Jay Tomlinson reports.
The day began with 256 men seeded into their respective brackets based on how they finished the two previous day’s round robin competition. The top men’s seed was Luis Martinez, followed by John Part and then Phil Taylor. The top 128 women were seeded likewise on their bracket with Trina Gulliver as the top women seed followed by Stacy Bromberg and Crissy Howat. The men would play best of three legs, best of 5 sets, while the women would play best of three legs, best of three sets. The format would become long once the players reached the stage.
On the men’s side, reaching the top eight were Lionel Sams, Luis Martinez, Paul Whitworth, John Lowe, Jamie Harvey, John Part, Ray Carver and Phil Taylor. Some great matches were played during the quarter-finals.
Luis Martinez, “I didn’t think I’d do this well. I went undefeated in two days of round-robin competitions, 18-0 in matches. I only lost one set in two days. Today I had a tough match against Chris White, who just won a tough match. He was still on fire, but I got through. Then I had Keith Deller and went 3 sets to mil. He took only 2 legs. Then Alan Caves was my toughest match. It went all five sets, down to the last leg. I won the cork and the game. But he had me down 2 sets to nil and one game and he let me off the hook. I fought back and managed the win. I played Lionel Sams next and took 3 straight sets against him. It’s great to be going to the stage.”
Ray Carver said, “Against Taylor, man, don’t miss a double! This is the best tournament I’ve ever been to. I just came off a tough match that went the distance, 5 sets, and down to the last leg in the fifth, against Denis Ovens. Denis was in my section in the round robin and he killed me then. But I just came off a fast match with Ronnie Baxter and I was playing great. I think I’d have beaten anyone else than Taylor at this round. I had my shot in the first set. I didn’t think I’d miss tops. I hit that and I’m up two sets to nil. You can’t miss a double against Phil.”
In the quarters John Part was up against Jamie Harvey. Harvey took the first set two legs to none. They split games in the next set and Part heated up shooting 121,100,140,100, double 20 for a 13 darter, and the set. Harvey managed one leg in the next set as well, but Part took the set in the third leg.
Harvey couldn’t match Part’s momentum in the fourth set as the Canadian opened with 100,99,132 to leave 170. He hit triple 20, triple 20 on his next turn and just missed the center bull for the 12 dart, 170 finish. He cleaned up the remainder one turn later and finished the match the next game. Part said, “It feels excellent to be on stage. I finally have the match I wanted. At home, on stage, on television, against Phil Taylor."
The first semi final on stage was was in the ladies competition between Trina Gulliver and Deta Hedman. It would be best of three legs, best of 5 sets. Gulliver came out quickly with 18 dart game. Hedman leveled the match in the second leg scoring high earlier and having a bit of trouble with the double. Her lead gave her the time she needed to focus in and hit double 2 for the win. The set went to Gulliver, with the darts and a nice 17 dart game.
Gulliver opened the second set with 135, 97, 125,96 to leave 48 after 12 darts, missing on her next turn, she popped the tops on her 16th dart. Hedman was back on 140, but she opened the second leg with 100, 41, 100, 42, 118, 60.
Gulliver answered with 140, 36, 60, 121, 128. With 16 to do, Gulliver missed giving Hedman the shot at double tops, which she took on her first dart. The set was level at one game each and Gulliver had the advantage of the start, but managed only 41. Hedman answered with 140. After 12 darts, the score was 175 for Gulliver, 176 for Hedman. Hedman worked it down to 135 and had a shot at tops hitting the center bull, triple 15 first. The tops shot fell short into the 20 and Gulliver took double 10 for the set to go up two sets to none.
Hedman began the next set, but Gulliver had the fire burning hitting 125, 135, 100, and 96 to leave just 45 after 12 darts. A single 13, double 16 gave her the first leg in the third set. Gulliver needed only one more leg for the match and she had the start. After 15 darts, Gulliver had 96 to Hedman’s 157. The match was in hand and two shots later, Gulliver was on to the finals.
The first men’s semi final was between Luis Martinez from Corpus Christi, TX, against Paul Whitworth, from Manchester, England. Whitworth won the toss, giving him the first shot in the first set. The match was best of three legs, best of 7 sets. The scoring in the first leg was not exceptional, but Whitworth let Martinez in, missing 4 darts at tops. Martinez capitalized and stole the leg against the darts with double 20. Martinez kept the pressure on in the second leg with 99, 100, 43 and 100, hitting the remaining 79 in three darts 19, 20 and doubles 20. First set to Martinez.
Starting the second set, Martinez was rolling with 85, 125, 82, 100 never letting Whitworth into the game even though Whitworth stoked a 118 and a 140 in the game. Martinez finished the 57 remaining 2, 15, double top. Two 15 darters in a row. Whitworth needed to level this set but managed only a 60 on his opening throw. Martinez answered with 140 and backed it up with a second one on the next turn. Whitworth hit 134, 140 and Martinez an 85 and 112. With Martinez on 24, Whitworth needed to finish from 82, but only managed 32, bouncing the last dart off the bull. Martinez finished 24 on his 14th dart. That’s two sets to none for Martinez.
Martinez got the start in the next set and opened with 137. Nine darts later he was looking at 80 with Whitworth back on 201. Twenty, twenty, double twenty and Martinez was again in the driver’s seat in set three, one leg up. Martinez took the set on the second leg finishing from 81 on dart 18. In the fourth set, Martinez opened 140, 140, 95 to Whitworth’s 121, 41, 23.
Martinez took a shot at game in 12 darts with 19, trip 19 and bounced his 12th dart off the bull. One turn later, Martinez was one game away from victory. Whitworth was unnerved, but wasn’t about to lay down. He opened the next leg 140, 140, 125, 80 to leave 16 after 12 darts. Martinez was on 76 after shooting 60, 100,100, 125, so Whitworth could not afford to miss. He didn’t and that leveled the set at one game each. Martinez had the start in the all important fourth set and opened 100, 66, 100, 100, 83 leaving 52. Whitworth had shot 60, 81, 140, 125 to leave 95. He shot 87 missing a dart at double. Martinez stroked the 12 and double 20 to win the match in 4 straight sets.
The US finally had a player in the men’s final at the Golden Harvest Cup.
“I felt very comfortable here, this being my first time in Saskatoon,” said Martinez. “I like a fast pace and these players keep me stroking fast, so I don’t have time to think about what I need. They’ve just been going in.”
The second women’s semi final featured Carina Ekberg from Sweden and Francisca Hoenselaar from the Netherlands. Hoenselaar won the toss and threw first hitting 120 with one dart on the floor. Ekberg was not shaken and answered with a couple of tons. Hoenselaar had the first dart at double hitting a single bull, needing the double. Ekberg, needing 56, hit 8, 16 double 16, stealing the first leg against the darts. Ekberg had the shot at double from 130 hitting 20, triple 20 and missing the bull on her 15th dart. She did have enough time to clean up on her next turn taking the first set.
Hoenselaar took the first leg of the second set and followed Ekberg’s 100, 60, 15, 100 with 100, 100, 140, and 97 to leave 64. With Ekberg shooting so well and sitting on 106 after 12 darts, Hoenselaar didn’t want to let this set slip away and nailed the 64 she had remaining hitting 16, 16, double 16. That leveled the match at one set each.
In the third set, Hoenselaar had the start and missed double 20 on her 18th dart. Ekberg had hit a string of 60s, so she was still back on 141 when Hoenselaar came to the line again needing 20. One dart later, she was one game up in the third set. Ekberg opened very strong in the next leg hitting 125 and following it with 100 and she got the game in 20 darts to level the set at one game each.
She continued her good shooting with 140, 100, 60, 100, 65 to leave 36 after 15 darts. Hoenselaar followed Ekberg’s lead and shot 140, 100, 85, 85 and 51 to leave 40. Since Hoenselaar had the start, she got the first throw at game and set, but hi 20, 10 and missed the double 5. Ekberg took advantage hitting the double 18 on her 17th dart. She was now one set away from victory.
After 12 darts in the first leg of the fourth set 100, 140, 45, 100, Ekberg had 116 remaining. Hoenselaar had hit 125, 60, 140, 42 and was sitting on 134. Two turns later, after a miss at tops by Ekberg, Hoenselaar hit her needed double on dart 18. Hoenselaar needed this set to pull even with Ekberg or her tournament would be over.
Ekberg was also aware that she only needed one more set and pressed in leg two, taking it to level the set at one all. After 12 darts in leg three, Hoenselaar needed only 91 while Ekberg needed 231. A ton left Ekberg with 130 and Hoenselaar only erased 51 to leave 40. Ekberg hit 20, triple twenty and with match in hand, went for the double bull, hitting a single bull. Hoenselaar needed desperately to hit the 40 to extend the match to the fifth set and she gave the crowd a thrill by stroking 20, 10 and finally hitting the double 5 for the win.
The final set began with Honeselaar taking the first leg in 20 darts. Ekberg missed shots at double 8, double 4 and double 2 to let Hoenselaar back in. Now it was Hoenselaar who had the advantage of needing only one game for the victory. She started with 85, 60, 44, 140, and 100 to leave 72 after 15 darts. Ekberg had hit 60, 70, 100, 76, and 41 to leave 154. With Ekberg on a finish, Hoenselaar wanted to make sure she had a shot at the game and match on her next turn. She missed her intended target on her first dart, but left 50 after her second dart.
The throw at the bull went high, hitting a one to leave 49, but the scorekeeper recorded 39 on the board. Neither player nor the official caught the error. Ekberg shot a 4 and Hoenselaar came to the line, saw the score and shot 7, 16, double 8. Game, set and match, and the celebration and congratulations started. The scoreboards were erased. But wait a minute, her real score was 49 which was recorded on television. She should have 10 left.
Neither player realized that the score was posted incorrectly on the scoreboard as 39 when it should have been 49. The match was called when Hoenselaar hit 7, 16, double 8 for 39. Both players and the announcer believed the game was over and the scores were erased. Only later after the initial celebrating was over, did they learn that the wrong out shot was made. However, since no challenge was made before the score was erased and the announcer called the game, it was determined complete and Hoenselaar the victor.
Hoenselaar said, “I saw 39 on the scoreboard and shot that out. I feel terrible the way it ended. It was such a terrific game that it is a shame to win it that way. Carina played great and is such a sport about the way it ended.”
Concerning the finish, Ekberg commented, “I saw 39 as well and she hit it and won the game. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was 49, you still have to hit the double. It doesn’t matter whether it was a 17 or a 7, she hit the double and the score that was on the scoreboard we both saw. I’ve had a wonderful tournament. I played Crissy Howat and Tricia Wright, before this match, I always struggle against them. I can’t give them even my little finger or they’ll take my whole hand. They are great players and felt great to win against them. I always try to play me against the board, but it’s tough when you know you’re playing such great players. I thought it was my day today, but I guess it wasn’t.”
The match that everyone was geared up for was between England’s and Ten Times World Champion, Phil Taylor and Canada’s own and top ranked player, John Part. In the World Championships in 2001, Part and Taylor met in the finals and Taylor took 6 straight sets for the win. Part won the toss and started.
Part opened with 96, 140, 58, 137 to Taylor’s 123, 135, 58, 90. Part required 70 and hit triple 18 double 8 for the win in 14 darts. Taylor opened the next with 100 and Part answered with 96. Taylor managed only 57 and Part followed with 125. Taylor hit 121 and Part followed with 58. A 97 left Taylor needing 126. Part scored only 58. Taylor hit the 19, triple 19 but elected not to go for bull since Part could not take it out. He hit the 10 leaving 40. Part followed with 96 and Taylor took out the double 20 to level the set at one each.
Part open the deciding leg with 180 and followed with 96. Taylor hit 85 and answered Part’s 180 with his own 180. Part hit 65, and Taylor 100. On 160, Part hit 100. Taylor needed 136 and hit 78. With 60 left, Part hit 20, and missed double 20 and double 10 giving Taylor the chance to steal the set. But he managed only 38 and Part missed three darts at double 5. Taylor did not miss again and took the set, 2 games to 1.
The second set opened with a 60 from Taylor and 120 from Part who bounced his third dart off the triple 20. Taylor hit 80, then bounced a dart off the triple twenty on his next turn scoring 120. Part, keeping pace hit 60, 100, 100, 85, but it was too little too late as Taylor took out 32 on his next throw. The second leg went 99, 83, 60, 59 to Taylor’s 140, 140, 180 and Taylor managed only 25 to leave 16 for his next turn which he converted on his thirteenth dart. Second set to Taylor, two sets to nil.
Taylor kept up the pressure in the next set following Part with an opening leg of 140, 100, 134, 119 missing the double 8 inside the wire on his 12th dart. Part was on 60 after 15 darts, but Taylor won the game in 13 with double 4. Part kept up with Taylor in the second leg, but with Taylor’s advantage of the start, Part never got a chance at a game shot. Taylor took out the 40 remaining with 20, double 10. Third set to Taylor.
Part would have to step up his game to overcome The Power and it would have to be in the next set. Part scored 96, 137, 98 to Taylor’s opening of 95, 100, 58, 140. Part needed 170 for the win, but scored 134, Taylor missed hitting only 88, and Part took the 36, with the double 18, against the darts. That’s saying something against Phil Taylor.
Part had the start in the second leg and did not score well hitting 59, 58, 140 to Taylor’s 100, 180, 100. Part hit only 41 on his next turn and Taylor was shooting at 121. Taylor hit 113 leaving 8 and cleaned up the remaining 8 with a double 4.
At two games each Taylor started with 180. Part answered with 140 and Taylor followed with a 140 of his own. Part hit another 140, not laying down. Taylor hit 165 to leave 16 after only 9 darts. Part 85, but Taylor took the 16 with a double 8 on his 12th dart. Game, set, match to Taylor in 4 straight sets.
Next up, Francisca Hoenselaar against Trina Gulliver in the women’s final match. This was again best of 3 legs, best of 5 sets. Gulliver took the first set, two games to none. Gulliver started the second set, first leg, with 180 and followed it with a second 180. The 9 darter was on. ith 141 left, Gulliver’s first dart hit a single 20 ending the chance for the 9 darter. A single 5 and triple 20 for a total of 85 left 56. She then missed the 56 leaving 20, and finished in 15 darts. It’s a good thing, because Hoenselaar had scored 100, 100, 85, 135 and had 81 left when Gulliver won. Gulliver didn’t let up hitting 140, 135, 97 on her first 9 darts. With 129 left she hit 19, triple 20 and double bull for a 12 dart finish to win the second set.
Hoenselaar needed to get on the board with some wins and started the nest set, first leg, with 60, 100, 140, 47 to leave 154. Gulliver followed with 40, 125, 45, 100. Hoenselaar hit 100 and Gulliver followed with 137 to leave 54. Hoenselaar missed and Gulliver hit only 34. Hoenselaar missed three darts at double 5, giving the game back to Gulliver. Incredibly, Gulliver missed her shot but after several more turns with both players missing their outs, Gulliver finally hit a 1, double 2. Hoenselaar’s spirit seemed to be broken, and Gulliver took the final leg, set and match.
Gulliver commented, “It’s the third year I’ve been here, and I’ve been a bit disappointed the first two years. It’s great to come here and finally win it. I did come here more focused and I really had a great time here in Saskatoon.”
It was men’s finals time, Phil The Power Taylor against Luis Martinez. The number 3 seed against the number 1 seed, but Taylor, the two time defending champion, was the odds on favorite to win. The match was best of three legs, best of 7 sets. Taylor opened the first leg with a 180 and followed it with 137, 98, and an 86 to finish in 12 darts. Martinez was right behind hitting 121, 85, 100, and 140 needing only 55 after 12 darts. The second leg had Taylor shooting 99, 125, 80, 100 to Martinez’s 100, 60, 80, 140. Taylor needing 97, finished it in 15 darts with triple 19, 20 and double 10. First set to Taylor.
Taylor started the second set and took the first leg in 18 darts. Martinez would need to win this next leg and then against the darts in the third leg to level the match. It looked good for Martinez who shot 80, 100, 140, and 81 to leave 100 after 12 darts. Taylor was still back on 189. After a 60, Martinez was looking at 40, But Taylor had put some pressure on by scoring 134 to leave 55. Martinez stoked the double top and it was one game all in the second leg. The decider was opened by Taylor with 70, 100 and answered by Martinez with 60, 140. Taylor did not want to let this set slip away and he hit a maximum of 180 followed by 94. Martinez answered with 83 and then 43, but Taylor finished the game with 17, double 20 for a 14 darter. Set two to Taylor, 2 sets to none.
Hitting another maximum in game one of the third set gave Taylor an out shot at dart number 14 and he didn’t miss the double 16. Another 180 in game two brought Taylor’s score down quickly. After nine darts, Taylor needed 141. Martinez had scored 45, 45, 140. Taylor hit 125 to leave 16 and Martinez hit 121 to leave 150. However, Taylor was siting on 16 and took it on dart number 13. Set three to Taylor.
The final set began with Martinez hitting 80, 121, 81, but Taylor hit 140, 140, 135, to leave 86. Martinez hit 125, but after a 27, Taylor needed only 59 and finished in 15 darts and did so with 19, miss, double 20. Taylor needed only one more leg to take the match. Taylor hit 95, 140, 80, 100, and 18, triple 18, double seven, gave him the win. The title is defended for the second time and another $50,000 goes to The Power’s pocket book!
“This is a great tournament,” Martinez said, “and I enjoy playing the best players. The best players are here and I learn from playing them, and Phil is definitely the best.”
For Taylor it was yet another supreme victory and perhaps a taste of what is to come at the Las Vegas Desert Classic in just over a months time.
“This is really a great tournament and it’s a great credit to Ken Finch and Kevin Thorsteinson for all the effort they put into making this one of the great tournaments in the world," commented The Power. "The prize money is some of the best offered anywhere. At the end of the day, it’s a hell of a lot of money that we are playing for and I’m here to win. Luis played super over the last three days earning the number one seed. You can’t fault his playing. But I come to these tournament to win, not to come in second place.”