DPA Challenge tour

Weekend two of the DPA Challenge tour got underway at three venues across Australia. Events in Sydney, at Pritchard’s Hotel, Pine Rivers Club in Queensland and Young (The Services Club) in country NSW went ahead on the Saturday and Sunday.
In Sydney the first event of the Saturday (event #5 overall) saw two finalists from the first weekend line up again as James Doherty defeated Liam McLennan with remarkable darts and spectacular finishes putting his opponent to the sword by five legs to one. Wayne Blair, so consistent in events 1 to 4, and Craig Hussey both lost at the semi-final stages 1-4 whilst Lavinia Hogg, Shane Reeves, Luke Hudson and the evergreen Paul Neighbour were the losing quarter finalists.
In the Saturday evening knockout McLennan made his second final of the day but lost out to another winner on the first weekend at Pritchard’s Hotel in Kerry Allen. The final was a much closer affair and came down to the deciding leg which Allen pounced on to secure another win on tour. Lavinia Hogg improved on her afternoon run by making the semi-final but lost 2-4 to Allen. Mark Lennard lost by the same score line to McLennan at the same stage. Losing quarter finalists this time around included Blair and Hussey, the two losing semi-finalists from event 5, as well as Jamie Budd and Paul Neighbour.
Sunday was St Patricks Day and Doherty celebrated his Irish heritage by defeating Liam McLennan in another final. This final, though, was a lot closer than the day before but McLennan fell once more, this time in the deciding leg, losing 4-5. Doherty was delighted with another win “Being St Patricks day this win was important to me. Liam is one of the most consistent players here and this time it was very tight. I am pleased to have put a second win together in two days.”
Craig Hussey had made his second semi-final of the weekend, but lost 2-4 to Doherty. McLennan defeated Scott Harlor 4-4 in the other semi-final. Two women made up the four losing quarter finalists with Lavinia Hogg repeating her effort from the day before and Sapphire Allen joining her. Stuart Rofe and Chad Kainuku made up the other participants in the quarter finals.
The final knockout of the weekend saw Hogg’s consistency rewarded as she upset Doherty 4-3 in the quarter finals. Hussey also made the semi-finals once more with a 4-2 win over Nathan Reed whilst McLennan made his fourth semi-final of the weekend by whitewashing Luke Hudson. The other semi-final position went to Alex Clarke as he defeated Darren Hampton 4-1.
McLennan made his fourth final of the weekend by defeating Clarke 4-2 in one semi-final whilst Hussey defeated Hogg 4-1 to make his first final of the weekend. In the final it was Craig Hussey who defeated McLennan 5-3, with McLennan securing runners up position for all four events over the weekend in Sydney.
In Queensland, at Pine Rivers Club, Thomas Justice took out his first challenge tour event after defeating Dave Evans 5-1 in event five’s final. For Evans it was an improvement on his semi-final appearance in tour event four. Earlier Beau McCrae had made it three semi-finals in a row but was whitewashed by Justice. Brendan Buckley had taken Evans to a deciding leg before succumbing. Losing quarterfinalists were Brant Smith, Arthur Gaunt, Rob Cameron and Thomas Hawe.
Event 6 saw Cameron improve on his afternoon finish as he made the final against Mark Ruthenberg. Cameron had taken out Tony Davy 4-2 in one semi-final whilst Ruthenberg took down Ky Smith 4-2 in the other. In the final Cameron and Ruthenberg took the match to a deciding leg which Cameron took out to win his first championship event. Earlier the losing quarter finalises included Chris Roberts, Brendan Buckley, Jackson Davies and Dave Hampshire.
The Sunday events kicked off with a pool table format. After playing these and the round of 16 that followed event 6’s final was repeated in the quarter finals, with Cameron defeating Ruthenburg in yet another last leg decider. Peter Willmot and Jackson Davies were more comprehensive (defeating Donovan Lothering and Brant Smith 4-1 respectively) whilst Mick Garwood eliminated Jade Whitworth with a 4-2 win.
The semi-finals were contrasting affairs with Peter Willmott just getting past Cameron 4-3, whilst Garwood was much more comfortable in his 4-1 win over Davies. The final was a tight affair but it was Garwood who came away with the win five legs to three over Willmott.
In the final event in Queensland the straight knock out saw Tony Davy, Luke Hughes, Jackson Davies, Dave Hampshire, Mick Ruthenberg, Ky Smith, Jimmy Raroa, and Dave Evans all make the quarter finals, with Hughes, Davies, Smith and Raroa coming out as winners. It meant the competition was set to crown a new winner and so the semi-finals were tense affairs. Jackson Davies made the most of his chance by defeating Hughes 4-1 whilst Jimmy Raroa held his nerve in the deciding leg against Ky Smith. In the final it was Davies who won his first championship event, defeating Raroa 5-3.
At the third venue of the weekend, Young Services Club, it looked as though it would be things resuming as normal with Josh Townsend making his fifth championship final in a row, having won all events 1 to 4 in Young. Greg Lestrange faced up to Townsend for the third time but this time he came away victorious, and what a statement it was, winning 5-1. Two other good performers on weekend one, Anthony Hatch and Rod Crawford, were the losing semi-finalists with Hatch taking Lestrange to a deciding leg whilst Townsend was more comfortable in defeating Crawford 5-2. Losing quarter finalists included Brodie Walker, Mick Lean, Corey Fortington and Glenn Casson, with the Lestrange / Lean match the only quarter final to go to a deciding leg.
Event 6 saw Townsend unable to make the final in Young for the first time, indeed he was knocked out in the quarter finals 6-2 by Anthony Hatch. Adam Faulkner defeated Corey Fortington by the same score line at the same stage, whilst Ciaran Holmes defeated another Lestrange, Brady, 6-1. The last quarter final was a closer affair with Greg Lestrange beating former Australian test vice-captain Daniel Sim 6-3.
The semi-finals saw Lestrange defeat Holmes 6-2 to progress to his second final of the day, whilst Adam Faulkner outlasted Anthony Hatch 6-5. This deciding leg outcome looked to be a good experience for Faulkner as he faced the same situation in the final against Lestrange and came through victorious, 6-5 once again.
Sunday’s first event saw Faulkner return to the final once more (having seen off Greg Lestrange 5-2 in the semi-final) where he faced Josh Townsend, who was in his sixth final of seven events in Young NSW (Townsend took out Ian Barrett 5-2 in their semi-final.) The final went the way of Josh Townsend, who returned to the top of the tree where he had sat for events one to four.
Losing quarter finalists included Ciaran Holmes, Daniel Sim, Mick Lean and Rod Crawford, demonstrating the class of this event’s field and the consistently high efforts of all of the players in the competition.
The final event of the weekend in Young saw very familiar faces make the final. Prior to then Josh Townsend, John Taylor, Greg Lestrange and Mick Lean had defeated Rod Crawford, Phil Sellick, Daniel Sim and John Laybutt in the quarter finals respectively. The semi-finals could not have been more contrasting affairs with Townsend winning 4-0 over Taylor whilst Lestrange just survived in a tough encounter with Mick Lean (4-3).
The final saw Townsend continue his momentum, taking out a third final of four against Lestrange, and sixth out of eight challenge events in Young overall. The final score line read 4-1 to Townsend.
The DPA Challenge Tour continues with upcoming events in NSW and South Australia next weekend and then Victoria the following weekend.