Durrant and Ashton claim Finder Darts Masters glory!

Durrant Masters

BDO world champion Glen Durrant fought back from 3-1 down to defeat Richard Veenstra and clinch his third Finder Darts Masters title on a dramatic day of action at the Hotel Zuiderduin on Sunday evening.

‘Duzza’ had defeated Conan Whitehead and last year’s Lakeside finalist Mark McGeeney earlier in the afternoon to seal his place in the final, and he produced a sensational comeback to deny Veenstra glory on home soil; averaging 100.60 and crashing in eleven maximums to seal his third major title of the season.

Veenstra, who defeated his compatriot Derk Telnekes and Jim Williams to reach his first Finder Darts Masters final- claimed a hard-fought opening set which saw all five legs go with throw; following up successive 140’s with a clinical 75 kill on tops in the decider.

Durrant responded strongly; producing a classy 121 checkout for a 12-dart opener in set two, before firing in a stunning 171 and pegging D18 for a 14-dart break. However, the Teessider squandered five set darts and Veenstra fought back superbly; taking out finishes of 118, 73 and 141 in consecutive legs to double his advantage.

The two-time world champion responded strongly in set three; winning the opening two legs with relative ease. However, having spurned opportunities in the second set he made no mistake on this occasion- following up five perfect darts with an effortless 100 outshot to halve the deficit with an 11-dart leg.

Durrant claimed his fourth straight leg on D4 to kick off the fourth set, but Veenstra stopped the rot with a spectacular 131 checkout. The pair then traded 14-dart holds as Durrant threw to level up proceedings at two apiece, but Veenstra followed up his fifth 180 with a majestic two-dart 81 combination for an 11-darter and a 3-1 advantage.

The players left the stage for a brief interval and the momentum swung completely after the break. Durrant won the fifth set without reply; courtesy of clinical 60, 71 and 68 checkouts. The pair then exchanged holds in the early stages of set six, before Durrant registered legs of 13 and 16 darts to restore parity at three apiece.

Veenstra edged back ahead via tops in the opening leg of set seven, but Durrant sensed blood; following up a commanding 16-dart hold with a 14-dart break of throw courtesy of D10. The BDO number one then wired the bull for a spectacular 170 finish, but he returned to clean up D8 moments later and establish a 4-3 cushion.

Veenstra finished magnificently throughout the final and registered his fourth three-figure checkout in the first leg of the eighth set; firing in his eighth maximum before taking out 106 for a sparkling 12-darter.

Nevertheless, Durrant responded in irrepressible fashion, landing the magical 170 finish for an instant break back. The 48-year-old then sank D16 to move within a leg of victory, which he duly sealed by posting his eleventh maximum and converting a nerveless 76 kill to complete a 12-dart break.

Durrant has already enjoyed victories at the World Championship and World Trophy earlier this year, and he now adds a third Finder Darts Masters crown to his ever-growing collection. The Teessider performed superbly throughout; winning 12 of the final 15 legs to cap off a vintage comeback.

In the women’s event, Lisa Ashton also secured her third major title of 2018 with a 2-1 victory over Fallon Sherrock in a high-quality final. ‘The Lancashire Rose’ averaged 88.68 and produced a clinical display of finishing to claim her second Finder Darts Masters crown- ten years on from her maiden triumph in 2008.

The four-time women’s world champion secured her place in the final in dramatic fashion on Saturday evening; fighting back from 3-1 down against home favourite Aileen de Graaf in her group-stage decider; taking out finishes of 157, 118 and 96 in the process.

The 48-year-old made a blistering start to the final; converting a 94 finish on the bullseye for a 15-dart break. Ashton then doubled her lead with a solid 17-dart hold, before firing in a classy 97 checkout on D10 to clinch the opening set without reply.

The Bolton-based star claimed a fourth straight leg on D10, before Sherrock opened her account via the same target, after Ashton wired D8 for a 136 outshot. The pair then traded breaks of throw, but former Lakeside finalist Sherrock forced a deciding set with a 16-darter on D8, after Ashton missed one dart at tops for the title.

Nevertheless, the reigning Lakeside world champion bounced back magnificently in the decider. She drew first blood with a clinical 110 checkout, before following up successive 140’s with a 13-dart hold on tops.

Sherrock produced a nerveless 76 skin-saver to stay alive, with Ashton sat poised on tops. However, the 24-year-old then squandered two darts at D4 to force a sudden-death leg, which enabled Ashton to peg tops and seal the tenth major title of her career.

Meanwhile, young Irish star Keane Barry won the Finder Darts Masters Youth title with an emphatic straight sets victory over Levy Frauenfelder. Barry averaged 80.52, posted the solitary maximum and boasted a 35% checkout success rate, as he incredibly claimed victory without dropping a leg throughout the entire tournament.

Photo Credit: Sander Kaaij

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