Some of the world’s top professional darts players, including world number one Michael van Gerwen, competed against each other at the sell-out event, which took place on Friday 26th February at the course’s Centaur facility to see who would be crowned the first Cheltenham Master.
Competing alongside van Gerwen, was fellow Dutchman and five World Champion title holder Raymond van Barneveld, former World Champion Mark Webster, former Players Champion Paul Nicholson, Vincent van der Voort and Andy Jenkins.
The event was a partnership between Jockey Club Venues Cheltenham and Modus darts.tv and also the charity Rugby for Heroes.
It was the brainchild of Lee Moulson, the Jockey Club’s Regional Head of Sales, South West. He explained; “Jockey Club Venues Cheltenham is particularly geared up for large events like this – we have world class facilities, excellent support teams and a fantastic location that people genuinely love. It’s been a dream for me personally to stage a darts event here because we’re perfectly suited to host such an event. The dream became reality thanks to the chief executive of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), Matthew Porter who came to one of our business breakfasts back in December.”
He added; “Once we had official authorisation from the PDC, VIP tickets sold out in the first week, quickly followed by our unreserved tables - we were astonished by the excitement behind it. We decided then to open up the balcony and donated £2 for every balcony seat to Rugby for Heroes,” added Moulson.
The evening also featured an auction with top prizes from across both the world of darts and horse racing, raising an impressive £7,550 for the charity.
It was a close finish as the tournament drew to an end with Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen fighting head to head for the Cheltenham Trophy. It was van Barneveld who finally clinched it and was clearly delighted in becoming the first Cheltenham Master. He told the crowds: “Thank you! I had a great night and it was a fantastic atmosphere.”
“We were thrilled our inaugural darts event was so well attended,” summed up Moulson. “The atmosphere on the night was electric and it was great to witness members of the general public getting the opportunity to play some of the biggest names in the sport, whilst at the same time raising money for Rugby for Heroes.”