John Hurring secured his maiden DartPlayers New Zealand Winmau ProTour title at the weekend, while Haupai Puha celebrated his first win of 2023 in Auckland.
Hurring came through a 98-player field to win Event Three on Saturday, defeating New Zealand’s number one Ben Robb in a last-leg thriller to triumph.
Robb, who claimed back-to-back titles in the opening DPNZ double-header last month, missed two match darts in a dramatic decider, as Hurring battled back from 6-5 down to claim a memorable win.
Hurring averaged 94.3 to prevail in a high-quality affair, landing five 180s and converting a 110 checkout en route to victory, firing in an 11-dart skin-saver in the penultimate leg.
The 38-year-old produced a series of dominant displays to scoop the $1,000 top prize, winning all four matches in the initial group phase and relinquishing a solitary leg in the process.
Hurring, who competed in the 2018 Auckland Darts Masters, was also rarely troubled in the knockout phases, registering wins over Craig Caldwell, Puha and Kayden Milne in the latter stages.
Robb also stormed through to Saturday’s final in emphatic style, overcoming Haunui Hira and Brian Corbett in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, before Hurring denied him a third straight title.
Former World Cup of Darts quarter-finalist Puha then claimed the Event Four spoils on Sunday, courtesy of a 7-4 success against Tukina Weko.
Puha, who made his World Championship debut in 2021, produced an 11-darter en route to establishing a 3-0 lead, before defying a spirited rally from Weko to triumph with a 90 average.
Puha recorded four consecutive whitewash wins in the group phase, while successive 4-2 victories over Caldwell and Jamie Roberts saw him advance to the last eight.
He then dispatched Haunui Hira 5-1 in the quarter-finals, before recovering from 5-3 down in the last four to edge out Milne, who featured in back-to-back semi-finals in Auckland.
Weko, meanwhile, whitewashed Robb in his run to the Event Four final, and after edging out Stu Irwin in the last eight, he reeled off five consecutive legs in his 6-2 rout of Mark Cleaver.
The 2023 DPNZ ProTour season continues with Events 5-6 in Nelson on April 29-30, as Robb looks to extend his lead at the top of the Order of Merit.
The new-look DPNZ circuit, supported by the PDC, will feature six ProTour weekends over the next 12 months, with two events taking place on each weekend.
Following the culmination of the 2023 DPNZ ProTour season, the top 16 players on the DPNZ Order of Merit will compete in the Cazoo World Darts Championship qualifier on October 9 in Christchurch.
2023 DartPlayers New Zealand Winmau ProTour
Saturday March 25
Birkenhead RSA, Auckland
Ben Robb 5-2 Haunui Hira
Brian Corbett 5-4 Alan Skayman
Kayden Milne 5-3 Warren Parry
John Hurring 5-3 Haupai Puha
Ben Robb 6-2 Brian Corbett
John Hurring 6-3 Kayden Milne
John Hurring 7-6 Ben Robb
Sunday March 26
Tukina Weko 5-4 Stu Irwin
Mark Cleaver 5-3 Monte Tuhua
Kayden Milne 5-4 Josh Roberts
Haupai Puha 5-1 Haunui Hira
Tukina Weko 6-2 Mark Cleaver
Haupai Puha 6-5 Kayden Milne
Haupai Puha 7-4 Tukina Weko