Sudden-death drama as England edge Australia
England's Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis took Cash Converters World Cup of Darts glory on Sunday night, defeating Australia's Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson in a sudden-death leg in the final at the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle in Hamburg.
Taylor had been a second round loser alongside James Wade in the inaugural World Cup of Darts in 2010, but made amends by sweeping past Australia alongside World Champion Lewis to claim the £40,000 first prize.
The Australians had enjoyed a superb tournament in Germany, defeating Ireland, Belgium and reigning champions Netherlands, but lost the first three Singles games in the final.
Taylor defeated Nicholson 7-4 to take the opener before Lewis edged out Whitlock 7-5 to put England 2-0 up.
Taylor then averaged almost 106 in a brilliant 7-6 win over Whitlock - which saw him come from 3-0 down to take victory despite missing 19 darts at a double - but Nicholson edged out Lewis 7-4 to keep Australian hopes alive.
They then squared the final by winning the Doubles game 7-4, with Whitlock sealing victory in style with a 124 checkout on the bull to send the match into a deciding leg.
Nerves got to both teams as Nicholson, Taylor and Whitlock all missed darts for victory before Lewis stepped up and showed the class of a World Champion to sink double five and give England the triumph.
"I'm delighted," said Lewis. "I thought we'd thrown it away there when Paul beat me in the last Singles game and then Australia won the Doubles, and I couldn't watch when they were throwing for the match in the sudden-death leg.
"At times this weekend I pulled Phil through but in the final there, when it got tough, he pulled me through. It was a great team effort.
"This probably means more to me than winning the second World Championship title. People don't realise what it means to you when you pull on the England shirt, and I've never felt under so much pressure in my life!"
Taylor said: "I'm over the moon and it means a massive amount to me.
"It was a great team effort from us both. Simon and Paul both showed a lot of bottle to come back from 3-0 down and still believe they could win the final.
"I thought we'd blown it when they won the Doubles and it went to that last leg. As a player I'm a bit disappointed that we missed doubles in the final leg but it made a great final for the fans because there was drama and tension."
Nicholson had partnered Whitlock to the semi-finals of the inaugural World Cup of Darts in 2010, and said: "I believe that one day we will win this title for Australia.
"I'm gutted for myself, Simon and the DartPlayers Australia organisation that we lost, but we gave it everything we had.
"We grafted and got ourselves back into the match and gave ourselves a chance, so I'm really disappointed that we couldn't quite get over the winning line."
Whitlock said: "We pushed them all the way and it was a brilliant effort. It's disappointing but we'll be back next time and for both Paul and myself it sets us up for the year - I'm looking forward to the whole year now.
The second World Cup of Darts saw 24 nations represented by their top two ranked players on the PDC Order of Merit, with 2010 finalists Netherlands and Wales both reaching the semi-finals.
South Africa won through to the quarter-finals, with emerging star Devon Petersen miscounting when throwing for the match to defeat Wales in a game which could have him them reach the last four alongside Shawn Hogan.
The German pair of Jyhan Artut and Bernd Roith delighted their home crowd before bowing out with a narrow second round loss to the USA, who went on to lose to England.
Taylor added: "The tournament was a great success. The other teams showed a great passion for representing their country and you could see what it meant to them.
"This has shown us all that we have got good German players like Jyhan Artut who can push to win big titles now, and South Africa were fantastic too."
Cash Converters World Cup of Darts
England v Australia
Phil Taylor 7-4 Paul Nicholson
Adrian Lewis 7-5 Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor 7-6 Simon Whitlock
Adrian Lewis 4-7 Paul Nicholson
Doubles - England 4-7 Australia
England win the Cash Converters World Cup of Darts in a Sudden-Death Leg
England v Australia
Phil Taylor v Paul Nicholson
1-0 - Taylor finishes double 16 for a 14-darter to open the game in style.
1-1 - Nicholson hits the same bed to level for Australia.
2-1 - Nicholson misses the bull for a 170 finish, and Taylor takes out 116 to lead.
2-2 - Taylor opens the leg with a 180 but misses three darts at tops and Nicholson steps up to finish double three.
2-3 - Taylor kicks off the leg with a 177, but is punished for five missed darts to win the leg when Nicholson finishes tops.
3-3 - Taylor opens again with a 177, and although Nicholson replies with a 180 the world number one finishes 94 to level for England.
4-3 - Taylor hits a third 177 of the game, and although he misses two darts at double 16, a missed bull from Nicholson allows him back in to regain the lead.
4-4 - Taylor misses three darts at double 11, and Nicholson steps in to hit double 16 and level.
5-4 - Taylor hits a 180 and finishes 72 on double 16 to edge back ahead.
6-4 - Taylor misses a dart at tops, but Nicholson fails to land the bull for a 93 finish and the 15-time World Champion moves a leg away from victory on double five.
7-4 - Taylor is first to a finish, and although he misses a dart for the match he returns to hit double 16 and move England ahead in the final.
England 1-0 Australia
Adrian Lewis v Simon Whitlock
1-0 - Lewis kicks off the game with a 180 and finishes 74 in two darts for the opening leg.
1-1 - Whitlock hits back to level.
2-1 - Lewis posts tops to regain the advantage.
2-2 - Whitlock hits a 174 to leave 24, and hits double 12 with his third dart to level the game.
2-3 - Lewis lands a 180 to leave 106, with Whitlock posting a maximum to set up 40 and - when the Englishman misses tops for the finish - returns to hit tops for a 13-darter to snatch the lead.
3-3 - Lewis hits another 180 and finishes double five to level again.
4-3 - Lewis hits scores of 180 and 140 to be first to a finish, but misses double 13, only for Whitlock to miss double 18 and allow him back in on double four.
4-4 - Lewis misses the bull and Whitlock levels on tops.
5-4 - Whitlock posts another 180 to leave 41, but Lewis produces an outstanding 98 checkout to regain the lead.
5-5 - Whitlock levels on double 16.
6-5 - Lewis produces the darts of a World Champion with a superb 161 checkout.
7-5 - Lewis hits his fifth 180 of the game, and seals victory by taking out 72 on double 18.
England 2-0 Australia
Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock
0-1 - Taylor misses four darts at a double and Whitlock steps in to break throw immediately.
0-2 - The pattern is repeated as Taylor misses two darts at double eight and Whitlock posts tops to move 2-0 up.
0-3 - Taylor misses a further four darts at a double, giving Whitlock a let-off as the Australian returns on double ten.
1-3 - Whitlock opens a 180, but misses two darts at double 14 to extend his lead and Taylor lands tops to get off the mark.
2-3 - Taylor pulls back to 3-2 with a superb 142 checkout, finishing on double 11.
2-4 - Taylor opens with a 174, but misses the bull for a 170 finish and two further darts to win the leg as Whitlock steps in on double four with his third dart.
3-4 - Taylor hits two 180s to leave 46 after nine darts, and lands double eight for a 12-darter.
4-4 - Taylor lands another maximum to leave 28, but misses three darts at double 14, only for Whitlock to miss double top and ten to allow him in on double seven to level.
4-5 - Whitlock finishes 80 in two darts to move back ahead.
5-5 - Whitlock posts a 180, but Taylor finishes double 16 at the first time of asking to level again.
6-5 - Taylor lands double 16 to lead for the first time in the match.
6-6 - Taylor misses double five for a 90 finish which would have given him victory, and Whitlock hits double six to force a deciding leg.
7-6 - Taylor opens with a 180 and finshes 84 for an 11-darter to take victory and put England only one win away from the World Cup title. Taylor finishes with 105.93 average despite 19 missed darts at a double.
England 3-0 Australia
Adrian Lewis v Paul Nicholson
0-1 - Nicholson struggles on his doubles, but Lewis is unable to finish 100 and allows the Australian in to land double eight with his seventh dart for the leg.
1-1 - Lewis hits a 180 in a 13-darter to level.
2-1 - Lewis opens with a 180 and is given a let-off by Nicholson when the Australia misses double top and ten to allow the World Champion back in on double two.
2-2 - Lewis is again sloppy on the doubles, and Nicholson finishes 68 to make him pay.
3-2 - Lewis is first to a finish again and, after putting three darts on the wire of double 18 returns to hit the bed and lead.
3-3 - Nicholson hits double 16 to level.
3-4 - Lewis wires the bull for a 167 finish, and Nicholson posts double 16 to take the lead.
4-4 - Lewis levels in style with a 161 checkout, his second of the final.
4-5 - Nicholson posts double top to edge himself back in front.
4-6 - Nicholson finishes 64 to move a leg away from the win as he seeks to force a Doubles decider.
4-7 - Nicholson misses tops for a 160 checkout, but when Lewis misses double 18 and nine he returns to hit tops for victory which forces a decisive Doubles game.
England 3-1 Australia
Doubles: England v Australia
0-1 - Nicholson hits a 180 to leave Australia 79, and when Taylor misses double 16 Whitlock steps in to finish 79 on double 11 to give Australia a break of throw.
0-2 - Taylor misses double 18 for a 153 checkout, and Whitlock hits the same bed to double Australia's lead.
0-3 - Taylor hits a 180 and leaves 32 for Lewis, who misses three darts at double 16 as Nicholson steps up to post tops to move Australia further clear.
1-3 - Taylor gets England off the mark by hitting double five - with the pair's 11th dart at a double in the game.
2-3 - It's 'Game On!' as England hit a brilliant 12-darter to pull back to one leg adrift, with Lewis hitting a 180, Taylor posting a 177 and the World Champion finishing 99 on double 16.
2-4 - Whitlock kicks off the sixth leg with a 180 and wins the leg on double eight despite Lewis posting a maximum of his own.
2-5 - Whitlock and Lewis again trade maximums, but Nicholson wires the bull for a 170 checkout. Taylor, though, misses double 18 and two darts at double nine, and Whitlock finishes double eight to put Australia two legs away from forcing a Sudden-Death Shoot-Out.
3-5 - Taylor kicks off the leg with a 180 and wins it with a 100 checkout.
3-6 - Nicholson puts Australia a leg away from Doubles victory on double 16.
4-6 - Whitlock opens with a 180, but Taylor finishes 106 to deny them a chance to take the win.
4-7 - Whitlock hits another 180 and seals victory for Australia by taking out 124 on the bull, meaning the final goes to a Sudden-Death leg.
England 3-3 Australia
Taylor wins the bull for England at the third time of asking, with the pressure showing as the teams battle down to a finish. Lewis is unable to leave a double when needing 88, but Nicholson misses double top and ten, Taylor also misses two match darts to allow Whitlock in. He uncharacteristically misses double ten and five, and Lewis returns to hit double five and give England the Cash Converters World Cup of Darts title.
England win the Cash Converters World Cup of Darts in a sudden-death leg