PDC World Championship player James Bailey continued his tradition of winning at least one event over the first weekend of the season as he secured the very first event at the Harrows Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club ProTour. In the final of event one he defeated World Series of Darts finals representative Damon Heta 6-2.
The semi finals had seen both finalists defeat two stars of the Australian game who are both on the comeback trail with Bailey defeating Shane Tichowitsch 6-4 and Heta defeating former Melbourne World Series of Darts representative Rhys Mathewson 6-1.
The depth of the quality of Australian darts was on evidence when the quarter final losers included the likes of World Championship player Ray Smith, former World Youth championship player Robbie King, and World Series of Darts representatives Justin Thompson and Haupai Puha (who also leads the DPNZ tour at present.)
Bailey was obviously delighted to have got through. “That was one of the toughest fields I have ever played in. I defeated Koha Kokiri, Steve Fitzpatrick, Rob Modra, Ray Smith, Shane Tichowitsch and Damon Heta. It is hard to find a more difficult field than what we saw today so I am obviously delighted to have won tonight.”
The second day started with Bailey making another final, this time the Joe Seymour Memorial pro tour final, and event two on the tour calendar, but World Youth Championship player Steve Fitzpatrick took centre stage and won the match in a last leg thriller, 6 legs to 5.
In the final Fitzpatrick won the throw and opened with 95 as Bailey responded with a ton. The young Team Rebel player responded with a 135 and with visits of 58 and 99 moved to a first attempted check out (of 114). It took a couple of visits but Fitzpatrick secured the first leg.
Bailey then started with 57 on his throw but his opponent could not take full advantage. The leg was tight through the middle stages until a 137 from Bull moved him ahead but a poor follow up of 44 gave Fitzpatrick a chance to close the leg up once more. Sixty from Bailey left him requiring 122 as a 140 left Fitzpatrick requiring 60. With Bailey still needing 48 two darts gave the youngster the second leg, and a break of throw.
The third leg saw Bailey take a slight lead against the throw but a 134 saw Fitzpatrick move to a check out target of 132. At the same time a 132 moved Bailey to 87. Fitzpatrick could not check out the big number and Bailey took back the break at his next visit. Bailey then watched as his opponent could not check out 150 in the next leg and with his first dart in hand Bailey leveled the match.
Still able to win by simply holding throw for the remainder of the match Fitzpatrick opened with a 100 before hitting the first maximum of the match. A follow up 140 gave him the chance of an 11 darter. He was unable to secure that on his next visit and instead left 40 for the leg, which he got with his last dart in hand the following visit.
Bailey had to hold throw in the next leg and opened with a 100 of his own, but that was quickly matched by his opponent. Both players had good visits interspersed with poor visits before Bailey hit his first maximum of the match to leave 24. A 140 from Fitzpatrick left 108 but one dart was enough at the next visit for Bailey to hold throw. Bailey then took an early lead in the next leg although Fitzpatrick responded with two excellent visits to move to requiring 182. A 134 left the Tasmanian on 48 as Queenslander Bailey moved to requiring 98. With his last dart in hand Fitzpatrick held on to the leg.
A 140 start in the next leg from Bailey gave the Queenslander a good early lead and he followed it up with the same. A second 180 from Bailey then left him requiring 41 as his opponent got his own maximum to move to 201. Two darts later and Bailey had drawn the match level once more at four legs all.
Bailey then opened against the throw with a 180. A few darts later and Bailey pounced with 100 to move to 116 being needed. A 78 then left The Bull requiring 38 as a 137 saw Fitzpatrick requiring 40. Bailey held his nerve to take the lead for the first time in the match, 5 legs to 4.
In what could have been the final leg a 140 start from Bailey was followed up by 91 as his opponent could only collect 120 in total from two visits. Fitzpatrick was well behind when Bailey moved from 189 to 130. He then could only move to 100 and Fitzpatrick halved his score required to 140. 60 from Bailey gave his opponent an outside chance but Fitzpatrick could not collect and left 40. Bailey then could not score when chasing the same target giving Fitzpatrick another chance at a leg he should never have been in and with a double ten with last dart in hand he secured the leg.
Fitzpatrick now held the throw and collected 140 from his first visit (Bailey got 100). A ton from the Team Rebel youngster was matched by The Bull on their second visits and 140 from the Tasmanian Fitzpatrick left him needing 121 as yet another 100 left Bailey on 201. Fitzpatrick missed his first match dart with last dart in hand on his next visit and a 114 visit left Bailey requiring 78. Double 7 with his first dart at his next visit gave Fitzpatrick match 6 - 5.
Both players had progressed after semi finals against Koha Kokiri (Bailey) and Rhys Mathewson (Bailey) with both matches finishing 5-2. Once more the depth of the field was in evidence with the losing quarter finalists being Ray Smith, Brendan McCausland, Justin Thompson and Gordon Glenn Mathers.
For Fitzpatrick it was his first win on the DPA tour and almost twelve months on from his father, always a great supporter of his and the game, passing away, it was most poignant. “I am over the moon to win, especially in this field, you would not get a better field in Australia than this one. It is fitting that almost twelve months on from my father’s (James) passing I am able to win a tournament like this one as he did so much for me and my game.”
The Kelvin Boyland Memorial was run on Saturday evening and Damon Heta, from Team Misfits, made another final and this time he made sure the victory was his. His opponent was Haupai Puha and the match finished 6-1 with Heta averaging 100.2.
Heta opened the match with a 140 and his opponent matched it. He then watched Puha move to a check out with a 135 visit leaving the Kiwi needing 135. A 138 left Heta needing tops and with Puha missing out at his next visit, Heta secured the leg with a double ten from his last dart in hand. Heta then got to a check out first on his opponent’s throw with a 140 but missed tops with his last dart for the leg. Puha then missed the bull to hold his throw and the double ten with his last dart once more gave Heta the leg.
Opening visits of 96 and 95 from both players were bettered on their second visits by each with a 180 from Heta and 140 from Puha. Both players left twenty trying to check out and double ten gave Heta the leg for the third time in a row. With his Kiwi opponent on 138 Heta moved from 221 to 41 with a maximum and with Puha unable to convert the big check out Heta went four legs up with two darts at his next visit. In the next leg Heta had six darts from 167 and he needed all of them to take a five nil lead.
On throw Puha was able to win his first leg of the final as he converted 84 with his opponent standing just behind him needing a mere 32 to win the match. If it was to be a revival Heta soon put an end to that thought. Another 180 moved him to 162 and with 122 on his next visit Heta just required tops. He missed that target when he returned to the oche but the trusty double ten was again there and he secured the match with it, six legs to one.
Heta was ecstatic after the match, “With a field of this quality it is a great honour to win. I have put a lot of work in and this is the kind of consistency I am expecting of myself. The season has started well and all I can think for the future is bring it on.”
Earlier Heta had just scraped through 6-4 against Rhys Mathewson, who had made his third semifinal in as many 2019 DPA events. Puha had taken an earlier lead in his semi final only for Raymond Smith to come back and give him a fright before the Kiwi cleared out, winning 6-3. The losing quarter finalists were again fine players, this time being Bill Aitken, Rob Modra, Robbie King and Tim Pusey.
Haupai Puha 1-6 Damon Heta
Raymond Smith3-6 Haupai Puha
Damon Heta 6-4 Rhys Mathewson
Raymond Smith 6-2 Rob Modra
Haupai Puha 6-2 Bill Aitken
Damon Heta 6-0 Tim Pusey
Rhys Mathewson 6-4 Robbie King
Raymond Smith 6-1 Mick Lacey
Rob Modra 6-1 James Bailey
Haupai Puha 6-4 Raymond O'Donnell
Bill Aitken 6-2 David Hall Snr.
Damon Heta 6-2 Koha Kokiri
Justin Thompson 3-6 Tim Pusey
Ben Robb 5-6 Rhys Mathewson
Shane Tichowitsch 4-6 Robbie King
Raymond Smith 6-1 David Platt
Mick Lacey 6-2 Emma Watkins
Rob Modra 6-4 Paul Cotton
James Bailey 6-2 Michael Cassar
Haupai Puha 6-3 Aaron Delvendiep
Raymond O'Donnell 6-4 Laurie Loch
Bill Aitken 6-2 Tremaine Gallagher
Lucas Cameron 3-6 David Hall Snr.
Damon Heta 6-4 Steve Fitzpatrick
Ryan Lynch 2-6 Koha Kokiri
Justin Thompson 6-3 Jack Sinclair
Tim Pusey 6-0 Clayton Collins
Ben Robb 6-0 Trevor Cooke
Rhys Mathewson6-2 Barry Jouannet Jnr.
Shane Tichowitsch 6-3 Russell Stewart
Robbie King 6-4 Matteo Gilr
Steve Fitzpatrick 6-5 James Bailey
James Bailey 5-2 Koha Kokiri
Steve Fitzpatrick 5-2 Rhys Mathewson
Raymond Smith 4-5 James Bailey
Koha Kokiri 5-1 Brendan McCausland
Steve Fitzpatrick 5-2 Justin Thompson
Rhys Mathewson 5-4 Gordon-Glen Mathers
Raymond Smith 5-2 Mick Lacey
James Bailey 5-2 Rob Modra
Haupai Puha 3-5 Koha Kokiri
Brendan McCausland 5-4 Bill Aitken
Matt Leahy 1-5 Steve Fitzpatrick
Wiremu Kurupo 4-5 Justin Thompson
Ben Robb 3-5 Rhys Mathewson
Zinzan Culshaw 3-5 Gordon-Glen Mathers
Raymond Smith 5-1 David Platt
Mick Lacey 5-2 Shane Tichowitsch
James Bailey 5-4 Raymond O’Donnell
Rob Modra 5-0 Greg Major
Haupai Puha 5-3 James Doherty
Koha Kokiri 5-1 Jamie Suckling
Lucas Cameron 3-5 Brendan McCausland
Bill Aitken 5-0 Alex Evans
Matt Leahy 5-3 Aaron Delvendiep
Ryan Lynch 2-5 Steve Fitzpatrick
Wiremu Kurupo 5-1 Rebekah Promnitz
Justin Thompson 5-1 Brad Johnson
Ben Robb 5-4 Russell Stewart
Rhys Mathewson 5-4 Lorraine Burn
Robbie King 4-5 Zinzan Culshaw
Gordon-Glen Mathers 5-0 Laurie Loch
James Bailey 6 Damon Heta 2
James Bailey 6-4 Shane Tichowitsch
Damon Heta 6-1 Rhys Mathewson
Raymond Smith 2-6 James Bailey
Haupai Puha 5-6 Shane Tichowitsch
Damon Heta 6-2 Justin Thompson
Rhys Mathewson 6-4 Robbie King
Raymond Smith 6-3 Mick Lacey
Rob Modra 3-6 James Bailey
Haupai Puha 6-3 Mike Bonser
Bill Aitken 2-6 Shane Tichowitsch
Damon Heta 6-4 David Platt
Justin Thompson 6-4 Leigh Giblin
Ben Robb 2-6 Rhys Mathewson
Aaron Delvendiep 5-6 Robbie King
Raymond Smith 6-2 Dwayne Seabourne
Mick Lacey 6-1 Graeme Lowe
Rob Modra 6-5 Tremaine Gallagher
James Bailey 6-4 Steve Fitzpatrick
Haupai Puha 6-2 Hayden Scott
Mike Bonser 6-0 Manny Kato
Bill Aitken 6-3 Mick King
Brad Thorp 3-6 Shane Tichowitsch
Damon Heta 6-2 Raymond O'Donnell
David Platt 6-1 James Doherty
Justin Thompson 6-2 Greg Major
Tim Pusey 4-6 Leigh Giblin
Ben Robb 6-4 Craig Prizeman
Rhys Mathewson 6-0 Jack Sinclair
Gordon Glen Mathers 3-6 Aaron Delvendiep
Robbie King 6-3 Corey Nauman