Heta turns up the heat to qualify for the Darts ANZ World Darts Series Melbourne Event.
In the first Darts ANZ World Darts Series Qualifier final for Melbourne it was Western Australia’s Damon Heta who defeated Queensland’s GG Mathers 6-4. There were 67 entries at Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club.
In the board finals Jack Devries defeated Steve Macarthur 5-1, Colin Edwards beat Jeremy Fagg 5-2, Damon Heta outlasted Raymond O’Donnell 5-4, Stephen Schmitt overcame Pat Dargan 5-0, Mal Cuming took out Ash Britt 5-3, GG Mathers secured a comprehensive 5-1 result over Mick Lacey, Lucas Cameron edged out Kalani Hillman 5-4 and Koha Kokiri whitewashed local Brian McCann 5-0.
In the quarter finals there were two white washes as Heta and Kokiri won 5-0 over Schmitt and Cameron respectively. The other two quarters finished 5-3 with wins for Colin Edwards (over Jack Devries) and GG Mathers (over Mal Cuming.) The semis were very different affairs as Heta won 5-0 over Edwards and Mathers overcoming Kokiri in the final leg to win 5-4.
In the final Mathers started with the opening throw and scored 60 whilst Heta opened with 140. With Heta on Shanghai (120) GG checked out 62 to collect the first leg on throw. Heta then opened his throw with a maximum (180) and quickly moved to 64. Mathers was on 170 but failed to collect the big target but Heta could only move from 54 to 10. Mathers then secured the double 18 on his first attempt to take a 2-0 lead with a break. The following leg saw Mathers move to 220 with a maximum of 180. Chasing 81 for the win Heta then hit the bull to get the break back. He then opened with another maximum and a follow up 134 left the West Australian in prime position for the leg. With Mathers sitting on 101 Heta hit the 72 required thanks to a double 12 with his last dart in hand to tie the match up after four legs.
GG started the fifth leg with a 140 to steady the ship and good scoring left him on 72. However Heta piled the pressure on by collecting 131 to move to 36. 32 left GG on tops but a double 18 with his second dart moved Damon ahead on legs for the first time in the match, with the scoreline reading 3-2.
The next leg saw Heta start with 140 and after two visits to the oche both players were equal. 100 from Damon moved him to 161 as GG moved to 138 with a 123. However he was not to revisit the oche that leg as Heta checked out the 161 to move to 4-2. A 140 start on throw saw Mathers quickly move through the next leg and 140 left him on 54. He had to again watch as Heta chased a big check out but he missed the double 12 to give Mathers the chance to win the leg and GG took full advantage by taking out 54 and moving to within one leg of parity.
Throwing his worst start of the match to that point, a 60, Heta gave GG the chance to take an early lead and he did so with a 134 start. With GG sitting on 104 Heta hit a maximum to put pressure on his opponent (moving to 104) but with a bull finish Mathers checked out 127. The match was again equal on legs, this time 4-4. GG then opened with two visits of 60 in the ninth leg on throw but Heta could not take full advantage. A 180 seemed to get Mathers back in the groove as he moved to 201. With Damon on 184 an 89 from Mathers left him on 52. A 144 left the WA player on tops as Mathers missed with his two darts for the leg. With his last dart in hand Heta hit double 10 for the break and a 5-4 lead.
Heta then opened the next leg with 104 but Mathers upped it with a 180 visit. Later in the leg Heta moved to 161 with 100 as 140 from his opponent saw GG move to 85. Chasing 161 Heta missed his first shot at treble 20 but still managed to score 137. He then stood back to watch Mathers miss tops for the leg with his last dart. Heta then scored the required 24 on his next visit to take the leg and the match, 6 legs to 4. Heta averaged 99.69 for the match whilst Mathers averaged 98.11 in a match of the very highest quality.
It had been a match of shifted momentum but it was Heta who held his nerve at the last to make the stage at the Hisense Arena Melbourne.