Betfair World Cup of Darts - Battling England Retain Title
ENGLAND^s Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis retained the Betfair World Cup of Darts title with a 3-1 defeat of Belgian brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts in Hamburg on Sunday night.
The duo repeated their success in the 24-nation event of 12 months ago by flirting with disaster, as South Africa and Wales missed darts to knock them out and Japan pushed them all the way, before claiming glory in the final.
The Huybrechts brothers had won through to the final in an emotional tribute to their father Ludo, who passed away suddenly in December, but were unable to take the £40,000 title as Taylor and Lewis found top form.
With Kim Huybrechts having missed double 12 for a nine-darter in their semi-final win over Finland, Lewis matched that by wiring the same double in his Singles victory over Ronny Huybrechts, as he averaged 105.75 in his best performance of the weekend.
Taylor, meanwhile, defeated both brothers by dropping only one leg to mean that Kim^s superb 4-0 whitewash of Lewis in their Singles tie came in vain as the English duo retained their crown.
"It^s been a tough weekend and we scraped through a couple of games but the difference was that the people who had chances against us didn^t take them and we did.
"The Belgians were great this weekend and Kim, in particular, was superb. To come through such a strong field is a great achievement, and when the seeds fell like flies on Saturday we were worried that we^d be one of them!
"We^ve worked really hard and it^s special for us to retain the title. We love representing England and hopefully we can make it three in a row next year."
Lewis added: "It was great to play so well in the final.
"I felt like I^d maybe let Phil down a little bit in some of the games earlier in the tournament and it got worse for me the harder I tried.
"But in the final I was close to the nine-darter and hit a 105 average against Kim so it was nice, but winning the title was the main aim and we^ve managed to do that."
The Belgians had shared tears on stage after winning through to the final, and revealed their pride in reaching the decider after claiming £10,000 apiece as runners-up.
"It^s amazing for us to have reached the final," said Kim Huybrechts, who lost out to Taylor in the final of the Players Championship Finals in December. "
"When the teams were announced we said to each other that we wanted to reach the final, but obviously we knew it would hard because there are so many good players.
"Phil^s got another win against me so hopefully the third time will be my turn! Phil^s the best player in the world and to beat him you have to do something special.
"I^ve only had one full year on the PDC circuit and it^s Ronny^s first TV tournament, so I believe we can do something magical."
Ronny admitted: "To be in the final with my brother, against the number one and two in the world, is a dream.
"It^s very new for me and I hope for many more moments like this, and I^m very happy to have done so well this weekend."
Wales, the 2010 runners-up, were left to ponder a second successive semi-final defeat after Richie Burnett missed one dart at double ten for a 140 finish to put himself and partner Mark Webster into the final.
"We always do ourselves justice in this tournament and we^re pleased to have reached another semi-final, and but for the width of a wire we could have been in the final," admitted Webster.
"We can build on this and hopefully do better next year because we^re a good team. Adrian and Phil have won 18 World Championships between them and they put us under pressure at the right time, but I^m really proud of the pair of us."
Surprise package Finland, represented by newcomer Jani Haavisto and Jarkko Komula, last year^s Scandinavian Order of Merit winner, followed up their stunning second round win over Holland and their defeat of host nation Germany by pushing Belgium all the way in the semis.
Haavisto had lost to Kim Huybrechts in their Singles game, but Komula defeated Ronny 4-3 to take their semi-final tie into a Doubles decider before the Belgian brothers proved too strong.
The tournament also saw Japan win through to the quarter-finals for the first time as Haruki Muramatsu and Sho Katsumi gave England a scare - with Katsumi defeating Lewis in their Singles tie before they also led in the Doubles decider - while South Africa won through to the Last 16 represented by new Tour Card holder Charl Pietersen and Shawn Hogan.
Croatia^s Robert Marijanovic and Tonci Restovic also won through to the quarter-finals alongside Spain, whose pairing of Antonio Alcinas and Carlos Rodriguez pushed Wales all the way in their bid to emulate the achievement of 2010, when they reached the semis.
Betfair World Cup of Darts
Finland 1-2 Belgium
England 2-1 Wales
England 3-1 Belgium
Finland v Belgium
Jani Haavisto & Jarkko Komula v Kim & Ronny Huybrechts
Singles 1 Jani Haavisto 1-4 Kim Huybrechts
Singles 2 Jarkko Komula 4-3 Ronny Huybrechts
Doubles Finland 0-4 Belgium
Belgium won the bull and will throw first in the opening Singles game and, if needed, the Doubles game. Finland will throw first in the second Singles game.
Jani Haavisto v Kim Huybrechts
0-1 - Huybrechts takes out 106 to win the opening leg.
0-2 - Huybrechts doubles his lead with a fine 120 checkout.
0-3 - Huybrechts^ flying start continues as he opens with a 180 and fires in double 18 for a 13-darter.
1-3 - Haavisto opens with a 180, and Huybrechts replies with two maximums to set up a possible nine-darter, then hitting treble 20, treble 19 and missing double 12 for a perfect leg! He then misses five further match darts and Haavisto keeps his hopes alive with double ten.
1-4 - Huybrechts is this time able to land double 12 as he seals victory for Belgium in the opening Singles game.
Jarkko Komula v Ronny Huybrechts
1-0 - Komula lands double eight to win the opening leg.
1-1 - Huybrechts posts double 16 to level.
1-2 - Huybrechts opens with a ton and then hits back-to-back 180s before landing double eight.
2-2 - Double top sees Komula level.
3-2 - Komula puts himself ahead and within a leg of forcing a Doubles decider.
3-3 - Huybrechts opens with a 180, and when Komula misses two match darts he posts double eight to force a deciding leg.
4-3 - Huybrechts struggles to pressure Komula, who is first to a finish and has enough cushion to miss four more match darts before returning to pin double three.
Finland v Belgium
0-1 - Belgium hit a 180 in the opening leg before Ronny Huybrechts lands double 16.
0-2 - Kim Huybrechts opens the second leg with a maximum, and older brother Ronny finishes 76 in two darts to double their lead.
0-3 - Haavisto lands a 180, but Ronny Huybrechts hits the winning double once again, this time on double 12.
0-4 - Belgium complete a brilliant with a 105.47 average - a record for a Doubles game in the World Cup - as Kim Huybrechts finishes 60 on tops for a 14-darter. The pair emotionally embrace on stage as they dedicate the win to their late father Ludo.
"It^s a very emotional moment," admitted Kim Huybrechts after the pair shared a tearful embrace on stage. "We dreamed of reaching the final and although we never expected to do this, it^s happening for us. We both said that we^re doing this for our dad as well as for Belgium, and he would be so proud. We feel like he^s looking down on us and we^re do happy to be in the final - but we have to focus now because we want to win the final."
England v Wales
Phil Taylor & Adrian Lewis v Mark Webster & Richie Burnett
Singles 1 Phil Taylor 4-1 Mark Webster
Singles 2 Adrian Lewis 3-4 Richie Burnett
Doubles England 4-3 Wales
England won the bull and will throw first in the opening Singles game and, if needed, the Doubles game. Wales will throw first in the second Singles game.
Phil Taylor v Mark Webster
1-0 - Taylor wins the opening leg on double 16.
1-1 - Webster misses double ten to level, but when Taylor is unable to finish double 12 for a 93 finish, he returns to post a tricky double two to square the game.
2-1 - Webster hits a 180, but Taylor responds with a maximum of his own before landing double 16 to move back ahead.
3-1 - Taylor finishes a superb third-dart double top, with his other two darts hanging over the bed, to move a leg away from the win.
4-1 - Taylor hits a 177 and lands double 16 to give England the opening Singles point.
Adrian Lewis v Richie Burnett
0-1 - Burnett lands a 180 and hits double one to win the opening leg.
1-1 - Burnett opens with another maximum, with Lewis replying with a maximum before punishing three missed doubles from the Welshman by posting double ten to level.
1-2 - Burnett hits double four to win the third leg, again missing doubles before this time returning to edge ahead.
2-2 - Lewis posts a maximum and then finishes double ten to square the contest.
2-3 - Burnett continues to score well, and although he misses further doubles the former Lakeside Champion hits double four with his third dart to move a leg away from the win.
3-3 - Lewis pins double top to send the game into a deciding leg - which Wales must win to stay in the tournament and force a Doubles decider.
3-4 - Burnett kicks off the leg with a 180 and leaves 32 after 12 darts, finishing double eight for a 14-darter to send the game into a Doubles clash.
England v Wales
1-0 - Taylor finishes 96 on double eight as England open the Doubles contest with a 15-darter.
1-1 - Webster takes out 104 on double 12 to level.
1-2 - Taylor opens the leg with a 177, but misses double top, ten and five to win the leg and Webster finishes 124 on the bull to break throw.
1-3 - Burnett leaves 40 after 12 darts, and Webster posts double ten with his third dart to put Wales a leg away from the final.
2-3 - Lewis produces a timely 140, and Taylor takes out 95 on the bull to keep England in the game.
3-3 - England are first to a finish, with Taylor missing two darts to check out 86. Burnett, though, misses double ten for a 140 finish for the match, and Lewis takes out double four to send the tie into a deciding leg!
4-3 - England leave 103 after 12 darts and complete the comeback, with Taylor initially missing double 16 before Lewis hits the bed to take victory.
England v Belgium
Singles 1 Phil Taylor 4-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Singles 2 Adrian Lewis 0-4 Kim Huybrechts
Singles 3 Adrian Lewis 4-2 Ronny Huybrechts
Singles 4 Phil Taylor 4-1 Kim Huybrechts
Doubles Not needed
Belgium won the bull and will throw first in the first and Singles games and, if needed, the Doubles game. England will throw first in the second and fourth Singles games.
Belgium have switched their order of play, with Ronny Huybrechts to play Phil Taylor first.
Phil Taylor v Ronny Huybrechts
1-0 - Taylor breaks throw to win the opening leg of the final.
2-0 - Taylor lands a 180 posts double 16 to move two legs up.
3-0 - Taylor finishes 78 on tops to win a thid leg, retaining an average of above 105.
4-0 - Taylor is first to a finish once again, and lands double ten for a fine display to win the opening Singles game without Ronny Huybrechts being allowed a dart at a double.
Adrian Lewis v Kim Huybrechts
0-1 - Huybrechts settles any nerves with a 180 before finishing 46 to break throw in the opener.
0-2 - The Belgian adds another 180 before finishing tops to double his lead.
0-3 - Huybrechts finishes 70 on double eight to move three legs up, moving his average up to almost 105.
0-4 - Lewis hits a 180, but misses the bullseye and two darts at double eight to allow the Belgian in to hit the same bed and seal the Singles win.
Adrian Lewis v Ronny Huybrechts
1-0 - Ronny Huybrechts hits a 180 but misses a dart at double 18 for a 103 finish, and Lewis takes out double ten to win the opener.
1-1 - Lewis misses the bull for a 95 finish and two darts at double eight, and Huybrechts recovers from another miss at double 18 to land double four to level.
1-2 - Both players hit 180s, and Huybrechts takes out double 13 for a 13-darter.
2-2 - Lewis opens with two 180s, and then hits treble 20 and treble 19 before missing double 12 for a nine-darter - like Kim Huybrechts did earlier - but the Stoke star returns to hit the bed for a ten-darter with his next visit.
3-2 - Lewis opens with another 180 and a 135 with five more perfect darts, and although Huybrechts hits a maximum in reply, the English star hits tops for a 12-darter to move ahead.
4-2 - Lewis^ resurgence continues as he scores 125 and 180 before sealing the comeback and a fine victory on double four, ending with an average of 105.75 to put England one game away from retaining their title.
Phil Taylor v Kim Huybrechts
1-0 - Taylor hits a 177, and although Kim Huybrechts replies with a 180, the World Champion finishes tops for a 14-darter.
1-1 - Taylor lands a 180 but misses double 16 to finish 108, and Huybrechts posts double eight to level.
2-1 - Taylor misses the bull to take out 122 but returns to hit double nine.
3-1 - Taylor hits another 177, and when Huybrechts misses double 18 for a 153 checkout, he finishes 110 to move a leg away from the title.
4-1 - PHIL TAYLOR WINS THE BETFAIR WORLD CUP FOR ENGLAND, hitting a third 177 of the final and double ten to seal a second successive title.