SIMON WHITLOCK 7-7 Andy Hamilton
Simon Whitlock fought back to claim a point against Andy Hamilton in the McCoy’s Premier League at Dublin’s O2, hitting a roof-raising 152 checkout in the process.
‘The Wizard’ looked like he would suffer defeat against the player who knocked him out of the World Championship, but won some vital legs under pressure and was pleased to seal the draw.
“I was happy in with a draw in the end,” said Whitlock. “It was another tough game, but that is what you have to expect in this tournament. I play the best players in the world every week, so I’m delighted with how well I’ve been doing. I have struggled against Andy on television recently, so it was pleasing to get something off him for once.”
Hamilton held his throw in the opening leg before ‘The Wizard’ hit double eight to level up. The Australian just missed a dart at the bullseye for 126 checkout, allowing Hamilton to edge back in front. Whitlock restored parity once more by taking out 90, with two 25’s and double top. ‘The Hammer’ held his throw again before Whitlock turned on the style, taking out a sensational 152 finish when it had looked like his opponent was about to grab the first break of throw.
The world number five hit his first 180 in the seventh leg, but it wasn’t enough to buck the trend of legs won with the throw, as Hamilton took a 4-3 lead. It was Hamilton who broke that run when he hit double 16 to open up a two leg lead. ‘The Wizard’ found the perfect response, hitting his second maximum en route to a break of throw, and then hitting double top to draw level at five legs apiece.
‘The Hammer’ went back in front by winning the next leg with the throw. Whitlock replied with another 180 before taking out another brilliant 90 checkout, this time on the bull. ‘The Wizard’ missed a dart for a crucial break of throw in the thirteenth leg, going wide of the double 16 bed for a 102 checkout. Hamilton hit double top to take a 7-6 lead, meaning Whitlock would need to hold his throw to draw the match. The Australian did exactly that, going out in thirteen darts to take a share of the spoils.
By Chris Murphy