The north-east’s darting enthusiasts made their annual pilgrimage to Aberdeen to watch the tungsten titans in action, but there was one man above all others they were desperate to see.
This time it wasn’t the 16-time world champion Phil Taylor or the much lauded Michael van Gerwen, the deadly Dutchman who appears destined for greatness on the oche.
Instead, it was Scotland’s very own Gary Anderson, the current world champion.
The 44-year-old, from the Borders, received a hero’s welcome from the noisy home crowd.
Unfortunately, his opponent James Wade hadn’t read the script.
The Flying Scotsman faced off against The Machine with both men trying to bounce back after defeats to Dave Chisnall in Sheffield during week 10 of the Betway Premier League. Anderson, the first Scot to win a world title since 1997, got off to a rip-roaring start by beginning the first leg with five perfect darts, although it was Wade who moved into an early 2-0 lead.
Anderson quickly pegged the Englishman back to 2-2, but the crowd fell quiet when Wade regained the initiative by taking the next three legs after the Scot had fluffed his doubles.
An eerie silence enveloped the arena when Wade produced a stunning 170 finish to establish a 6-2 advantage and ensure he would not be beaten in the best-of-12 contest.
But Anderson rallied valiantly by claiming the next three legs to ensure the match went the distance.
And the Aberdeen crowd went wild when Anderson completed the comeback by taking out 78 in the final leg to ensure the match finished in a 6-6 draw.
Wade claimed it was difficult to block out the noise from the partisan crowd and added: “It felt like a point dropped but I played all right.
“Gary is a phenomenal player and a world champion, but I was playing against the crowd as well.
“The jeers are frustrating because, if I went to watch speedway or Formula 1, for instance, then I would keep my mouth shut at the right times because I would want to see the quickest lap. I don’t understand why they do it, but that is why darts is unique. People can come here and do as they wish.” Anderson was having none of it and rapped back at critics of the Scottish crowd.
He said: “People moan about the Scottish crowd but we only play twice in Scotland. I have to play away from home 14 times in a season. The rest moan but it does annoy me.
“Dublin and Wales are great and Belfast is all right but, the rest of the time, that is what I get.
“They moan about it, but they just have to accept it.
“I get it every week so they just need to man up and deal with it.”
As is always the case, the GE Oil and Gas Arena was packed to witness eight of the world’s best lock horns.
Darts is occasionally derided as a pantomime sport but the critics can’t argue with the viewing figures it attracts, usually second only to the English Premier League.
And for sheer drama, the arrows can be a gripping and fascinating watch.
Not so long ago promoter Barry Hearn, the man responsible for transforming the sport, claimed Scottish football could learn plenty of lessons from the manner in which darts has grown in popularity, believing darts has a passion and a belief in itself that does not currently exist in our national game. The noise generated inside the arena last night was certainly testament to that.
The 4,500 spectators, many of who donned fancy dress and waved their novelty foam fingers, loved every minute of the theatre.
“Stand up if you love the darts,” they chanted throughout last night’s matches, while every 180 was greeted with frenzied cheers and any missed doubles drew noisy groans.
As long as the Premier League keeps returning to Aberdeen they will keep coming back for more.