Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Odyssey darts: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barenveld hit bullseye with fans

Betway Premier League Darts at The Odyssey Arena, Belfast. Phil 'The Power' Taylor gets his arm going
Betway Premier League Darts at The Odyssey Arena, Belfast. Phil 'The Power' Taylor gets his arm going
Fans at the Betway Premier League Darts at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, last night
Fans at the Betway Premier League Darts at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, last night
Fans at the Betway Premier League Darts at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, last night
Fans at the Betway Premier League Darts at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, last night

Sochi might have the Winter Olympics – but for thousands of darts-mad fans, the Odyssey Arena was their only target last night.

A blend of fancy dress, boisterous cheering and the odd alcoholic drink or two – for both fans and competitors – were all on show as the weekend began early.

Where else on a cold, damp night in Belfast could you find men wearing Hawaiian shirts, pirates' hats and traffic cones?

It was a night when the Odyssey was turned into a colourful, raucous, sporting cauldron.

The crowd watching the third week of the Betway Premier League Darts were in fine voice all evening as they soaked up a special atmosphere.

The 8,000-strong crowd made their voices heard as some of the game's top players were on show including Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and current world number one Michael van Gerwen.

Darts legend Phil 'The Power' Taylor received a hero's welcome as he approached the oche, trying to put his recent poor form behind him.

But the 16-time world champion suffered another defeat on the night to Peter Wright, losing out 7-4 – his third straight defeat in the competition.

However, Taylor's result did not dampen spirits as each 180 was cheered louder than the last.

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