New Zealand Darts Masters Hamilton 2023 - World Series of Darts Qualifiers
Qualifier One – Darren Herewini Darren Herewini won a place back on the World Series of Darts stage after winning the first DPNZ qualifying tournament. In the quarter finals he defeated Jonny Tata 5-1 with Kayden Milne replicating that scoreline in his win over Jonty Reede at the same stage. Josh Roberts defeated Anthony Benitez 5-2 whilst Jaumie Hilton-Jones squeezed past Darren Dummigan 5-4. Neither semi final was particularly close with Kayden Milne winning 6-1 and Herewini eliminating Hilton-Jones 6-2. The final turned out to be a great clash with Herewini averaging 92.59 on his way to a 7-5 victory. He took a quickfire three leg lead before the next seven legs went to throw, thus moving the match scoreline to 6-4. On the cusp of elimination Milne broke back into the game but then lost his throw and the match in a remarkable final leg where Herewini threw 100, 140 and 131 before checking out 130 with his 12th dart to take the match and qualify to the Hamilton stage.
Qualifier Two – Jonny Tata Having lost to the previous day’s qualifier in Darren Herewini, Jonny Tata must have felt his throw was okay going into the second qualifier and his day turned into one that was more than okay. The field was already open with no Ben Robb, Haupai Puha or Darren Herewini (already qualified) other big names fell early including Craig Caldwell, Bernie Smith, Stu Irwin, Josh Walters and Warren Parry. It left Mark Cleaver (who defeated Brad Hamill 5-2), Jonty Reede (5-4 winner over Tukina Weko), Darren Dunnigan (5-2 victor over Josh Roberts) and Tata (5-0 conqueror of Jordan Whyte) as winning quarterfinalists. Unlike the previous NZ qualifying event the semi finals were much close affairs with Reede taking out his semi final against Cleaver 6-4 and Dummigan taking his match with Tata to a final leg decider, Tata checking out 41 to break the Dummigan throw after his opponent left 5 chasing 20 from the previous visit. Dummingan again impressing with an 89.43 average but falling short in a deciding leg once more. The Final saw Tata blow out to a 3-0 lead before Roberts stormed back into the match by winning three consecutive legs of his own. Tata then held throw in 13 darts before both players held throw to see Tata lead 5-4. The tenth leg saw Roberts unable to convert 47 to hold throw and Tata pounced to move a leg away from the match. With Reeded leaving 8 when trying to check out 96 Tata moved back to the oche one final time as he threw Shanghai, 120 to take the match out and become the first Kiwi debutant on the 2023 New Zealand Darts Masters Hamilton stage.
These qualifiers join number one and two Kiwi DPNZ players, Ben Robb and Haupai Puha, as well as the best placed Kiwi player after the DPNZ qualifiers, which was the Kiwi hero of last year's Hamilton campaign, Kayden Milne and the number one DPA Australian player at the cut off point. Darren Penhall, as well as Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock (former Australian World Cup winners) on the local side of the draw whilst the PDC side is taken up by Michael Smith, Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, and Robb Cross (who are all either current or previous world champions), Nathan Aspinall (a two time PDC World Championship semi finalist), Jonny Clayton (a PDC World championship quarter finalist and PDC Premier League Winner), and European stars Dimitri Van den Bergh (former PDC World Championship semi finalist and two time world youth champion) and Danny Noppert (WDF World Championship runner up and former UK Open winner.)
With the late withdrawal of Jonny Clayton due to family reasons Damon Heta has moved to the PDC side of the draw. The last time that an Aussie did that he went on to win in New Zealand, when Kyle Anderson defeated Corey Cadby in Auckland, Anderson having come from the PDC side of the draw. Warren Parry was next on the PDNZ order of merit so returns to the World Series of Darts stage for his 11th appearance (10th event.) His one win came in Australia so he is aiming once more to include victories in New Zealand on his WSD record.