1998 WDF Europe Cup XI - Heren

Published at 26/06/2020

General
From 6 to 9 August 1998, 26 countries played in Oslo in Norway during the eleventh edition of the WDF Europe Cup darts. The big question was of course whether the England men, this time with Martin Adams, Andy Fordham, Ronnie Baxter and Steve Beaton, would take home the overall title for the eleventh consecutive time. The England ladies Mandy Solomons and Trina Gulliver could win the overall Cup for the seventh time in the last eight editions. For the first time in the history of the WDF Europe Cup, two brothers play in one cup; Brian and John Elder from Ballymena play for Northern Ireland. The Faroe Islands and Iceland make their debut at a WDF Europe Cup here in Norway.

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Men’s Pairs tournament
On day two, the pairs event was played. The English favourites quickly lose one pair; Steve Beaton & Ronnie Baxter go down 4-3 in the first round against Scottish duo Peter Johnstone & Mike Veitch. This pair then also advances to the semi-finals. The defending champions Martin Adams & Andy Fordham also effortlessly join the top four. The semi-finals are completed by both Welsh duos.

In the first semi-final, Peter Johnstone & Mike Veitch win 4-2 against Marshall James & Ritchie Davies from Wales. The second duo from Wales, Martin Phillips & Sean Palfrey take out the defending champions from England. The final is not an exciting match. Martin Phillips & Sean Palfrey effortlessly win the final 4-1 against Scotland. For Palfrey his first gold medal at a WDF Europe Cup, for Phillips the second in the pairs after his win in this event in 1994.

Men’s Singles tournament
The singles had, as the last event in 1998, to decide who would win the overall title. England, Scotland and Wales were still in the running and even Belgium still had a minimal chance. That small chance quickly vanished when Luc Vriesacker lost to Andreas Kröckel from Germany in the preliminary round. The English also lost a player in the preliminary round; Ronnie Baxter lost to a direct rival, Bob Taylor from Scotland. But the Scots in turn see their chances shrink when Mike Veitch loses to Marko Kantele from Finland in the first round. In the first round England lost another player when Steve Beaton lost to Welshman Ritchie Davies. Wales is now in pole position for the overall title.

In the second round, Scotland is permanently taken out for the overall title by their direct opponent Wales. Bob Taylor and Peter Johnstone lose to Ritchie Davies and Sean Palfrey. In the last 16 Wales loses two players, Martin Phillips loses 4-1 to Englishman Andy Fordham and Sean Palfrey 4-2 to Dutchman Co Stompé. But England also loses one player. Defending champion Martin Adams goes down 4-2 against Raymond van Barneveld.

Andy Fordham is now on his own for England, he has to win the tournament and hope that neither Welshman reaches the final in order for his country to win the overall title. In the quarterfinals, no decision was reached because none of the title contenders played against each other and both players from Wales, Marshall James and Ritchie Davies won, as did Andy Fordham. Co Stompé became the fourth semi-finalist.

The semi-finals must therefore make the decision. Ritchie Davies faces Andy Fordham, a match Andy wins 4-1. In the other semi-final, the second Welshman, Marshall James also loses his match. Co Stompé averages north of 100 and wins 4-2. And thus the chances for the English team to retain the overall title were still alive. If The Viking takes the singles title, the overall victory is also for England. Co Stompé clearly thinks differently because he beats Fordham 4-2 and crowns himself WDF Europe Cup singles champion. He is the first non-Englishman to win this title and also the first Dutchman to win a gold medal at a WDF Europe Cup.

Men’s Team Event
In the team event, there were few surprises in the group phase. Only the elimination of Finland perhaps, but they were in a very strong group with England and Denmark. In the last 16 not many remarkable results either. The first major confrontations do follow in the quarterfinals. England wins 9-2 against the Irish Republic and this round is also the last for the Northern Irish. They lose to the Belgians because they fall behind too fast with 0-5. It will eventually finish 4-9. The Netherlands wins against the yough competition from their eastern neighbours 9-7. The semi-finals is completed by Scotland. They win the British clash against the Welsh 9-7.

In those semi-finals, the Belgians Erik Clarys, Chris Van den Bergh, Tanguy Borra & Luc Vriesacker play like lions and the Dutch foursome Co Stompé, Richard Rietveld, Raymond van Barneveld and Roland Scholten have little chance. They fall behind quickly 4-1. Chris plays his legs with an average of over 120. Tanguy gets 35.66 per arrow and Erik and Luc also play their part. Only Raymond van Barneveld can make a small fist for the Dutch and wins against Luc Vriesacker to come back to 4-2 and from Tanguy Borra for the 6-3. The other Dutch players are certainly not bad, but Scholten, Stompé and Rietveld cannot turn the tide and the Netherlands lose 9-3. This is a fantastic result for the Belgian men, who already match their best result ever from 1986.

In the other semi-final, things are a lot closer between Martin Adams, Andy Fordham, Ronnie Baxter & Steve Beaton from England on one side and Peter Johnstone, Bob Taylor, Mike Veitch & Les Wallace for Scotland on the other. The victory is for England 9-7.

The final is played two days later. In the final, England goes 2-0 up, but the Belgians fight back and make it 2-2. Then the English quickly run away to take an 8-2 lead. The Belgians came back to 8-5, but in the fourteenth leg the inevitable happens when Andy Fordham beats Tanguy Borra. For the English it is the ninth time in history that they win the team event.

Men’s Overall classification
The overall title is after an incredibly exciting fight for the foursome Ritchie Davies, Marshall James, Sean Palfrey & Martin Phillips from Wales with 116 points. It is the first time in the history of the WDF Europe Cup that the overall title does not go home with England. This time they have to settle for the silver with 109 points. Scotland takes the bronze with 82 points. The teams from the low countries are doing well. The Netherlands finished fourth with 77 points and Belgium fifth with 64 points.

Overall ranking
1 - 116 points Wales
2 - 109 points England
3 - 82 points Scotland
4 - 77 points Netherlands
5 - 64 points Belgium
6 - 50 points Northern Ireland
7 - 31 points Denmark
8 - 30 points Finland/ Germany
10 - 17 points Ireland Republic
11 - 16 points Norway
12 - 14 points Sweden
13 - 12 points Hungary
14 - 7 points Gibraltar/ Malta
16 - 6 points France/ Latvia/ Switzerland
19 - 5 points Cyprus/ Iceland
21 - 4 points Czech Republic
22 - 3 points Greece
23 - 2 points Austria
24 - 1 point Italy/ Faroe Islands
26 - 0 points Isle of Man