GALLERY: Grand Slam of Darts hits bullseye on return to Wolverhampton

It was time to step up to the oche as hundreds of people flocked to Wolverhampton for the return of the Grand Slam of Darts.

The Grand Slam of Darts has returned to Wolverhampton's Aldersley leisure centre..
The Grand Slam of Darts has returned to Wolverhampton's Aldersley leisure centre..

The Grand Slam, hosted at Aldersley Leisure Centre, saw a sea of vibrant colours and costumes as they cheered on the professionals.

Row upon row were full of rapturous fans for the start of the nine-day, 32-player tournament.

Loud, booming music echoed around the auditorium as the action got under way – with professionals and organisers hoping to hit a bullseye on its return visit to the Black Country.

Crowds of people celebrated the competition's return to Wolverhampton

And fans were on a high as they waved around jugs of beer, along with foam fingers – crying out "180" as the players hit the iconic number, or groaning if – after two triple 20s – they missed the final mark.

Tom Lingard and Kurt Marsh, both from Kinver, praised the competition and said it was "absolute class".

Dandy and Sarah Burden with Donna Briscoe and Shaun Ridding celebrate the return of the Grand Slam of Darts.

It marked the first time Kurt, aged 23, had attended the action – having been watching in previous years – and was "straight in" to come down with his mates.

Tom, aged 28, added: "I come here every year and it's class – everything about it, it's all great."

Paula Davidson and Pauline Sutton, from Cannock, turned out for the event.
Rows and rows of seats at Aldersley leisure centre were filled for the event.

It marked the second year the event found a home at Aldersley Stadium, having been moved while the Civic Hall under-goes refurbishment.

And it was soon clear the atmosphere had grown from last year, with people travelling from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the action – from as far as Weston-super-Mare.

A group of four from Wednesfield and Bilston – Dandy and Sarah Burden, Donna Briscoe and Shaun Ridding – complimented the atmosphere.

Sign of the times: a range of different messages were displayed

Dandy said: "The whole atmosphere is why we come back. We're all Wolves season-ticket holders, that's a good atmosphere but this is unique."

Sam Micklewright, from Kinver, dressed up in a disco outfit for the event – despite not really liking darts.

The 25-year-old said: "It's meant to be 70s and 80s, but it's a bit John Lennon really.

Sam Micklewright dressed up in a disco-themed outfit.

"It's been a good event so far. I've been the last two years and I went to the Civic the last time it was there, and the atmosphere, it's better.

"I think the service is better too – it's easier to get a drink.

"I don't even like darts that much but it's a bit different to stuff like football, and it's just a nice atmosphere – everyone just gets on."

Sue Mortiboy and Ben Dorkins celebrate the event.
'My Dad dragged me here' was written onto one of the many 180 boards

Costumes, both weird and wonderful, remain a pull for people attending the event – ranging from Freddie Mercury to peas in a pod.

People wore colourful mohawks and held up signs which read "Wolves Ay I" proudly as the city was mentioned.

Crowds of people dressed up to mark the return of the Grand Slam of Darts.

Queen fan Dan Mac, from Weston-super-Mare, dressed up like Freddie Mercury.

The 40-year-old said: "I love the darts, it's amazing. I've been coming for around eight years and I enjoy dressing up, having a laugh and letting my hair down – it's just a bit different.

"I'm a big fan of Freddie and I just love dressing up and having a good laugh."

The Sky Sports-televised competition features professionals from the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and British Darts Organisation (BDO).

Players are competing for the title and for a £125,000 top prize, with Welshman Gerwyn Price hoping to defend his title.

Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster.

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