Kim Huybrechts produced a brilliant comeback from 5-2 down to stun Peter Wright and claim victory at the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen.
Huybrechts began strongly, taking out 103 to win the opening leg, before the next two legs went with throw. With Wright trailing 2-1, he was handed a reprieve as Huybrechts managed to bust 25 in two consecutive visits, allowing Snakebite to hit D20 at his sixth attempt to restore parity.
The World Number Four then produced a brilliant 116 finish to break, before holding throw to extend his lead to 4-2. With Huybrechts poised to reduce the arrears to 4-3, Wright produced a phenomenal 161 checkout for a 5-2 lead and a crucial double-break.
The Belgian appeared resigned to his fate, but he managed to deliver a fantastic 140 checkout from nowhere to stay alive, before converting D16 with one dart in hand to reduce the deficit to 5-4, after Wright had missed one tournament dart.
Snakebite was in control of the tenth leg and left himself on 81 to clinch the title, but Huybrechts again produced a herculean finish, taking out 157 to force this enthralling contest into a last-leg decider.
Both players held their nerve and were left on two-dart outshots after just 12 darts, but Huybrechts had the advantage of throw, which ultimately proved decisive. Kim nervelessly converted 64 in two darts to seal the second European Tour title of his career, which understandably provoked jubilant scenes from the Hurricane.
Kim certainly did it the hard way in Germany. He scraped through an epic last-leg decider against Steve Beaton in the last 16, before coming from 5-3 down to stun Michael Smith in the quarter-finals. He then faced tournament favourite James Wade in the last four, where he secured an impressive 6-4 victory against the Machine.
Wright’s passage was also comparatively dramatic. He edged past Ian White 6-5 in the quarter-finals, before fending off a remarkable comeback by Mensur Suljovic in the semis.
The Austrian trailed 5-2 but managed to force a last-leg shootout. However, after Mensur wired the bull for a 132 checkout and an incredible victory, Wright triumphed courtesy of D16.
However, Huybrecht’s victory has significant repercussions for next month’s Grand Slam of Darts. The Belgian was yet to secure his qualification spot and he had subsequently entered next week’s PDC qualifier.
Nevertheless, Kim is now assured of a spot, at Alan Norris’ expense. The former Lakeside finalist will now have to enter the PDC qualifier to fight it out for a spot in Wolverhampton.
This was a very poignant win for Kim. He’s been on the cusp of European Tour glory in 2015, reaching the quarters and semis on several occasions, but he’s finally managed to overcome the final hurdle.
Snakebite will inevitably be disappointed to lose in such cruel circumstances, but he was hugely gracious in defeat and will be very encouraged by his performances this weekend. He looked in fine form throughout; the fluency of his throw was particularly impressive.
The attention now turns to next weekend’s Players Championships in Coventry. Grand Slam spots are still up for grabs, whilst the full line-up for the Players Championship Finals in Minehead will be confirmed by the end of the weekend.
Phil Taylor will be making a rare Pro Tour appearance, but Michael van Gerwen will be absent next weekend, as he focuses on defending his European Championship crown in a fortnight’s time.
2015 European Darts Grand Prix
Sunday October 18
James Wade 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Michael Smith
Peter Wright 6-5 Ian White
Joe Cullen 4-6 Mensur Suljovic
James Wade 4-6 Kim Huybrechts
Peter Wright 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Peter Wright