Broken Hill’s Ray O’Donnell has qualified for the Darts ANZ World Series of Darts

Broken Hill’s Ray O’Donnell has qualified for the Darts ANZ World Series of Darts event in Melbourne after defeating Koha Kokiri in the third qualifying final for the event.
The board winners had been Marshall Allen (5-3 over Sean Hafkensheid), Mark Smyth (5-0 over Daniel Sim), Ray O’Donnell (5-3 over Barb Smyth), Mick Lacey (5-1 over Jerry Weymann), Cody Harris (5-2 over Rhys Mathewson), Kerry Allen (5-3 over Dave Platt), Koha Kokiri (5-3 over James Bailey), and Loz Ryder (5-3 over John Bunyard.)
In the quarters Smyth lost to O’Donnell (2-5), Lacey was whitewashed by Harris, Kerry Allen lost to Kokiri (2-5), and Marshall Allen lost to Loz Ryder (5-1). The first semi-final was a top class affair as O’Donnell defeated Cody Harris in the ninth and final leg whilst Koha Kokiri defeated Loz Ryder 5-2.
In the final the match started well for Kokiri as he took the first leg, although it did take three visit to the oche to get the checkout required. Under some scoring pressure from his opponent O’Donnell was able to hold throw with a bull finish to tie the match up after two legs. In the next leg Kokiri was unable to check out 100 but O’Donnell let him back to the oche after not converting 115. It was an opportunity Kokiri took as he went to a 2-1 lead, on throw.
O’Donnell took a clear lead in the next leg and comfortably held throw. The fifth leg started well for Kokiri as he opened with a maximum. Despite some low scoring after that he managed to get a check out first and he put away 56 to take another lead in the match. O’Donnell then opened with 100 which was bettered by his opponent with a 121 start. Further in a 140 put O’Donnell back in the leg as 140 was not converted by Kohiri. Chasing 76 O’Donnell left twenty, Kokiri could still not put the score away and with his first dart on the next visit O’Donnell had tied the match up once more.
Leg seven saw Kokiri needing 105 but only scoring 73 as O’Donnell then tried to shoot down 147. He left 50 which he must have thought he would never have another shot at but Kokiri failed on his next visit and with his following two darts O’Donnell took the first break of the match to lead 4-3.
A 45 opening in the next leg from O’Donnell gave his opponent a chance to hit back and he did so with a 140. Kokiri had an outside chance of a 156 finish but could not get it and chasing 60 O’Donnell took the next leg 5-3. Throwing first in the next leg it was do or die for Kokiri and he opened with a century. It seemed to be going wrong when O’Donnell then stepped up and secured a 180 and then a 140, following it up with a 100. Despite this Kokiri was able to stay close and when O’Donnell failed to convert 81 on two visits his opponent pounced to take the leg.
Having won a leg he had no right to Kokiri managed to break the throw of his opponent in the next leg to take the match to a deciding leg. Both players seemed nervous in the leg but it was O’Donnell who first check out chance with 101 on offer. He only scored 57 so Kokiri stepped up requiring 66. He missed a match double to only get 48. Requiring 44 O’Donnell needed all three darts but managed to get what was required of him with Kokiri standing behind him ready to pounce on any error.
Having played in the Prodarts Series in January this year O’Donnell now faces an even greater challenge on the Darts ANZ World Series of Darts main stage in Melbourne.