kamloops Br.) 15; Ontario (Col. Alex Thompson Br., Mississauga) 14; Man.-N.W.O. (Elmwood Br., Winnipeg), Alta.-N.W.T. (Jubilee Br., Calgary) 13; P.E.I. (Charlottetown Br.) 11; N.L. (Portugal Cove Br.) 9; Sask. (Rosetown Br.) 7.

Doubles: N.S./Nunavut (MacDonald Memorial Br.) 18; Ont. (New Hamburg Br.) 18; N.B. (Blacks Harbour Br.), Man.-N.W.O. (Atikokan, Ont., Br.), Alta.-N.W.T. (Jubilee Br.) 16; N.L. (Portugal Cove Br.) 13; Que. (LaSalle Br.), P.E.I. (Charlottetown Br.) 11; B.C./Yukon (Grandview/Collingwood Brs., Vancouver) 10; Sask. (Rosetown Br.) 6.

Singles: P.E.I. (Charlottetown Br.) 21; Ont. (New Hamburg Br.) 20; Man.-N.W.O. (Atikokan Br.) 17; N.B. (Blacks Harbour Br.) 16; Que. (LaSalle Br.) 15; N.L. (Portugal Cove Br.) 12; Alta.-N.W.T. (Jubilee Br.), B.C./Yukon (Quadra Island Br., Heriot Bay) 10; N.S./Nunavut (MacDonald Memorial Br.) 9; Sask. (Rosetown Br.) 5.



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