MORE than 3,000 competitors, a party tent and the ritual of “bin diving” – Scott Mitchell is braced for a memorable weekend at the Dutch Open.

The Bransgore ace has a soft spot for the event in Assen, where he is a three-time pairs champion.

Beaten by Scotland’s Ross Montgomery in the semi-finals of the singles last year, the Dorset county thrower is eager to go one better at one of his favourite venues.

He told the Daily Echo: “It is the most mind-blowing tournament you could ever go to. The Dutch fans are mad for darts. The top-end BDO players are like superstars to some of the people out there.

“You walk through to get to your game and you are asked for autographs and selfies.

“You can be two minutes away from throwing the first darts of your game and you have to give people the time of day, because they are the people who make you.

“Their mates will be playing us guys who they see on the TV, so the noise is absolutely crazy. They go mad for their own Dutch guys who they probably haven’t even met before.

“We are probably noticed and recognised out there as much as we are anywhere else, particularly because it’s so soon after Lakeside.

“When I went there as the world champion it was the most amazing tournament to play in.”

The 47-year-old will open his singles campaign on Saturday by facing Mitchel Gebben or Harmen Faber.

And while he wants to focus on the task in hand at De Bonte Wever, Mitchell admitted he would not be able to stop looking around him.

He said: “They have a party tent because they do like a good time. They have a massive marquee which will have 800 people in it.

“They have a DJ on and it will start at 10 o’clock in the morning. The guys who get knocked out don’t go home, they go to the party tent.

“There are rituals they do every year I have been there. They do a little sport called bin diving. They get a wheelie bin and prop it up by the lid so the wheels are down.

“You get a five-yard run to go head first into the wheelie bin and they mark it with a chalk line on the floor to see who can roll the farthest.

“It can get a bit frivolous so I don’t know whether it is going to get banned but, somehow, they seem to find a bin from somewhere. They try to take the bins away and then somebody turns up with one.

“If you go out you feel down for about two minutes. Then you pop in that party tent and see what some of those crazy guys are doing.

“They are in awe of us throwing our darts but we are in awe of them and what they get up to in the party tent.”