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Michael van Gerwen brands Jose de Sousa “a rookie” following Gibraltar Darts Trophy clash

Damon Heta claims first European Tour title at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy

Jamie Shaw in European Tour 16 Oct 2022
Heta adds his name to the Euro Tour roll of honour (Photo by Mark Galliano/PDC)

Damon Heta secured his first European Tour title in dramatic fashion at the 2022 Gibraltar Darts Trophy with an 8-7 victory over Peter Wright in the final.

A pulsating climax to the season’s Euro Tour action saw Heta scoop the £25,000 top prize at the Victoria Stadium after Wright had squandered six missed match darts.

Wright came flying out of the blocks to race into a 3-0 lead, but only for Heta to produce a 167 checkout on his way to five consecutive legs.

Heta edged himself to within a leg of victory at 7-5, but Wright hit back with the next two legs to take the final to a sudden-death shoot-out.

After being first to a finish, Snakebite spurned six match darts across three visits, and though Heta had missed four match darts of his own, he eventually pinned double four to seal glory.

“I’m absolutely stoked,” said Heta. “To get one European Tour title under my belt so early in my career, it’s unexpectedly expected.

“My weekend’s been up and down – I haven’t had a steady game all weekend and to come away with my first European Tour win I’m really happy.

“Peter had his chances, just like I did, and the crowd deserved a last-leg decider. To happen like it did, I don’t know what to say!”

Heta had begun his challenge for the title on Saturday by defeating Chris Dobey, and saw off Masters champion Joe Cullen and German star Gabriel Clemens to reach the Semi-Finals on Sunday.

He showed his class to then win a sensational contest with Michael van Gerwen, recovering from 4-1, 5-2 and 6-4 down with legs of 13, 11 and 15 darts to edge into the final, landing nine 180s in an epic contest.

Wright produced an outstanding response to last weekend’s loss to Van Gerwen in the World Grand Prix Semi-Finals as he mounted a run to the final in Gibraltar.

The world number one averaged 108 in Sunday afternoon’s Last 16 win over Ryan Searle, 105 in his Quarter-Final defeat of Luke Humphries and 108.6 in his 7-1 Semi-Final rout of Rob Cross.

He also landed brilliant 121 checkout of bull, treble seven and bull in the second leg of the final – bringing a bumper crowd at the Victoria Stadium to their feet – only to later agonisingly miss out on the title.

“Hats off to Damon,” admitted Wright. “I didn’t expect to miss my doubles, and I didn’t expect him to miss but hopefully it was entertainment!

“It was his day today. He gave me chances to get back into the match, he was blowing me away and he took his foot off the pedal.

“He’s been pushing and pushing but he gets horrible draws and keeps running into the top players.

“He’s left home and come over here but now you watch him. He’s proven to the world – he beat Michael van Gerwen and me and he can beat anybody in the world, he’s brilliant.”

Cross overcame Ryan Joyce and Josh Rock as he won through to the Last Four in his bid to claim a maiden Euro Tour title, while Van Gerwen defeated Jose de Sousa and Nathan Aspinall – in a repeat of the World Grand Prix final – in his run to the Semis.

Humphries was a quarter-finalist in his first event since becoming a father for the first time last week, while impressive Northern Irish youngster Rock defeated Jonny Clayton on Sunday afternoon to win through to the last eight for the second time on the European Tour.

With the Gibraltar Darts Trophy marking the conclusion of the 2022 European Tour, the top 32 players from the final European Tour Order of Merit now progress to the European Championship in Dortmund from October 27-30.

Gibraltar Darts Trophy 2022 Day Three Results

Sunday October 16

Third Round

Afternoon Session
Luke Humphries 6-3 Wesley Plaisier
Ryan Searle 1-6 Peter Wright
Josh Rock 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross 6-4 Ryan Joyce
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Jose De Sousa
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Mensur Suljovic 1-6 Gabriel Clemens
Damon Heta 6-1 Joe Cullen

Evening Session

Quarter-Finals
Luke Humphries 3-6 Peter Wright
Josh Rock 5-6 Rob Cross
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Gabriel Clemens 4-6 Damon Heta

Semi-Finals
Peter Wright 7-1 Rob Cross
Damon Heta 7-6 Michael van Gerwen

Final
Damon Heta 8-7 Peter Wright

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