Published: 14:39, 10 June 2009
| Updated: 14:39, 10 June 2009
Geoff Harkup became the first islander to reach the Sheppey Darts Classic final but the chance to taste victory eluded him.
Harkup (pictured right) lost in the final to his good friend from Medway Clive Bardon 6-4 at the Merlins Complex.
The losing finalist still walked away with a £1,000 cheque and he saluted the fellow islanders who put plenty of quality opposition to the sword.
"Last year was a terrible year for Sheppey players in the tournament but this year we had five in the last 16 and two in the last four," he said.
"Fred Burton was in the semi-final and he’s come on big time. He took a couple of big scalps including Deal’s Richie Buckle who was favourite when it was the last 16 stage.
"There were less players in the tournament this year but the quality was there."
Harkup could have gone 4-2 up in the final, but he missed three shots on the double top, and with it went the chance of claiming the Sheppey crown.
"I should have been close enough to win it but I missed a couple of bad doubles," said the 50-year-old.
"We broke each other twice and it was 4-4 but he picked it up with a few 180s and I couldn’t respond. Good luck to him, he’s a good friend, but I was gutted to lose."
Harkup had earlier enjoyed big wins over Pete Mitchell (5-1), Shane Burgess (4-0) and Phil Tunstall 5-1.
A place in the final helped ease the disappointment of failing to qualify for the UK Open for the first time in eight years.
He said: "The UK Open was even worse. I had so many darts to win (the qualifier). I had been playing out of my skin but I just couldn’t hit the doubles.
"The Sheppey Classic isn’t a tournament I’ve played well in during the last few years and it was nice to beat some quality players.
"It was just a bit disheartening to have three darts on the double top hole. When I look back I know I could have won but I’ll just move onto the next one now."
Harkup will join Pat Scurfield, Paul McDine and Charlie Day in the All England tournament in Selsey at the end of the month.