Hong Kong Darts Masters went according to plan right up to the final match of this top level competition, played last Friday and Saturday evenings September 4-5.
No.1 seed Phil Taylor knocked out fellow England professional, Wes Newton 8-5 in the Quarter Finals on Friday evening while Raymond Van Barneveld of Holland beat Hong Kong’s Scott MacKenzie 8-1 to book his place in the Semi-finals. Stephen Bunting of England beat American Isen Veljic (currently living and playing darts in Hong Kong) 8-4, and Andy Hamilton also of England beat Royden Lam of Hong Kong 8-1.
In the first Semi-finals played as the first two matches on Finals night, Van Barneveld played Bunting with Van Barneveld progressing to the final with a solid 10-7 win, in the best of 19 legs match. In the other Semi-final Taylor, cruised to a 6-0 lead against Hamilton taking them to the short break but on returning to the Hockey (throw line) Taylor seemed to lose his touch with Hamilton winning the next 6-games to draw level before Taylor finally pushed ahead again to win the match 10-6.
The first half of the final also produced some low scoring throws with both players struggling to find form. The match stayed on throw, to 3-3. But as Taylor continued to miss his trebles and doubles targets, Van Barneveld became more confident, picked up his game and started hammering in the big numbers taking the next 6-games. With the game at 9-3, Taylor finally got a good break to make it 9-4, but he knew it was all over.
In the next game Van Barneveld hit 100, 180, and 130 in successive throws and finished the remaining 91 with treble-17, double top to make it 10-4. In the final game Van Barneveld hit 180, 124, 171 to leave 16 for the title. Van Barneveld missed the double 8, hitting inside the wires with his first dart but nailed the double-4 to win the match.
Van Barneveld came away a worthy Champion securing the last few games in tremendous style for an 11-4 win. Taylor did show some patches of brilliance including finishes from170 and 103 but it was not his night, as Van Barneveld walked off with the trophy,