The 42nd Australian Championships kicked off on Saturday morning with the opening ceremony, highlighted with the return of the Northern Territory meaning each state and major territory was represented once more.
Kelvin James, chairperson of Darts Australia, hosted the event,
“The welcome return of the Northen Territory team was a highlight and their entry was celebrated with a standing ovation from all present. It was really pleasing to be a part of and it was great to welcome them back to the fold.
“The flag ceremony was as prestigious as ever and the welcome to each individual rookie was especially pleasing. It is good to see 20 plus new faces at the event. This is the start for many of their darting journeys and I spoke of the opportunities they had in front of them. It is up to them where they end up in the world of darts but they can look to the progress of the likes of Simon Whitlock, Damon Heta and Kyle Anderson and many others as inspiration” James said.
Guests included the deputy mayor of the Murray River Council, Frank Crawley, Betty Hislop OAM and Barry Moyle, the food and beverage Director of the Rich River Golf and Country Club as well as Darts Australia director John Harvey.
James reminded the room of the calibre of the competition they were about to be engaged in,
“22 world champions have all played in our championships, nine of which were world youth champions. The potential after Denmark this year is that we will be adding more numbers to that list so it is exciting times at these championships for players to make their mark on darting history in Australia.”
The competition got underway in the morning with the opening rounds of the
The Ladies Gold Division started with WA v Victoria. Victoria opened up well as Karen Richardson held throw before Jucinta Dann did the same for WA. Jane Gambie then broke the throw of Christina Aspalter with Tamara Brown holding throw to give the West Australians a 3-1 lead. Evelyn Cockie then broke once more before Richardson returned to the oche and broke the throw of Gambie. The WA team then won three consecutive legs before Richardson won her third leg of the match, this time breaking Dann’s throw. Tamara Brown broke straight back before Cockie held throw to help secure a 9-3 victory for the WA women.
The SA and Tasmanian ladies’ Gold teams put in a great match and it came down to a deciding leg. Hayley Davis broke the throw of Tammy Wilson after Wilson missed several leg darts before Alecia Ritchie held throw against Emma Watkins to put the South Aussies 2-0 up. Michelle Ellis then held throw for the Tasmanian teams before Danni Ainsworth returned the two-leg advantage for her team. Davis then broke the Watkins throw before Wilson broke the throw of Gemma Leonard to give the Tasmanians their second leg. Ritchie and Ainsworth then won their legs to put SA 6-2 up and the match looked like it was almost all over but Jasmin Horton held throw and then Tammy Wilson broke the Ritchie throw to build some doubt in the South Aussie’s minds. Emma Watkins then held throw before Hayley Davis got SA back on track by holding throw against Ellis. Wilson then held throw and Watkins broke the Leonard throw and the match was remarkably back on level terms at 7-7. Ritchie then broke the Ellis throw but Tasmania did not give up as Horton broke the Davis throw to move the match to a deciding leg. Against the throw Tammy Wilson had a shot at a 100 check out but left 66 only for Alecia Ritchie to check out 114 straight after and win an amazing match for the South Australian Ladies Gold team.
The Queensland gold team won comfortably in their opening clash with NSW as Melina Van Den Kieboom, Maureen Homer, Jaunita Barke and Jaimie Loeber all won their opening legs. All bar Barke then backed it up with another win but Barke fell to Katrina McNaught in the eighth leg. Two legs later NSW double their leg tally as Andrea Hendley defeated Van Den Kieboom but Homer stepped up to defeat McNaught in the eleventh and last leg of the match, securing the 9-2 victory.
The South Australian team then secured their second win of the day, this time defeating the Victorian team. This time the South Australians were able to hold off any chance of a comeback after another strong start gave them a 5-0 lead. Sheryll Beasy collected two legs and Christina Aspalter one for the Victorians but Danni Ainsworth won her third leg of the match to secure a 9-3 win for South Australia, the only one of her team to go through the match without losing a leg.
West Australia matched South Australia’s two from two start by defeating NSW 9-4. All four of the WA team opened with a leg victory before Michelle Hall and Amanda Palka moved their team back within two legs of the match. Jane Gambie and Tamara Brown then put their team back ahead by four legs before Palka and Amanda Hendley won consecutive legs for South Australia again. There was no further come back, however, as Evelyn Cockie, Brown and Jucinta Dann won the last three legs to take the match 9-4.
The final match of round 2 saw Tasmania in another tight tussle this time against Queensland, however but this time it went their way. Things seemed to be going the favourites way when Maureen Homer and Melina Van Den Kieboom won the opening two legs of the match. Despite a one leg blip when Michelle Ellis won Tasmania’s first leg of the match the Queenslanders kept up the pressure as Jaunita Barke and Homer won to give their team a 4-1 lead. As in their first match the Tasmanians could not be discounted though and Tammy Wilson broke the Jaimie Loeber throw in 22 darts before Jasmin Horton held throw and Ellis secured her second consecutive leg to move the match back onto level terms at 4-4. Loeber then held throw to return the Queenslanders to the lead before Wilson broke the throw of Van Den Kieboom to move the match back to parity. Emma Watkins then held throw in a leg that saw Barke miss multiple chances to move her team back to the lead. Queenslander Homer held throw comfortably in 20 darts before Wilson also held throw for her side. Loeber also held throw in the 14th leg before Ellis moved the Tasmanians to within one leg of the match at 8-7. Homer was not done for Queensland though and she pounced after Horton missed three chances at 20 for the match. Homer cleaned up on her next visit to hold throw. She then won the right to throw first in the deciding leg but it was Tasmanian Ellis who would come through to win the leg and help Tasmania take out the match 9-8.
The final set of matches for the day in this section saw Victoria win their first match of the day, thanks to a 9-3 win over NSW (with Dedrie Williams and Karen Richardson going undefeated in the match, NSW picking up their three legs through leg wins to Amanda Palka, Andrea Hendley and Michelle Hall), Queensland returning to winning ways by inflicting South Australia’s first loss of the day (9-6 the final score after SA had leg 3-1 and 5-4, Jaunita Barke, Jaimie Loeber and Melina Van Den Kieboom winning the last three legs to secure the win) and Western Australia becoming the only undefeated team of the section for the day with a 9-2 win over Tasmania (winning the last seven legs in succession to take the match, Tamara Brown and Jucinta Dann being undefeated for the match, indeed Brown did not lose a single leg all day!)
Thus, at the end of the day WA led the way with 6 points, SA are on four, Qld, Vic and Tas all on 2 points and NSW yet to secure a point in the Ladies Gold Section.
In the other section, the Ladies Green section, WA, and Tasmania fought out a tight affair. WA led the way with Angela Clarke and Natalie Carter giving WA a 2-0 lead before Courtney Slater and Sandra Smith helped their team draw level. Clarke then won another leg and this time Martekea Wilson backed the leg up with another leg win to give the WA team a 4-2 lead. Smith then one for the Tasmanians once again before Dot McLeod joined the list of WA leg winners and Wilson and Crater helped to give WA a 7-3 lead. However as in the gold division the Tasmanians were not to be written off and the side won the next five legs consecutively to move a leg away from the match at 8-7. On throw Clarke held her nerve against Smith and pushed the match into a deciding leg. Clarke returned to the oche for that leg, this time against Slater. Visits of 140 and 100 had the Tasmanian off to a perfect start to hold throw and she got to the first check out at 141. Clarke, however, stayed in it with consistent visits and a 95 left her needing 88. Slater left 4 when chasing double eight for the match and Clarke steppe dup to secure the 32 required to give her WA team a remarkable victory, nine legs to eight.
Queensland also had to survive a deciding leg to get past South Australia in their opening fixture. Amanda Loch held throw for Queensland, Lyn Morrison just falling short after leaving 2 chasing a 75 check out. Seini Vakanofiti then pouncing on the throw of Kym Mitchell after Mitchell threw away multiple darts for the leg. South Australia hit back as Jules Taylor broke the throw of Michelle McGarry and Abbey Morrison then held throw in 21 darts against Jackie Marks. Queensland returned to the lead through Vakanofiti before Taylor handed Loch her first leg loss of the match. Marks and Abbey Morrison then held throw for Qld and SA respectively before Marks moved the Queenslanders back into the lead by holding throw before Loch broke the Mitchell throw only for Abbey Morrison to break the Vakanofiti throw immediately. Queensland were still 6-5 in front but with Lyn Morrison then holding throw with a 63 check out over McGarry the match was back on level terms. Amanda Loch put her team back into the lead in a 22-dart leg before Taylor held throw for the second time in the match. Things then swung the South Aussies way with Australian representative Mitchell breaking the McGarry throw. Queensland were not done though. Lynn Morrison left 27 chasing a check out of 62 and Jackie Marks pounced to immediately break back and move the match into a deciding leg. Abbey Morrison would have the throw against Jackie Marks but neither player could make the most of multiple opportunities until Marks hit the four she required to take out the match for Queensland 9-8.
Victoria rounded out the first set of matches with a 9-1 win over NSW, Kate Gifford, Jo Hadley, Kayleigh Pickett, and Janine Cassar all winning their matches before Emily Austin secured the only leg of the match for NSW. Victoria then secured five legs on the bounce to take the win.
Tasmania then won the battle of the deciding leg losers of round one with a 9-4 victory over South Australia. Kym Mitchell held throw in the first leg before Lee-Anne Faulkner did the same for Tasmania. Sandra Smith then broke the Abbey Morrison throw before Courtney Slater threw a brilliant 17 dart leg to give her side a 3-1 lead. Darlene Carver broke the throw of Lyn Morrison after the South Aussie failed in the madhouse. Mitchell then returned to break the Smith throw. It was to be the first of four consecutive breaks of throw, with Faulkner, Abbey Morrison (Slater missing at 14 with several darts), and Smith winning those legs. Thus, after nine legs the score sat at 6-3 to the Tasmanians. Faulkner then held throw before Lynn Morrison gave her team their fourth leg. Carver then moved the Tasmanians within a leg of the match with a hold of throw, and Slater then stepped up to take on the Mitchell throw. When Mitchell left 10 trying to check out 100 Slater stepped up and converted 53 to give Tasmania a 9-4 victory.
Western Australia then won their second consecutive match 9-8, this time over Victoria. Natalie Carter and Angela Clarke opened the match up strongly for WA before Kayleigh Pickett (twice), Janine Cassar, and Kate Gifford all picked up legs to jump Victoria to a 4-2 lead. Martekea Wilson (two) and Dot McLeod then won tightly fought affair, leaving their Victorian opponents requiring tops (twice) and five when the West Australians checked out. Hadley and Cassar both won to move Victoria back to the lead (6-5) before Dot McLeod left Gifford stranded needing 16 to hold her throw. Cassar came out and broke straight back before Pickett broke the sequence of three consecutive breaks with a hold of throw, despite busting 75 on the first attempt before securing it at the second in 21 darts. With the score at 8-6 WA had to win three consecutive legs and things started well when Dot McLeod checked out 112. Wilson then won the next leg in 22 darts to move the match to a deciding leg. It was Wilson who would stay at the oche as she matched up against Hadley. A 140 start from the Victorian was a good response to Wilson’s opening 100 visit. The leg remained tight but given darts at a 59 checkout Wilson threw accurately with her next two darts to give the win to Western Australia (9-8.)
The final match of the second round saw NSW secure their first win of the day against Queensland. Emily Austin may have missed the bull against the throw of Amanda Loch in the opening leg of the match but Loch presented her with another visit and two darts later NSW were a leg in front. Sarah Harrison then held throw in 22 darts before Michelle McGarry held throw against the formidable Gemma Spence. NSW moved two legs ahead once more as Melissa Harrison held throw before Austin returned to break the throw of another Queenslander, in this case Seini Vakanofiti. Gemma Spence then missed out at two throws at 27, having set that scoreline up with a visit of 174. Amanda Loch eventually took the spoils, although it took her two visits at 40 to give Queensland their second leg of the match. NSW then moved to a 5-2 lead thanks to Sarah Harrison pouncing on Jackie Marks failure to take out 16 on two visits to the oche. The next four legs saw holds of throw from Harrison (twice), Marks and Vakanofiti. Austin then lost her throw to McGarry before Loch gave Queensland their third consecutive leg. A 7-3 lead had been whittled down to a 7-6 one and it was up to Spence to belie her years and hold off the onslaught from north of the NSW border. She did so to move NSW a leg away form the win but it was not gone yet as Michelle McGarry held throw to move the match to within a leg of a decider. Emily Austin would have none of it though and she stepped up to check out 56 and secure the Ladies NSW Green team their first win of the day, 9-7.
Tasmania then secured a strong win against Victoria, racing to a 3-0 lead before Victoria was able to win two of the next three legs. Despite coming close on each occasion Victoria won none of the next four legs before Darlene Carver comfortably took out the eleventh leg to give Tasmania a 9-2 win.
South Australia finally secured their first win of the section by defeating NSW 9-7 in their final match of the day. Emily Austin broke the Kym Mitchell throw in the first leg of the day before Lyn (twice) and Abbey Morrison, as well as Jules Taylor all won their legs to give SA a 4-1 lead, Morrison checking out 80 in the fifth leg. Gemma Spence (NSW), Taylor (SA), and Melissa Harrison (NSW) all held throw before Spence broke the Taylor throw. Unfortunately, Kym Mitchell had to withdraw due to injury after the fifth leg and the captain had to step in for South Australia. Sarah Harrison held throw in 19 darts in the tenth leg before Melissa Harrison pounced on Lynn Morrison’s spurned opportunities at a 35 check out to move NSW to a 6-5 lead. Abbey Morrison then checked out in 18 darts before Melissa Harrison broke straight back for NSW to give them a 7-6 lead. Lyn Morrison defeated Gemma Spence in the 14th leg with 20 darts before Abbey held throw to move her team to within a leg of the match. Emily Austin had the throw for NSW but missed checking out ten and Taylor pounced to give her team the 9-7 scoreline over NSW.
Queensland inflicted WA Green (indeed either of the WA Ladies teams) first defeat of the day with a 9-6 victory. Natalie Carter held throw in the first leg for WA before Angela Clarke pounced on Amanda Loch who left two after chasing eight for the second leg. Jackie Marks then broke Dot McLeod before Michelle McGarry and Seini Vakanofiti secured legs for Qld to move their team into the lead for the first time in the match. The teams exchanged breaks of throw thanks to Carter and Loch before Michelle McGarry and Martekea Wilson held throw to move the match to 5-4 going the way of Queensland. Amanda Loch then held out the challenge of Natalie Carter in 23 darts before Clarke moved her side back to within a leg of match parity. Vakanofiti and Carter then exchanged legs and the match sat delicately balanced at 7-6 to Queensland. Jackie Marks then held throw to move her team within a leg of the match and Loch broke the McLeod throw with an 82 check out to give her Queensland side the 9-6 win.
It left the green division Ladies led by Western Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania on four points, but it is anyone’s division still.
The men’s Gold division saw the opening South Australia v Queensland match be the only one to go to a deciding leg on the day. Laurie Loch held throw in 15 darts against Danny Morrison before Danny Porter held in 16. Brendon Masters (Qld) and Scott Hallett (SA) then held throw before Anthony Shreeve did the same. Karl Schaefer then checked out 110 to hold in 15 against Loch before Porter broke Stewart Smith’s throw to give his side a 4-3 lead. Hallett made the most of this by holding throw before Smith broke the Shafer throw. Porter once again steadied the South Australian ship by holding throw before Shreeve checked out 151 and held in 15 darts. With Masters breaking the Morrison throw the Queenslanders were back within two legs of their opponents and Laurie Loch closed that gap further by holding throw. Shreeve then had nine darts from 85 and Shafer eventually pounced to hold throw for South Australia. Masters then held throw before Smith broke Morrison after the South Aussie was unable to convert a visit at 36. Porter had the throw in the deciding leg but it was Shreeve who took a comfortable lead only to miss six darts trying to check out 50 and with a visit of 94 and a double ten Porter took the leg and the match for his South Australian team 9-8.
Northern Territory returned to the fold for the men with their match against Western Australia and whilst it was the state side that won the match 9-1, Ashley Hughes had the honour of winning the sole Territory leg.
Victoria took on NSW and went out to a quick 3-0 lead through Barry Ledington, Liam McDonell, and Sam Ballinger. Troy Papworth and Royce Faulkner then brought NSW back into the match before Ledington took the throw away from Tony Brown. David Clegg then broke James Liddy in 15 darts before Papworth held throw against Ballinger. Liddy returned to the oche and this time held throw, helped in part by a 116 check out. Ledington then broke the throw of Clegg in 17 darts before McDonell held throw to give his Victorian side a 7-4 lead. Faulkner then held throw for NSW with Ledington and Brown creating a run of four legs held throw in succession. Sam Ballinger would continue and end that run at the same time by holding throw in the 15th and last leg of the match, Victoria securing a 9-6 win over NSW.
In the final opening round match of the division the ACT men also defeated their opponents 9-6, in this case Tasmania. Judd Hoyle and Mick Mullaney of the ACT would win their own opening two legs but in between Brayden Abell, John Rowbottom and Matt Woodberry secured legs for Tasmania. Ben Dawkins then moved Tasmania back into match parity before Mullaney completed his undefeated run in the match. Abell then tied things back up at five all after ten legs. Dawkins was unable to secure ten in the next leg and Carson was able to steal his throw back before Ciaran Holmes broke the Woodberry throw. Dawkins was able to break straight back for Tasmania in leg 13 but Carson then responded by breaking the Rowbottom throw and Holmes stepped up to hold throw, although there were some nervous moments as Abell had darts at six for the leg. Thus, the ACT held out for a 9-6 win.
The ACT men were not able to repeat their efforts in the next match as they lost out 9-0 to WA, highlights for the WA team included 17 and 18 dart legs from Wayne Egan, a 14-dart leg from Lindsay Haji Ali, and a 98 check out from Gary Stevens. The South Australian and Queensland men were almost as impressive in their 9-2 victories over NSW and the Northern Territory, respectively. For South Australia Scott Hallet secured a 124 check out against Troy Papworth and Aaron Morrison finished out the match with a 15-dart leg and 80 check out. For Queensland Anthony Shreeve checked out leg two with a 110 finish and threw two 16 dart legs in a terrific individual performance in this team match. The final match in this round was just as comprehensive with Victoria defeating Tasmania 9-1. Brayden Abell actually put the Tasmanians ahead after the first leg before Victoria rattled off nine legs in a row with consistent rather than spectacular darts in a very professional performance.
The third round saw WA defeat NSW by nine legs to one. The opening two legs were the highlights, both WA players collecting the legs in 18 darts each, with Wayne Egan checking out 146 in the opening leg and Lindsay Haji Ali following up with a 112 check out. Royce Faulkner secured the only leg for NSW in the fifth leg over Egan (who had left 16 chasing another 112 check out.) The Northern Territory continued their improvement across the day by securing four legs against Victoria. Brendan Taylor-McInnes put them up for the first time by winning the first leg whilst Ashley Hughes held throw and Derek Whittaker broke the throw of Sam Ballinger in legs three and four respectively to give the Territorians a 3-1 match lead. Liam McDonnell broke straight back for Victoria and Jamie Liddy held throw before Barry Ledington broke again to move the Victorians ahead for the first time in the match although Ashley Hughes pounced on an error by Ballinger to break the Victorian’s throw and move the match back into parity, increasing the whispers of a major upset. It was not to be though as Liddy broke Whittaker, Ledington held in 15 darts, Ballinger broke the Adrian McAdam throw, McDonnell held throw in 16 darts and Ballinger broke the Taylor-McInnes throw to give Victoria five straight legs and the 9-4 victory.
Other matches in the third round saw South Australia defeat Tasmania 9-2, Brayden Abell once again winning the third leg and John Rowbottom putting the Tasmanians on level terms after four legs before Aaron Morrison broke the Woodberry throw in 17 darts. Karl Schaefer held in 18, Danny Porter broke Rowbottom in 17 darts, Scott Hallett checked out with a 100 finish, Schaefer broke thanks in main to a 139 penultimate visit to the oche, Porter checked out 120 in a a15 dart tenth leg on throw and Hallett cleaned up the match with a 112 check out. Finally in the round Queensland defeated the ACT with a 9-4 victory. They actually led 7-1 before the ACT secured three of the next four legs, Laurie Loch holding his throw in 16 darts to take out the match. The best leg of the match came from Anthony Shreeve once again, securing a 12-dart leg with visits of 125, 140 and 140 before checking out 96.
The last four matches of the day in this section saw NSW secure a first win of the day (over Tasmania 9-4), Victoria cap off an undefeated day by securing a 9-4 win over the ACT, WA also holding on to their undefeated streak with a 9-7 win over Queensland and South Australia defeating the Northern Territory 9-3.
NSW were in front for all of the match after two legs saw the teams at 1-1. The men from the mainland took the opportunities presented to them by their opponents, although on more than one occasion it took a few attempts to get there. It was a professional win by the team. Barry Ledington led the charge for Victoria with an opening leg 16 darter, and they actually led 8-0 before the ACT team members Mick Mullaney, Judd Hoyle, Ciaran Holmes, and Darren Carson all won legs before Ledington capped off the match with his 18 darts in leg 13. Danny Porter opened with a 14-dart leg for South Australia. Brendan Taylor-McInnes brought the score level after two legs but it was the last time they would be. Karl Schaefer won the 7th leg in 16 darts and the 9th in 15, Danny Porter checked out 98 in the following leg whilst Scott Hallett closed out the match in 16 darts.
South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia are all on eight points, whilst Queensland are on four. New South Wales and the ACT are on two points with the Northern Territory and Tasmania yet to register a point at the halfway stage of this section of play.
The Green section of the draw in the men’s division sees Victoria as the only undefeated side on eight points, South Australia, and New South Wales on six, Western Australia and Queensland on four points. Tasmania and the Northern Territory on two and the ACT yet to score a point.
Queensland opened their day with a 9-2 win over the ACT. Rob Modra opened proceedings with a 16-dart leg before Matthew Vickers broke the throw of Raymond Smith in 18 darts. Tyson Hillcoat then broke the throw of Perry Butler and Ky Smith built on that effort by holding throw and giving Queensland a 3-1 lead. Vickers then held throw against Modra in 18 darts once more before Hillcoat held throw. Raymond Smith busted darts at 20 but after Joe Stockl busted 45, he was able to step up and take the break of throw for Queensland. Ky Smith then held throw again and Hillcoat broke the Stockl throw, although it took him a few visits to get it. The Smith show then rolled into town properly as Raymond checked out a 116 to check out in 18 darts on throw before Ky broke the Vickers throw in one less dart to secure the 9-2 win for Queensland.
The NSW Gold Men’s team secured the only deciding leg of the day for this section when they defeated South Australia 9-8 in their opening fixture. Luke Wilson held throw against Kevin Young before Brayden Sperling also held his through against Daniel Meyer. Dwayne Wilson then broke the throw of another surname synonymous with NSW darts, this time Desean Allen, despite Allen throwing 123 to leave 38 when trying to check out 161. Michael Harrison then broke Mick Carter to lock things up at two all before breaks of throw to Young and Wilson had things level once more after six legs. Harrison and Mark Carter then held throw to leave the match at 4-4 before Harrison held once more and Luke Wilson pounced on Sperling after the South Australian had left ten trying to check out 20. NSW went further ahead after Daniel Myer won leg eleven. With Young and Allen then throwing away opportunities in the 12th leg it was NSW who went further ahead when Allen hit the double one bed with his 25th dart. This would spark a revival from the South Australian team as Carter, Dwayne Wilson, Sperling and then Young all won legs to move from 8-4 down to putting the match into a deciding leg. It would be Wilson and Young who would close out the match they had opened and the result would be the same with Wilson holding throw to grant his team the win.
Victoria and Tasmania would meet once more on the oche and this time the big V would come out on top. Hayden Scott would hold throw after Dean Gibbs was unable to convert 32 before Colby Dodge broke the throw of Michael Cassar. At 2-0 down Brody Klinge struck straight back by breaking the throw of Kasey Anderson. Brandon Weening would then hold throw in 18 darts over Chris Riley before Dodge held throw in a tense leg with Gibbs. Klinge then held throw to get Victoria back on level terms after 6 legs before Cassar and Weening (in 17 and 18 darts respectively) put Victoria out in front. Klinge and Cassar then extended the lead before Dodge held throw against Weening, who failed to take out tops on the visit before Dodge completed the leg (Dodge having left ten after chasing a 147 checkout on his previous visit.) At 7-4 things had to go all Tasmania’s way to secure a win and the challenge was not helped when Dean Gibbs held throw in leg twelve. Hayden Scott held throw in the 13th leg to show there was still life in the Tassie men but a 14-dart leg, including a penultimate visit of 140 and a 78 check out from Brody Klinge gave Victoria the 9-5 win.
The final match of the opening round saw Western Australia defeat the Northern Territory. Dylan Salmon gave the Territorians a surprise lead as he held off the challenge of Howard Jones. He then failed to hold through against Deon Wyatt before Jones defeated Richard Dodd to move WA into the lead for the first time. Blake Hatchett secured his first leg of the match before Trent Cooper held throw to move WA into a 4-1 lead. The run was ceased by Richard Dodd who held throw in leg six but Hatchett moved things back to WA by holding throw. Howard Jones then broke the throw of Mark Webster in 15 darts before Trent Cooper won two legs, with Blake Hatchett winning the leg in between to secure West Australia’s 9-2 win over the Northern Territory.
Round Two saw NSW continue their winning ways with a 9-3 win over the Northern Territory. Dylan Salmon and Colley Craig actually gave the Territory 1-0 and 2-1 leads respectively but after that only Salmon would secure another leg. Desean Allen and Luke Wilson would go through the match undefeated in legs with Wilson checking out 97 in leg two, Daniel Meyer winning leg five in 14 darts and the same man finishing off the match with a 17-dart leg.
Victoria defeated Queensland 9-4 in the same round. With the match tied at 2-2 Dean Gibbs broke the Rob Modra throw before Brody Klinge held throw in 18 with a ton checkout. Michael Cassar then broke the Tyson Hillcoat throw before Brandon Weening held throw. Leg ten was outstanding as Cassar won it in 14 darts with Raymond Smith on 64 after 12. Modra then held his throw in 16 darts before Gibbs returned Victoria to their four-leg advantage when he held throw against Ky Smith. Brandon Weening and Raymond Smith then put on another cracking leg as Weening checked out 76 in 15 darts after Smith had left 20 with his 15th dart. It was a great match reflecting the quality of the players on display.
South Australia defeated the ACT 9-1 with Kevin Young opening the match with a leg win before Matthew Vickers continued his fine form by checking out after 15 darts (Brayden Sperling standing behind him needing 24 after 15 darts of his own.) From there it was all South Australia as they won the next eight legs in succession, capped off by a 17-dart leg to Brayden Sperling in the 10th leg.
The final match of the round saw WA continue on their winning ways against Tasmania. Tasmania leg 2-0 after the opening visits of Colby Dodge and Hayden Scott before Trent Cooper, Blake Hatchett and Deon Wyatt made it 3-2. Chris Riley then tied things back up before Blake Hatchett made it 4-2. Kasey Anderson and Chris Riley then put their Tasmanian team back in front, but it would be for the final time in the match. Howard Jones and Wyatt would win to put their side back in front and this time any chance of a revival was dismissed with a 16-dart leg from Trent Cooper against the Dodge throw. Jones then held throw before Wyatt finished out the match, albeit trying to give his opponent as many chances as he could to take the match into another leg. WA secured the match over Tasmania 9-5.
For the second time in the day NSW would then play out another close match, this time ending on the losing side of the scoreboard. Victoria opened up this match by winning the first two legs before NSW secured three legs of their own. Both teams exchanged legs before Victoria rattled off a three-leg sequence of their own. Desean Allen and Brandon Weening then won the 11th and 12th legs respectively, Weening managing it in just 13 darts before Allen defeated Michael Cassar in 15 darts to move his team within a leg of the Victorians. Michael Harrison then made the most of this chance to move the scoreline to seven all after 14 legs. Weening then called upon all his experience to make the most of his chance against Luke Wilson, winning with his 17th dart. Daniel Meyer had to hold throw to move NSW into their second deciding leg of the day but Brody Klinge took the leg despite leaving 46 when attempting to check out 78. Meyer was unable to convert 114 to keep NSW in the match and two darts later Klinge had completed the job for Victoria.
The South Australia Tasmania match was not as close as the South Aussie men took the win 9-1. Hayden Scott had held his throw in the second leg for Tasmania to move the score to 1-1 but from there his side did not trouble the leg tally in what was another professional display by the South Australians.
Queensland got back on winning ways with a 9-4 win over Western Australia. Howard Jones held throw in the opening leg against Rob Modra to put his side 1-0 up but Raymond Smith was emphatic in winning on his throw. Trent Cooper then won in 14 darts to put WA up once more before the battle of the next / now generation saw Ky Smith hold his throw against Blake Hatchett. For the third time in the match WA went to the front as Deon Wyatt held throw before Tyson Hillcoat helped his Queensland team tie things up once more after six legs, despite missing 36 at his first visit at this check out. Raymond Smith then broke the Hatchett throw in 13 darts, thanks to visits of 95. 140, a maximum, 54 and a 32 checkout. Ky Smith then held throw after Cooper missed his chance to take the leg by leaving nine when aiming to check out 46. Hatchett then had to watch as Hillcoat looked to steal his throw but the Queenslander left 16 when chasing a 146 check out and Hatchett stepped up to check out 68 with his last dart in hand. Legs to both Smiths and a 16 darter from Rob Modra moved Queensland well in front and despite some wobbles at the end as Ky Smith chased the madhouse, Smith was able to put away the challenge of Howard Smith against the throw to secure Queensland the 9-4 win over Western Australia.
The two territories in the competition went head-to-head in the final match of the round and it was the Northern Territory who came away with a 9-6 victory. Corey Slusser held throw in the opening leg before Matthew Vickers did what he seemed to do regularly throughout the day and throw incredible darts to take his leg out in 16 darts. Perry Butler then put his ACT side three legs up before the Northern Territory secured their first leg as Colley Craig held throw. Both teams then held throw, through Vickers and Webster respectively although neither leg was memorable, especially the latter. 4-2 to the ACT. With Dylan Salmon, Craig and Webster all securing legs and then Salmon securing a second in this run the Northern Territory jumped out to a 6-4 lead after ten legs. Vickers then held throw for the ACT before Dodd did the same for his team to return the NT to a two-leg lead and at 7-5 they were only two legs away from their first win of the day. The 13th leg saw the ACT notch up another leg as Slusser held throw before Webster checked out 108 to win leg 14 on throw (leaving Vickers standing behind him needing tops.) 8-6 instead of 7-7 and the ACT would pay full price as Perry Butler failed to hold throw and Salmon checked out 77 to give the Northern Territory a glorious win on their return to the national championship week.
The final round of the day saw Victoria win 9-4 over WA, Tasmania defeat the men of the NT 9-2, NSW defeat the ACT 9-4 and South Australia close out a close match against Queensland 9-7 as the men from the north continued their roller coaster ride of a day. After six legs Victoria and Western Australia were tied 3-3 before leg wins to Brody Klinge, Brandon Weening, Klinge (once more) and Michael Cassar took them out to a good lead. After Trent Cooper won against the Dean Gibbs throw Weening and Cassar closed out the match, Weening in 17 darts with a 76 check out against the Deon Wyatt throw and Cassar in one more dart, 18, with a 70 check out. The Northern Territory won the first leg and levelled the match after four legs but then lost seven legs in a row. Colby Dodge won leg five in 17 darts, checking out 97 and completed the match with a 16-dart leg, including a maximum on his second visit to the oche in the leg. NSW conceded the first leg to Matthew Vickers (who else?) before securing six successive legs. They then exchanged hold of throws all the way to the finish with Luke Wilson taking out the final leg in 18 darts with a 94 check out. The final match saw Queensland jump to a 3-0 lead thanks to both Smiths and Rob Modra in between. Raymond Smith and Rob Modra had a combined 33 darts to move up toe legs. Mark Carter then held throw before Kevin Young broke the Modra throw. Raymond Smith held throw in 17 darts before Tyson Hillcoat lost his second leg in the match, this time to Brayden Sperling. Carter then held throw again to move the match back to 4-4 before Dwayne Wilson put his team up for the first time in the match 5-4. Sperling then held throw to give his team a two-leg lea before Modra held throw to reduce that gap to one. Kevin Young then held throw, although Ky Smith had chances to take the leg and move the match back into parity. The 13th leg saw Raymond Smith hold out Mark Carter before Rob Modra became the only player on the day to start with two maximums. He did not get a dart at the nine darter but was able to secure the break in 11 darts. Sperling was able to break the throw of Ky Smith immediately to move his team to the precipice of victory at 8-7. Hillcoat had to break the Young throw and he faced the board needing 72 to do so after his opponent had left 32 chasing 60 for the match win. Hillcoat was only able to score 48 and that put Young back up at the oche and with his next dart Young threw the double 16 required to secure South Australia the 9-7 victory over Queensland.
After the day’s results Matthew Woodberry from the Tasmanian gold team said of his team’s efforts, “For such an inexperienced team, compared to others, I feel we played well as a team and we just lacked a little luck as these games can really go either way with such quality players across the board.
Ky Smith from Queensland Green said “The competition as it always is, it is always such an achievement to play for your state and you are competing against the best from other states. It is an honour to be a part of it. I was hot and cold today personally but the team were really behind me which is a huge plus for everybody.
Danny Porter from South Australia Gold was just as pleased with the competition, “The games are so close in our section we have played a lot of games that could go either way.
Meanwhile the team captain of NSW, Greg Clegg, summed up the day for his state men’s teams, “NSW Green started well and found the competition strong but managed three wins across the day which was pleasing. Gold found the day tough but it was great to see them get a win against Tasmania in the last round. All in all, there were some strong performances and we are happy with the way we played. Sometimes it is a just a wire difference between a win and a loss. That is how strong competitions like this are.”
Competition is back on Sunday with the remaining rounds setting up the clashes for final’s day.