The second events of the weekend saw three new names getting etched on the event winners list for the Winmau DPA 2021 Satellite Series.
On Sunday at the Italian Australian Club in Morwell, Victoria had 35 players as part of event two and the group winners were the previous event’s winner Stuart Coburn, Rhys Mathewson (who turned things around completely from the day before by winning all of his group stage matches), Steve Duke and Sam Ballinger (both continuing their fine form from the day before), the ever consistent performers Lucas Cameron, Mal Cuming, and Brody Klinge, as well as Aaron Simpson (who topped a tough group that included Brandon Weening and Dean Gibbs.)
The round of 32 saw most of the favourites progress with perhaps the biggest name clash seeing Tic Bridge overcome Dean Gibbs 4-1. Bridge continued his good form by overcoming Brody Klinge in the round of 16. Mal Cuming and Aaron Simpson won their matches to zero in the same round whilst Steve Duke (defeating Ryan Lynch), Sam Ballinger (over Ash Britt), and Lucas Cameron (over Troy Jackson) all progressed. The other two matches went to deciding legs with Brandon Weening outlasting Rhys Mathewson and Stuart Coburn throwing the winning dart against James Jackson.
The quarter finals were full of Australian darting stars as Steve Duke continued his fine form with a 4-2 win over Lucas Cameron, Mal Cuming defeating the previous event’s runner up Sam Ballinger by the same score and Aaron Simpson overcoming Tic Bridge the same way. The other quarter final saw the winner of event one in Victoria, Stuart Coburn, fall to Brandon Weening, four legs to one.
The two semi finals were both close affairs as each went to a deciding leg and yet they could not have been more dissimilar. Brandon Weening missed the bull on throw in the first leg of his semi final and had to stand back and watch as Steve Duke Snr hit him with a 110 check out. Weening struck straight back against the throw but was unable to hold throw for the second time in the match to fall a break behind after leg three. Duke then could not convert 20 on throw in the next leg and Weening, having missed out on 16 his previous visit, was able to pounce to put the match back into equilibrium. Duke then threw four consecutive ton or ton plus scores and finished with a 61 to take the lead once more, this time 3-2. Incredibly for the third time Weening was able to respond in the next leg by breaking back once more and thus faced the prospect of throwing for a match where no one had held throw to that point. Opening with two 134 visits Weening moved ahead but visits of 100 and 140 on his second and third time at the oche put Duke within sniffing distance. Needing 94 Weening could only secure 78 and Duke had an outside chance of checking out 156 but could only secure 100. It did put pressure on the Weening throw but with his last dart in hand on the next visit Brandon Weening secured the first hold of throw for the match and a position in day two’s final.
The other semi final was the exact opposite. Mal Cuming comfortably held throw in the first leg and Aaron Simpson returned the favour in the next leg. Cuming then put the third leg away in fifteen darts. He was unable to convert a 104 finish in the fourth leg and Simpson held throw on his next visit to the oche. For the third time in the match Cuming comfortably held his throw and was then presented to take the match in the next leg as he stood on 96 with Simpson on 238. Remarkably both players ended up requiring 40 at the same time as Simpson hit 140 and 58 in two visits and Cuming 26 and 30. With Simpson having first shot at it, he hit tops to hold throw and remain in the match. Cuming now had the chance to continue the trend of the match and hold throw and an opening visit of 140 held him in good stead. Simpson was not about to go away though and his second visit saw him collect the same score. Needing 120 Cuming left just 20 for the match and Simpson then collected 96 to leave 48. Cuming then busted chasing 20 for the win and Aaron Simpson cleaned up the leg to take the only break of the match and set up a final against Brandon Weening.
As is often the way after two classic semi finals the final was a less exciting affair. Brandon Weening set out his intentions in the opening leg by breaking Aaron Simpson after just 13 darts. He then held throw comfortably before hitting 100 and 125 out of the gate in the next leg and going on to secure a 3-0 lead. A poorer fourth leg from both players saw Simpson take one of the breaks back but he was only down by two legs for a short period as Weening took his third break of the match in comfortable style to lead 4-1. Weening then threw for the match and gave his opponent an outside glimpse of another leg by leaving 6 when chasing 24. Simpson could only collect 76 of the required 114 though and two darts later Brandon Weening had collected his first event of the Winmau DPA 2021 Satellite season by five legs to one.
In Queensland at the Pine Rivers Darts and Sporting Club 94 players competed for the Queensland honours of event two. Group winners included group winners from the day before in terms of Raymond O’Donnell, Pat Orreal, Steve Macarthur, Robbie King, Brendon Saunders, Jeremy Fagg, Jackson Davies, Dave Littleboy, Jamie Rundle and Bill Aitken. They were joined by familiar names like Raymond Smith, Matthew Mullen, Corey Naumann and Kyle Anderson as well as names the Australian darting community are going to get used to seeing in the likes of Riaan Englebrecht and Ethan Kibbey.
The top 64 saw the likes of Alex Evans, Chrissy Sheerin, Jordan Ford, Greg Walsh, Kenny Kennedy and Brett Brandley fall by the wayside but the only group leader to fall was Jackson Davies (2-4 to Grieg Grieg.) The top 32 saw four group leaders, in Englebrecht, Naumann, Kibbey and Orreal finish their campaigns for the weekend.
In the next round Ray O’Donnell could not continue his run of form as he fell 2-4 to Dave Simpson. Steve Macarthur overran Ky Smith and Jeremy Fagg did the same to Liam Philpott as did the man he would face in the next round, Raymond Smith (over Dave Littleboy.) Robbie King progressed after defeating Brendon Saunders 4-1. Brendon McCausland took out Chris Krabbe by 4-2 and the other two matches went to deciding legs, with Matt Mullen defeating Jamie Rundle and Bill Aitken getting past Kyle Anderson.
In the quarter finals Steve Macarthur won 4-2 and set up a clash with Brendon McCausland who continued to show the form that got him to the World Series of Darts stage in 2019 with a 4-3 win over fellow 2019 World Series of Darts representative Robbie King. In the bottom half of the draw both matches also went to a deciding leg, with Jeremy Fagg and Matt Mullen progressing to face off against each other.
In the first semi final Brendon McCausland broke Steve Macarthur in the opening leg in 15 darts before holding throw, although not after a brief moment of nerves as Macarthur left 12 when trying to check out a 126 finish. Macarthur then checked out 66 with McCausland standing behind him on 32 and ready to pounce once again if given the opportunity. McCausland then held throw to move within a leg of the final. He started the next leg against the throw with a ton and despite some nervous moments right at the end was able to take out 20 after his opponent had busted chasing double tops for the leg. With a 4-1 win secured McCausland was into his first final of the Winmau DPA season and MacArthur had to suffice with a quarter final and semi final appearance, a great performance considering the number and calibre of the field.
The other semi final saw both players hold their opening throw of the match. Matthew Mullen then secured his second hold of throw with a 15 dart leg and a brilliant 160 check out. It seemed to inspire Mullen as he hit 180 on his first visit after Jeremy Fagg opened the next leg. Fagg had a shot at a 92 check out in the leg but came up just short and Mullen jumped on it (he had missed out on converting 50 at the previous time of asking) to secure the 10 required to go two legs up in the chase to four legs. That only break of the match was enough as Mullen held throw (all be it nervously as both players had multiple chances to win the leg) and secured his place in the final.
The final was a one way affair after McCausland held throw and then threw a 15 dart leg to break the Mullen throw at the first attempt. Mullen then had his chances in third leg but was unable to take them and McCausland eventually held throw. An opening of 123 and a closing check out of 140 saw Matthew Mullen broken for the second time in 15 darts by McCausland and there was no mercy shown as Brendon McCausland closed out the match in 18 darts, checking out a 76 to win 5-0.
At the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club Dave Marland came closer than any other player over the weekend to win back to back events. The day started with the group stages for 64 players and from them came out group winners Joel Hynd, Clayton Collins, Darren Lane, Mitchell Clegg, Liam McLennan, Dave Willams, John Bunyard, and Pokotea Munokoa.
The round of 32 saw some close clashes with Manny Kato defeating Lavinia Hogg in a deciding leg, as Andrew Eagers did over Peter Wilmont, Alex Clark over Ben Clark and Moses Kainuku over Jason Dewey. The others matches were clearer affairs with only Dave Marland and Clayton Collins conceding two legs in their wins.
The round of 16 saw the like of Mitchell Clegg, Liam McLennan, Russell Northey and Joel Hynd progress relatively comfortably whilst Dave Williams looked good in his match against Scott Johnson. Justin Frey defeated Tony Welland in a deciding leg whilst in a battle that his fought many a time over the years, Dave Marland got the better of John Bunyard in a final leg decider as well.
The quarter finals were all comfortable affairs with Marland winning 4-0 and Andrew Eagers, Mitchell Clegg and Liam McLennan winning 4-1. Thus the semi finals created some intriguing possibilities with McLennan and Marland repeating the final of the night before and the amazing player Mitchell Clegg is, still the youngest player to have ever to qualify for the PDC World Championships when he did in 2006, losing in the 2007 event to Raymond van Barneveld who went on to win the event, and to this day has played some outstanding darts through his distinguished career, against the Team Danger man in Andrew Eagers who was looking to set up a match in the final against a man he affectionately calls ‘dad’ in Marland.
Clegg and Eagers turned out to be a one way affair. After holding through Clegg broke Eagers with both players spurning various opportunities to take the leg. In a chase to four holding his next throw, which Clegg did comfortably, put him in an obvious prime position and with Andrew Eagers missing chances once again to hold his throw Mitchell Clegg finally secured the leg and the match, although only after he too spurned chances in previous visits.
Marland and McLennan was a closer affair and it was McLennan who took an early lead. Two 140 visits and a follow up 128 two visits later set McLennan on a path to a 13 dart hold of throw. He then missed the bull for the next leg but Marland only scored 8 chasing 48 and McLennan was up two nil after his next visit to the oche. Marland then hit a maximum on his third visit in the next leg and held on to the lead to mark up his first leg of the match. He consolidated that by holding throw fairly comfortably. If Marland is known for anything it is that he can come back in a match and so it proved as he secured the fifth leg of the match by breaking the McLennan throw once again. This time it was in 14 darts with two visits of 140 (his opponent also opening with a 140) and a follow up 120 in his fourth visit before Marland checked out the required 41 in two darts. Liam McLennan missed the bull in what would be his last visit to the oche in the next leg as Dave Marland stepped up to check out the required 60 to hold his throw, win the match and secure his second final in two events at the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club.
The final saw Mitchell Clegg open with a comfortable hold of throw before Dave Marland did the same on his first attempt at holding throw. Leg three saw Clegg hit two early 140 visits and despite not being clinical at the end of the leg as he would have liked, he still won the leg comfortably. Leg four was the big one of the match. Marland and Clegg both had multiple chances to win the leg but when Marland busted 10 on his own throw Clegg was able to finally secure the leg on his next visit. He then consolidated the lead with a hold of throw and move to within a leg of the match. Marland then busted 64 on his own throw but was far enough ahead to have another shot at it, completing the job on the second attempt. The task in front of event winner one as he had to break Clegg in the next leg, win his own throw and then break Clegg in the deciding leg. It was not to be as Mitchell Clegg started leg seven with a 134 and never looked back. He finally checked out 50 to win the match five legs to two and secure event two on the Winmau DPA 2021 Satellite series.
With 193 players on both days across three states, and hopefully the prospects of lock downs and travel bans etc being lifted for other states to participate soon it looks like 2021 will be huge for hungry darts players who are looking to just get back into competing against each other face to face rather than just online. The opening events of the Winmau DPA 2021 Satellite series suggests that darts players are ready to jump at any chance to visit the oche downunder.