Championship League Darts - Hurricane Storms To Win
HURRICANE STORMS TO AMAZING GROUP EIGHT WIN
KIM HUYBRECHTS claimed the final place in the Championship League Darts Winners Group with an amazing comeback from 4-0 down to win the Group Eight final against Peter Wright on Wednesday.
The Belgian star will now compete alongside the likes of Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Andy Hamilton in Thursday's big-money Winners Group, where a £10,000 first prize is on offer alongside £100 per leg in the league phase and £200 per leg in the Play-Offs.
Huybrechts, though, came close to missing out on winning through in a keenly contested Group Eight at Crondon Park GC in Essex, which saw him competing in a sixth day of the event.
Huybrechts edged out Gary Anderson on leg difference to claim the fourth semi-final spot, with a 6-3 win over Mark Walsh in his final league match, coupled with Anderson's defeat to Steve Beaton, proving crucial in keeping his hopes alive.
Huybrechts then performed superbly to defeat table-topper Paul Nicholson 6-3 in the semi-finals, breaking the deadlock from three-all by taking the last three legs without reply, and produced a stunning comeback in the final.
Wright, competing in his fifth day of the event this year, took the final's first four legs without reply as he punished some shaky doubling from the Belgian to lead 4-0.
Huybrechts, though, fired his challenge with an 11-darter in leg five, before finishing 67 in the next, and he then hit a 177 to set up double 16 as he cut the gap to one leg.
A 14-darter then saw him level the game, and when Wright missed a dart at double 16 in leg nine, Huybrechts followed an earlier 180 by taking out 108 on tops to lead 5-4.
Huybrechts added a 177 score in the tenth leg, with Wright missing the bull for a 132 finish which would have sent the match into a decider as the Belgian returned to hit double four to end an amazing day.
"It's been six long days but I'm really happy," said Huybrechts. "Maybe I was lucky to be here in the final, but it's fantastic to win and now I get to play again tomorrow in the Winners Group.
"When I lost against Paul Nicholson in my sixth game, I had one game left but I thought I was nowhere near the qualifying places.
"I went into the last game against Mark wanting to win, and I did, and then someone said to me that if Gary lost I was still in. Gary did lose, so lucky me and I won the tournament today!
"At 4-0 down in the final, I just wanted to win a couple of legs and not to lose 6-0. When I got back to 4-3, I thought maybe if I get the next leg I can put a bit of pressure on Peter, and I started playing really well."
The triumph continues a superb spell for the Belgian, who hit a nine-darter earlier in this event and won a Players Championship in Killarney last Sunday, and he is determined to claim the £10,000 first prize in Thursday's Winners Group.
"The top players like Phil and Michael are going to be really fresh and I've had some very long days, but it's not going to influence my fighting mode," added Huybrechts.
"I'll try to win every game and I'm going to battle to the end, and we'll see how far I get. Playing in this is the best practice there is - you're playing top players and it's been great for my game, I've got a lot of trust in my game from the form.
"The last week has made my year already, but I'm going to enjoy the experience tomorrow. It's my first time playing in Championship League Darts and I've made it to the Winners Group, so I'm very happy with that."
Wright reached three finals in his five days competing in the event, losing to Michael van Gerwen and Ian White in Group Five and Group Six, and again fell just short of sealing a Winners Group spot.
The Scot won four of his seven league games on the day and raced to a 6-1 semi-final triumph against Andy Smith before running out of steam in the decider - although £12,650 prize money for the event softens the blow of his exit.
Nicholson, appearing in his fourth successive group, finished at the top of the league table following the round-robin stage but suffered a second semi-final defeat.
Andy Smith, in his first day of the year, had won his opening six league matches, but lost out to Nicholson in their final match, with the 6-1 reverse also costing him top spot, before he was defeated in the semi-finals by Wright.
Scottish star Anderson was narrowly denied a semi-final place on Leg Difference to Huybrechts as he competed in a fifth successive day of the tournament.
Steve Beaton eventually joined Anderson and Huybrechts on three wins, losing his opening four matches before finishing with a flourish, but again missed out on the Play-Offs on Leg Difference.
2009 Championship League Darts winner Colin Osborne won just two of his matches on the day as he missed out on the chance to win back the title, while Mark Walsh picked up just one victory from his seven games.
Thursday's Winners Group sees the eight group winners from the internet-streamed event return to Crondon Park GC in Essex, with prize money doubling to £100 per leg in the league phase and £200 per leg in the Play-Offs.
In addition, there is a £10,000 first prize, with the runner-up taking home £5,000 and the semi-finalists £2,500, while the finalists will also qualify for next month's William Hill Grand Slam of Darts - giving an additional incentive for Terry Jenkins, Ian White and Richie Burnett.
That trio are joined by Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton and Huybrechts for the Winners Group, with play commencing at 10.30am.
Championship League Darts
Group Eight Results
Board One Board Two
Kim Huybrechts 4-6 Peter Wright Mark Walsh 5-6 Colin Osborne
Steve Beaton 0-6 Andy Smith Gary Anderson 6-3 Paul Nicholson
Colin Osborne 1-6 Kim Huybrechts Peter Wright 6-4 Mark Walsh
Paul Nicholson 6-4 Steve Beaton Andy Smith 6-3 Gary Anderson
Colin Osborne 2-6 Gary Anderson Kim Huybrechts 4-6 Andy Smith
Paul Nicholson 6-2 Mark Walsh Peter Wright 6-4 Steve Beaton
Gary Anderson 4-6 Kim Huybrechts Colin Osborne 1-6 Andy Smith
Peter Wright 3-6 Paul Nicholson Mark Walsh 6-2 Steve Beaton
Mark Walsh 5-6 Gary Anderson Steve Beaton 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Andy Smith 6-5 Peter Wright Paul Nicholson 6-4 Colin Osborne
Stev! e Beaton 6-4 Colin Osborne Peter Wright 6-4 Gary Anderson
Andy Smith 6-2 Mark Walsh Kim Huybrechts 2-6 Paul Nicholson
Mark Walsh 3-6 Kim Huybrechts Colin Osborne 6-5 Peter Wright
Paul Nicholson 6-1 Andy Smith Gary Anderson 3-6 Steve Beaton
Paul Nicholson 3-6 Kim Huybrechts Andy Smith 1-6 Peter Wright
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Peter Wright
Final League Table & Group Eight Prize Money
Pl W L Won Lost Leg +/- £Won Pts £Total
Paul Nicholson 7 6 1 39 22 +17 £1950 12 £2250
Andy Smith 7 6 1 37 21 +16 £1850 12 £1950
Peter Wright 7 4 3 37 34 +3 £1850 8 £2850
Kim Huybrechts 7 3 4 33 32 +1 £1650 6 £2850
Gary Anderson 7 3 4 32 34 -2 £1600 6
Steve Beaton 7 3 4 28 36 -8 £1400 6
Colin Osborne 7 2 5 24 40 -16 £1200 4
Mark Walsh 7 1 6 27 38 -11 £1350 2
Total Prize Money
Michael van Gerwen £13,100
Peter Wright £12,650
Kim Huybrechts £12,300
Gary Anderson £9,900
Dave Chisnall £8,000
Paul Nicholson £7,550
Mervyn King £6,550
Wes Newton £6,200
Adrian Lewis £5,900
Andy Hamilton £4,600
Kevin Painter £4,050
Steve Beaton £3,550
Jamie Caven £3,250
Phil Taylor £3,150
Terry Jenkins £3,150
Richie Burnett £2,950
Ian White £2,850!
Andy Smith £1,950
Robert Thornton £1,750
Brendan Dolan £1,550
Simon Whitlock £1,350
Mark Webster £1,350
Mark Walsh £1,350
Colin Lloyd £1,250
James Wade £1,200
Ronnie Baxter £1,200
Colin Osborne £1,200
Justin Pipe £1,100
John Part £1,000