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East dominates darts championships

Dominion Command Sports Committee representative Steve Wessel (left) and LAC Chair Larry Lynch flank team winners (from left) Jerry Myles, Rod Snow, Paul LaQuant and Chris Steiger.
Adam Day

It was the battle of Eastern Canada at this year’s Dominion Command Darts Championships, held May 6-8 in Saint John, N.B. The eastern half of the country was pretty much unstoppable, with Ontario Command taking the singles and doubles titles and then narrowly losing the team event to the quartet from Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command.

Besides the darts, the entire weekend at Lancaster Branch was full of high spirits and old-fashioned camaraderie.

Before the beginning of play on Saturday morning there was a parade and wreath-placing ceremony held in front of the branch. Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command President Steve Wessel, also the Dominion Command Sports Committee representative, was on hand to read the Act of Remembrance. Second World War veteran Kenneth Briggs placed a wreath.

The competition began with doubles. After seven rounds of play, nothing had been decided. While a few teams had dropped back, there were seven teams within three points of each other. Ontario held a one-point lead.

It was time for the final round.

As it turned out, the Ontario team was in no mood to make mistakes. The duo of Andy Rust and Gary Robinson from Maple Leaf-Swansea Branch in Toronto closed it out, hanging on to their lead and becoming the dominion champions.

Singles champion Shawn Brenneman of Ontario Command holds his trophy.
Adam Day

“It was great. The competition was really tough. To come out on top with all these great shooters is amazing. And to win a national title? Amazing,” said Rust. “Taking out that last double to make sure, when I knew that we would win if I got it. It was amazing.”

Next up was the singles competition. Halfway through it was still too close to call, although Ontario had managed to get out in front with a one-point lead.

After seven rounds, Shawn Brenneman of Beachville, Ont., Branch had moved into a commanding lead. He made no mistakes in closing it out either. If he played like a seasoned competitor, that’s probably because he is. This was his third time at the dominion championships and he was a part of the Ontario team that won in 2008.

“It’s really good competition,” said Brenneman after the win. “It’s always a challenge playing against guys of this calibre and it’s really just anybody’s lucky day at the end of it. The momentum kind of goes back and forth and so I feel very fortunate that it was my day.”

On Sunday morning the team competition began. As the Alberta-Northwest Territories Command team withdrew from the competition, there would only be nine teams competing for the championship. Despite the slightly smaller field, it was a boisterous atmosphere in Lancaster Branch’s upper hall, with teammates cheering each other on at maximum volume.

While the pack stayed close through the first few rounds, the frontrunners became clear after round five. Nearing the end of play it was those same two teams out in front–the N.S./Nunavut team of Paul LaQuant, Chris Steiger, Jerry Myles and Rod Snow from Centennial Branch in Dartmouth, and the Ontario team of Michael Power, Frank Browne, Jason Marchis and Leslie Mootrey from Col. Alex Thompson Memorial Branch in Mississauga.

Andy Rust (left) and Gary Robinson of Ontario Command take the doubles championship.
Adam Day

Going into the final round, the Ontario and N.S./Nunavut teams were tied with 17 points each. It would all come down to these
last few darts.

When Ontario dropped a game early against the New Brunswick team of Ike Mullin, Scott Tracy, Derek Hanley and Mark Hebert of Blacks Harbour Branch, the guys from N.S./Nunavut knew that all they had to do was hold on for three points and they would get the win.

So they did. And that’s how it ended in a one-point margin of victory after an entire day of competition.

“It was perfect. It was amazing,” said Chris Steiger. “Our team won a championship once before, but there’s still no describing how it feels, just amazing.”

It was 2013, in Chester, N.S., that his team last won a dominion championship. And that title, like this one, all came down to a few clutch darts. “It was very tight. We needed New Brunswick to win one game, and they did, and then we needed to win all three, and we did.”

At the closing ceremony later that evening, Wessel gave his congratulations to the team from his home province and congratulated all the other players as well for their fine showing at the championships.

“You came here to compete and you didn’t disappoint us–you competed well,” Wessel told the crowd. “This competition was close in all of the categories and the comradeship amongst you was evident. The level of the play was tremendous and I really enjoyed standing back, watching you guys shoot darts. It was a treat.”

As a testament to that, during the closing ceremony the individual awards for throwing 180s were given out. And there were actually too many to list.

“The hospitality has been wonderful, as you’ll agree with me I’m sure,” said Wessel. “The branch has always bent over backwards to accommodate every request we’ve had, every problem we had.”

As a final note, Local Arrangements Committee Chair Larry Lynch–who proved not only tireless but extremely competent during the hectic weekend of play–made a final announcement which garnered much applause–Lancaster Branch would be donating $3,000 to help those stricken by the fires in Fort McMurray, Alta.

The next Dominion Command Darts Championships will be held at Eastern Irrigation Branch in Brooks, Alta., in May 2017.

Darts Results

Team: N.S./Nunavut (Centennial Br., Dartmouth) 20; Ont. (Col. Alex Thompson Memorial Br., Mississauga) 19; N.B. (Blacks Harbour Br.) 16; N.L. (Portugal Cove Br.) 13; B.C./Yukon (Chemainus Br.) 12; Que. (Dorval Air Services Br.) 9; P.E.I. (Charlottetown Br.) 8; Man.-N.W.O. (Elmwood Br., Winnipeg) 6; Sask. (Rosetown Br.) 5.

Doubles: Ont. (Maple Leaf-Swansea Br.) 18; N.L. (Portugal Cove Br.) 17; B.C./Yukon (White Rock Br.) 16; P.E.I. (Charlottetown Br.) 15; N.S./Nunavut (Lawrencetown Br.), Alta.-N.W.T. (Jubilee Br., Calgary), N.B. (Blacks Harbour Br.) 13; Man.-N.W.O. (Elmwood Br.) 12; Que. (Dorval Air Services Br.) 11; Sask. (Nipawin Br.) 7.

Singles: Ont. (Shawn Brennemen, Beachville Br.) 21; N.S./Nunavut (Jerry Myles, Centennial Br., Dartmouth) 17; P.E.I. (Darren MacNevin, Charlottetown Br.) 16; Man.-N.W.O. (Ryan Tkach, West Kildonan Br., Winnipeg) 15; N.B. (Scott Tracy, Blacks Harbour Br.) 14; Sask. (Gerry Rorick, Rosetown Br.) 13; Que. (John Harmidy, Dorval Air Services Br.) 12; N.L. (Patrick O’Grady, Portugal Cove Br.) 11; B.C./Yukon (George Hart, Vedder Golden Br.), Alta.-N.W.T. (Gardner Poucette, Jubilee Branch Br.) 8.


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