Dan bounces back from dartitis to make champs final
THE last eight players from an entry of nearly 100, will contest the final stages of the 2019 Champion of Champions tournament next Sunday at the Victory Inn, Honicknowle, Plymouth.
The line-up boasts three former champions including Dan Johnson (pictured) who had previously made the grand final three years on the bounce.
He won the title in 2013, before he was the losing finalist the following two years against Simon Stevenson and John Mann respectively.
Not long after that final appearance in 2015 his form took a turn for the worst when he went through a dark period of dartitis, which at times was so bad that he considered giving up the sport altogether.
But he persevered and all credit to him that he has made the last eight again, four years on.
And after a great performance in the last 16 when he defeated one of the pre-tournament favourites Danny Bull, who would bet against him not lifting the trophy this time around.
Johnson won the opening leg and then moved 2-0 in front when a maximum score helped him to win in 16.
He had a chance to win it 3-0 but missed three darts when needing 40, only for Bull to make a brilliant match-saving checkout of 144.
But Johnson was not going to be denied and after his second maximum, he won the match with another leg in 16.
Reg Matthews ended the hopes of Jordan Searle 3-1 before Mike Nancholas came from 2-0 down to oust Steve Rice.
Liam Campbell and Scott Hutchinson shared the first two legs before the former edged in front with a 14-darter.
Hutchinson made it 2-2 but despite chances falling to both players, it was Campbell who prevailed.
Scott Wapshott ended the hopes of Lee Roberts before Andrew Nation defeated Brian Lumsdon 3-1.
Current champion Neil White began well against Kelvin Rowe and won the opening leg after Rowe had narrowly missed the bull for a 164 finish.
White extended his lead with a win in 20, aided by a maximum, before Rowe pulled one back in 20, only for White to win the fourth leg and remain on course to retain his title.
Antony Hayman, the winner back in 2011, was in a rich vein of form and dispatched Malcolm Johns in three straight legs when winning in 20, 15 and 16, taking the second leg with a kill of 154.
All finalists are asked to be present at the Victory Inn no later than 6.45pm for a 7.00pm start.
Reg Matthews 22.86 (180, 140x2, 100x5) bt Jordan Searle 19.04 (140, 100x6) 3-1.
Mike Nancholas 18.10 (140x2, 100x2) bt Steve Rice 17.81 (140, 100x4) 3-2.
Liam Campbell 24.44 (140x2, 100x8) bt Scott Hutchinson 23.28 (180, 140x3, 100x3) 3-2.
Scott Wapshott 22.48 (140x2, 100x2) bt Lee Roberts 22.82 (100x3) 3-1.
Andrew Nation 21.33 (180, 140x3, 100x3) bt Brian Lumsdon 18.33 (140x3, 100) 3-1.
Neil White 23.95 (180, 140, 100x5) bt Kelvin Rowe 21.86 (100x3) 3-1.
Antony Hayman 29.47 (154, 140x2, 100x4) bt Malcolm Johns 19.92 (140, 100x2) 3-0.
Dan Johnson 26.59 (180x2, 140x2, 100) bt Danny Bull 22.59 (140x3, 100x3) 3-1.
Jodie Hawton (pictured below) remains on course to retain the title that she won 12 months ago when she will meet fellow Devon County team-mate Chrissie Kinnaird in the ladies’ final.
The event was played as a round robin and Hawton was in a strong group that included another county player in Cat Callard but despite Callard powering through her first two matches with 3-0 victories she was denied topping the group when defeated 3-0 by Jodie.
In group two Chrissie Kinnaird qualified with ease winning 3-1 and 3-0 against Kayleigh Adams and Lisa Aston respectively before Lisa claimed the runner-up spot when beating Kayleigh 3-1.
In the first of the semi-finals Cat took out a leg in 17 but went down 3-1 while in the other, Jodie had to come back from a 2-0 deficit against Lisa to qualify for a second successive final.
Lisa went 2-0 up against the reigning champion in 22 and 20 before Jodie dominated and took the next three in 27, 22 and 24.
Chrissie Kinnaird 18.76 (100x3) bt Cat Callard (100x4) 3-1
Jodie Hawton 20.15 (100x5) bt Lisa Aston 19.01 (100x3) 3-2