Two words - double trouble - sum up last night's knockout. The format was best-of-three from 301 with double-in as well as -out. While nobody actually failed to start a leg (by the skin of my teeth in one leg - more about that later), there were some close calls...
James and Darren played first, James taking an early lead in a slow first leg. Then Darren came back with some good scoring and even better checkout (74) to draw level and then win in the deciding leg. Sam was drawn against Andy in the second match. Andy put in his usual steady performance to win in straight legs with Sam having some trouble hitting her starting doubles. Anne received a bye to go straight into the semi-final round, leaving Ram and Ben to battle for the remaining place. Ben barely got started in the first leg, only hitting a starting double 7 when Ram had already reduced his total to double-top which he hit on his next throw. The second leg was much closer, both players getting off to a quick start and Ben even throwing a 140. However he was let down by poor finishing again, missing three chances to check out and giving Ram the chance take the second leg and the game.
Darren played Andy in the first semi. Andy had the edge in accuracy on the doubles and with his steady scoring again secured the first final place. Anne faced Ram in the second semi-final but struggled and lost in straight legs to Ram, this despite a dip in his form in this round.
The final saw Andy take on Ram and I would have backed Andy after the previous round. However as it turned out both players were sharp when it came to the opening doubles but Ram was well ahead on the scoring and took advantage to check out both times without too much pressure from Andy. So it was congratulations and £10 to Ram as the winner, and commiserations and £5 to Andy as runner up. A big thank you to the players and also to those who watched and supported.
Because of holidays there has been a small change to the match schedule to insert a catch-up week before the finals - many thanks for letting me know this far in advance because it makes my job so much easier. Here's the new updated fixture list.
Round 10, postponed from last week, will be played on 14th May.
Andy v Anne
Ben v Sam
Craig v Ram
Darren v James
James v Ram