The last day of the 2022 Australian Darts Open was quite the spectacle. The Ladies’ & Men’s finals played throughout the day with some of the most exciting games that darts had to offer.
The games began with WDF #1 Neil Duff facing up against WDF Australian #5 Sam Ballinger. Duff wasted no time claiming a 3-0 early lead, including a 115 average in the first leg to get a 13-darter. Ballinger kicked into gear, and Duff and Ballinger went back and forth in trading leg win before Ballinger threw the knockout blow and won 6-3.
In the second Quarter Final, Raymond Smith played Peter Machin, an all-Australian final. Machin won the first leg but could not find consistency in closing the games. Smith was also to capitalise on this and found form near the end of the game. Smith won the last four legs of the game to close it out and progress to the Semi-Finals with a 6-2 victory.
The third Quarter Final was one of the matches of the day. WDF Dutch #1 Jelle Klaasen played South Australian Scott Hallett, who had just come from the Open qualifiers to get to the Quarter-Finals. Klaasen showed precisely why he was the Dutch #1, winning three of the first four legs. Hallett responded by clinching two legs in a row, 3-3. Klaasen claimed another leg win, as Hallett in the next failed to check out on a 20. He was leaving Klaasen to mop up and lead 5-3, only needing one more leg to win the match. In an incredible turnaround with the crowd on his side, Hallett was able to clutch the victory, winning the last three legs with a thumping roar from the Australian fans.
In the last Men’s Quarter Final, WDF New Zealand #1 Hupai Puha played against New South Wales’s Mitchell Clegg. Both players made extremely clinical shots, averaging a score of 89 throughout the match and 18 three dart averages over 140. Trading blows throughout the game, Puha was just that step too good for Clegg, winning the game 6-4.
WDF #1 Beau Greaves faced off against WDF New Zealand #2 Nicole Regnaud. Both ladies have had an exciting run to the finals, Beau hadn’t dropped a single leg since starting the competition, whilst Nicole, in her first game, defeated the 2019 Winner Lisa Ashton. During the start of the game, Greaves failed to close out a 20 darter, as Renaud took the first leg. Greaves then stepped her game up completely, throwing some high averages to gain the next three legs and continuing her dominance to win four of the last five legs. Impressively, Regnaud threw a 144 dartout in set eight but was too little too late, as Greaves won the next leg to earn her spot in the grand Final, 6-3.
The other Ladies Semi-Final hosted WDF Asain #1 Mikuru Suzuki and WDF New Zealand #1, Wendy Harper. Harper was on a roll early, easing into a 2-1 lead after some wasteful shots from Suzuki. In the next leg, Suzuki started with a 177. Using her excellent lead to win the leg, find momentum and enable her not to drop another leg. Suzuki won games 6-2 as she prepared for her next match in the Grand Finale.
The Semi-Finals played out a best of 15-leg game. Neil Duff and Raymond Smith were first in the Men’s Semi-Finals. Smith had the first turn, which was capitalised on perfectly, scoring three turns of 100 and one of 97 to go 1-0. Neil Duff won the next four games with a coolly taken 105 dartout to control the match. Smith matched Duff’s scoring ability and fired up the crowd by drawing level at 4-4. Smith went on to fully complete the comeback against the world’s #1 and win the match 8-6
Scott Hallett played his Semi-Final against another New Zealand finalist, Hupai Puha. Puha averaged an unbeatable 90 average throughout the game, the highest in the finals up until that point. Hallett couldn’t quite reach that level and could not match Puhas consistency. Puha won the game 8-6, a high-quality game for both players regardless.
Women’s Grand Final
The final game for the Women’s trophy features some of the best Women’s darts players in the world. Beau Greaves, the World #1. Mikuru Suzuki, the 2019 Pacific Masters champion and #1 Asian player. The high stakes of the match were delivered with some high-class darts and performances in the best of 15-leg game. Beau won leg one. Sukuzi won back to back afterwards, including a dart out of 100 in leg three. In leg four, Sukuzi scored a 180 in the first round yet couldn’t dart out on a 25, whereby the World #1, who had the same opportunity, could. Greaves’s average of 100 and victory for the next leg meant the scores were 3-2. Suzuki won the next to even the scores. As a response, Greaves throw a 13-darter, 4-3. Once again, going back and forth until finally (despite another 13 darters in round 11, this time from Sukuzi), Greaves went to the next gear, won four of the last five and lifted the trophy. A robust effort against the world #1 with moments of brilliance still couldn’t get Sukuzi the win. Greaves proved to everyone once again the shine from the English player and won a fully deserved 2022 Darts Australia Open Women’s Cup.
Men’s Grand Final
Of course, the last game of the tournament was a cracker. A long best of 19-leg game to close out what was a terrific night. Raymond ‘The Guru’ Smith and Haupai ‘Hopes’ Puha in the final. Both had strong opponents and difficulties along the way. Smith defeated his son and WDF #1 Neil Duff to progress to the Grand Final. Puha defeated the red-hot Scott Hallett and Mitchell Clegg. It all came down to this game.
Puha started the game. A slow start from Smith caused him to slip up and let Puha take the first leg. 0-1. Smith then got a 12 darter next leg, a dartout of 141. 1-1. Game on. Some missed doubles from Puha. Smith didn’t waste his chances. 2-1. A small 36 in turn two from Smith was not to cut it in the Final, as Puha threw an impressive 96 dart out. 2-2. A leg of ups and downs for Puha; despite scoring a 180 and two other turns of 100 and 105, Puha couldn’t dartout on a 15. Raymond, with four scores over 100, won the leg. 3-2. Another great 12-darter from Smith. 4-2. Puha caught up with a dartout of 107 to match Smiths’ run of form. 4-3. Puha and Raymond had off-tempo turns this leg, but Puha could pull through. 4-4. After the break, Smith won the next leg. 5-4. Puha won two in a row, with another impressive 140 dartout in the second game. 5-6. To one-up Puha, Smith then won the next three legs in a row, averaging 100, 115 and 107. The scores were now 8-6. A dartout from Puha in leg 15 of 124 broke Smith’s run, as Puha proceeded a run of his own with another two more wins. 8-9. Puha only needed one more leg win to clinch it. But of course, Smith equalised the scores in leg 18 to make it 9-9. Tensions were high, the crowd was in awe, and hands-on faces were happening now. Both players felt the heat of the moment in the final leg to decide it all. Two 140s from Smith made good headway. A 46 from Puha, in turn, four gave Smith a lead. In Puha’s turn, he needed 80 to win. 41 was all he could muster. Smith, with 25 required for the turn. MADE. THE. SHOT. 10-9. Raymond Smith was the new 2022 Australian Darts Open Men’s Champion.
Thank you to every volunteer, official, player and fan who attended the 2022 Australian Darts Open. Congratulations to all the players who could play in this great tournament. They all should be proud of their accomplishments. It was an incredible time for everyone, and the final result was a tournament that can be celebrated worldwide as one of the best in Australia.
You can watch all the action by watching the Kayo Freebie link here.
You can also look at ALL the scores, both live and anything throughout the week, on the Dart Connect TV.