In the final qualifier for the PDC Melbourne Darts Masters Koha Kokiri staved off the challenge of Rob Modra as he won 6-5 at the festival of darts at Warilla Bowling and Entertainment Club.
Kokiri had finished top of the board before defeating Team Rebel’s Aaron Petty 6-0, Mark Taafe 6-2, and the living legend that is Russell Stewart by the same score in the quarter finals. In the semifinals he took on Robbie King and was just as comprehensive in that match as he had been all day, not conceding a leg.
Modra had qualified fourth off a tough board and had a much tougher time progressing through, defeating Steve MacArthur 6-5, Kalani Hillman (who continues to impress) 6-3, and Sean Hekfenschen 6-5 before taking on the double finalist of the weekend, Tic Bridge, in the semifinal. In that match it was Modra who came out on top 6-4.
In the final it was Modra who skipped away to an early 2-0 lead after breaking his opponent in the first leg. His opponent from the West Coast of Australia drew the game back to 2-2 and the players then stayed within one leg of each other. Thus it came down to the final leg which Kokiri had first visit. It looked like he had the match wrapped up but could not convert his first chances at a finish and Modra got one shot at bull which he put just the other side of the wire. Kokiri then converted on his next visit and secure his position at the Melbourne Darts Masters to compliment his appearance at his local event in Perth.
“Hopefully I can calm down this time on the big stage and just play my darts on the big stage. It is always going to be about your doubles, you always get chances and you just have to take them.”
The Big Fish Catches His Prey
David Marland has defeated Tic Bridge 6-3 to win a spot in the World Series of Darts for the first time at the 2017 Melbourne Darts Masters. Marland, a four time finalist and now two time winner of DPA events, was the outsider in the final but managed to hold his nerve to win his way through. For Tic Bridge it was the second night of disappointment in the final.
Marland, a former back to back NSW State Champion, had progressed through the day having come third off his board. He defeated good friend “the Guvnor” John Bunyard 6-3 in a high quality match in the round of 32 before surviving a last leg decider in the last 16 against Mark Anderson. His second dual with Steve Powell over the weekend saw him come out 6-2 winner, setting up a semi-final against Rob Modra who had thrown well throughout the weekend. This match also went to a final leg and it was Marland who was able to take his opportunity first to progress through to the final.
For Bridge he entered the elimination legs having finished fourth on his board. He then turned a 1-5 deficit into a 6-5 win against previous semi-finalist Kalani Hillman before making a better grasp of things by defeating Tony Chapman 6-0 in the round of 16. He also moved past another player who had thrown well across the weekend in Steve MacArthur 6-2 in the quarter finals. For the second night in a row he had to play at 100% to be able to get past Koha Kokiri in the semi-final.
The competition had been whittled down from 64 to 2 combatants and it was Bridge who took the early break in the final only for Marland to break back immediately. Games then went with throw until the eighth game when Marland broke for what would turn out to be the crucial leg, thus taking a 5-3 lead. A maximum had helped Marland early and he closed out the leg effectively to set himself up to win the match on his throw and .despite a nervy finish to the match, Marland was able to compose himself and take out the leg and the match, 6-3 being the final score.
Marland, who was actually born in Victoria but left as a six month old baby, was blown away by the result and the chance to play in the Melbourne Darts Masters. Like all players in Australia he has had to balance his work commitments as the business owner of Marland Real Estate, a small business in the Sutherland Shire, his family responsibilities, as he and his wife Heidi bring up their two daughters, Hannah, 15, and Brooke, 11 and his desire to play darts, playing around his beloved Shire at places like Miranda and Heathcote (as well as Revesby just outside) and events all over Australia across the year.
“I have put some really hard yards in on the practice board in the last six weeks so I am very happy. I can’t believe it, I am wrapped, I fought hard all day.”
Whilst his name may not be on the top of any favourites list to take out a qualifier he fought against those odds all day to make it through against some big names of Australian darts and as results fell his way he was able to take out crucial matches in pressure situations. He is well-respected amongst his peers and now can look to stepping up on the big stage at Hisense Arena Melbourne in a few short weeks.
Platty Ties Up His Place
On the first night of qualifications David Platt qualified for his ninth PDC Darts World Series event with a 6-3 victory over Tic Bridge in the Russell Stewart Classic Final at the Warilla Darts and Entertainment Club.
A field of 80 players lined up chasing not only the prestigious title but also a chance to be on stage at the Melbourne Darts Masters event in the PDC World Series of Darts.
Both players, having got off their boards, progressed past quality players in the knock out stages with Platt defeating Mark Taafe, Steve Macarthur and Australian vice-captain Daniel Sim and Bridge winning against Tremaine Gallagher, Dave Marland and Robbie King to qualify for the last four.
In the semi-finals both matches went to 4-4, with Platt skipping away from youngster Kalani Hillman in the last two legs and the other match going to the last leg where Bridge checking out a 145 to get past Koha Kokiri (who has previously qualified for the Perth Darts Masters.)
In the final Platt skipped out to an early lead only for Bridge to fight back to equality after 6 legs. Platt then stepped up another gear to win three games and take out the final 6-3, taking out the Russell Stewart Classic for a second time, and at the same stage a position on stage at the PDC Melbourne Darts Masters.
After injury put pay to Platt’s hopes of repeating his success on the local tour from 2016 he was delighted to be back in the winners circle. “It is an honour to win the trophy named after such an icon of Australian sport for a second time. Obviously getting back on stage at the World Series is amazing, having been out injured for most of the year. I am looking forward to putting my best game on yet in Melbourne.”