It was THE perfect weekend….a brilliant darting hat-trick as Wes Newton claimed back-to-back Players Championship titles in Barnsley!
Add this brilliant double to Newton winning through the qualifiers for the Grand Slam of Darts on Friday night and you can see why it’s been the best weekend of Newton’s career.
This time, he trounced Mark Webster 6-1 in the final to make it a £12,000 weekend, plus of course the place at the Grand Slam and the prestige and prize money from that tournament!
It was ‘Pinch Me’ time for Newton in South Yorkshire, but he deserves every credit – getting the rewards for a lot of hard work in 2010.
And these two big victories for Newton take him into the top 16 in the world for the first time in his career…..that’s how good it’s been for the man they call ‘Av It!”
Well, the Team Unicorn star certainly let everyone ‘Av It’ in Barnsley….after another great run, he was just too good for Webster in the final.
And Newton also joins an exclusive club of players who have won both events over one weekend on the Pro Tour. The others are Phil Taylor, Robert Thornton, Mervyn King and Adrian Lewis.
“It’s amazing!” he said. “I can’t quite believe what I have managed to achieve.”
He added: “I probably wasn’t at my best on Sunday but hit the important doubles when it mattered. My first goal was to get back to the Grand Slam, which was great, but then to win back-to-back events is a great thrill….the best few days of my career without a doubt!”
“I am counting the days down to the Grand Slam now,” he said. “I am probably in the best form of my life and I would love to have a great run at what is a huge tournament. It’s about time that I did well at a TV ‘Major’!”
In the final, the Welshman missed a stack of doubles, as Newton raced into a 5-0 lead and he wasn’t going to lose from there!
A 14 darter broke the Webster throw in the second leg….then came a first 180 and a 64 finish, followed by D6 after seven more Webster misses and an 81 finish on the bull made it 5-0.
Webster finally got a leg on the board, but Newton won it in style….another maximum, a 101 check-out and a 12 darter to clinch the title.
The next best performance from Team Unicorn came from Colin Osborne, but he was one of Newton’s victims, losing 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
Four Unicorn stars reached the last 16….there was a great performance from Germany’s Michael Rosenauer, who beat Colin Lloyd on his way to the 4th Round, but he eventually ran out of steam, losing 6-3 to Co Stompe.
At the same stage, Paul Nicholson lost 6-2 to Webster, Andy Hamilton was beaten 6-3 by Mark Walsh and Adrian Lewis was edged out in a last leg decider by Dennis Priestley.
By the way, in the 3rd Round, Mark Dudbridge hit a 9-darter in his match against Wayne Jones, but lost the game 6-2…..at that last 32 stage, Jamie Caven was well beaten 6-1 by Nicholson, Kevin Painter went down 6-3 to Mervyn King, while Joe Cullen was edged out 6-4 by Lewis.
But it is another precious £300 for Cullen, who extends his advantage again over closest challengers Matt Clark and Kirk Shepherd in the race for the World Championship…..Both Clark and Shepherd lost in the 1st Round, so Cullen is now £900 and £1,000 clear of the pair respectively.
In the 2nd Round, there were defeats for James Wade, Peter Manley and Terry Jenkins. ‘The Bull’ lost 6-4 to Mareno Michels, while Manley lost by the same score to Hamilton and Wade was a surprise 6-2 loser to young Irishman William O’Connor.
Unfortunately, there were five Team Unicorn fallers at the first hurdle…..Anastasia was unlucky to lose a deciding leg to Dean Allsopp, John Part also lost in that 11th leg to Brendan Dolan, Mick McGowan was thrashed 6-0 by Steve Farmer, Barrie Bates went down 6-3 to Steve Maish and Kirk Shepherd lost 6-5 against Paul Rowley.
But this is a weekend that Team Unicorn ace Wes Newton will never forget!
Results – last 16:
Co Stompe 6-3 Michael Rosenauer
Ronnie Baxter 6-2 William O’Connor
Mark Webster 6-2 Paul Nicholson
Dennis Priestley 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Mark Walsh 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Gary Anderson 6-2 Mervyn King
Wes Newton 6-4 Wayne Jones
Colin Osborne 6-4 Steve Brown
Losers - £500
Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Co Stompe
Wes Newton 6-4 Colin Osborne
Mark Webster 6-1 Dennis Priestley
Mark Walsh 6-2 Gary Anderson
Losers - £1,000
Wes Newton 6-3 Ronnie Baxter
Mark Webster 6-5 Mark Walsh
Losers - £1,500
Wes Newton 6-1 Mark Webster
Winner - £6,000
Runner-up - £3,000
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy Larwence Lustig