The Winmau Pro Tour 2022 continued on Saturday
The Winmau Pro Tour 2022 continued on Saturday in five venues across the vast territory that makes up Australia.
At the Melton club in Victoria the final four places were taken up by Mal Cuming, Brandon Weening, Brody Klinge and Justin Thompson. In the first semi final Weening won a tight affair against Team Rebel’s Cuming in a final leg decider. In the other Thompson saw off the Klinge challenge by five legs to three. The final saw Weening immediately break the Thompson throw and then hold his own throw before Thompson finally won a leg.
A poor leg from Weening was eventually punished by Thompson, although it should have not ended up as close as it did. Back at 2-2 Weening broke straight away once more, but like the previous leg it was closer than it should have been but Weening held his nerve. The youngster then held throw pretty comfortably before the man who in the not to distant future is heading to Lakeside saw his throw broken for the second successive time, indeed the third time in four legs.
He was able to break the throw of Weening (again it ended up closer than it should have been) and held throw in the ninth leg to bring the match back to 5-4. Unable to convert 88 Thompson had to stand behind Weening at the oche as his opponent threw 76 to take the Final 6-4.
In Queensland it looked like things could go as they did on Friday as Robbie King and Ray Smith powered their way through to separate semi finals. Smith would face Dave Littleboy at that stage whilst King would take on Jeremy Fagg. King’s semi final was a case of lost opportunities for the former PDC World Championship representative against a returning star of Queensland darts.
He missed multiple check outs and Fagg pounced to win the match 5-3. Littleboy continued his never ending good form as the veteran took Smith to 4-4 where the Guru used all his craft to win that deciding leg. In the final both players held throw for the opening seven legs (including a check out of 105 from Smith and check outs of 68, 102, and 72 from Fagg.) In the eighth leg Smith got the first break of the match with a 14 dart leg before holding his throw, just – as Fagg failed to get 16 on two visits to the Oche, to secure the match 6-3 and like Weening in Victoria win his second title in two days.
In South Australia Danny Porter continued the previous winners campaigns as he eliminated Scott Hallet 5-2 in the semi finals. His opponent from the previous final fell by the way side, like King in Queensland, in the semi final stage as Rob Modra defeated Adam Leek 5-1.
The Final in South Australia saw Modra break the Porter throw immediately, one of three breaks of throw in the first three legs. A 15 dart leg form Modra in leg four saw him move out to a 3-1 lead before Porter finally held his own throw.
Another 15 dart leg and a 116 check out saw Modra move two clear legs ahead once more before both players held throw, twice, to move the scoreboard to 5-4 in Modra’s favour. Modra had the throw in the tenth leg and held comfortably to win the Final and be the first player to prevent a Friday winner double up on Saturday across Australia.
Dave Hanel had won in NSW on the Friday and he made another final after eliminating Mark Wortley 5-0 in their semi final. The other semi went to Jamie Browne, who defeated the ever consistent David Cairns 5-3. The Final saw both players hold throw for the first four legs, although Hanel had chances to break in the second and Browne spurned his own opportunities against the throw in the third leg.
Browne would make up for it in the fifth leg, though, as he comfortably secured a break of throw but then failed to consolidate this lead and failed to convert 81 to watch as Hanel got the break straight back and move the match to 3-3. He then broke the Hanel throw for a second successive time and this time held throw comfortably to move within a leg of the match.
Both players had chances in the ninth leg but it was Browne who held his nerve to take the leg, and win the Final 6-3, thus denying another winner from the previous night a second championship.
Finally in Western Australia Bailey Marsh was attempting to do what all the other winners across the country had done and make another final. He moved through the day well and set up a semi final clash with Team Misfit’s Tim Pusey. Pusey won that match 5-1 to eliminate Marsh in a match that will surely be repeated, with a variety of results, for years to come. Whilst that semi final was about youth the other semi final saw two ever greens face off as Adam Rowe took on David Platt.
The match went to a deciding leg which Platt took out to win 5-4. The Final saw Platt hold throw in 13 darts before breaking the Pusey throw in 16. He then held throw to take a very fast 3-0 lead. Platt checked out a 68 to take his second break before holding throw once more to lead 5-0. Through that period it was only once, in the third leg, that Pusey had a reasonable shot at a checkout.
Pusey started a comeback in leg six as he held throw in 17 darts before breaking the Platt throw in 15. Pusey then watched as Platt busted 25 for the match but for the second time in the match Pusey busted a chance at 40 and Platt did not need another invitation to take out 25 and win the Final 6-2.
Thus Saturday had seen two retaining champions, in Weening and Smith, and three new ones crowned on the weekend, in Modra, Browne and Platt. With consistent performers in Smith and Weening taking two championships and Hanel and Porter continuing to shine by making two finals it was also fantastic to see champions like Thompson, Fagg, Modra, Platt and Rowe return to do so well.
Also the consistent play of legends like Littleboy, Cairns, Cuming and King, and the talents of a combination of young players playing beyond their years and older players who have refined their skills in tournaments across Australia like Pusey, Marsh, Browne, Klinge, Wortley, Hallett and Leek, the depth of talent Australia has in darts is clear for all to see.