Mathers Trots in for Two Victories in Tasmania

East Devonport Recreation Centre hosted weekend three of the Harrows DPA Pro Tour for 2019. There were three winners over the four events, with former champion GG Mathers winning two, and James Bailey and Raymond O’Donnell, both representatives at the World Series of Darts last year (as Mathers was), coming away with one win apiece.
The first knock out was held on Friday night with GG Mathers victorious in the Final over Kiwi superstar Ben Robb by six legs to three. Mathers came out strongly to lead 3-0 before the players swapped legs through to the end of the match, the match finishing 6-3.
Earlier Damon Heta had won through to the final eight by defeating Brendon McCausland 6-3 in the Round of 16. His opponent in that next stage was Robb who had defeated another top ten player in Shane Tichowitsch by the same score-line. Mick Lacey and James Bailey had the biggest wins (6-1) in the final 16 stage but only Lacey would win any more matches that night, with Bailey falling to Koha Kokiri (3-6) in the quarters after Kokiri had put out Hayden Scott in the previous round. Mick Lacey won his quarter final in a final leg decider over Tim Pusey. Pusey had previously overcome another Kiwi superstar, in Haupai Puha, 6-4. Mathers had made it to the quarters thanks to a 6-2 win over Laurie Loch whilst Ryan Lynch returned to the form that saw him make the World Youth Championships last year, overcoming a previous multi time entrant into the same tournament, Robbie King, by six legs to four. Mathers then defeated Lynch by taking out the 11th and final leg of their quarter final.
The semi-finals were not even affairs with Mathers defeating Kokiri 6-3 whilst Robb was even more comprehensive in his 6-1 win over Lacey.
On the Saturday James Bailey came away with a win thanks to his 6-1 victory over Mick Lacey in the Final of event 10. Lacey had won the first leg of the match before Bailey threw doubles to check out the next six legs and take home the win, securing a 93.4 average along the way.
Earlier the semi-finals had been comprehensive affairs as well, although it was good to see the two Raymonds return to form by making this stage, although Smith lost to Bailey 2-6 and O’Donnell lost 3-6 to Lacey. The quarter finals had seen Bailey defeat Lucas Cameron 6-1, Lacey overcome Tim Pusey in a final leg decider, Smith eliminate Mike Bonser 6-2 and O’Donnell edge out Ben Robb in the 11th leg of their match.
The losers in the Round of 16 included the likes of McCausland, Tichowitsch, Fitzpatrick, Puha, Rundle, Kokiri, Mathewson and Mathers. For half of these players it would not be their only Round of 16 loss on the Saturday.
The second event on Saturday saw a player who has dominated this year, in Damon Heta, return to another Final, although it ended up not being the result he would have been after.
The quarter finals had seen Heta defeat a finalist from the day before, Ben Robb, by six games to two. His opponent in the semi-finals was the ever reliant Mick Lacey who had seen off Haupai Puha 6-4 in his own quarter finals match. The other two quarters had seen Koha Kokiri and GG Mathers set up their own semi-final after wins over Brad Thorp (6-2) and Robbie King (6-4) respectively.
The quality of the field was demonstrated by the names who had dropped out at the final 16 stage once more, names like Rundle, Tichowitsch, Fitzpatrick, Pusey, Bonser, Cameron, Mathewson and Smith, with previous World Championships, World Youth Championships, World Series of Darts and Australian representatives making up seven of these names and Rundle a multi time winner on this year’s Harrows DPA Challenge Tour.
The semi-finals were not close affairs as Mathers defeated Kokiri 6-3, an exact replica of their semi-final the night before, and Heta was even more comprehensive with a 6-2 victory over Lacey. Once again the player who took out Lacey in the semi-final was not able to follow it up with a win in the Final. This time Mathers took out Heta in a clear 6-3 victory. Mathers had led 5-1 in the match before Heta won two legs on the trot but the comeback was too big for even a man of his talent and with an overall average of 89 and a final 12 dart leg Mathers took out the match and his second competition of the weekend.
Sunday was the last opportunity for players to come away with a win from Tasmania and the Final came down to two players who had not made that stage this year, with both on the comeback trail in some form. Shane Tichowitsch has made a strong comeback to the pro tour this year, whilst Raymond O’Donnell was chasing the kind of consistency he had demonstrated last year. The final was therefore always going to be interesting. After winning the first leg Tichowitsch lost the next three on the trot before winning two to tie the game up at three legs each. O’Donnell then broke his opponent before holding throw to lead 5-3. Tichowitsch demonstrated all of his experience in holding the next leg on throw but was unable to break his opponent in the 10th game and O’Donnell came away with the 20 points and the win from event 12.
The Round of 16 had seen O’Donnell overcome Tim Pusey five legs to four and Tichowitsch win five nil over Laurie Loch. In other matches Steve Fitzpatrick defeated another Tasmanian born player in Rhys Mathewson 5-4, Lucas Cameron beat Michael Cassar five legs to three, Jamie Rundle defeated fellow Queenslander Raymond Smith and Bill Aitken demonstrated he still has it with a 5-3 win over Ben Robb. The final two matches of this stage saw two consistent players over the weekend, Damon Heta and Mick Lacey match off, with Heta winning 5-3 and the Kiwi contingent gain some revenge as Haupai Puha defeated GG Mathers 5-2.
The quarter finals saw Fitzpatrick defeat his team Rebel team mate (as he had also done the round before) Cameron, 5-2, as Aitken defeated Puha 5-4. Kiwi born Heta was put out by another superstar veteran in Tichowitsch by five legs to three, whilst O’Donnell beat youngster Rundle 5-3.
The semi-finals were both close affairs with O’Donnell seeing a 2-0 lead against Aitken dissipate before winning every alternate leg from that point to win the match 5-4. Tichowitsch averaged 92.7 as each leg went on throw before he stole the final leg against the throw, with his opponent in Fitzpatrick sitting on 36 to take the match for himself.
The Harrows DPA Pro Tour continues at the Macquarie Inn in Dubbo NSW in May for a massive extended weekend of darts, with six events being played and a whole lot of points on offer. It marks a critical juncture in the race for the title and the prize of a place in the PDC World Championships at the end of the year.