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BDO CHAMPIONSHIP Ted takes the crown again as O^Shea is Counted out

Ted Hankey claimed his second BDO world darts championship crown in a gripping fangfare for ^The Count^ last night.

Darkness had long since fallen over the Lakeside when Hankey, 40, beat Tony O^Shea 7-6 in a final-set thriller, 12 months after he was booed off the same stage in a drinkfuelled strop.

Hankey, who takes to the oche in a Dracula cape, made the Frimley Green blood bank fear for their transfusion service when he lost his rag and threatened to quit after losing to Andy Boulton last year.

And when The Count blew eight darts for the title after leading 6-4, it was like a stake through his heart and crucifixes at dawn.

But as his wife Sarah went batty, Hankey finally nailed double 10 and sank to his knees after the second 13-act drama at the Lakeside in three years.

Never mind the snobs who say darts isn^t proper sport - this was exhilarating entertainment to set before a Sunday prime-time audience, and Hankey said: "At 6-6 I turned round and said, ^I ain^t ever going to win this thing^.

"I missed so many darts at double top it was unbelievable, but Tony kept piling on the pressure - he^s a legend.

"I will never forget the feeling of winning my first world title, but for personal reasons winning a second one means even more to me because four years ago I was going to pack it in. And it feels even more special now because I thought I had blown it."

Hankey, who collects £95,000 as winner, acquired his Transylvanian alter-ego when he was handed the part of Dracula in a school play called Star Flaws at the age of 15.

"I never quite made it to the West End or Broadway, but I made a grand entrance through a cave," he said.

The Count became the fastest world champion of all time, earning £1,000 a minute in his 46-minute whitewash of Ronnie Baxter, including a 170 checkout, in the 2000 final.

And after dropping the first set, Hankey played like a man determined to be back in his coffin well before the first shaft of daylight, racing into a 4-2 lead at the interval.

But ^Silverback^ O^Shea kept clawing his way back - taking it to a decider despite Hankey^s haul of 15 maximum 180s.

Tonight O^Shea, 48, will team up with best man Darryl Fitton - who he beat in the semi-finals - for the Pineapple pub team in Stockport. He said: "When I took Ted into a final set, I thought I had got him, but I threw a bag of nails and I was getting tired."

Story By: Sport

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