The Taniwha Darts Association (TDA) has decided not to make the Northland Darts Open a New Zealand ranking event, continuing the competition's legacy of being one of the biggest and most lucrative tournaments of its kind.
The annual event, which was held in March, pulled in 120 male and female competitors and featured a prize pool of $5000. As it was not a ranking event, the tournament draw was made through random selection rather than through seedings.
In March, the TDA had orginially planned to work in association with the New Zealand Darts Council (NZDC) to make the tournament a ranking event which would increase the funding the competition received as well as giving the winning players points towards their national and international ranking.
The local association has since decided to keep the tournament an open and unranked competition to encourage the participation of new darts players as well as remaining in control of how the competition is run.
"I just believe we've got something special here," TDA president Paul Baker said.
"We've been to a lot of other tournaments, we know a lot of players and how things are run so there's no reason why we can't be one of the biggest tournaments."
Baker said making the tournament a nationally ranked event could scare off the more social players and take away the local flavour of the competition, which the association had worked hard to build in its three-year history.
"As a fairly new association, we've got a really good name so we would like to carry that on," he said.
"With the tournament like it is, if new players off the street get beaten, they can say 'I was beaten by the New Zealand number one'."
He emphasised that the decision did not come through disagreement with the NZDC and the relationship between the TDA and the sport's governing body was good.
Baker confirmed next year's competition would feature 150 players as well as an increased prize pool. The winner of the women's darts competition would see a doubled cash prize of $1000.
NZDC director and liaison officer Trixie Erceg said it was great to see the women's prize pool increased and to have the competition growing annually.
"They do well for a little place up north, they've just got the right people helping out fundraising and things like that."
For more information on club nights and future tournaments, visit the Taniwha Darts Association Facebook page.