Simon Whitlock qualified for the McCoy’s Premier League Playoffs with fourteen points, despite suffering defeat at the hands of Andy Hamilton at Birmingham’s NIA.
‘The Wizard’ was rewarded for a good season when other results meant he officially qualified with a week to spare.
Whitlock had picked up six victories and two draws before Thursday’s setback against ‘The Hammer’, and fourteen points proved to be enough to seal a semi-final spot.
The Australian ace drew his first match against Raymond van Barneveld in Manchester, before an 8-4 triumph over James Wade in Aberdeen put him top of the table.
Back to back defeats against Kevin Painter and Phil Taylor knocked him off the league’s summit, but the ‘Beard to be feared’ bounced back by beating World Champion Adrian Lewis 8-4 in Brighton on night five.
‘The Wizard’ followed that win up with another success when he beat reigning Premier League champion Gary Anderson 8-6 in Glasgow.
He picked up another point when he drew with Hamilton in Dublin, and then put defeat against Wade in Cardiff behind him by claiming three consecutive victories.
Whitlock saw off Anderson, Painter and van Barneveld to reach the magic fourteen point mark, meaning defeats against Taylor and Hamilton had no bearing on him reaching the last four.
‘The Wizard’ faces Lewis on the final night of the league stage in Newcastle next Thursday, before joining Taylor and two others on finals night at London’s O2 Arena on May 17th.
By Chris Murphy