Australasian Championship Singles Event

A phenomenal 209 players, 128 men and 81 women played off for the Australasian Championship Singles title at the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club on Sunday. Sapphire Allen would shine brightest in the Womens as she defeated Sharron Keogh 5-2 in the final. In the Mens event Steve Fitzpatrick and Brody Klinge fought out for the honour of being Australasian Mens Singles champion in the final of the event, which was eventually won by Steve Fitzpatrick by six legs to three over Brody Klinge.
In the ladies the quarter finals came down to Sharron Keogh v Caitlin Avis. Avis held throw in the first leg as Keogh was unable to convert 18 on a couple of visits. Keogh then held throw much more comfortably and on the Avis throw she broke through on the second attempt without her opponent having a dart at holding. A couple of ton visits in the next leg gave Keogh a comfortable lead which she was able to convert and more through to the semi finals.
Jane Harrington was able to overcome Kathleen Martin by the same margin, 3-1. Both players held their opening throw, Martin hitting tops to hold throw in the second leg as her opponent stood behind her needing double 16 for the leg. Harrington then comfortably held throw before putting pressure on the Martin throw. Martin chased 118 to take the leg but busted and Harrington stepped up to throw 91 and win the match.
Faith Kainuku was the third player to win their quarter final 3-1 after she defeated Maralyn Waitere to make the semis. Kainuku opened the match by breaking the throw of her opponent before holding her throw, seeing off a break of throw attempt by Waitere. Waitere then held throw but was unable to convert 20 on what would be her last visit to the oche in leg four as Kainuku stepped up and secured the 50 she needed to win the match.
The final quarter final saw Sapphire Allen survive a final deciding leg to progress over Vanessa James. Allen had actually broken James in the first leg and then held throw. James then comfortably held throw and with visits of 100 (three times) and 177 was able to leave 24 to take the match to a decider and although it took two visits, James was up to the task. In the final leg she was a long way in front but missed bull for the leg to leave 25. She then scored 19 and busted on her next two visits and that was enough for Allen to come through and steal the leg and the match.
In the opening semi final Sharron Keogh came through a deciding seventh leg against Jane Harrington. Both players held throw for the opening six legs of the match with little concern and thus it went to the decider. With opening visits of 140 and 100 Keogh piled on the pressure and stole the darts from her opponent. She then slowly whittled her score down but had to watch nervously after leaving tops from 96 as Harrington attempted to check out 80 and had one dart at tops for the match. The chance slipped by though and Keogh stepped up to get the required 40 to move her into the final.
The other semi was more of a family affair as and Allen got the better of a Kainuku with Sapphire defeating Faith 4-2. Both players held throw for the opening four legs but both had chances, Kainuku missing out on three visits in the second leg, Allen unable to get 39 in the third leg, and Kainuku unable to convert 25 on two visits in the fourth leg. In the fifth leg it was Allen who took the first break with her opponent standing behind her needing 40 she checked out 70. She then held throw to win the match but Kainuku had more chances, in fact at three visits, to extend the match.
In the final Allen shot out to an early lead by winning the opening two legs against Keogh. She then broke her opponent again in the third leg to look to have taken an unassailable lead. A 100 on her third visit of the fourth leg gave her a comfortable lead in the leg before a maximum from Keogh threw the pressure straight back at her opponent. A follow up 43 demonstrated how a match of darts can swing so quickly and Keogh had the darts as she tried to convert 94. She left 54 as Allen tried to tick off 97 and did so to swing the momentum back in her direction and put her up four legs to nil in the final. The fifth leg was comfortably Keogh’s throughout although a ton from her opponent to move her to 126 was a little bit of a threat. A ton from Keogh then left her needing 20 at the next visit and she got it with her next dart to win a leg. A poor start from Allen immediately gave Keogh a small lead against the throw and despite gaining 125 on her next visit Allen was trumped by Keogh with a 140. A double 15 was enough to get Keogh one of her breaks back and she was now to throw to move within a leg of her opponent. Keogh left 32 chasing 50 as Allen moved behind her needing tops. Both players missed at their next visits and Keogh then left 4. Allen hit the double five she needed with her next dart to win the leg and the match, the Final finishing in her favour by five legs to two.
Such a turn up of numbers is a positive sign for DPA as they launch their ladies national pro tour in 2020.
The men’s quarter finals saw three matches quickly dispatched with as Haupai Puha secured a 4-1 win over Ryan Lynch and young gun Brody Klinge did the same over Brendon McCausland. The third also finished the same way with Robbie King taking down Rhys Mathewson. Steve Fitzpatrick took an early two nil lead over Tim Pusey in their quarter final match although Pusey hit back, again the throw, in the third leg. Pusey then lost the advantage in the third leg and despite struggling to finish off the leg Fitzpatrick finally collected it with Pusey a lot closer than he should have been at the end. The Team Rebel man then threw for the final position in the semi final line up and with a 58 check out (Pusey standing behind him just needing tops) he had secured his position, also by four legs to one.
The first semi final saw Brody Klinge, everybody’s rookie of the year (almost everybody) up against Robbie King of Team Misfits. King opened the match with a maximum and in 14 darts had held throw. Klinge then held throw before breaking the King throw in 15 darts. The next leg saw chances for both players but it was King who eventually broke straight back. He then held throw in a low scoring leg before Klinge held his own throw in 14 darts. This feat was matched by King in the seventh leg to go 4-3 up. Klinge held his nerve and his throw to put the match into a deciding leg. King had the throw but visits of 140 then 100 and then 140 from Klinge gave him the darts. He missed the bull for a 121 check out but King’s attempt at 67 left him requiring tops. Klinge stepped up to the oche and two darts later he was into the final.
The opening leg of the other semi final was a poor affair but Haupai Puha held his throw after Steve Fitzpatrick failed to collect 80 on what would be his last visit to the oche in that leg. On throw things were different though as Fitzpatrick threw a 15 dart leg to hold throw. He then jumped on the opportunity missed darts at double from Puha offered him and he was 2-1 up. He then held throw in 14 darts after Puha missed the bull to even the match up. Puha did, however, hold throw in the next leg to move back within a leg of his opponent at 3-2. Both players then held throw and so at 4-3 Fitzpatrick found himself just needing to hold his throw once more to make the final. With an opening of 140 and a fourth visit of 180 he was well enough in front to take that leg, and the match (5-3.)
The final set two young superstars up against one another in Brody Klinge and Steve Fitzpatrick. The Tasmanian opened with the throw and his fourth visit was a maximum. Soon after he left tops which he secured to lead the match by one leg to nil. Two tons in succession from Klinge on throw was not enough to outscore Fitzpatrick in the next leg and a 43 visit was pounced on by the Tasmanian with a 140 visit of his own. Fitzpatrick checked out 44 to break Klinge at the first attempt and lead two nil.
The first five visits of the next leg saw scores of 100 or more collected, including a maximum from Fitzpatrick (the sixth time at the oche was a 98.) A 138 left Klinge needing tops which he collected to get the break straight break and win his first leg of the final (2-1 to Fitzpatrick.)
Another 180 against the Klinge throw again put Fitzpatrick in good position in leg four and despite handing chances back to his opponent a double five finally gave him a 3-1 match lead. Three 140 visits at the start of the next leg gave Fitzpatrick a huge lead and four darts later he was 4-1 up.
On throw Klinge opened the next leg with a 180 but again the follow up was inconsistent. A 137 from Fizpatrick put some pressure on his opponent as he left 70 and Klinge failed to convert 88, leaving eight. He got another shot at it though and made no mistake to move the scoreboard to 4-2 in Fitzpatrick’s favour. With Klinge on 106 Fitzpatrick left 20 on his scoreboard and Klinge was good enough to pounce to bring the match back onto throw at 4-3 to the Tasmanian. Again Fitzpatrick new when to strike and secured a 140 and then a 180. A 139 then left him needing 32 and with his tenth dart Fitzpatrick was 5-3 up and throwing for the match. He opened with a 140 and despite lower throwing in the middle of the leg he edged ahead, up until a maximum from Klinge put life support back on his match. A follow up 121 left him in good position but Fitzpatrick finished the match with a 116 check out, and thus he was crowned champion of the Australasian Mens single event.