Neil Rose grabbed a place in the Knack Premier League’s grand finals night in dramatic fashion.
Rose needed two wins to stand a slim chance of qualifying. He made hard work of beating Spiller Henderson 5-3, with a 14-dart leg by his opponent the best effort. Rose then edged a tight game against Richard Selby with a best leg of 15 darts.
John Watson started the night needing just one point from four games, but, struggling with a shoulder injury, he was beaten in all four, by Rob McCluskey, Davy Richardson, Richard Selby and Henderson. That allowed Rose to leap into 11th place.
Ryan Joyce was crowned league champion and will head into the finals night, on November 7, as the top seed after two 5-0 victories, against Anthony Gale, with legs of 16 and 17 darts, and Chris Vaughan, with four 180s, a 31.31 dart average and two 13-darters.
Eddie Ashman’s good form continued as he beat Ross Guy 5-0, with a maximum and a 110 checkout, before winning a thriller 5-3 against Paul McGowan, who had two 180s and finishes of 111 and 112.
Tony Wood, the overwhelming favourite to scoop the bottom half finals title and earn a grand finals place the week after, had a 13-darter in a 5-1 defeat of Graham Mullen, Wood hit two 180s as he beat reigning champ Paul Williams 5-2, with two 14-darters.
Anth Skelton had two 180s and a 130 finish in a 5-0 hammering of David Brown, who had a 14-darter in a 5-3 win over McCluskey. Arran Samuels picked up seven points on the night with wins over Alan Smith and Anthony Gale, plus a 4-4 draw with Darren Patton.
Allen George beat Matthew Hodgson 5-3, with two 18-darters, and Ross Guy 5-2, with a 15-dart leg. Hodgson was beaten 5-1 in his second game by Dougie Hall.
New County call-up Dan Gillibrand sealed an excellent 5-3 win over Davey Thompson, who had a 100 finish in a best leg of 17. Gillibrand also lost 5-3 as Graham Mullen confirmed his grand finals night place with a 180 and a 16-darter.
Thompson hit a 180 and a 122 checkout as he edged a 5-3 win over Graeme Hills, who was also beaten 5-2 by Chris Vaughan, saw off Alan Smith 5-1 and drew against Philly Dunn.
Dunn recovered from 4-1 down to snatch a point against McGowan, with a 138 checkout. Darren Patton beat Will Neave 5-3, hitting a 180 in a best leg of 17 darts.
Bottom half finals night draw (October 31)
Preliminary round: A Ambler v A Smith, D Hall v A Gale, W Neave v R Guy
Last 16: J Watson v Ambler/Smith, A Skelton v M Hodgson, E Ashman v D Brown, A Samuels v R McCluskey, P McGowan v Hall/Gale, G Hills v D Gillibrand, T Wood v Neave/Guy, D Patton v P Dunn
Format: Best of 9 until the final, which is best of 11
Grand finals night draw (November 7)
Last 12: C Vaughan v Winner of bottom half, D Richardson v N Rose, D Thompson v G Mullen, S Henderson v A George
Quarter-finals: R Joyce v Henderson/George, R Selby v Vaughan/winner of bottom half, P Williams v Thompson/Mullen, D Prins v Richardson/Rose
Format: Best of 15 until the final, which is best of 19