The full field in Melbourne consists of Kyle Anderson, James Bailey, Corey Cadby, Damon Heta, Robbie King, Mick Lacey, Haupai Puha, and Tim Pusey on the local side. The PDC side of the draw consists of Gary Anderson, Rob Cross, Daryl Gurney, Raymond van Barneveld, Michael van Gerwen, James Wade, Simon Whitlock, and Peter Wright.
NZ Qualifier - Melbourne Haupai Puha defeated Ben Robb 7-5 in the final of the NZ qualifier to take his place on the Melbourne stage.
Melbourne Qualifier 1 Robbie King has qualified for his debut in the World Series of Darts with a 6-1 victory over Raymond O’Donnell in the Final of Melbourne Qualifier One at the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club on the south coast of NSW. The quarter finals had seen three of the matches going to deciding legs with David Platt, Raymond O’Donnell, and Robbie King overcoming Koha Kokiri, Tim Pusey and Willy Kimura respectively. The final quarter final was almost as close as Mick Lacey defeated Ryan Lynch 5-3. The first semi final saw Ray O’Donnell take the opening four games, including a 12 darter in the second leg. David Platt then broke the O’Donnell throw before holding his own to move back within two legs of parity. It was all too late though as O’Donnell held his throw to win the match 5-2. The other semi final saw King win his opening leg in 13 darts. He and Mick Lacey then exchanged legs before King broke Lacey’s throw with another 13 dart leg. Each player then held throw until the end of the match, and thus King walked away with a 5-3 victory. The final was a one way affair as King won five legs straight, including two 14 dart legs, at the beginning of the match until O’Donnell held his throw in the sixth leg. Normal service resumed in the next leg as King took it out to win the final and qualify for his first ever World Series of Darts event, having come so close to qualification in the past. King was delighted after qualifying, “I am super stoked to have qualified. I have been trying to qualify for a number of years now so to make it is amazing. I am looking forward to having a crack at the big boys. Having had a year off I have come back really excited this year and this is an amazing feeling. I have enjoyed some success this season and I am ready for the challenge of the big stage.”
Melbourne Qualifier 2 Tim Pusey qualified for his second successive Melbourne Darts Masters with a 6-2 win in the final of qualification two, joining his team Misfits team mate Robbie King at the tournament. The quarter finals of this event had seen Koha Kokiri defeat Brad Thorp, who had made his second quarter final in successive events, whilst Mick Lacey of Team Rebel defeated Steve Powell. Tahuna Irwin was defeated by a resurgent Barry Jouannet Junior and in an all West Australian affair Tim Pusey progressed past Anton Soc. The first semi final saw Kokiri hold throw before he broke the throw of Lacey having watched his opponent miss converting tops on the previous visit. Lacey then broke straight back in 13 darts and held throw to move the match back into equity. Each player then held throw until the eighth leg where Lacey was aiming to hold throw. He missed a double 16 for the leg and Kokiri took his chance on the next leg, thereby winning the match five legs to three. The second semi final saw Tim Pusey win the opening four legs, progressively getting better each leg, before Jouannet Junior could hold throw. It was all too little too late as Pusey held his throw in the next leg, although he made hard work of it, needing four darts from 28. In the final Pusey took an early lead in the first leg with a maximum on his second visit and a double nine to break the Kokiri throw. Both players held throw across the next five legs to move the scoreline to 4-2 in Pusey’s favour. The seventh leg saw Kokiri fail to convert 48 on throw and Pusey checked out a ton for his second break of the match. In the next leg Kokiri failed to convert 92 with nine darts and Pusey came from a long way back to throw double 16 for the match. Pusey had lost just five legs across the whole of this event. In what has been a difficult season for Pusey, this was a clear highlight. “I can’t wait. I did not want to stop playing last year and had a pretty rough start this year so this is a feeling I can’t explain, I can’t put it into words. I will be more comfortable this time around, I know what to do and what happens. This time around I will put a lot more practice in and look forward to being back on the big stage in Melbourne.”
Melbourne Qualifier 3 The final spot for the Melbourne Darts Masters went to Team Rebel’s Mick Lacey as he defeated Koha Kokiri 6- 3 in the final of qualifier three to make the World Series of Dart stage in Victoria’s capital. In the quarter finals NSW captain John Bunyard had overcome Steve Powell in the deciding leg to win through to a semi final match up against Koha Kokiri, who had eliminated Dave Marland 5-1 in their round of eight clash. In an all Queensland affair Mick Lacey defeated Jamie Rundle 5-2 whilst the final match was a closer affair as David Platt defeated Ray O’Donnell 5-3. In the first semi final Mick Lacey broke out to an early two leg lead against David Platt whilst John Bunyard did the same against Koha Kokiri in the other match. Lacey then doubled his lead to move one leg away from the final before Platt held his throw, having watched Lacey miss one match dart. Lacey pegged 81 for the match. John Bunyard broke his opponent for a second time in leg three but was unable to take his chances in the next leg and Kokiri checked out 87 to move back to within two legs of Bunyard. Kokiri then held throw and broke once more to move the match back to parity after six legs and create a three leg shoot out. It did not even make three legs as Kokiri won the next two on the trot to make another final. In the final Mick Lacey opened the match by holding throw before Kokiri held his own throw in 14 darts. Both players then held throw to move the match to 2-2 before Kokiri punished a 57 opening from his opponent in leg five by scoring 140 at his first visit. Lacey was able to drag himself back into the leg and even managed to recompose himself and check out with the next dart after he thought he had won the leg and walked half way to the board before realising his dart had not been on target. He then pounced on Kokiri in the next leg to take the first break of the match and lead four legs to two. Lacey then moved to consolidate his momentum with an opening of 180 on his own throw. Neither player was able to make the most of his chances in the next leg until Lacey hit the mad house to move to within a leg of the match. Kokiri was not done though as he held throw in a tight eighth leg. With a 62 check out in the ninth leg Lacey was able to secure the final position in the Melbourne Darts Masters. Lacey was obviously ecstatic after the event. “For me this has been years in the making and a culmination of the success I have had this year. This is a great achievement but more so it is a reward more for my wife, kids and parents. My parents have been involved in darts for years and my whole family have been a great support for my career and I am glad they now get to see me on the big stage. All the members of Team Rebel have been a great support as well and I am just over the moon to have this opportunity to reward all those who have got me here.”