Brown junior is a match for his young rivals
JOHN Brown proved he is a chip off the old block by winning the latest Super 16 tournament at the Steve Brown Darts Academy.
John, 13, whose father Steve is the top player in Bristol, the Professional Darts Corporation's world No 35 and the founder of the academy, beat Josh Witcombe 4-2 in Sunday's final.
The Super 16 tournament sees the best players from Brown senior's seven academies across the country meet up in Bristol for a tournament at the end of each eight-week academy season.
They play a round-robin in four groups, before the top-two players in each group contest quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final.
John Brown, who attends the academy at Snooker City in Knowle, beat Chinarong 'Flukey' Piamsakon, of the Staple Hill Academy, 3-1 in the quarter-final, before a 3-0 semi-final win against Tom Wembridge from the Yate Academy.
Witcombe, who also attends the Knowle Academy, beat Jack Creese, of Worcester, 3-2 in the last eight, before a 3-2 semi-final victory over Tom Corke of the Staple Hill Academy.
In the pairs final, Piamsakon and Corke beat Creese and Ryan Frost, of Taunton, 3-2 to take the title.
In little more than two years, the Steve Brown Darts Academy has grown from a one-venue project based in an upstairs room at his father's pub to a nationwide brand with more than 120 children taking part each week.
At his three academies at Knowle, Staple Hill and Yate alone, more than 60 children are now benefiting from top-class darts coaching each week.
One of those, 16-year-old Kyle Wayte from the Chew Valley, said he had learned so much since joining the academy after reading about it in The Post two years ago.
Wayte said: "I started coming along two years ago and, ever since, I've come every week. My darts have really improved since I started coming to the academy. I had no idea how good the standard was among young players until I started going to all these ents – but it's quite tough. Steve is really good, because if I'm playing badly, he'll keep my head up and give me things to practice at home. He's been really helpful.
"I've already played for the county youth team, but as I get better, I hope to play adult county darts. Eventually, I'd love to be good enough to turn professional."
The bad news for Steve Brown is that he needs an extraordinary weekend on the PDC Pro Tour to stand any chance of reaching next weekend's televised Players Championship Finals in Minehead. The good news is that Barnsley, the venue for tomorrow and Sunday's tournaments, is the place where he has enjoyed most success on the tour.Brown won one tournament and reached another final in Barnsley last year – and he could need a repeat performance this weekend, having left himself plenty to do on the final weekend of qualifying.
West of England Super League leaders North Bristol strengthened their grip on the summit beating The Old Mail House 6-1.