Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock delivered a maiden World Cup of Darts title for Australia on an historic night in…
Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock delivered a maiden World Cup of Darts title for Australia on an historic night in Frankfurt, defeating Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton of Wales in the final.
Ten years on from suffering World Cup heartbreak in an extraordinary sudden death final against England, Whitlock gained redemption as he partnered Heta to glory at the Eissporthalle.
Australia had seen off former finalists Belgium and top seeds England on Finals Day, and became the fifth different nation to lift the coveted trophy with a convincing win over 2020 winners Wales.
“It’s life-changing,” admitted an emotional Whitlock. “I have dreamt about this moment my entire life and I’ve finally got there.
“It feels amazing. I had a great partner. Damon has been amazing. He’s a great friend, and he’s the best player on the planet right now. He is going to be the next world champion.”
Heta gave Australia the early impetus in the final with a whitewash win over a below-par Price, before Whitlock put the fifth seeds on the brink of history after battling past Clayton 4-2.
Whitlock struck the decisive blow with a 120 checkout to break throw in leg five, and despite missing six match darts at tops, the 53-year-old eventually closed it out at the seventh attempt to double their lead.
The 2012 runners-up continued their charge by opening up a two-leg lead in the pairs contest, but Price and Clayton produced a stirring fightback to prolong the drama.
The Welsh pair responded with legs of 15, 14 and 13 darts to force a final leg, only for Whitlock to miss a dart at double 18 for the title, and Clayton capitalised via double eight to clinch the pairs match and reduce the arrears to 2-1.
Clayton then had the opportunity to set up a grandstand finale between Whitlock and Price, but Heta had other ideas, producing a nerveless display in the biggest game of his life.
The 34-year-old averaged 99 and crashed in two 180s to fend off the former Premier League champion, pinning his favourite double 16 to spark jubilant celebrations from the Australian duo.
“Simon dragged me through the beginning,” admitted Heta, who defeated three of the world’s top eight on Sunday evening.
“I’m stoked for Simon and stoked for Australia with all the support we’ve had back home.
“Everything we are sacrificing being here and we’ve got the title in the bag. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Australia began Sunday’s action with a 2-1 victory over fourth seeds Belgium, producing a sensational Pairs performance to whitewash Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts.
After Heta was beaten by his Belgian housemate Van den Bergh in the opening rubber, Whitlock preserved their hopes with a 4-3 win over Huybrechts, averaging 101 in the process.
The Aussies then underlined their credentials in the Doubles decider, averaging 109 and rattling in legs of 11 and 12 darts midway through the contest to progress.
In the Semi-Finals, Heta recovered from 3-1 down to stun England’s Michael Smith, after the St Helens star bust 72 for a 4-1 success, while a rampant Whitlock whitewashed James Wade with a 103 average to complete the job.
Price and Clayton fell short in their pursuit of a second World Cup triumph, despite denying hosts Germany and four-time winners Netherlands to seal their spot in Sunday’s showpiece.
Price set the tone for the 2020 World Champions earlier in the day, posting the second highest individual average in World Cup history during his four-leg blitz of Martin Schindler.
The 37-year-old averaged 117.88, landed a ten-dart leg and converted a stunning 170 checkout to whitewash Schindler, before Clayton eased past German number one Gabriel Clemens 4-2 to seal the deal.
The second seeds then dispatched Dutch duo Danny Noppert and Dirk van Duijvenbode in the Semi-Finals, with Price closing out a 4-1 win over UK Open champion Noppert in the opening tie.
Clayton later came out on top in a high-quality affair against Van Duijvenbode, defying four 180s and legs of 11 and 12 darts from the Dutchman to complete successive Singles victories.
The Premier League duo were bidding to become the first side in World Cup history to recover from 2-0 down in the final to snatch the title, but they were unable to complete the comeback.
“We weren’t at our best in the final but Simon and Damon played fantastic,” said Price, appearing in his second final in three years.
“I said at the beginning of the tournament we’d play Australia in the final, but I predicted that we would win, so I was wrong there!
“We didn’t fire tonight, but we’ll be back and we will be stronger next year.”
World Cup of Darts 2022 Day Four Results
Sunday June 19
Netherlands 2-0 Northern Ireland
Singles One: Danny Noppert 4-2 Daryl Gurney
Singles Two: Dirk van Duijvenbode 4-3 Brendan Dolan
Wales 2-0 Germany
Singles One: Gerwyn Price 4-0 Martin Schindler
Singles Two: Jonny Clayton 4-2 Gabriel Clemens
Belgium 1-2 Australia
Singles One: Dimitri Van den Bergh 4-2 Damon Heta
Singles Two: Kim Huybrechts 3-4 Simon Whitlock
Doubles: Van den Bergh/Huybrechts 0-4 Heta/Whitlock
England 2-0 Scotland
Singles One: Michael Smith 4-0 John Henderson
Singles Two: James Wade 4-1 Peter Wright
Wales 2-0 Netherlands
Single One: Gerwyn Price 4-1 Danny Noppert
Singles Two: Jonny Clayton 4-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
England 0-2 Australia
Singles One: Michael Smith 3-4 Damon Heta
Singles Two: James Wade 0-4 Simon Whitlock
Australia 3-1 Wales
Singles One: Damon Heta 4-0 Gerwyn Price
Singles Two: Simon Whitlock 4-2 Jonny Clayton
Doubles: Heta/Whitlock 3-4 Price/Clayton
Singles Four: Damon Heta 4-2 Jonny Clayton