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Ryan Hope ends 16-year search for local winner at the Sheppey Darts Classic

By KentOnline reporter

Ryan Hope became the first Islander to win the Sheppey Darts Classic.

Hope beat Lee Cox 6-3 in the final at Merlins on Sunday, winning the £1,000 first prize.

He's the third Sheppey man to reach the final in the tournament's 16-year history, following Paul McDine and Geoff Harkup, but the first to go all the way.

Sheppey Classic 2018 winner Ryan Hope Picture: Tony Cox
Sheppey Classic 2018 winner Ryan Hope Picture: Tony Cox

Organiser Tony Cox tipped Hope as a potential winner and was thrilled to see him triumph.

He said: "This was a great weekend of quality darts only made better by Ryan Hope, a local man, winning the singles.

"I have waited 16 years for this and predicted last week he was capable of doing so.

"Well played, Ryan, I am overjoyed for you."

Hope beat Paul Martin 4-2 in the quarter-finals and Lewis McGurn 5-0 in the semis.

He made a flying start to the final, winning the first four legs, and while Cox took the fifth, Hope responded with a maximum in leg six.

Cox took the next two but Hope wasn't going to let go and after another 180 in the ninth, he clinched victory with a 153 checkout.

It was one of the best finals seen at the Classic with Hope averaging 28.88 and Cox 28.17.

McGurn and Paul Dawkins beat Stuart Patt and Steve Day 4-0 to win the £300 first prize in the pairs competition.

They'd seen off Hope and Ben Hazel 3-2 in the quarter-finals and Mark Creswell and Warren Gorden 3-0 in the last four.

Sheppey Classic ladies' winner Sue Holt, left, with runner-up Marlene Badger Picture: Tony Cox
Sheppey Classic ladies' winner Sue Holt, left, with runner-up Marlene Badger Picture: Tony Cox

Sue Holt, from Eltham, beat Sittingbourne player Marlene Badger 4-3 in the ladies' final.

Both women played exceptional darts in a close game but it was Holt who took the title and £100 prize money.

Holt beat Carole Bareham 3-1 in the semi-finals, with Badger a 3-0 winner over Amber Wesley.

Myles Avery beat Reece Pauling 3-1 in the youth singles, earning £80.

Avery reached the final with a 3-1 victory against Lewis Whitehouse, while Pauling beat Freddie Francis 3-2.

Almost 100 people took part in the open singles, while the youth, ladies and pairs competitions were all up in numbers.

Organiser Cox said: "I must thank Lee and Tom Dunn for their sponsorship once again, along with all the others that advertised in our programme.

"Also, thanks to Sherilee Whitehead for running the draw and Ken Priestly for looking after the bookings, the guys who helped to set everything up and take it down again, plus all the players and spectators that turned up to play or watch.

"Without you there would be no Sheppey Darts Classic."

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