The curtains were drawn on the best World Championship to date on Monday evening and although it wasn’t one of the MODUS players lifting the title, they definitely provided a tremendous amount of the highlights in the greatest show on earth.
The players produced fifteen days of drama, excitement and sheer quality at the Alexandra Palace, culminating with Adrian Lewis successfully defending his crown. A great achievement for the World Champion, but it wasn’t all plain sailing as MODUS star James Wade came close to halting his charge in a breath-taking and bizarre semi-final clash.
Wade was one of the stars of the tournament, as he avenged his demons from the previous year with a blistering run into the last four. The Machine was unfazed by Finnish opponent Petri Korte’s unusual throwing style, and swept him aside with a solid display in the first round. The world number three then turned on the style, demolishing former world champion Jelle Klaasen and Steve Farmer in straight sets to storm into the quarter-finals.
Wade then played out what was immediately described as one of the best games of darts in history, when he beat John Part in a nine-set thriller. Wade hit five ton-plus finishes in the match before producing a brilliant two-dart finish on 85 to come out on top in a sudden death decider. The UK open winner surged into a 5-1 lead against Lewis in the semi-final, but bowed out at that stage after Jackpot launched a comeback.
The Machine stays third in the PDC order of merit, meaning he automatically qualifies for a place in the prestigious Premier League, where he will aim for a repeat of his victory in 2009. That triumph was one of seven major titles that the 28 year old has won so far in his illustrious career, a trophy haul that can only be bettered by the great Phil Taylor.
Simon Whitlock also had a wonderful tournament despite having to play through the pain barrier, after suffering a broken ankle. The Wizard was told by doctors that he would be unable to take part in the World Championship at all but, despite the lack of practice, he bravely battled on and stunned everybody with a string of brilliant performances.
After the Australian was seen struggling to walk before his first round match against Dennis Smith, bookies suspended bets on the match. Whitlock went on to thrash his opponent, producing the highest average of the tournament in a sensational display in which he lost only a single leg. The Wizard continued to prove his doubters wrong with a convincing victory over former world champion Steve Beaton in round two.
The 2010 runner-up was too strong for Michael van Gerwen in the third round. He hit an incredible twelve 180’s and produced some clinical checkouts to end the Dutchman’s campaign. The Wizard provided a master class in finishing in his quarter-final match. He wowed the Ally Pally crowed once more by beating Gary Anderson, who was favourite to win the tournament, 5-1 in sensational style.
Whitlock had look set to reach his second final in three years but was edged out by runner-up Andy Hamilton in the last four. He bowed out of the tournament in style, hitting a 170 in the match and coming close to repeating the feat twice. Whitlock remains fifth in the world rankings.
There were many more highlights from MODUS’ star players too; Mervyn King produced one of the performances of the tournament, winning every single leg in his second round victory over Geoff Kime. Paul Nicholson produced a couple of strong performances, including a fabulous straight-sets triumph over Alan Tabern in round three. Robert Thornton returned to form with a good win over Ian White before causing lots of problems for the eventual winner in the second round. There was also a spirited performance from PDC under-21 World Champion Arron Monk, who performed excellently to push Players Champion Kevin Painter all the way in a high quality first round affair.
Following the tournament, the PDC announced the new world rankings and MODUS can boast four players in the top ten. Mark Webster and Raymond van Barneveld are ranked 8th and 9th respectively and join Wade and Whitlock in keeping their top ten positions. Vincent van der Voort is 14th, while Nicholson climbed to 17th.
The brilliant MODUS players heavily contributed to a wonderful tournament to help make the 2012 Ladbrokes World Championship the best ever. All the signs point to an extremely successful year ahead.
By Chris Murphy