FLEETWOOD has hit the bullseye by attracting a top darts tournament.
And the big event has been hailed as vital economic boost for the town, with some local businesses already feeling the benefit.
The British Darts Organisation home internationals will take place at Marine Hall for the first time on the weekend of April 9-10.
It is the longest-running international team event in world darts - attracting huge crowds and TV coverage.
The Marine Hall is set to be full for both days, with 1,500 people anticipated over the weekend.
Free-spending darts fans will flock to Fleetwood’s hotels, pubs, restaurants and shops.
The event has been welcomed by Fleetwood’s largest and most prestigious hotel, the North Euston, where assistant manager Stephen Dale said most of the hotel’s rooms had already been booked by the darts fraternity over that weekend.
Mr Dale told the Weekly News: “They’ve taken over most of our rooms for those dates, although there are some still available.
“Events like these are very important to the town and the local economy, and it is something we obviously welcome.
“When the guests stay over they will be using local services, which is good for everyone.
“It is also important that Fleetwood has good accommodation so that visitors do stay in Fleetwood and don’t stay out of town.”
Along Fleetwood promenade, it was a similar story at the New Boston Hotel where Linda Wohlers, who owns the hotel with partner John Riches Sr, said: “We’re full up for the darts weekend.
“We’ve got the Welsh players in and it’s brilliant for business.
“It has been an awful 12 months for trade and we just wish we could have events like this more often - it’s brilliant for Fleetwood.”
Coun Lynne Bowen, Cabinet member with responsibility for Marine Hall at Wyre Council, said: “To attract a tournament of this calibre to the Marine Hall is a major boost to Fleetwood and shows the level of ambition the council has for the town. We are eagerly anticipating the increase in visitors and would encourage local businesses to take advantage.”
Three-time BDO world champion Martin Adams (above) and Scott Waites, the current Grand Slam of Darts title holder, are among the famous faces in action.
With teams from England, Scotland and Wales competing, visitors can also look forward to some skilled arrows from nine-time ladies’ world champion Trina Gulliver and Welsh captain Martin Phillips, who is the world’s most capped international after playing for his country 109 times.
Other stars include Tony O’Shea, John Walton, Ross Montgomery and Julie Gore.
Traditionally held at the Lakeside in Surrey, the tournament is now in its 32nd year but rarely ventures up north.
It is over 30 years since it was last held in Lancashire.
Tommy Thompson, chairman of the England Darts Organisation which is hosting this year’s event, is a Fleetwood local and was able to persuade his colleagues that the Marine Hall was a perfect venue.
Doors open at 10am and tickets, priced £10 per day or £15 for the whole weekend, are available from the Marine Hall box office on 887693 or online at www.englanddarts.co.uk.
Darts is well established on the Fylde coast – the rival Professional Darts Corporation stages the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool every summer.
Fleetwood’s Wes Newton is a PDC star and so won’t be involved in the Marine Gardens event.