Finalists set on penultimate day of Nationals

A field of 48 ladies played out the Australian singles championships to determine the two finalists for Friday. The top 16 round saw Juanita Barke defeat Danni Ainsworth in a last leg decider whilst Sarah Harrison did the same over Darlene Carver. Natalie Carter (over Jaimie Loeber), Jo Hadley (v Emily Austin) and Michelle McGarry (against Tamara Brown) all won their matches 4-2 whilst Jackie Marks (over Karen Richardson) and Amanda Loch (v Hayley Davis) only conceded one leg to their opponents. Kayleigh Pickett did even better by not conceding a leg against Melina Van Den Kieboom.

The quarter finals were close affairs with all going to a deciding leg except for the Hadley v Carter match. In that match Jo Hadley opened with a 140 before backing it up two visits later with a 121. Her 17th dart secured a break of throw. She then opened with a ton on throw and her last two visits were 134 and 68 to hold throw and lead 2-0. A 138 visit against the throw seemed to set Hadley up for a third straight leg but she missed out on 18 upon her next visit and Carter collected double 20 to move within a leg of Hadley. The next leg saw both players miss opportunities but it was Hadley who eventually held throw to move a leg away from the semi-finals. On throw Natalie Carter missed out on another double 20 check out but got another chance at it when Hadley left 20 trying to check out 74. Hadley then had visits of 140 and 100 mid leg on throw and with her 19th dart collected double eight for the 4-2 win.

McGarry broke the Loch throw in the opening leg of their match and then held throw in the second, helped in part by strong opening visits of 140 and 100. Loch then produced an outstanding leg of darts to hold throw, Two maximum visits in her opening three visits helped her collect a 14-dart leg. She then moved from 152 to 16 in one visit to give her a shot at a break if McGarry could not convert 123. Despite a valiant attempt McGarry was unable to take out the big target (leaving 35) and Loch secured the check out with her last dart. McGarry immediately broke back to lead 3-2 only for Loch to check out 79 to collect the third break in a row. In the deciding leg McGarry continued the trend by completing a 19-dart break of throw and take the win 4-3.

Kayleigh Pickett and Juanita Burke spurned plenty of check out darts in the first leg of their match before Pickett finally collected 32 to take a break straight away. Pickett then consolidated her lead by holding throw, with visits of 100, 140 and 97 mid leg giving her a comfortable lead that two visits later turned into a second leg victory. Burke fell behind on throw in the next leg but visits of 100 and 119 left her needing 45 for a check out, which she was able to complete on her next visit. In leg four Kayleigh Pickett went to a strong lead with visits of 121 and 120 and two visits of 85 but she was then unable to check out on three visits and Barke grabbed the opportunity presented to draw level at 2-2. Pickett continued to start legs strongly, this time with visits of 120 and 100, and this time held firm to win the leg and take the lead once more. Barke was able to break back straight away in 21 darts to take the match to a deciding leg. She had the throw but a visit of 140 moved Pickett to 116 and on her next visit she checked out this game high total to win the match 4-3.

In the other quarter final Jackie Marks held throw in her opening leg with Sarah Harrison although both players missed leg darts. Harrison then held throw comfortably before getting the break back with a check out of 70 completing her 18 darts for the leg. She then missed more chances at a check out to give Marks a second break of throw and move the match back to level terms. Marks then held throw with a 123 fourth visit and 64 check out the highlights for her. Harrison had thrown 100 (twice), 85 and 125 in her opening four visits but then missed leg darts giving her opponent the chance to take out the 64 and move to within a leg of the match. It was then Marks who missed leg darts, this time match darts, and double eight to Harrison meant a final leg decider would be played out between the two. Marks opened with 100 which was matched by Harrison on her second visit to the oche. From there Marks built a solid leg lead with visits of 100 and 98 especially helpful. With Harrison only able to move to 134 with Marks only needing 40 for the match it was the latter who stepped up to the oche and cleaned up the match 4-3 with her last dart in hand.

Jackie Marks opened her semi final with Michelle McGarry by holding throw before breaking her opponent’s throw in the second leg. A 48 check out then moved her to 3-0 up as McGarry stood behind her only requiring double 16 to move back within a leg of Marks. Instead McGarry faced being clean swept but visits of 100 and 140 helped her get to a winning position and this was helped when Marks left 14 when trying to check out 56. McGarry took out the twelve required to win her first leg. She then produced a remarkable turnaround in the next leg to stay in the match. Marks had four visits to check out 80 but was unable to do so and McGarry came from a long way back to checkout 82, meaning that if she held throw the match the match would be level. It was not to be as Marks opened with 100, 100 and 140 to dominate the leg and despite not checking out at the first attempt she was able to take the break to move a leg away from the final to be played Friday. On throw Marks threw a 140 to move to 36 before McGarry threw 120 to leave 38. Marks calmly converted the required double 18 with her next dart to secure a place in the final.

The other semi final saw Kayleigh Pickett and Jo Hadley have to play a deciding leg to determine the other finalist. Hadley opened strongly with a 14-dart leg, including an opening of 99, third visit of 174 and a check out of 76. Pickett then held throw in 16 darts, a 140 and 134 in two of the opening three legs helping to stave off Hadley (who finished the leg with visits of 140 and 100.) Hadley then held throw comfortably in twenty darts before she failed to take the chance Pickett presented her by not checking out four on her penultimate visit. Hadley then moved the tally of consecutive holds of throw to five but only after both players were unable to secure the leg with several checkout darts. Pickett then held throw to tie the match up once more, although she still struggled to immediately check out the leg. Leg seven saw Hadley check out 48 after Pickett left twenty in her attempt at checking out 78. She had gained this opportunity with previous visits of 180 and 99 but it was Hadley who came away with the match lead at 4-3. Hadley then threw away several match darts in the next leg before Pickett held once again and the match went to a deciding leg. Pickett won the all-important throw and opened with 121. Hadley responded with two scores of 100 with Pickett scoring 81 in between. With a ton mid leg Hadley was able to move to 56 but when she did not take it out over her next six darts Pickett pounced with double 16 from her 22nd dart presenting her the match and the other position in the final.

 Thus, Kayleigh Pickett and Jackie Marks will play out the final on Friday.

The men’s competition had 64 competitors and the final 16 played out the following results: Sam Ballinger 4 Colly Craig 1, Brandon Weening 4 Tyson Hillcoat 2, Blake Hatchett 4 Brendan Masters 1, Mark Dorotich 4 Barry Ledington 2, Brody Klinge 4 Raymond Smith 2, Scott Hallett 4 Mick Mullaney 1, Danny Porter 4 Michael Cassar 2, Gary Stevens 4 Dean Gibbs 1.

In an all-Victorian Quarter final Brandon Weening took the first leg in 13 darts over Sam Ballinger. Three visits of 100 and a follow up 130 meant Ballinger had a shot at a 71 check out and he took it to complete a 15-dart leg. Weening then held throw before breaking his opponent’s throw after Ballinger left 16 trying to check out 70. 15 darts later Weening had taken the match, a 74 check out capping off a comprehensive leg of darts.

Danny Porter conceded one more leg than Weening to make the semi final line up. Porter started with a hold of throw after Gary Stevens missed several darts at a checkout. He did the same in the second leg, as did Porter, but this time he was able to eventually land a dart in double one to win the leg. Porter then held throw after Stevens missed the bullseye for the break. Again, Stevens regained his composure quickly and secured a hold of throw in 18 darts. Against the Porter throw Stevens missed another shot at the bullseye and could have assumed he would return to the oche. Porter, however, had other ideas and checked out 117 to move a leg away from the semi-finals. 14 darts leg that position was his with Porter starting with a visit of 177 and scoring 135 three visits later to leave a check out of 50 which he completed over his final two darts.

In a battle of the younger brigade Blake Hatchett secured the first maximum of the match in his third visit to the oche to set him on his way to holding throw. Weening had other ideas and came within ten points of checking out 130. Hatchett then stepped up and double 8 meant he had held throw. In the next leg Weening had a shot at another big checkout but missed the bullseye trying to collect 124. Hatchett responded with a 110 check out to move two legs clear. The third leg saw outstanding darts from Hatchett as he opened with a maximum and closed with a 128 check out to complete a 12 dart hold of throw. He then broke the Weening throw again thanks to mid leg visit of 137 and 140 and despite missing a dart at the 75 check out he returned to take the leg in 17 darts. He then completed an outstanding display of darts with a 16 dart hold of throw, with visits of 100 and 128 leaving him to throw double 8 with his last dart and secure a position in Friday’s final.

The other semi final saw Brody Klinge hold throw with a check out of 80. He then missed out on a break of throw after being unable to collect 43 having had previous visits of 100 and 134 to set up the chance. Instead, Danny Porter was able to hold throw with his 19th dart. Klinge then produced a 15-dart leg with visits of 123 and 140 and a 102 check out in his five visits. Porter stood behind him needing 112 after 12 darts but did not return to the oche for the leg. Klinge then opened with visit of 140, 100 and 100 but his opponent was in the fight thanks to two visits of 134. It was not enough though as Klinge checked out 96. Completing the leg in 15 darts. He then held his throw in 12 darts thanks to visits of 100, 140 and 134 and a 127 checkout. A leg away from a loss Danny Porter fought hard to hold throw in the next game although he would have had a sigh of relief when Klinge missed three darts at double twenty for the match. Klinge held a 4-2 lead and had the throw in the next leg. Against the throw Porter collected 123 but on his next visit Klinge matched it. Two visits later Porter collected 98 to leave 96 only for Klinge to throw 139 to leave Shanghai. Both players missed these check outs and so Klinge stepped up to the oche once more and with his 17th dart he took the leg and the match five legs to two.

Thus, Brody Klinge and Blake Hatchett will face off against each other in the final on Friday.