Barry Gardner qualified for the Darts ANZ World Series of Darts event in Brisbane after defeating Koha Kokiri in the third qualifying final at the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club by six legs to three.
In the board finals Barry Gardner defeated Rhys Mathewson 5-3, Colin Edwards defeated Steve MacArthur 5-2, Lucas Cameron defeated Paul Cotton 5-3, Koha Kokiri 5-1 over Mike Bonser, Mat Leahy 5-3 over Steve Fitsimmons, Cody Harris 5-2 over Kerry Allen, David Platt 5-0 over Andrew Eagers, and Mark Smyth over James Bailey.
That left some top class head to head clashes in the quarter finals as Barry Gardner defeated Edwards 5-1, Mark Smyth took out Cameron 5-2, Koha Kokiri eliminated Leahy 5-1, and Cody Harris whitewashed Platt.
In an all Kiwi semi-final Koha Kokiri took a 4-1 lead but Cody Harris drew level after eight legs. In the final leg Kokiri broke the throw of Harris and took out the match 5-4. The other match was much more comprehensive with Barry Gardner winning 5-1 over Smyth.
The final saw Gardner score a maximum with his second visit to the oche and tops with his first dart on sixth visit gave him the first leg. In the second leg Kokiri took an early lead but was unable to check out 104 or 78 and Gardner took two darts to take out 85 to take a break in the match. The third leg saw three century plus visits from Gardner in a row and he comfortably took a 3-0 lead.
The fourth leg saw Gardner take a lead and although he was unable to take out 157 his opponent could not convert 138 and with 2 darts on his next visit Gardner checked out 32. The fifth leg saw nerves kick in for both players and both players had multiple chances to take the leg until Gardner checked out twenty and put himself one leg from victory.
Kokiri had nothing to lose and opening the next leg he threw more consistently and took the leg. In leg 7 both players opened with 140 but a pair of 100s later in the leg put Kokiri ahead and he checked out 30 to move to a 5-2 score line. He also held his next throw easily and momentum seemed to be in his favour as Gardner opened leg 9 with a 58. However critically Kokiri only matched that score and then Gardner through a 140. It put Gardner well enough ahead that he could set up 40 for the win and with his first dart at that target he was the victor.
Thus Barry Gardner, champion of the Perth Premier League of Darts from 2018, qualified for an even grander stage at the Darts ANZ World Series of Darts Brisbane leg. For Kokiri it was his second loss in a final on the same day.