Tuesday, 26 March 2013

League Finals Match Report - 25th March 2013

It wouldn't be the Royal Standard if everything went without a hitch and the Finals Night was no exception as Darren withdrew due to illness. This left eight players which is ideal for a knockout draw so the preliminary qualifying match between Natasha and Anne was ditched in favour of both players being included in a revised first round. The draw was still determined by the final league positions with top playing bottom and so on.

First Round
Andy (1) v Natasha (8)
Sam (4) v Ben (5)
Ram (3) v Tom (6)
James (2) v Anne (7)

The first match of this season's finals saw Sam take on Ben in what the league results suggested should be a close match. Sam threw first and built up a comfortable lead while Ben was slow off the mark, even scoring 2 with one throw. Ben caught up after Sam struggled to find her finishing double to check out 36 for the first leg. Neither player managed to break 100 but there were some solid scores and Sam scored the night's highest checkout 67 to take the second leg. It was close in the third leg and came down to both players needing a double to win. Ben hit the target first to go through, winning 2-1.

Top-of-the-table Andy played Natasha in the second match. Natasha made a good effort but Andy proved too strong and she didn't get to a finish in the first leg. Although she closed the gap in the second leg it wasn't enough and Andy won 2-0.

The third match of the first round was Ram against Tom. A dangerous opponent when on his game, Tom couldn't match Ram's scoring and although he had chances it wasn't to be and Ram won a comfortable 2-0.

Rounding off the first-round should have been James and Anne, but Anne withdrew at the last minute for personal reasons. With the consent of James and the other players, Sam took Anne's place and so got a second chance in the competition. This was a fast-paced, high-scoring match with James throwing several ton-plus scores including a couple of 140's, and Sam also scoring a 120 with two darts when her first bounced out off the wire around the treble-20. This close match came right down to the wire with another shoot-out on doubles to decide it 2-1 to James.

Semi Final Round
Andy v Ben
Ram v James

After a decent first round performance Ben felt that he had a chance and despite being over 100 down seized that chance when Andy missed several attempts at a checkout in the first leg to take an early lead. Andy came back strongly to win the second leg against some poor throwing by Ben including another 2 and a 3 that left him floundering way back. A switch from 20's to 19's by Ben proved to be an inspired decision as his darts found treble-19 throw after throw and this kept him in contention in the third leg. Finally, Andy was left on double-16 while Ben was looking at 117 with the darts in hand. Another treble-19 was followed by a big 20 to leave one dart at double-top for a place in the final... which bounced out off the wire! Andy finished up with his next throw and won 2-1 for the first slot in the final.

I expected a lot from the semi between Ram and James and wasn't disappointed. Ram was an utter powerhouse in the scoring department while James wasn't far behind and this match saw both players hit 140's. The first two legs went with the darts meaning we had another deciding leg. Ram threw first, opening with a 125 while James couldn't find the treble-20. A couple of scores in the 80's and a 140 put Ram in a commanding position on 75 after 12 darts with James left needing well over 200, but at that point Ram lost his focus and allowed James back into a match that should have been all over. That was enough for James who took the leg against the odds to win 2-1 and face Andy in the final.

Final Round
3rd Place Playoff: Ram v Ben
Final (best of 5): Andy v James

Ram recovered quickly from his frustration to take on Ben in the playoff for 3rd place. With the pressure off, both players took things a little easier and it was a reasonably close match with decent scores, ending up 2-1 to Ram.

With the midnight bell ringing for time the final got under way between the league's top two players. James had a point to prove after losing 3-0 to Andy in a previous knockout and came out keen to have his revenge. The quiet man, Andy, maintained his cool and threw steady darts, as did James. The scores were back and forward with neither player gaining any clear advantage as we went into the fifth and deciding leg, Andy with the advantage of the throw. It all came down to the final checkout again with James showing steadier nerves to clinch the title 3-2.

With a 3-way split for Highest Score (140), £2 each went to James, Andy and Ram while the £5 for Highest Checkout (67) went to Sam.

3rd place and £10 to Ram
Third place Ram received £10.

Second place Andy received £25.

First place James received the trophy and £40.

2nd place and £25 to Andy
A really big thank you to everyone who played in both the Winter League as well as our knockouts through the season: it couldn't have happened without you, and I hope you'll all be back for the next season.
1st and £40 to James
Next Week
Next Monday is Easter Monday and there will be an open knockout from 8:00pm. £2.50 to enter with cash prizes for 1st and 2nd. All welcome.

Summer League
Sign up for the new summer league over the next two weeks. Talk to me in the pub if you are interested in joining in, and come along on Monday 8th April to put your name down. This league will start on Monday 15th April.

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