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Article: Championship League Darts - Group Seven Win For Dudbridge

Championship League Darts - Group Seven Win For Dudbridge

MARK DUDBRIDGE claimed victory in Group Seven of Championship League Darts - with Adrian Lewis losing in a third final of the tournament.

Dudbridge booked his place in Thursday^s Winners Group of Championship League Darts, screened exclusively on the internet through and, with a 7-4 defeat of Lewis in the final.

Dudbridge timed his run perfectly, bouncing back from a slow start at Crondon Park GC in Essex to finish third in the league table and then come through the knockout play-offs, matching his high scoring with clinical finishing to see off Mark Walsh then Lewis.

After winning his last four league games, he took a 6-4 win over Walsh in the semis before hitting five maximums in the final against Lewis - who had finished top of the league table with six wins from his seven league games.

Bristol^s Dudbridge took a 4-1 advantage in the final and landed two maximums in as many legs as he went 6-2 up, only for Lewis to storm back with two in a row to reduce the arrears.

But even a sixth 180 of the final was not enough for Lewis, as Dudbridge hit two maximums of his own in the next leg before sealing the win on double top.

Dudbridge now joins Phil Taylor, Alan Tabern, Mervyn King, Colin Osborne, Andy Hamilton and Vincent van der Voort in the big-money Winners Group, with £100 per leg up for grabs in the league phase, plus £200 per leg in the play-offs and £10,000 plus a place in the Grand Slam of Darts on offer for the winner.

"I^m over the moon to win," said Dudbridge. "I scored well all day and hit my doubles well in the semis and final.

"I^ve worked hard on my game recently and it feels brilliant to get the rewards by winning this. Coming back for the Winners Group is a massive incentive for me, with a place in the Grand Slam up for grabs as well as the prize money on offer.

"I^ll rest on Wednesday and prepare myself for a big day on Thursday!"

Lewis will now have one final chance to earn a place in the Winners Group when he takes part in Group Eight on Wednesday.

The Stoke star has finished first in the league table three times but lost in the final, and has also been a semi-final loser twice in his five Group appearances so far to earn £13,450 prize money to date.

Lewis took a 6-3 win over Andy Smith in the semi-finals - avenging the only defeat he suffered during the Group Seven league phase.

Smith had claimed the final play-off spot in dramatic style, with the race for both top four places and to avoid elimination going to the final games.

Smith lost 6-4 to Dudbridge, but hung onto fourth place ahead of Jones on leg difference, while a win over Mark Walsh for Barrie Bates was not enough for him to avoid a bottom-two finish when Wayne Jones won 6-3 against Dennis Priestley.

Walsh, Lewis, Smith, Jones and Priestley are joined in Group Eight by Alex Roy, Wes Newton and Mick McGowan on Wednesday.





Round-By-Round Updates

First Round of Games

Adrian Lewis made a fine start with a 6-3 win over Dennis Priestley. Lewis opened the match with a 113 finish and took out 83 for the second leg before Priestley replied in 11 darts. Lewis replied in 12 darts and led 4-1 before a 136 checkout brought Priestley back into the game. The Stoke youngster landed a 180 in winning leg seven to secure a minimum of a point, before double ten kept the Yorkshireman in the game. Priestley kicked off the next leg with back-to-back 180s, but missed a potential nine-darter on the seventh dart and and wasted five darts at a double before Lewis secured the win on tops.

Wayne Jones won the clash of the Championship League Darts debutants with a 6-1 win over Adrian Gray. Jones opened the game with a 131 finish before Gray replied with an 84 checkout - but it was the Wolverhampton man who pulled clear by winning the next two and then punished a missed bullseye to move 4-1 up. Jones escaped from five missed doubles to win the sixth leg, and wrapped up a 6-1 win despite five perfect darts from Gray to open the next.

Mark Walsh came from 2-0 down to defeat Andy Smith 6-3 in their opening game. Smith took out 101 to lead and then landed double 16 for a 2-0 cushion, before Walsh found his range on the doubles. He hit double 12 to get off the mark, tops to level and then took out 116 and 105 in taking a 4-3 lead. Smith missed three darts at double top in the next - after a 180 put him on a double - but a 12-darter from Walsh sealed both points.

Barrie Bates made a winning start with a 6-3 defeat of Mark Dudbridge. Dudbridge missed two darts to win the opening leg before levelling in the second, but Bates landed back-to-back 180s in opening the third and taking a 2-1 lead. Dudbridge levelled but Bates took the next three to move to the brink of victory and then sealed the win in leg nine.

Second Round of Games

Adrian Lewis made it two wins from as many games with a superb comeback against Wayne Jones. Jones started well to take a 3-1 lead, and was also 4-2 up before Lewis found an extra gear. A double five finish with his final dart saw him take leg seven, he levelled in the eighth and then won leg nine on double to lead for the first time in the game, before powering through in the decider.

Mark Walsh came from 4-0 down to snatch a point with Mark Dudbridge - who hit five 180s and a 177 but paid for failing to close out victory. Dudbridge made a superb start, including a 126 finish in winning the opening four legs before missed doubles allowed Walsh in to get off the mark on double top. Walsh took the sixth leg before Dudbridge took the next to ensure a minimum of a point. But he missed match darts in the next two as Walsh hit back to take the game into a decider, and the Hertfordshire man pulled clear to hit double top for a draw.

Andy Smith picked up his first win of Group Seven with a 6-3 defeat of Barrie Bates. Smith won the first two legs and then took out 161 to lead 3-0 before the Welshman took two of the next three to pull back to 4-2. Smith, though, won two of the next three to secure the two points.

Dennis Priestley held off Adrian Gray^s fightback to claim his first win in Championship League Darts. Priestley won the game^s opening three legs before Gray hit back to level. An 82 finish from the Yorkshireman was followed by double 16 as he secured a point, before Gray landed a 180 in the next before stepping in after three missed match darts to pull back to 5-4. But a maximum from Priestley proved crucial in the decider, before he hit double 16 for the win.

Third Round of Games

Mark Dudbridge grabbed his first win of Group Seven with a 6-3 win over Wayne Jones. Dudbridge pulled clear to win four successive legs after the first two were shared, earning the Bristolian a 5-1 lead. A 117 finish and a double eight checkout kept Jones in the game, but Dudbridge landed double 18 for a 107 checkout to secure both points.

Adrian Lewis made it three wins from as many games with a 6-3 defeat of Mark Walsh, who initially led 2-1 but never recovered from a four-leg burst from the Stoke youngster in mid-game. Lewis had included a 108 checkout in leg six, and took out 122 on the bullseye to seal the win.

Barrie Bates condemned Adrian Gray to a third successive defeat with a 6-3 victory. Bates led 3-0 before Gray hit back to win three legs in a row and level matters, including a 100 finish. But Bates took the seventh leg and crucially broke throw in the next to lead 5-3, before double five with his third dart secured the win.

Dennis Priestley claimed his second win of the day with a fine comeback against Andy Smith, Priestley took the opener before Smith won four of the next five to lead 4-2. Priestley took the next three - including a key two-dart 74 to break throw in leg eight - before punishing a missed double top from Smith in the decider to claim both points.

Fourth Round of Games

Adrian Lewis made Mark Dudbridge pay for missed doubles as he maintained a 100 percent start to Group Seven with a 6-4 victory. Dudbridge came from 2-1 down to lead 3-2, but wasted a host of darts to win the sixth leg before Lewis stole on double top. Double ten put Lewis ahead before four missed darts at double top allowed Lewis to hit the same bed and lead 5-3, before the Stoke youngster sealed the win comfortably on double four.

Mark Walsh moved onto five points in the league table with a 6-3 win over Wayne Jones. Jones took the game^s opening leg, but Walsh took four in a row - including a 120 checkout - to lead 4-2. Jones took the next two on double eight, but Walsh was stronger in the next two to claim both points.

Dennis Priestley recorded the first whitewash of Group Seven in seeing off Barrie Bates. Batets kicked off the match with a 180 but lost the opening leg, and a 120 checkout put him 2-0 up, Two more double top finishes put Priestley 4-0 up, and even a third 180 of the game from the Welshman was not enough in the fifth, before Priestley sealed the win on double eight.

Adrian Gray pulled through a final-leg thriller against Andy Smith to claim his maiden Championship League Darts victory. Smith led 3-1 before Gray won four successive legs to move 5-3 up, earning a minimum of a point. Smith eventually took his chances in the ninth leg to send the match into a decider, but wasted two darts for a draw before Gray landed double eight to take the spoils.

Fifth Round of Games

Andy Smith powered to a 6-3 win over Adrian Lewis to condemn the Stoke youngster to his first defeat of the day. Smith was in clinical form to take the first four legs of the game, before two in a row saw Lewis pull back into the contest. But Smith defied a 180 with a maximum of his own on his way to a 5-2 lead, and also landed seven perfect darts in leg nine before closing out the win.

Mark Dudbridge picked up win number two of his Group Seven campaign, seeing off bottom-placed Adrian Gray 6-3. Dudbridge won the first three legs before two out of three put Gray back into the game at 4-2. Dudbridge landed a maximum and a double 16 finish in taking leg seven to earn a minimum of a draw, but two misses at the same bed for victory allowed Gray to hit double 16 and stay in the game. But the Bristol man pulled clear in the next and took out double top to move onto five points for the day.

Mark Walsh leap-frogged Dennis Priestley into second place in the league table with a 6-3 win over the double World Champion. Walsh took the first two legs before Priestley fired in a 139 checkout, but three more legs for Walsh - including a brilliant 156 finish - put him to the brink of victory. Priestley won two in a row to stay in the game, but seven missed doubles cost him dear as Walsh landed a tricky double three for both points.

Wayne Jones jumped above Barrie Bates to improve his hopes of claiming a play-off spot with a 6-3 victory. The first four legs were shared before Bates took out double top and then secured the first break of throw to lead 4-2. Missed doubles cost the Welshman the next two legs as Jones hit back to level, and double ten edged the Wolverhampton star in front before he took out double 12 for the win.

Sixth Round of Games

Andy Smith survived Wayne Jones^ fightback to claim a 6-3 win and maintain his hopes of claiming a play-off place. Smith led 3-0 and 5-1 before Jones took back-to-back legs to stay in the game. But five missed darts at double 12 cost Jones dear, with Smith sealing his win on double 12.

Mark Dudbridge came from 2-0 down to storm to a 6-2 win over Dennis Priestley and put one foot into the semi-finals. Priestley made an ideal satrt by taking the game^s opening two legs, punishing misses from Dudbridge in the first, before the Bristol man got off the mark in leg three and then took out 104 to break throw. Dudbridge took the fifth to lead for the first time and then stepped in on tops to take a 4-2 lead following misses from Priestley. A 75 checkout pushed him clear, and Dudbridge then won the eighth leg to claim victory.

Mark Walsh ensured his play-off spot in Group Seven with a 6-1 win over Adrian Gray. They shared the opening two legs before double eight put Walsh 2-1 up and the Hertfordshire man broke throw in the fourth. He also won leg five to go 4-1 up before a 130 checkout ensured a minimum of a point, with double top then wrapping up the victory.

Adrian Lewis made a miraculous comeback from 4-0 down to edge past Barrie Bates. Bates opened in fine style, and looked set to condemn Lewis to a second successive defeat when he took the first four legs of the gane, including breaks of throw in the first and third legs, the latter thanks to a bullseye finish. Double nine got Lewis off the mark, and he landed a 180 to set up a 69 checkout in the sixth leg - and a 95 finish for a break of throw saw him level at four-all. Missed doubles from Bates allowed Lewis back to hit double five and lead 5-4, and he took the deciding leg on double 12 for the win.

Seventh Round of Games

Adrian Lewis ensured he will finish at the top of the Group Seven league table and also condemned Adrian Gray to bottom spot in a final-leg shoot-out. The duo shared a tight battle which went all the way, with Lewis following up finishes of 80 and 87, on the bull, with a double top to break throw in leg five. Gray levelled but Lewis took two of the next three - with Gray landing two 180s in a 12-darter in reply - to lead 5-4 going into the decider., Gray missed two darts at double 16 to claim only a second win of the day, and Lewis hit double top to end the youngster^s challenge and send himself into the semis in style.

Mark Dudbridge edged out Andy Smith 6-4 to make certain of his semi-final spot and leave the Midlands-based star sweating on the final set of games for his place in the top four. Smith led 3-2, only for Dudbridge land two 180s in winning two of the next three to level. He led 4-3 with an 11-darter, before Smith took out 101 to level once more. Dudbridge edged the ninth leg, and then sealed the win in the decider.

Barrie Bates defeated Mark Walsh to end Group Seven with a win - although his bid to avoid elimination ended in vain. Walsh led 3-1 and took out 90 on the bull to move 4-2 up, but three missed darts at double 18 in the next allowed the Welshman to begin his revival. He levelled on double three and then won the ninth before double top secured the victory.

However, Wayne Jones^ 6-3 win over Dennis Priestley meant Bates would finish second bottom in the table, and also saw Andy Smith end the league phase in fourth. Jones took out 101 to lead and landed double 16 to move 2-0 up, but Priestley defied a 180 from the Wolverhampton man to take out 85 and get off the mark. Finishes on double 16 and double 18 put Jones 4-1 up, only for four missed doubles to leg Priestley steal the next on double one. Double 18 saw Jones go 5-2 up, but seven missed doubles for the win gave Priestley a chance to stay in the game, which he took on double ten, A win would have given Priestley fourth place - but he was denied as Jones took out double ten for the win to book his place in Group Eight.


Adrian Lewis booked his place in a third Championship League Darts Group Final with a 6-3 win over Andy Smith. Smith broke throw to win the first leg, before an 86 finish allowed Lewis to level against the darts. The next four legs went with throw before Lewis followed up a double eight checkout with a two-dart 80 finish to move 5-3 up. He then sealed victory on double top to keep alive his hopes of qualifying for the Winners Group at the fifth attempt.

Mark Dudbridge reached his first Championship League Darts Group Final with a 6-4 win over Mark Walsh. Dudbridge took three of the first four legs to edhe clear, before Walsh took the fifth, but the Hertfordshire ace wasted six perfect darts to open the next leg as Dudbridge replied with a 180 of his own before taking out double 16 for a 4-2 lead. Walsh won two of the next three to stay in the game, but a 92 checkout, finishing on double 12, earned Dudbridge his spot in the decider.

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