NICHOLSON ON TOP IN GROUP THREE
PAUL NICHOLSON sealed his place in the Championship League Darts Winners Group next month with a 6-4 victory over Simon Whitlock in Thursday^s Group Three final at Crondon Park GC in Essex.
Nicholson, who was defeated in Wednesday^s semi-finals by Phil Taylor, powered through the eight player field by losing just one game in his seven group matches to top the table, before defeating Mark Walsh 6-4 in the semi-finals.
Nicholson opened the final against Whitlock superbly with a maximum and went on to win the opening leg by hitting double eight. Both players missed chances to win the second leg but it was Whitlock who won it to level.
Nicholson hit another 180 in the third leg and won it with just 13 darts to lead for a second time only, for Whitlock to hold throw by hitting double seven to win the fourth leg.
Whitlock had a chance to win the fifth leg against the darts but his attempt at tops for a 160 checkout was just high. That allowed Nicholson in to hit 87 and steal the leg for a 3-2 lead before breaking throw by hitting double 10 to move two legs clear.
Nicholson won the seventh leg to go within touching distance of victory but Whitlock kept fighting by taking the next by hitting double six with his last dart.
Nicholson missed three darts for the match in the tenth leg, and Whitlock stepped in to hit double 10 and reduce the gap to 5-4. Whitlock had a chance to force a deciding-leg but missed a dart at double top for a 120 finish and Nicholson hit the same double with his last dart to confirm victory.
Whitlock, who lost narrowly to Phil Taylor in the final of Group Two, will now return to Crondon Park after the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix in October to contest Group Four, which will see Ronnie Baxter, Vincent van der Voort and Jamie Caven enter the fray.
Mark Walsh and Colin Lloyd enjoyed good days, both finishing in the top four, before losing their semi-final matches to Nicholson and Whitlock respectively.
Wes Newton, suffered a dramatic exit from the competition having reached the semi-finals on Wednesday. Needing victory against Lloyd to progress, the UK Open finalist was edged in a final-leg thriller to the Essex man to confirm his elimination on legs difference, despite three victories.
Championship League Darts is screened solely on the internet through LIVEPDC.TV and a series of 30 bookmakers^ websites worldwide, and offers a potential total prize fund of over £200,000, plus places in the Grand Slam of Darts for the eventual finalists.
Played over nine days from 27-29 September, October 11-13 and October 18-20, the event offers £50 per leg won prize money in the league phase and £100 per leg won in each group^s Play-Off^s, with prize money doubled in the Winners Group.