ON TOP OF THE WORLD - Stephen Bunting and Julie Gore are the 2012 Winmau World Masters Champions
The 39th WINMAU WORLD MASTERS returned to the City Hall, Hull after a two-year break and the venue^s character architecture proved to be the perfect setting for three days of wonderful Winmau World Masters darts.
Following the tough floor matches on Day 1 of the Masters, the 16 Men progressing through to meet the 16 Seeds at City Hall produced an even tougher test of high-class darts.
The Winmau Women^s Masters was played down to the Semi-Finals with a mouth-watering line-up of Deta Hedman v Lorraine Farlam and Julie Gore v Tamara Schuur.
However, the Last 32 of the Men^s Masters produced plenty of shocks as 8 Seeds were eliminated by qualifiers.
Those who left the Masters in that round were: Martin Adams (2), Scott Waites (3), Robbie Green (4), Alan Norris (6), Jan Dekker (9), Martin Atkins (12), Geert de Vos (13) and Richie George (15).
The biggest of those shocks was the 3-0 defeat of defending World Masters Champion, Scott Waites by Northern Ireland^s impressive Paul Brown, who hit 4 x 180^s on his way to the last 16 and guaranteed prize money of £1,000. 19 year-old Sam Head of England was also very impressive in his 3-1 victory over Belgium^s Geert de Vos.
But. the biggest upset was produced by Norway^s Rohit David (who decided to change his Christian name to the Norwegian Rune) who defeated three times World Master, Martin Adam s by a 3-1 scoreline.
Two days previously, the Norwegian with Indian roots, qualified for the 2013 Lakeside World Pro and his unusual and flamboyant style produced the best result of his career so far. He won the first leg of his Winmau debut and then went on to take the first set. A much slimmer Martin Adams had to endure a series of missed doubles, but levelled at 1-1 with the aid of a superb 141 checkout. It looked ominous for Rune, but there was no stopping him as he won the next two sets - much to the obvious delight of his watching sister, Rachna David.
As usual the Masters produced quality darts and bags of drama and excitement with its 3 legs per set format, and there were great performances from Gary Robson, who beat Glen Durrant 3-0 and Tony O^Shea who beat the impressive David Pallett 3-1.
Top Seed, Stephen Bunting triumphed in a hard-fought match with Dutchman Rick Hofstra to emerge a 3-1 winner, and Phill Nixon regained his form after an accident in January when he broke his right wrist in two places and lost one and a half inches in height following severe rib damage! He beat No.4 Seed Robbie Green 3-1.
LAST 16 MEN
The opening match of the Last 16 saw Wesley Harms of The Netherlands book his place in the Quarter Finals with a high-scoring 3-1 victory against Dave Prins. He laid out his credentials with a bull finish to take the opening leg and had checkouts of 121 and a brilliant 134.
Scotland^s Ross Montgomery lost the first leg of his match with Jim Williams but quickly levelled up before suffering a severe bout of double trouble which allowed Jim in to win the first set. And the Welshman quickly won the 2nd before Ross enjoyed a couple of high-scoring legs to reduce the deficit to 2-1 in his favour. The scoring run continued into the next set as he levelled the match at 2-2. However, the scoring dried up in the 5th and crucial set, and it was Jim Williams who marched into the Quarter-Finals with a 3-2 victory over No 8 Seed (the 9th Seed to leave the tournament).
James Wilson hit a 121 checkout to win the first set against No.11 Seed Scott Mitchell and then continued his high-scoring to go 2-0 up. Scott missed 14 doubles in the opening leg of the next but finally took it with d-2. More double trouble came in the nervous second leg which James Wilson took on d-4 to level the set 1-1. He then took the set to win 3-0 with a 52 checkout to eliminate yet another seed.
No such troubles for No 1 Seed Stephen Bunting, who seemed to excel even more with his 3 month-old son Toby looking on. He won the opening leg against 19 year-old Benito van de Pas with the aid of a 180. It was an early break but missed doubles then handed the break back to Benito. 86 from Stephen secured the first set. It was more missed doubles that cost Benito the second set, but he made no mistake in taking the third set to make the score-line 2-1. Benito opened the next set with a 128 checkout to take the opening leg of the 4th set and then a 170 checkout won the set and the£1,000 highest checkout prize. It made the match all square at 2 all in sets with Stephen waiting on 41 after a brilliant 180!
He then hit a superb 132 check-out to take the 5th set and the match for the in-form Stephen.
Paul Brown won the first set against No.14 Seed Steve Douglas and in the next it was Steve who was one dart away from going 2 sets down. But he levelled at 1-1 in legs before making it 1-1 in sets. Brown then made it 2-1 and was on a 9-darter in the deciding leg. He didn^t get it, but he won the set and removed yet another seed, bringing the total to 12 who were now out of the Masters.
The outstanding match of the night brought together good friends Tony O^Shea the No.7 Seed and Gary Robson the No.10 Seed. Martin Adams who did a great job of presenting with Ray Stubbs predicted that the winner would go on to win the Masters.
Tony led the way in a high-scoring 1st leg to go into an early lead, but Gary was hot on his heels to level at 1-1. A 64 checkout gave Tony the first set and Gary took the next to level the set score at 1-1 before taking the next to go 2-1 ahead. Tony hit back with two perfect 180^s and just missed another possible 9-darter but won the opening leg with an 11 darter! He then checked out 127 to win the next and go 2-2 in sets. A 12-darter from Gary won the opening leg of the 5th set and Tony levelled at 1-1 in the deciding set before taking the leg to march into the Quarter-Finals at 3-2 .
Gary^s defeat meant that only three seeds remained in the Quarter-Finals.
The surprise package of the Masters, Rune David of Norway was playing his 13th match of the Masters and he won the opening set against Thomas Junghans of Switzerland - much to the obvious delight of his sister Rachna. He then narrowly missed a 167 checkout and Thomas hit d-20 to level at 1-1 in sets. The German born Swiss national won the next to take the lead at 2-1. In the next Rune hit a 14 dart leg to level the 4th set at 1-1 in legs before going on to level at 2-2 in sets with a crucial 70 checkout.
He then got the crowd going with a 54 checkout to go ahead for the first time in the 5th set and when it went to a bull-up for the final leg Rune hit the perfect bullseye to have the darts.
There was now just one leg to go for two debutants and it was the Swiss player who took it on d-4 after Rune went walkabout on stage and his entertaining and slightly odd style of play was lost to this year^s Masters.
Sam Head, the youngest player in the line-up, was making his TV debut after only three years in the sport, and his opponent was the experienced Phill Nixon, still recovering from his wrist injury in January. A 180 from the youngster helped him win the first set and then Phill levelled at 1-1 in sets and 1-1 in legs in the 3rd set, which he won to lead 2-1. Then a 66 checkout from Sam levelled the match at 2-2 in sets and he followed with a 78 in the next to lead 1-0 in the 5th set and he had tops for the match but missed. Phill hit d10 to take it to a sudden death finish, which the vastly more experienced Phill took to win 3-2 and go into the Quarter-Finals.
Super Sunday saw the Men^s Quarter-Finals get off to a great start with 27 year-old Stephen Bunting and 28 year old Jim Williams. Stephen^s first 3 darts were a maximum and Williams did the same. That first set went to Stephen, but Jim levelled at 1-1 before the hugely impressive Merseysider took the next two with the aid of more high-scoring and precise finishing. to become the first Semi-Finalist.
Wesley Harms also opened with a 180 in his Quarter-Final against Phill Nixon as he won the first leg and then repeated his 180 start in the next to win the set with single dart double finishes . Phill missed darts for doubles in the next as Wesley went 2-0 up in sets, and the tall Dutchman started the second leg of the 3rd set with 180/140 and took that leg , the set and the match with an 11-darter and an average of almost 100 to set up a Semi-Final against No.1 Seed Stephen Bunting.
Tony O^Shea also hit 180 on his way to winning the first leg of his Quarter-Final against Thomas Junghans of Switzerland, but missed doubles allowed Thomas to win the next. However Tony made no mistake in the next to win the first set. And it was missed doubles again that cost him the next set as Junghans levelled at 1-1. But after a period of below average scoring, Tony went 2-1 up in sets then took the next to win 3-1 and move into the Semi-Final.
The unseeded pair of Paul Brown and James Wilson produced more high-scoring darts, with James taking the first set and Paul levelling at 1-1. He then hit a 122 checkout to level the 3rd set at 1-1 in legs and took the next to go ahead 2-1. It could only be described as a ding-dong tit-for-tat match as each exchanged high-scoring legs, but it was James who powered in a magnificent 148 to take the 4th set to level at 2-2. The hugely impressive Paul Brown then took the initiative as he started the 5th set with an 11 dart first leg and then went on to win the set with power scoring to book a Semi-Final berth against Tony O^Shea.
In the first Semi-Final No.1 Seed Stephen Bunting, who won the Boys Masters title in 2001, enjoyed an immediate break against Dutchman Wesley Harms and then took the first of 5 sets required to reach the final. Wesley then broke Stephen with a 120 outshot to take the 1st leg of the 2nd set. Stephen responded with a 180 in the next and a 76 checkout to level before moving on to go 2-0 up in sets. Wesley took the next and then Stephen opened the next with a 12-dart leg and made it 3-1 at the interval.
Harms won the 1st leg after the break and then both he and Stephen hit 180^s before Wesley won the set with an 11 darter to make the score 3-2 in sets. A 121 from Harms levelled the 6th set at 1-1 but Bunting was on fire as he went 4-2 ahead. Harms then made it 4-3 with a pressure outshot of 116, only to see Stephen win the 1st leg of the 8th set and then the next to march into the final at 5-3.
Tony O^Shea^s 4th appearance in a World Masters Semi-Final and his 13th overall Masters appearance began with the opening leg, but the impressive Paul Brown, the only non-seeded player left in the Masters, levelled only to see Tony take the 1st set, quickly followed by the 2nd and 3rd. However, it was Paul who came back to go into the interval at 3-1. Tony came out after the break firing on all cylinders to go 4-3 up and one set away from the final. After Paul won the 1st leg, a wonderful 161 checkout from Tony levelled the 6th set at 1-1 in legs and then a 107 finished the set and won the match 5-1 and a place in the 2012 final.
And so, the 2012 Men^s World Masters final was contested by No.1 Seed Stephen Bunting and No.7 Seed Tony O^Shea and as expected produced a mouth-watering 13 set finale to the 39th Winmau World Masters.
Stephen started the better of the two as he won the opening 2 legs and the set courtesy of Tony leaving a single 3 and being unable to hit the d-1. Stephen then took the first set before Tony levelled at one set apiece. Stephen went ahead again at 2-1 but in a ding-dong battle Tony checked out on 72 to make it 2-2 at the first interval.
Stephen won the first leg after the break and then hit 126 to win the next and go 3-2 ahead. Tony won the first 2 legs of the next set to level again at 3-3. Tony^s second 180 of the match wasn^t enough to win the 1st leg of the 7th set, and a determined looking Stephen then won the next to move ahead 4-3. But Tony came back yet again to take the 1st leg of the next. Stephen hit his second maximum of the match to level 1-1 in legs and followed it with his third 180 before checking out on d-18 to go into the second interval 5-3. ahead.
Once again Stephen was first to win the opening leg after the break, but Tony hit another 180 in the next. However, it wasn^t enough to stem the high scoring of Stephen who then went 6-3 ahead - just 2 legs away from the title. Tony wasn^t out of it as he hit yet another 180 - only to see Stephen hit a 180 of his own. The score was now 6-4.
The opening leg of the 11th set went in Stephen^s favour and a fantastic 146 checkout gave the No.1 Seed a famous 7-4 victory. It was his first major title and he has now become the first man to win both the Winmau Boys Masters title in 2001 and now the Men^s Masters title in 2012.
The result was also a bonus for Scotland^s Gary Stone, who qualified for the 2013 Lakeside World Professional courtesy of the fact that Stephen is already qualified.
2012 WINMAU MEN^S WORLD MASTER: STEPHEN BUNTING (ENG)
WINMAU WOMEN^S WORLD MASTERS
In the first Semi-Final of the Winmau Women^s World Masters, Lorraine Farlam raced into an early lead and had chances to win against Deta Hedman, but it was Deta who eventually triumphed 4-3 to book her place in the Final and regain the title she last won in 1994
In the second Semi-Final, Julie Gore opened the door wide for Trina Gulliver to qualify for Lakeside 2013 with an emphatic 4-0 win against Tamara Schuur of The Netherlands.
Julie Gore, the 2010 Women^s World Master won the 1st leg of the 2012 Women^s final with as bull finish and then took the next with tops before making it a hat-trick of legs before Deta Hedman, who last won the title in 1994, got a leg back to make it 3-1.
A 180 in the 5th leg got the impressive Julie to match dart, but she missed at the first ask, but not the next to be crowned a very happy and emotional 2012 Women^s World Master.
Julie^s win also meant that 9 times Lakeside Women^s World Champion, Trina Gulliver was in the line-up for the 2013 Lakeside World Pro, and by one of those extraordinary coincidences was drawn to play Julie in her opening match next January!
2012 WINAMU WOMEN^S WORLD MASTER: JULE GORE (Wales)
WINMAU BOYS AND GIRLS MASTERS FINALS
Two keenly contested Youth Finals provided great entertainment for the City Hall crowd.
In the Boys Masters Jeffrey de Zwaan of The Netherlands won the 2012 title with a 4-3 victory over Kenny Neyens of Belgium. He hit two 180^s and recorded an impressive 25.68 average.
In the Girls Masters final, England^s Fallon Sherrock triumphed 4-1 against Ann-Kathrin Wigmann of Germany. She hit the only 180 of the match and recorded a 25.46 average.
2012 BOYS MASTER: JEFFREY de ZWAAN (Neth)
2012 GIRLS MASTER: FALLON SHERROCK (Eng
The Boys Final provided a unique moment in World Masters history when Scotland^s JORDAN FORBES became the youngest referee ever to grace the Winmau World Masters stage as he called the Boys Final at just 13 years of age.