WHITLOCK WINS ALL-AUSTRALIAN DUTCH DARTS MASTERS FINAL AGAINST NICHOLSON
SIMON WHITLOCK defeated Paul Nicholson 6-1 in an all-Australian final to claim the Dutch Darts Masters title in Nuland on Sunday night as he secured his maiden European Tour triumph.
The world number six followed up last month’s PartyPoker.net European Championship victory in Germany with the triumph in Holland as he scooped the £15,000 first prize in style against Nicholson.
Nicholson had knocked out in-form Dutch star Michael van Gerwen, 16-year-old German talent Max Hopp, former World Youth Champion Arron Monk and Wayne Jones in his run to the final.
However, he failed to reproduce that form as the ever-consistent Whitlock claimed the victory against his World Cup team-mate.
Nicholson actually won the opening leg of the final, hitting a 180 to set up double 16, but Whitlock levelled on double 12 and hit a pair of double ten finishes to move 3-1 up.
Whitlock then fired in another 180 to set up tops for a 14-dart leg and landed double ten to move to the brink of his first European Tour win.
He then landed scores of 140 and 133 to be first to a finish in leg seven, and although he initially missed two match darts at double 16 for a 70 checkout, he returned to hit the bed and seal the title.
“It feels fantastic and I’m over the moon to win,” said Whitlock, who had dropped just four legs in victories over Ian White, Johnny Haines and Kim Huybrechts on Sunday as he reached the final.
“It’s brilliant for two Australians to be in the final and Paul’s done really well this weekend.
“I seem to perform well on the Contintent and to follow up the European Championship win with this is great – I can’t wait for the World Championship now and hopefully I’ll be holding the trophy at the end of that too!”
He added: “Paul’s a very good friend of mine and we’re World Cup pairs partners, so it was tough playing him and I’m just happy to get the win.
“It’s been a long day but I stuck with it and I’ve had some good performances, my averages were pretty good and I was solid.”
Nicholson’s performance was his best in the year’s five European Tour events – and his first final since he partnered Whitlock in the World Cup back in February – with the £7,500 prize money helping him to maintain his spot within the world’s top 16.
“It’s been a huge weekend for me,” said Nicholson. “This year has been up and down but this weekend has proved to me that all the hard work really has been worth it.
“I’ve had some really tough games and played some great darts. By the time the final came around I was shattered and ran out of steam but Simon’s been used to getting this far in tournaments this year and I haven’t. He’s had a bit more darts fitness than me and I give him all the credit.
“I’m so privileged to have been part of the first all-Aussie final on the ProTour and I’m proud of myself to have got this far. Before this week, nobody had any expectation of me and I’m thrilled to have been in the final.
“I’ll move on from here and I’m looking forward to the next couple of months.”
Jones won through to the semi-finals in style with a superb 6-5 defeat of Phil Taylor in a high-quality quarter-final contest, which saw the world number one miss three match darts in a dramatic deciding leg.
Jones’ run was his best performance for 12 months on the PDC circuit and a huge boost ahead of the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts on home soil in Wolverhampton, which begins in a fortnight.
Emerging Belgian ace Huybrechts reached his fifth semi-final of the year with a brilliant 6-2 quarter-final defeat of Mark Walsh, who was joined in the last eight by Monk – who overcame Andy Hamilton in the third round earlier in the day – and Swindon’s Johnny Haines.
Haines had defeated Dutch hero Raymond van Barneveld on Saturday night and then overcame Jamie Caven in the last 16, with the £3,000 prize money putting him in the frame to qualify for the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship through the ProTour Order of Merit in his debut year as a professional.
Four Players Championship events now remain before the cut-off for the World Championship and Cash Converters Players Championship Finals, with next weekend’s double-header in Crawley followed by two events in Barnsley at the end of November.
Dutch Darts Masters – European Tour Event Five
Sunday October 28
Wayne Jones 3-6 Paul Nicholson
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Paul Nicholson 1-6 Simon Whitlock