NEIL “Chalkie” White earned himself the accolade of being crowned the 2018 Champion of Champions after defeating the five-times winner Simon Stevenson in one of the best finals that this prestigious competition has seen in its 33-year history.
He began his assault on the title when winning his quarter-final match 3-0 against Malcolm Johns, aided by his first maximum of the evening while Stevenson had to come from behind to defeat Andrew Nation.
Nation’s very first throw of 180 laid the foundations for an opening leg victory in 15, only for Stevenson to hit a maximum and level in another 15-darter.
JUST CHAMPION: Neil White proudly holds the Champion of Champions cup after defeating Simon Stevenson 5-4 to lift the 2018 title.
Stevenson then edged 2-1 in front with a win in 16 before wrapping up a 3-1 victory to make the semi-finals.
Antony Hayman hit a maximum when winning the opener in 16 against John Mann and doubled his advantage when taking the next, finishing at the first time of asking from 120.
Mann, who won the title for the first time in 2015, pulled one back and had darts to make it 2-2, only for Hayman to take the leg and emerge a 3-1 winner.
Former champion Phil Stewart lost the opening leg of his quarter-final tie against Danny Bull but bounced back to form with a 15-darter to level at 1-1.
He edged in front for the first time at 2-1 before winning the next in 17 for a 3-1 victory.
Antony Hayman, who won the title back in 2011, had to meet Simon Stevenson in the first semi, but despite levelling after losing the opening leg, was never really a threat to the reigning champion.
Stevenson won the third in 12 darts, before taking the next two in 13 and 16 to win 4-1 and take his place in the final.
Neil White took the opening leg of the next semi in 20, when scoring 300 points with his last eight darts and made it 2-0 when taking the next in 19.
Phil Stewart reduced the deficit when claiming the third in 16 before drawing level at 2-2 when winning the fourth.
A maximum 180 score allowed Stewart to have three darts at 36 to move 3-2 in front but that honour went to White before Stewart redeemed himself by winning the sixth.
Both players had chances to win the decisive seventh leg, but it was White who made the most of his opportunities to clinch the tie 4-3.
Stevenson came to win an unprecedented sixth title but lost the opening leg of the final in16 and the second in 15 when White finished that leg with a kill of 100.
White then took the next to go 3-0 up and despite Stevenson hitting a maximum in the next leg, Chalkie took it in 17 to go 4-0 up and put himself just one away from victory.
White hit a top score of 180 in the fifth leg and had chances for a 5-0 victory but credit to Stevenson who pulled one back in 16.
He then took the next in 15 and another maximum enabled him to win again in 17 before victory in the eighth leg, brought the two finalists back on level terms at 4-4.
White had the darts in the decisive ninth leg and made maximum use of them with an opening throw of 180.
After 15 darts, White required 10 and Stevenson needed 56 and the former didn’t need a second visit as he checked out for victory to win his first Champion of Champions title in style.
Quarter-Finals: Antony Hayman 26.11 (180, 140, 100x4) bt John Mann 26.39 (180, 140, 100x6) 3-1.
Simon Stevenson 26.29 (180, 140x5, 100x5) bt Andrew Nation 24.40 (180, 140x2, 100x5) 3-1.
Phil Stewart 25.38 (140x3, 100x5) bt Danny Bull 23.87 (140x2, 100x3) 3-1.
Neil White 22.10 (180, 140, 100) bt Malcolm Johns (10x6) 3-0.
Semi-Finals: Stevenson 32.51 (140x5, 100x9) bt Hayman 27.22 (140x2,100x8) 4-1.
White 22.81 (140x4, 100x6) bt Stewart 22.75 (180, 140x6, 100x7) 4-3.
Final: White 26.64 (180x2, 140x3, 100x12) bt Stevenson 28.50 (180x2, 140x5, 100x14) 5-4.