Great comeback from champ White in defence of title

COMPETITORS still competing in Plymouth’s most prestigious darts tournament are now just one win away from an appearance in the grand final.

There are just 16 players left in the mix, which includes reigning champion Neil White (pictured) who is bidding to become only the fourth player in 35 years to retain the Champion of Champions title.

He had arguably the hardest of ties in the previous round against his Devon county team-mate Mark Shears but in an excellent encounter that saw five maximums recorded, it was White who prevailed by the odd leg in five.

Shears went 2-0 up in 18 and 21 only for White to bounce back by taking the next three in 13, 15 and 15. Of the 11 ton plus scores recorded by White, he notched two maximums and five 140s.

Dan Johnson, the overall winner in 2013, progressed with a 3-1 defeat of Alan Masters in 21, 22 and 15 while Malcolm Johns (26.37) overcame Andy Pengelly 3-0 in 20, 19 and 18.

Danny Bull was taken the full distance by Dave Pethick before winning his place in the next round and there was also a popular winner in Steve Rice.

The losing finalist in 1993 turned back the years to edge out Andrew Waters 3-2.

The 2011 champion Antony Hayman ended the hopes of 14-year-old Frankie Stout in three straight legs while Reg Matthews did well to defeat the 2016 winner Phil Stewart.

The last 16 will take place at the Maritime Social Club next Sunday and the draw will be made at 7.45pm when all players should be in attendance ready for an 8pm start.

All matches will be contested over the best of five legs of 501, bull up in the first and fifth legs with the bust rule applying throughout.

The Grand Final and presentation of cheque to this year's charity Lyd Ward, will take place on Sunday, December 8 at the Victory Inn.

The last 16 players are: Neil White (Octagon SC), Lee Roberts (Bluebird), Danny Bull (Indian Inn), Scott Wapshott (Brewery Tap), Reg Matthews (Kings Arms), Steve Rice (Bluebird), Jordan Searle (Maritime SC), Brian Lumsdon (Tamar View), Antony Hayman (Brewery Tap), Dan Johnson (Maritime SC), Andrew Nation (King Billy), Kelvin Rowe (Victory Inn), Malcolm Johns (Brewery Tap), Liam Campbell (Indian Inn), Scott Hutchinson (Maritime SC), Mike Nancholas (The Fawn).

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