With the final dart thrown in anger for the minor rounds, we move into the business end of the season, with a final series shaping up to be an absolute ripper.
The Avenel Steeltips finished top of the ladder, having lost only the two games for the season; they go head-to-head with second-placed POW Kings in a heavyweight battle for the first semi-final.
With a first to six format that makes the team games all the more important to win, the Steeltips came out firing in the quads game, with a ton to Adam Lynch and a ton and 125 to Rob Walden who continues to dominate the high scores.
The POW Kings failed to register a notable score, but it mattered little with Jarrod Duggin taking the point with a peg of 20, making a waste of Steeltips fast start.
The first doubles match saw Adam Lynch and Rick Wylie line up against Terran Crispin and Gary Power in a captain versus captain showdown.
Once again, the Steeltips got off to a start with Adam Lynch slamming in a ton but with a touch of deja-vu the Kings took the point despite no high scores, Gary Power finishing with a high peg of 54 to put the Kings 2-0 up.
Rob Walden teamed up with his sister Liz Henzell in the next doubles game; they faced-off against the Kings’ big hitters in Dave Kennett and Raymond Maloney.
Avenel got off to another great start with Rob Walden smashing in another two tons and finally managed to get the Steeltips on the board and take advantage of some good darts, checking out with a peg of 34 to bring the score back to 2-1.
First of the singles games kicked off with Rob Walden taking on Ray Maloney.
There was a turn of fortune in this match, as Ray Maloney scored 4 tons and although Rob Walden went ton-less he took the game 2-1 with pegs of 34 and 10 to even the score 2-2.
Next up Adam Lynch threw down against Dave Kennett in an intriguing match with Lynchy throwing 3 tons and Dave answering the challenge with a ton, 121, 131 and 140.
But the honours went to Adam as he took the win with pegs of 40 and 16, putting the Steeltips in front for the first time of the night.
Avenel captain Rick Wylie went up against Gary Power in the next game, with Gary proving too good for the skipper, throwing scores of 140 and a ton, with finishes of 40 and 46 to level the scores again.
Liz Henzell went to bat next for the Steeltips, going up against Kings’ captain Terran Crispin who was unstoppable, winning both legs with pegs of 20 and 36 and throwing 2 tons plus his first 180 for the season in a true captain’s performance — congrats Tezza!
Rob Walden took on Gary Power in the next singles match.
Rob rediscovered earlier form dominating with 2 tons and a 140 to take both legs with pegs of 26 and 20. Gary battled hard and finished the set with a single ton.
Adam Lynch, fresh off his victory against the Kings’ top player, looked to put the team back in front against Jarrod Duggin.
Unfortunately for Adam who threw a solitary ton, Jarrod had other ideas, throwing a 118 and winning two legs straight with pegs of 40 and 16, moving the Kings 5-4 in front, one win away from consecutive grand final appearances.
Rick Wylie was the next man up; he played off against Ray Maloney who was out for redemption after losing his first singles set.
Rick worked hard throwing a 140, winning the second leg but fell short against a rampant Maloney who finished the game with a 125, 3 tons and two pegs of 16 to deliver the Kings to the final and forcing the Steeltips into a do-or-die preliminary final.
The second semi-final saw the POW 26ers versus the Golf Club Aces in a knockout clash that would pit the winner against the Steeltips in the preliminary final.
The quads game started quietly with solitary tons to the 26ers’ Torin Helmore and the Aces’ Dan Raynor but it was the 26ers’ Steve Ash who managed to hit the double 2, giving the 26ers their first ever finals point.
The first doubles game saw the 26ers pair their two strongest players together, Torin Helmore and Shannon Jackson, to line up against the Aces’ Steve Raynor and Adrian Blacker.
Some very nervous darts thrown by both sides with no notable scores thrown until Adrian Blacker checked out with an impressive peg of 80, levelling the score 1-all.
Mitchell McGuinness and Ben McPherson went toe to toe with arguably the Aces’ top two players in Dan Raynor and Emily Wills.
In another uninspiring game of scoring it was Emily who managed a 32 finish to put the Aces 2-1 up at the start of the singles games.
First up, 26ers’ captain Shannon Jackson threw everything he had at Adrian Blacker, finishing with 2 tons, a 120 and 121 and winning the match with pegs of 20 and 6.
Adrian battled hard and finished with 2 tons and took one leg with a peg of 40.
Torin Helmore was next up for the 26ers. He went up against the Aces’ Frank Roberts, with Frank landing the only noteworthy score of 140.
But Torin was able to get the job done with pegs of 15 and 40 putting the 26ers in front 3-2.
Steve Ash lined up against Dan Raynor in the next game.
Steve managed a ton but was no match for Dan who threw a ton and two 121s with pegs of 8 and 32 to level the scores 3-3.
Next Mitch McGuinness took on Emily Wills in a fairly one-sided effort, Emily dispatching Mitch by throwing a 140 and pegs of 6 and 40 to put the Aces 4-3 up.
Shannon Jackson was first up in the reverse singles, going up against the Aces’ Dan Raynor.
Both players scored a 140 each but it was Dan Raynor who took the points after 3 legs with pegs of 2 and 48 to give the Aces a 5-3 lead, one game away from victory.
The 26ers’ prized recruit, Torin Helmore, went up against Emily Wills in the next match up.
Torin came out breathing fire after some ‘‘average by his standard’’ darts earlier in the night, winning 2 games straight with pegs of 40 and 10, with high scores of 125, 140 and an impressive 174.
Emily managed to snag herself a 140, but Torin’s reputation put her behind the eight-ball from start to finish.
Steve Ash was next in line to try and level the scores, going up against the Aces’ Dave Ring.
Steve managed 2 tons but was ultimately outclassed by a better opponent on the night, losing in two straight legs. Dave finished the 26ers’ finals campaign with pegs of 57 and 34 and a high score of 121.
With the Kings going straight through to the grand final, the next game will be played between the Avenel Steeltips and the Golf Club Aces in an all or nothing preliminary final.
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