Mann Nets "Big Fish" To Snatch Second Champs Title!
John Mann produced a stunning performance on Champion of Champions Final's Night to lift the famous, old trophy for a second time.
In the two board format round of 16 stage of the competition, it was Octagon's 2018 Champion Neil White who looked the most likely to win the big prize.
White (30.67) took out finishes of 120 and 115 to give him two legs in 15 darts on his way to a 3-0 win over Torpoint Cons' Andrew Waters in which White produced ten ton plusses.
King Billy's Mann himself ended the hopes of the youngest competitor left in the draw, Firkin Scholar's Frankie Stout, thanks to a leg in 14 darts and a 27.33 three dart average in a 3-0 win.
Andy Bates (26.31) meanwhile took out much fancied Octagon competitor Lee Hellings (24.81) 3-1 thanks to a 15 dart leg and a 115 checkout with Hellings' 16 dart reply in vain.
The final competitor from board number one to make it through was Victory's Danny Allen (26.41) who got the better of Raffles' Danny Bull (24.30) by three legs to one.
The pair shared thirteen ton plusses in the match with the highlight being Allen's 13 dart opening leg to put him on course to success.
On the second board in play on the night, there was a routine 3-0 win from Victory's Scott Cook over St Johnston's Kieran Burns whilst Kings Arms' Paul Palmer dispatched Cornwall Youth player Jaden Whitting - who plays locally from The Fawn club - 3-1.
The final match of the round saw the only two maximums of the last 16 stage with Victory players, Mark Gilbery and Andrew Cook, trading 180 blows before Gilbery ran out a 3-1 winner.
Mike Nancholas, who was the lucky recipient of a bye in the first stage of the evening due to the withdrawal of Victory's Mark Shears, was Mann's next victim as the Fawn veteran never really got up and running.
Mann (25.47) produced the third maximum of the night overall in a 3-0 win and had a checkout of 76 in the first leg of the tie to set his stall out early on in the matchup to book his place amongst the last four.
Danny Allen (25.09) took the first leg in his quarter final in 16 darts only for opponent Mark Gilbery (23.65) to reply with a 68 checkout.
Missed doubles in the third from Gilbery would see the tide shift firmly in the direction of Allen with the Victory man running out a 3-1 winner.
Allen's semi final opponent would be Scott Cook (24.64) who ended Neil White's (24.82) dreams of a second crown by a score of 3-0.
In truth, the match was definitely a lot closer than the scoreline gives credit but it was Cook who was devastating in the business end of legs to put him in his first semi final.
Paul Palmer was the polar opposite and will rue a missed opportunity to go deep in the competition after losing 3-0 to an out of sorts Andy Bates despite having darts at doubles in every single leg.
Mann and Allen both really put their foot on the accelerator pedal in the semi final stage to book places in the final with the pair both hitting twenty-eight averages.
Mann (28.70) was marginally the better performer after whitewashing Andy Bates in legs of 18,17,17 for a 3-0 win that included an 81 checkout.
Allen (28.17) had it slightly tougher against Scott Cook (26.51) but two legs of 18 darts to kick off would give him 2-0 lead, which was to be unassailable as it turned out.
Cook did reply with a 15 darter of his own thanks to a 74 checkout but this seemingly spurred Allen on more and the latter ran out a 3-1 winner thanks to a fourth leg in 17 darts.
The grand final itself lived up to expectations with both players producing high class tungsten throughout the best of seven contest that would go all the way to a final leg shootout.
It was Mann (25.88) who looked like winning the trophy at a canter when opening up a 3-0 lead thanks to a 17 dart leg in the first, a maximum in the second and a 16 darter in the third.
Despite the fact Allen (25.11) never really looked like troubling the scoreboard at this stage, the Victory man finally found the form that got him to the final with a leg of 17 darts to give him a foothold into the match.
Mann started leg five with a second maximum of the final but it was Allen who showed composure to win in 18 darts; making the score now 3-2 to Mann.
Mann then missed six match darts and Allen accepted the gift to level at 3-3 before kicking with a 125 in the final leg of the match in which Allen had the throw.
Allen led all the way down in the scoring phase of play and left 142 after just four visits as he looked poised to add his name to a famous list of winners of the title.
Mann crucially scored 65 with his fourth visit to leave the biggest possible finish 170 before Allen left a two dart combination of 97 with his fifth turn at the oche.
Knowing how clinical Allen had been all night, Mann's only option was to take the match there and then, which the King Billy man duly delivered to give him a second Champion of Champions victory of his darting career.
The win also means Mann becomes the oldest recipient of the winner's perpetual trophy in the competition's history.
The competition, in it's thirty-sixth edition, is a charity event ran by number of volunteers from the darting community with this year's benefactor being Devon Air Ambulance Trust.
Despite the pandemic wreaking havoc with scheduling and player's ability to attend, the competition was still able to raise a remarkable £2,341.79 for a truly wonderful cause.
Lottie Clark, a Community Fundraiser at the trust, personally thanked all involved and said the large donation would go to maintaining the services they provide across Devon and neighbouring counties.