A field of 52 players from across Australia entered the first qualifier for the World Series of Darts in Wollongong (the NSW Darts Masters) but it was a man from just up the road from the venue, in Dave Marland, that took out the position with a 7-4 win over Bailey Marsh in the final. In the opening quarter final Marland and David Platt drew level after two legs at 1-1. Two tons mid third leg had Marland leave 138 for a hold of throw but 140 and 120 visits had Platt leave 38. Marland could not convert the 138 in two visits and Platt pounced with a double 19 to take the throw. Three tons to Marland in the next leg left Marland chasing Shanghai whilst visits of 100, 140 and 100 had Platt requiring 60. Marland left tops on his next visit but did not get a shot at it as Platt converted the 60 with last dart in hand to lead 3-1. Visits of 140 and 100 from Marland on throw in the next leg and he had a second successive leg attempt at 120. This time he got it to draw one leg closer to Platt. A 101 check out from Dave Marland in the next leg moved the match back into parity at 3-3. A 140 from Platt in the next leg left him requiring 156 as Marland moved from 196 to 16 with a maximum visit. Platt was unable to put the big check out away and with the next dart Marland was 4-3 up on throw. Platt then threw for 114 but left 36 in the eighth leg. Marland was unable to check out the big 140 target this time but as his opponent busted he had a shot at the 80 he had left and converted with last dart at hand to lead 5-3 and set up an attempt to throw for the match. Both players opened with tons with Marland throwing 140 as Platt got another 100. Visits of 100 and 99 left Marland needing to secure 62 for the win, which he did in two darts. The final score finished 6-3 to Marland. In the second quarter final Blake Hatchett and Koha Kokiri went 1-1 after two legs before Hatchett had visits of 100, 131, and 140 and in two darts got tops to hold throw and lead 2-1. Kokiri then had a 138 visit to leave 40 and he got it to move the match to 2-2. Visits of 140 and 134 from Hatchett was then countered by 140 and 100 from Kokiri. Both players then missed multiple good opportunities at the leg before Hatchett finally held throw to move 3-2 up. Both players then had multiple treble figure visits before Kokiri threw 99 to leave 38 and got it with his first dart at the next visit to move the match to 3-3. Kokiri then broke the Hatchett throw but could only open with a 41 on his own throw. A 95 on his second visit looked to redress things only for Hatchett to throw 140. Kokiri held throw to move 5-3 up before a maximum from Hatchett left him requiring 144. A 132 left him needing double six but Kokiri first had a shot at 76 and he threw it with his last dart in hand to take the match 6-3. The third quarter saw Stuart Coburn hold throw before Sam Ballinger comfortably did the same. Coburn then threw 26 to open his next throw but still managed to hold throw. Ballinger then held throw in 15 darts before Coburn did the same in 12 darts with a 115 check out. Ballinger then beat that check out in the next leg with a 120 check out. In the 7th leg Ballinger broke in 13 darts to take a 4-3 lead. Ballenger then converted a 64 to hold throw and go within a leg of the match at 5-3 but Coburn had the throw in the ninth leg. A 140 from Ballinger was then matched by Coburn before visits of 137 and 100 from each player. Another ton from Ballinger and he was looking at a 124 check out as a 121 visit from Coburn left 58. Both players then missed target numbers on their next visit and with Ballinger missing once again Coburn checked out 30 to move to within a leg of his opponent. He was then able to take the darts from his opponent after two visits in the next leg but a 140 visit put Ballinger back in the leg. 100 left Coburn needing 161, and with Ballinger not on a check out, he had first attempt at the leg. A 60 left him on 101 as Ballinger moved from 136 to needing tops for the match. Coburn left 8 on his next visit but Ballinger could not put the darts in the double 20 bed. Coburn threw the 8 for the leg and then opened the deciding leg with a ton visit. Both players required 241 after three visits each in the leg before both threw 140’s to leave 101. Coburn had first shot at that target and threw 49 whilst Ballinger got 61. Coburn threw 52 in two darts to take out the match 6-5. In the last quarter final Bailey Marsh held throw at the first attempt and then broke his opponent in 15 darts. Marsh then had an attempt at 140 in leg three and collected 132 but got the remaining eight on his next visit to lead 3-0. He then broke Eagers in 15 darts before finally giving his opponent half an opportunity in the fifth leg but Eagers was unable to collect a 140 check out and Marsh pounced to go 5-0 up. Marsh then broke again in the sixth leg for a comprehensive 6-0 victory. In the semi finals Koha Kokiri opened with 60 on throw in the opening of his semi-final as Bailey Marsh opened with a maximum. A visit of 99 on his third trip to the oche and Marsh left 140 as a maximum moved Kokiri to 96. Both players ended up requiring tops and it was Marsh who got the break with last dart in hand to take an early break. Marsh then opened with a 96 as Kokiri trumped it with a maximum. Marsh then matched it before Kokiri threw 100 and Marsh 125 to leave 100. A 121 left Kokiri requiring 100 as well and with Marsh leaving 40 Kokiri had a shot at the leg but left 20. Marsh then secured the score on his next visit to lead 2-0. In the third leg Marsh threw 140 and two visits later a ton and left himself needing 116 which he checked out in three darts to lead 3-0. In the fourth leg Kokiri opened with two tons and a 136 but missed a chance to take out 70 as Marsh pounced on his next visit to hold his throw once more and lead 4-0. Marsh then opened with another maximum as Kokiri threw tons around that visit. A 134 visit left Marsh requiring 128 and although he missed the bull on his next visit he took out 25 in two darts. Facing a whitewash Kokiri threw 140 and 180 to leave 181 against the Marsh throw. Marsh was not out of it even then as a 140 visit left him needing 167. Kokiri could only secure 41 to leave 140 as Marsh threw 97 to leave 70. With Kokiri requiring 80 Marsh left 16 and Kokiri pounced to win his first leg. Kokiri then opened with 140 and 100 on his own throw and Kokiri had soon picked up his second leg. Marsh then opened with 43 and Kokiri threw 121 to take the impetus for the third leg in a row. A 140 from Marsh third visit up left him needing 222 and another 100 had him on the first finish of the leg. Whilst the 122 did not go away on first attempt Marsh was far enough ahead to have another go and he put it away with last dart in hand to win 6-2. The second semi final was fought out between Dave Marland and Stuart Coburn. Coburn held throw in 12 darts before Marland did the same in 14 darts. Visits of 140, 100 and 100 and a 101 check out saw Marland take the first break of the match. Coburn then broke straight back in 13 darts before Marland had visits of 100, 140 and 140 to help secure the fifth leg in 14 darts. Coburn then failed to break the Marland throw in the sixth leg before Marland threw 100, 180 and 140 and then secured 81 in two darts to secure the seventh leg in 11 darts. Marland was only one leg away from the final and despite opening with 45 he still managed to secure it in 14 darts after visits of 140, 140 and 100 and a check out of 76. The final was a best of 13 affair and saw Marsh hold throw before visits of 100, 180 and 140 left Marland requiring 81 in the second leg which he collected with his 12th dart. Against the throw Marland threw 140 in the second leg before hitting 180 to leave 181 after six darts. Another 140 from Marland on his third visit and on his next visit took the leg, and the break, with last dart in hand. On throw he could only secure 40 and Marsh pounced with a 140. Visits of 100, 97 and 99 got Marland back into the leg but Marsh had a shot at 103 to take the leg back. He was unable to convert and Marland took out 68 with last dart in hand to move to a 3-1 lead. Marsh then opened with 120 and a 96 later in the leg left him requiring 167 for the leg. Marland was out of contention for much of next leg but did enough to stay in it and threw 48 to take a leg out he should not have been in. Marland then opened poorly in the sixth leg on throw and Marsh moved to a good lead. Marsh had a chance at 156 and although he could only halve the score he was well enough ahead to have a go on his next visit but this time left 20. Marland required 110 but there was no heroics this time around as he failed to take it and Marsh threw a double five with his second dart to take one of the breaks back and move the match to 4-2. The Western Australian then opened with a 125 and 140, with Marland throwing 140 and then 100. A maximum from Marsh and he required 56 as 100 left Marland needing 161. Both players missed out on the next visit before Marsh collected double 10 to move the match to 4-3. Marland then opened with a maximum on throw and backed it up with a 140 which was matched by his opponent. Another 140 and Marland required 41 after nine darts for the second time in the match. A 140 from Marsh left him requiring the big fish but Marland hit the double bed with last dart in hand to move back to a two leg lead at 5-3. A 140 from Marsh on his second visit had him take a good lead in the next leg and he followed it up with a maximum to leave 98. It took him three visits, but Marsh finally took the leg. Marland then opened with 47 on his own throw as Marsh collected a ton and 140. Visits of 100 and 132 left Marland requiring 132 and then a 108 left Marland needing 24. Marsh failed to take out the leg on his next visit and with his second dart on his next time to the oche, Marland moved to a 6-4 lead. Marsh opened with 83 in the eleventh leg which his opponent failed to better. A follow up of 121 looked good only for Marland to hit 180 and take a small lead in the leg. A follow up 100 and Marland sat at 162 as 140 took Marsh to 116. Marland hit 130 to leave 32 and threw it on his next visit to the oche with his second dart to take the win 7-4 and secure a place on stage in Wollongong. Marland was understandably delighted with the win, “I knew I had it in me today, I was playing well and unlike last time this was not a surprise to me. I am looking forward to the challenge in front of family and friends and want to do Australia proud.”
Day 2 Qualifier: Koha Kokiri
Koha Kokiri locked in a return to Queensland’s World Series of Darts (he played in the last Brisbane Darts Masters in 2019) with a 7-1 victory in the final of the Tuesday night qualifier at the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club. The first quarter final’s first leg saw Joe Comito unable to score on an attempt at tops after Brenton Lloyd had scored 165 to leave tops himself. Against the throw Lloyd pounced to take the first leg. The second leg saw Lloyd bust an attempt at 36 and this time it was Comito who punished with a double ten to move the match to 1-1. The third leg saw Comito hold throw with tops, although Lloyd failed to score in chasing 16 for the leg. In the fourth leg a visit of 140 helped Comito take a lead against the darts only for Lloyd to throw the same to leave 87 later in the leg. He made the most of it two visits later to hold throw and draw level at 2-2. Comito then held throw in 15 darts, including a maximum on his second visit, to move a leg ahead once more. Two visits of 100 and late visits of 90 and 86 left Lloyd on tops which he took to move the match back into parity at 3-3. Comito then opened with 174 on throw for Lloyd to respond with a 140. 137 from Comito was enough to leave him needing 190 and by his next visit he was aiming for 130. He was unable to take it though and Lloyd pounced to grab the break (thanks to a 119 score two visits prior to an 80 check out) and lead 4-3. Both players scored strongly in the next leg but Lloyd failed to collect 117 for the leg and handed Comito a shot at 110 (having set that up with visits of 177 and 99.) Comito missed tops for the leg only for Lloyd to miss out on his next visit. This time Comito made Lloyd pay and secured the break back immediately turning the match into a best of three affair. 119 from Comito was bettered with a 140 from Lloyd only for Comito to score the same in leg nine. 99 on his next visit left Comito needing 143, eventually securing the leg with his 17th dart to lead 5-4. A 119 and 140 from Comito in leg nine put him ahead on throw and soon after a 38 check out gave him the leg and moved him to 5-4 up in the match. Lloyd opened with 140 on throw in this critical leg for his survival only for Comito to throw the same on his second visit. A 174 left Comito needing 69 for the match and three darts later he had taken the break, and the match, by six legs to four. The opening leg of the second quarter final match went the way of Koha Kokiri on throw before David Cairns opened with a 121 in the second leg. Kokiri responded with a 100 and set himself for a 100 but missed out on it only for Cairns to spurn a chance at a 97 check out. Two darts later and Kokiri was 2-0 ahead. A 121 on throw and then alternate visits of 100 and 105 left Kokiri needing tops in leg three and although he missed out at the first attempt Cairns busted 96 to give him another shot. Kokiri missed twice more and Cairns hit tops to secure his first leg and move the match back to on throw. That was not for long as 15 darts later (including two 140 visits) Kokiri was back to a two leg lead. Cairns then threw 100 on his first visit against the throw in leg five but both players struggled through this leg. A 140 later in the leg left Cairns requiring 65 which he secured soon after to move within a leg of his opponent once more. Both players opened up with tons in the next leg but a 138 and 98 afterwards left Kokiri in a better position but he left 20 when trying to take out 72. Cairns was given a shot at tops and double ten but missed both before Kokiri finally took the double 5 required for the leg and a 4-2 lead. A 140 on his second visit helped Cairns take a formidable lead in the seventh leg. He failed to take down 22 though and gave Kokiri a chance at bull at the end of his next throw but Kokiri missed it. A double 4 later and there was yet another break as Cairns moved back to within one leg of Kokiri. The next leg went Kokiri’s way early as whilst Cairns did have a 140 visit Kokiri had been more consistent. Kokiri had a go at 164 but left 104 before Cairns (who had hit a ton to set it up) left 75 chasing 115. Cairns left tops after his next visit as Kokiri had left 70 in the previous visit and got a chance at it as the WA player only scored 30 next time around. Tops from Cairns with his next dart and the match was 4-4. Kokiri then opened his throw with two visits of 140 and a 100. Requiring 121 Kokiri left 32 and was well enough in front to have a shot at it on his next visit. He missed out twice to leave Cairns with a shot at 74 which he failed to put away. Kokiri missed out once again and this time Cairns took full toll to lead 5-4 and have the throw in the next leg. Both players struggled in the opening of the tenth leg but Kokiri still managed to take the darts mid leg, a 180 leaving him with 82 to score. He took this out on his next visit. Kokiri opened with 95 in the deciding leg and then backed it up with 97, 117 and 100 to leave 92 for the match. He secured 52 on his next visit to leave tops but was unable to get that at his next visit to the oche and proceeded to struggle to do so for the next few visits. Two 100 visits later from Cairns and the New South Welshman needed 95. He left 16, but never got a dart at it as Kokiri finally secured the double required to win the match 6-5. The third quarter final saw Blake Hatchett take on Jonathon Kabay, the nephew of darting legend Greg Major. It was Kabay who made the most of poot finishing from Hatchett in the opening leg to secure the early break. He then held throw as more poor finishing cost Hatchett another leg. Hatchett then held throw, thanks in a big way to a 140 visit at the second time of asking, and then broke the Kabay throw with another 140 visit and a 124 check out. He held throw comfortably in leg five before missed opportunities for Kabay gave Hatchett the chance to win a fourth leg in a row, which he took. Another hold of throw and Hatchett was one leg away from a semi final appearance. Kabay held throw comfortably though but solid visits of 100, 98 and 99 and a 114 visit leaving 32 was too much for Kabay and Hatchett held throw in 16 darts to take the match 6-3. The final quarter final was all James Bailey early in his clash with Jamie Browne as he broke the Browne throw in 15 darts before securing his throw (although Browne missed a shot at the bull to go 1-1.) Browne bounced back to hold throw for himself in 15 darts until three 100 visits helped Bailey to hold throw once more and take a 3-1 lead. He then threw consistently to break the Browne throw once more before a visit of 133 and check out of 58 had him a leg away from the match at 5-1. Browne then held throw after Bailey could not check out 82 and left tops but then had to watch as Browne got that target first. Visits of 100, 129 and 130 helped Browne to break throw in the eighth leg of the match and move to 5-3 before he opened up with 140 on his own throw and a 32 check out later moved him within a leg of a decider. In leg ten Bailey opened with a 140 on throw only for Browne to match it at his second visit. The problem was Bailey had thrown 100 and 125 to leave 136. Browne was not down and out though and threw 180 to leave 138. Bailey left tops for the match but Browne could not take out the big check out and Bailey stepped up to take out the match 6-4 on his next visit to the oche. In the first semi final Joe Comito held throw early before breaking the throw of Koha Kokiri in 14 darts (including a maximum to open the leg and a 132 setting up a shot at 32) to go quickly 2-0 up. A 102 from Comito in the next leg left him on 40 and with Kokiri unable to convert 20 he made the most of it in two darts to lead 3-0. On throw Kokiri opened with 120 in the next leg and a 140 left him requiring 44. He did not put it away at first so Comito left 40 as a test for his opponent but Kokiri showed his bottle by collecting 16 to hold throw and move the match score to 3-1. A 96 and then 180 followed by 94 and 91 left Comito needing tops in leg five which he got in 2 darts to lead 4-1. Against the throw Comito then opened with 120 but Kokiri threw consistently to stay in the leg. Kokiri threw for 140 but left 10 as Comito once again left tops. Yet again Kokiri held his nerve, this time throwing double five to hold throw. Two 140 throws in three visits had Kokiri on 176 against the throw in leg seven but Comito had a chance at the big 170 check out. He missed the chance but then Comito missed the bull for a 126 check out and Kokiri pounced with a 71 check out in two darts to put the match back on throw at 4-3. A 140 from Kokiri’s third visit on throw in the eighth leg had him in front and later in the leg he had a shot at 32 for the leg and collected it to tie things up at four all. A 174 start from Comito, and follow up scores of 100 and 140 on his third and fourth visit, left him needing 28 which he gratefully accepted to move a leg from the final. On throw Kokiri started slowly and Comito pounced with 100, 115 and 97. A 135 left him needing 54 and with Kokiri unable to convert 161 Comito had a shot at the match but missed to leave 20. Kokiri hit the 64 he required to create a deciding leg. Koha secured a 140 visit to leave 138 in that deciding leg as Comito scored 100 to leave 184. 122 then left Kokiri requiring 16 for the match as he watched Comito throw a ton to move him to 84. Kokiri put it away the double eight required with his next dart to win the match 6-5. James Bailey held throw in the second semi final before his opponent, Blake Hatchett, threw three 100 totals from four visits to leave 106 in leg two. Hatchett failed to take his chances over the next two visits, however, and Bailey pounced with a 58 check out to lead 2-0. Both players opened with tons in the third leg but Hatchett backed it up with two more. A 133 left Bailey needing 158 only for Hatchett to leave 62, having thrown 139, a target he got on his next visit to break the Bailey throw. 140 from Bailey against the throw in the next leg handed him the momentum in that leg, reinforced by the same on his second visit. Later in the leg a 171 left Hatchett needing 84 but a third 140 had Bailey needing 8. Hatchett left tops but double 4 from Bailey saw him never have a dart at it. 140 on his second visit gave Hatchett a strong lead in the fifth leg and despite inconsistent scoring at the end of the leg he managed to break the throw of Bailey once again. He then opened with a 140 on throw as he tried to hold throw for the first time in the match only to see Bailey do the same. He fired in 100 but Bailey hit two 140s in a row to leave 81. 133 from Hatchett left 74 as Bailey missed a check out chance on three successive visits and Hatchett pounced to tie the match up at three all. Hatchett threw 134 after Bailey opened with a maximum in the next leg. Visits of 100 (Bailey) and 93 (Hatchett) had Bailey in front and a 99 had him leaving 122. Both players spurned chances on their next visits with both finally sitting on 16 when Bailey collected the leg with last dart in hand to lead 4-3. Hatchett then opened with 134 on throw in the eighth leg and threw 171 at his third visit to the oche in the leg before checking out 48 to leave the match score at 4-4. Bailey opened his next throw with a pair of 140s, with Hatchett collecting a 134 to open his throw. An 82 check out from the Queenslander gave Bailey a 5-4 lead. Hatchett started slowly in the next leg and 140 from Bailey looked to punish only for Hatchett to match it. Two ton visits later and Bailey required 161 for the match. Visits of 104 and 12 finally gave Bailey a 6-4 win. Koha Kokiri opened the final with a maximum before a 110 later in the leg left him needing 32 which he quickly secured to move a leg up. James Bailey then faced more pressure as Kokiri opened against the throw with a 140. Three visits in and Bailey threw his own 140 to stay in the leg. With Kokiti unable to check out 105 Bailey had three darts at 96 but missed the double 18 for the leg. Kokiri busted but had another throw and for the second time in the match double 16 was his friend. Kokiri opened with a ton in the third leg, matched by his opponent. Bailey secured a 140 on his second visit to take a good lead against the throw of his opponent, backing it up with a 125 to leave 136. A maximum from Kokiri left him on 104 which he had a chance at taking as Bailey left tops after his next visit. Bailey busted and Kokiri then punished him to lead 3-0. The next leg was a close affair but a 140 broke things wide open for James Bailey as he left 141. Three visits later and Bailey had secured his first leg of the match although it was nerve racking as a 137 had left Kokiri standing behind him requiring 36. Both players then opened the next leg with successive tons before Kokiri threw 100 and Bailey 140. A 139 from Kokiri left him on 62 and on his next visit he went 4-1 up. Kokiri then threw 98 and 140 on throw in the sixth leg to take the darts before a 96 left a 167 opportunity. A 135 left him needing 32 (again) and he got it to go 5-1 up. Two visits of 100 was countered by visits of 140 and 100 by Bailey in the next leg. Bailey was unable to put away 122 after Kokiri threw 133 to leave 50. Kokiri then left 16 and was given the opportunity to return to the oche by Bailey’s subsequent misses, converting the 16 to move one leg from the match. Kokiri opened with a 140 against the throw in leg eight and then backed it up with a 125. A 100 left him on 136 to win and a 112 left him needing double 12. With his opponent well behind Kokiri got to return to the oche but busted. He then had a second go and also missed, this time leaving 6. Bailey left himself requiring tops to put pressure on his opponent but yet again Kokiri helped his nerve and one dart landing in the double three bed was enough to win him the final seven legs to one and make the stage at the Queensland Darts Masters in Townsville. Koha was delighted to get through, “I did not have it my own way all this afternoon in this second event. I gave my opponents too many chances, but I stood strong and held on.” “I am looking forward to the World Series, it will be great for my grand kids to see me play and for my family to be a part of this adventure once more.”
Day 3 Qualifier - Raymond O'Donnell
The second last entry into the NSW Darts Masters to be played in Wollongong at the WIN Entertainment Centre on August 19 and 20 was determined at the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club on Monday. (Nb A few tickets are still available at Ticketek but be quick.) Raymond O’Donnell and David Hall Snr played in the first quarter final. O’Donnell opened with the throw and visits of 100 on his second and third visit and a 140 on his fifth saw him leave 20. Two visits later and O’Donnell threw double 5 with his last dart to win the leg. Three 100 visits in the second leg from Hall Snr helped him stay in the leg and when O’Donnell could not convert 80 to leave 20 Hall had a shot at 73 but left eight. O’Donnell checked out with last dart in hand to lead 2-0. Hall then opened with 140 but two visits of 100 from O’Donnell’s second and third visits and a 117 late in the leg left O’Donnell requiring 38. With Hall on 77 O’Donnell threw double 19 to take a three-nil lead. O’Donnell opened with a 140 against the throw in the next leg before doubling it on his next visit. He soon secured the break and a four nil leg lead. In the fifth leg Hall moved ahead with 100 on his third visit but a 140 pushed O’Donnell to 177 on throw. Hall was unable to move back ahead on his next visit and despite missing Shanghai Bubba was far enough in front to come back to the oche and secure a 5-0 lead. Hall then opened with 100 on throw with O’Donnell scoring the same on his second visit. Hall scored a 140 to leave 56 but he left 20 on his next visit. With O’Donnell far enough behind Hall would come back to the oche and secure his first leg of the tournament. Three successive 100s from Hall at the end of the seventh leg could not match O’Donnell’s strong visits and O’Donnell checked out four to win the match 6-1. In his quarter final Brenton Lloyd broke at the first attempt after Sam Ballinger missed a whole visit at 36. Lloyd then scored a 180 on throw with his second visit and then secured 102 to leave 40. Both players struggled towards the end of the leg with Lloyd finally checking out 16 to lead 2-0. Visits of 140 and 132 helped Ballinger to move ahead in the third leg but he left 10 chasing 20 to leave Lloyd an 86 check out for this third leg. He missed double 16 and Ballinger finally got a leg with first dart on his next visit. In the fourth game Ballinger secured three scores of 100 in four visits and with his 17th dart secured the leg, albeit under some pressure after Lloyd had thrown 130 on his second from last visit and then stood behind his opponent requiring 20. Ballinger secured a 140 visit on his second time at the oche and two visits later he scored the same to leave 120. Two visits later and he was in front for the first time in the match. In leg six an opening 180, and then 140 in the third and 105 in the fourth visits left Ballinger needing tops. Lloyd could not punish the couple of outside opportunities that his opponent then presented to him, and Ballinger finally went 4-2 up. Ballinger opened with a 100 in the seventh leg and a 138 near the end of the leg left him needing 52, which he converted with his next two darts. Ballinger left 161 after 4 visits in leg eight. A 137 left Ballenger on 24. Lloyd had a shot at 101 but left 49. A double 12 on Ballinger’s next dart gave him a 6-2 win. Bailey Marsh opened his quarter final with Tim Pusey with visits of 97 and 140 on throw and comfortably took the opening leg. He then missed out on an 85 check out to leave 32 as Pusey scored the 57 check out he had set up for himself with a 140 on the previous visit. 15 darts from Pusey later and he held a break of throw thanks to visits of 140 and 177 and an 83 check out. He then held throw but not before Marsh missed three darts at double six for the leg. Marsh then opened with a 140 and closed his leg on throw with a 101 check out to move within one leg of his opponent. Visits of 78, 121, 138 and 100 set up Marsh for a 15-dart break of throw when he checked out 64 before visits of 100 and 180 helped him on his way to a lead in the match for the first time since the opening leg. In the eighth leg both players opened with a 140 and three visits later Marsh replicated that visit. Despite that Pusey was still able to hold throw to move the match to 4-4. He then broke the Marsh throw with an opening visit of 137 and a 144 check out. At 5-4 to Pusey he opened with visits of 92 and 134, Marsh throwing 100 and 97 in response. A 97 to Pusey later in the leg left him requiring 135 and after a visit of 83 he scored 52 with his second dart on his next visit to the oche to win 6-4. In the final quarter final Chris Krabbe opened the match with a visit of 100 which was bettered by Stuart Coburn on his opening visit. It was Krabbe, however, who held throw after Coburn left 16 chasing 109. Coburn then had to stand behind Krabbe as he attempted to check out 12 in the next leg. When he failed to do so Coburn pounced to secure 40. A maximum from Krabbe in the next leg upon his third visit helped him take a strong lead and whilst it took a few visits after that he checked out ten to lead 2-1 on throw. He then opened up with a 140 which Coburn responded by throwing 119. Two visits later and he hit a ton to leave 178. Coburn then struggled to check out but eventually took the leg to make it 2-2. Krabbe then opened the next leg with two tons and scored a third one two visits later. A 76 check out to Coburn, though, saw him steal the leg and lead 3-2. Both players struggled in the sixth leg but eventually Krabbe broke the Coburn throw to return the match back to parity at 3-3. Krabbe then opened with 100 but Coburn hit 140 second time around and then visits of 100, 120 and a check out of 101 left him 4-3 up. On throw Coburn secured an 84 and 140 but a maximum helped Krabbe’s cause. Coburn got to the first check out chance at 122 but a 140 put pressure on the throw as Crabbe moved to requiring 78. Krabbe secured the break to move the match back to even terms once again. The ninth leg was a nervous affair for both players, but mid leg Coburn scored two tons and Krabbe secured 118 and 100 to leave 120. He left 80 as Coburn moved from 187 to 50 after a 137 visit. Both players struggled to check out, but Coburn finally got it to move to within a win of the semi-finals. Crabbe opened with a 100 as Coburn struggled at the beginning of the next leg and Krabbe got to a check out target first, that being 155. Crabbe eventually secured the leg to push the match to a deciding leg. A 99 from Krabbe on his third visit in that leg was bettered by a 140 from Coburn who took the darts in the leg at that point. A 95 left him not on a check out at 162 whist 100 from Krabbe left him needing 155 for the match. Krabbe could not put away 114 but Coburn missed out on 60 with match darts. Krabbe came back to the oche but also missed out with a match dart. Coburn finally cleaned up with his next dart to join the list of semi-finalists. In the first semi-final Ray O’Donnell took the opening leg on throw having responded to a 140 thrown by his opponent, Tim Pusey, on his second visit with the same immediately he shortly thereafter checked out 20. On throw in the second leg Pusey threw 100, 121 and 130 on his second, third and fifth visits but could not convert 34 in two visits to leave O’Donnell to check out 32 after he had busted the previous visit. O’Donnell threw 100, 123 and 100 in three of his last four visits in the third leg but a 180 from Pusey third visit had kept him in the. Pusey then left 12 chasing 72 and O‘Donnell took his chance with a 12 and tops to check out 52 and lead 3-0. Pusey then opened with a 140 on throw in the fourth leg. Two visits of 100 left O’Donnell needing 120 and with Pusey missing the bull for the leg O’Donnell attempt Shanghai but left 20. Pusey then scored the required 25 with last dart in hand to win his first leg. O’Donnell then opened with 100 on throw for Pusey to respond with 137. O’Donnell backed it up with another 100 and a later visit oof 134 and check out of 32 was soon 4-1 up. O’Donnell then opened up with a 134 in the sixth leg against the Pusey throw and collected a 140 on his second visit. He had a shot at 164 put left 66 with his misfit opponent well behind. O’Donnell secured the 66 required to move to within a leg of the match. He opened with two 140s on throw in the seventh set but a 140 and 95 from Pusey in his second to fourth visits moved him to needing 108. O’Donnell gave his opponent a shot at that, but Pusey left 70 and O’Donnell stepped up and threw the required double four to win the match 6-1. The second semi-final saw Sam Ballinger open with the throw only for his Team Rebel teammate Stuart Coburn take it from him, thanks in main to visits of 140 and 130. Coburn then opened with 180, 140 and 100 to take the second leg and lead 2-0. Against the throw in the third leg Coburn had 125 and 140 visits at his first and third attempt and then threw 136 to leave tops. Balinger put pressure on by scoring 140 to leave tops for himself but Coburn gained a 3-0 lead with last dart in hand on his next visit. Both players collected 100 on their second visit on the Coburn throw and Ballinger was left with an outside shot at 117 but left 20 just before Coburn secured the leg with his third dart to lead 4-0. Ballinger held throw in leg 5 with a 13-dart effort before opening with a 180 and 140 against the Coburn throw and securing the leg in 11 darts. Coburn had to weather the storm and visits of 123 and 100 straight up helped that cause. He checked out 70 to restore his own winning ways and move the score to 5-2. The next leg was a tight affair and after three visits each they were exactly equal. Two visits later and a 130 from Coburn left him requiring 85 to win but a 100 put Ballinger on 100 and the Coburn response under pressure. Coburn left 35 as but Ballinger left 10 and Coburn did not need another invitation to clean up for a 6-2 victory in the semi-final. The Final started with Coburn on throw scoring 140 before O’Donnell secured 100 with his first visit. The middle of the first leg slowed down but it was Coburn who got to a check out chance with 102. He was unable to put it away, leaving 16, so O’Donnell had a chance of a break but was also unable to secure it, leaving 20. Coburn then presented his opponent with another chance which O’Donnell gratefully took. In a replica of the first leg the player first with the walk secured a 140 visit and his opponent a 100 in the opening visits of the second leg. This this time, however, O’Donnell backed it up with 125 and 140 visits to leave 96. At the same time Coburn scored 134 and 77 to leave 190. Four darts later for O’Donnell and he was 2-0 up. O’Donnell did not pounce on a poor start from Coburn in the next leg until visits of 134 and 125 left him needing 37. He threw that with his last dart in hand to lead 3-0 and be up by two breaks of throw. Coburn opened up with 140 against the throw in the fourth leg but a 140 from O’Donnell left him needing 28 and despite a 104 visit from Coburn it was not enough as double 14 gave O’Donnell a 4-0 lead. O’Donnell then took a good lead against the throw with 93 and 140 in the next leg and got to a first check out chance at 128. A 79 left O’Donnell on 49 as Coburn left 130. O’Donnell secured his fifth leg with a 49 visit. O’Donnell opened with 100 and 140 in the sixth leg with Coburn scoring 125 in between. O’Donnell threw a ton to leave 104 and he collected the check out to move 6-0 up. A 97 visit late in the seventh leg left Coburn needing 170. He secured 105 of that but then busted chasing that total on his next visit. O’Donnell was ready to pounce and secured 60 with last dart in hand to take out the Final 7-0 and win a place in the NSW Darts Masters in Wollongong. Remarkably O'Donnell had played the final thinking it was the semi final, “I am a bit shocked, to be honest I did not even realise that was the final. It will be amazing to get back on the stage once more. I played well today but this is a great bunch of people and such good players. I will keep doing what I have been doing and try to treat this like a normal competition. I will also try to use what I learnt last time to make the most of this opportunity.”
Day 4 Qualifier - Mal Cuming
Mal Cuming became the final qualifier for the NSW Darts Open to be played at WIN Entertainment Centre Wollongong on the 19th and 20th of August after he defeated Bailey Marsh 7-2 in the final of the morning action at Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club on Tuesday. The first quarter final was between Blake Hatchett and Bailey Marsh from Western Australia. On throw in the opening leg Marsh opened with three 140s but it took nine more darts for him to hold throw. Hatchett threw 180 then 140 on his second and third visits and checked out 78 to tie the match at 1-1. Marsh opened his next throw with a 100 and got another two visits later, backing it up with a third. Hatchett had secured a maximum and then left 44 after a visit of 100. He secured the break at his next visit. He then opened the fourth leg with 96 and a maximum fourth visit up and was able to hold throw for a 3-1 lead. Marsh opened with a ton on throw and eventually checked out 36 under big preeuse after Hatchett had moved from 268 to 16 in two visits. With the score at 3-2 to Hatchett opened the sixth leg with a 135, Marsh responded with 100, Hatchett the same, Marsh 140, and Hatchett 134 to leave Hatchett on 132 after 9 darts and Marsh on 164 after the same. Neither player checked out the big numbers, nor did they do so on their next visit (Marsh missing the bull) with Hatchett finally throwing double 5 to double his lead to 4-2. Marsh then held throw in 15 darts checking out 122 after Hatchett had thrown 171 to leave 50. Both players struggled early in the eighth leg until a ton put Marsh ahead slightly against the throw. He had first attempt at a check out with a 101 but did not put multiple chances away and Hatchett finally grabbed the leg with a double six to move 5-3 up. Hatchett opened with a 100 in the next leg against the Marsh throw but his opponent responded with a 140 and a visit later had a shot at a 170 finish. Marsh did not get it but this time took his chances to move the match to 5-4. Hatchett opened with a 125 and got a third visit of 100 in the next leg but then Marsh got consecutive visits of 137 and 139. Marsh was unable to secure the 70 and Hatchett chased 104 to leave 4. Hatchett missed more match darts after Marsh missed out on 40. This time Marsh secured the leg with a double 16 to force the match into a deciding leg. Marsh opened his throw with three consecutive tons as Hatchett opened with 140, 100 and 95 to leave 166. Marsh moved from 201 to 66 with a 135 as Hatchett left himself needing 16 with a 150 visit. Marsh secured the 66 with last dart in hand to win 6-5. In the first leg of the second semi-final Joe Comito hit a maximum to leave 38 on throw after a 100 and 140 had put David Platt in front until that point. Comito checked out to lead by a leg and then with visits of 140, 125 and 113 Comito gained the break to lead 2-0. Platt threw three consecutive 100s in the third leg but it was still not enough as Comito converted 32 to hold throw and lead 3-0. Platt then opened with 180 and backed it up with a 97 on throw. A visit of 140 left Comito needing 70 for the break but he failed to check it out and Platt secured double 16 for his first leg. COmito opened with a maximum and a 96 kicker in the next leg and then threw 140. Platt secured 100, 140 and 100 in three of his four visits but a check out from Comito in 14 darts gave him a 4-1 lead. Comito opened with 140 against the Platt throw in leg six but his opponent had a shot at 70 only to leave 6. Comito threw 60 with two darts to move a leg away from the match. A 140 on his second visit from Platt put him ahead in the next leg against the throw but a 134 set up 87 for Comito and on his next visit he cleaned it up for a 6-1 win. Larry Leedie opened the first leg on throw with a remarkable 152 check out before securing a maximum visit on this way to securing the break against Mal Cuming in the second leg. At 2-0 Leedie scored 125 to leave 103 but with three visits of one hundred or more Cuming had done enough to get a return to the oche where he checked out 20 for the break. He then opened with a 140 on throw but a maximum form Leedie mid leg helped set up a 43 check out eventually to break again and lead 3-1. Leedie secured a 121 on his second visit on throw in the fifth leg. Three 100s in the 6th leg helped Cuming to a 78 check out despite the pressure Leedie put him under with a 131 leaving him requiring 32. The next leg saw visits of 135, 100 and a 112 check out to move 4-2 ahead. Cuming then secured the next leg against the throw with a 76 check out. He then held throw before breaking again, this time in 15 darts inclusive of visits of 140 and 139 and a 96 check out. He opened with 140 in the tenth leg but Leedie responded with 180. Visit of 100 and 140 left him needing 61 for the match. He secured his fourth successive leg, and the match, with his 15th dart, winning 6-4. In the last quarter final Stefan Cubrilovic opened with a ton on throw but two tons from Ray Smith later in the leg helped him to get to a check out. Smith then held throw, thanks mainly to a 140 on his fourth visit. Cubrilovic then held throw in 17 darts, inclusive of a 140 visit on his second trip to the oche. Smith then moved from 306 to 72 in two visits and then checked out 72 for a 3-1 lead. Cubrilovic held throw again in the next leg, with another 140 visit helping. Smith then threw 180, 131 and 138 and a check out 52 to collect a 12 dart hold of throw. He then broke the throw of his opponent despite taking three visits to get through 60. He cleaned up the last leg in 17 darts to win the match 6-2. In the first semi-final Mal Cuming had the throw in the first leg but Raymond Smith made the first big visit with a 140 at the first attempt but both players struggled to make more of a difference after that until Cuming threw a 140 to leave 191. Smith threw 85 to leave 96 but a 74 left Cuming needing 60 for the hold of throw. With Smith leaving tops Cuming took the leg with his second dart on his next visit to lead 1-0. Smith then opened with 125 and 100 on throw and a 140 two visits later left him needing 76. Four darts later and it was one all. Cuming then opened the next leg with a 140 but two tons put Smith back into the leg only for Cuming to do the same and leave 76. Smith hit a third 100 to leave 141 but eventually Cuming took the leg to hold throw and lead 2-1. Both players through tons early in the next leg with Smith actually scoring three in a row. Cuming threw a 137 to leave 88 and with Smith missing out on 116 Cuming stepped up to break Smith’s throw with the 88 check out. In leg six Cuming opened with a 100 and Smith responded with 140 which was then matched by Cuming. A 136 two visits later left Smith on 48. He left 32 as Cuming threw 117 to leave 24 and put pressure on the Smith throw but the Queenslander tied things up with his next dart in hand at 3-3. Smith opened with a ton against the throw in leg seven and then hit two more but along the way he stood behind Cuming as he threw 180 and 100. After a visit of 96 Smith checked out 105 for the break. Smith then opened with 100 on throw and a 140 fourth visit left him needing 82. He did not put it away at the first attempt but was allowed to come back to the oche, albeit under some pressure as Cuming threw 140 to leave 92. Smith gave Cuming more opportunities and Cuming finally took advantage to draw level at 4-4. Cuming opened the next leg with 140, then 100 and fourth visit of 100 and checked out with his 16th dart to lead 5-4. On hundred from Smith on his second visit was backed up two visits later with the same but Cuming secured 140s in his second and fourth visit. Smith left 116 as Cuming threw 68 for the match and checked it out to win with last dart in hand to win 6-4. Bailey Marsh and Joe Comito played the other semi-final and n the opening leg Marsh threw 135 and 100 to start. A 134 left Comito needing 49 at the back end of the leg but Marsh threw 40 to take the break first up. Visits of 137 and 124 were not enough for Comito in leg two as Marsh held throw thanks to his last two visits of 133 and 92. Comito held throw the following leg, thanks in main to visits of 134, 100 and 133. Marsh had thrown a 177 to leave 170 but could not convert that score in two visits. He did however convert a start of 180, 140 and 134 with a hold of throw (Comito had also secured maximum during the leg.) 140s in his first and third visit gave Comito a chance at 140. His opponent had thrown 140 at visits one and four but it was Comito who with his 15th dart checked out 40 to get back to within a leg of his opponent. Comito opened with a 100 against the Marsh throw which Marsh responded by scoring 135. Comito threw 123 and 96 but it was not enough as Bailey threw 140 to leave 137 and six darts later he led 4-2. Comito then held throw thanks mainly to a 180 visit third time on the oche. Marsh then checked out a 90 in 14 darts thanks to earlier visits of 140 and 134 to move a leg away form the match. He opened the next leg against throw with 120 but Comito was not done yet and responded with a 140. A 171 left Marsh on 74 and then a 133 left Comito on 16. Marsh left 20 and Comito 16 on their next visits and then Marsh threw double ten with his next dart in hand to win the match to win 6-3. The final started slowly on the Mal Cuming throw but 140 and 139 visits left a 58 check out for Cuming which he took despite the pressure of a previous 133 visit leaving Marsh on a 54 check out. In the next leg Cuming threw 100s on the first and third visit before Marsh threw 100 to leave 149. Bull missed the bull for a break and Marsh secured a 63 check out after that. Cuming opened the next leg with one hundred and 140 and then two 100s on throw to leave 61. He completed that number with his 14th dart to lead 2-1 on throw. Cuming opened with a 180 on the next leg with Marsh responding with 134 before Cuming threw 100 to leave 221. A 127 late in the leg from Marsh left him on 142 only for Cuing to move to 36 with a 140. Cuming missed double 18 only for Marsh to miss out on 60. Cuming took his chance on the next visit to lead 3-1. Cuming then hit a maximum on his third visit to leave 196 in leg five and a follow up 122 left him needing a check out of 74. He threw the 74 with last dart in hand on his next visit to lead 4-1. Cuming then opened with 100 and 140 against the throw before the fourth visit of 100 left a 76 check out, which he completed on his next visit to lead 5-1. Marsh opened up 100 on throw and then 140 on his third visit. He had a check out chance at 107 and collected it to drag a leg back at 5-2. The next leg started on 100 from both players before 135 from Marsh, 140 from Cuming, and a maximum 180 from Marsh to leave 86. He had six darts at that total but failed to collect the score and Cuming threw Shanghai to lead 6-2. Cuming opened 140 on throw but Marsh responded with a 134 then Cuming threw 100. Things slowed mid leg for both players until a 100 left Cuming on 116. Cuming threw 60 to leave 56 and came back with Marsh on 136 but left 20. Marsh left 76 but it was to be his last contribution to the match as Cuming threw double 10 for the 7-2 win. “To come through this field is amazing. I am stoked to get over the line. To come back today and win I am delighted. I was relaxed today and I felt like if it happened so be it, and it happened! I will regroup now, go home hit the practice board hard and go from there” CUming said just after the final.
NZ Qualifier - Haupai Puha
There were nineteen entrants vying for the one New Zealand spot at the New South Wales Dart Masters being held at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong on 19th and 20th August 2022. The venue for the qualifiers was the Black Horse Hotel in Christchurch New Zealand. The semi-finals saw Haupai Puha playing Landon Gardiner, and Ben Robb taking on Alan Skayman. The first semi saw Puha take the first leg and Gardiner the second. Puha then took consecutive legs to lead 3-1 before Gardiner won four successive legs to lead 5-3 and move within one leg of the final. Puha, however, channelled all his experience from the multiple sports he has been involved in to produce a remarkable comeback to secure three straight legs, including the deciding one, to win 6-5. Semi Final two was a much more straight forward affair with Robb taking a strong early lead at 3-0 before a maximum helped turn the game in Alan Skayman’s favour as he won the next two legs and move a leg from a tied scoreline. It was not to be, though, as Robb won the remaining three legs to secure a 6-2 victory. In a final Kiwi darting fans have become only to used to, Haupai Puha faced off against Ben Robb. Robb held his throw in the opening leg, thanks in no small part to an opening three visits of 140, 180 and 100. Puha then pounced on Robb not taking his chances, after Puha had missed the bull himself, to draw level at 1-1. Leg three saw four ton visits from Puha help break the Robb throw before a 123 (inclusive of a bulls eye last dart to finish) check out gave the break straight back to Robb. Puha was not to be denied though and visits of 100, 100, 131 and 145 helped him to break again and lead 3-2. Yet again Robb bounced straight back with 140 and 139 visits leaving him a 62 check out which he completed to make the scoreline 3-3. Puha then pounced on Robbs inaccurate finishing again in the seventh leg and this time Robb was not to break straight back, instead Puha moved to a 5-3 lead and be one leg from the Wollongong stage. Puha was not a man to wait although Robb’s fight was valiant to the last. Both players scored maximums on their second visit of the ninth leg but in the end Puha was the man who took the opportunity he was presented in the leg and he secured a 6-3 win. Thus, Haupai Puha will join the other qualifiers from across the ditch on the World Series of Darts Stage in Wollongong. After the victory Puha was already looking to the future, "It's been a few years since playing in the WSD Darts Masters in Australia but I can say I learnt that preparation is the key. Like Damon Heta told me on my recent UK trip it's better to be over prepared than under prepared. So getting to the venue nice and early to give myself enough time to relax and get comfortable being around the pros and get through my practice routine will be important."