Newton back into the final reckoning

Wes Newton
Wes Newton
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FLEETWOOD’S Wes Newton rediscovered the form which saw him climb to fifth in the PDC world darts rankings by reaching the final of the PartyPoker.net European Championship European Championship in Germany last night.

However, the 35-year-old missed out on the £50,000 top prize, beaten 11-5 by Simon Whitlock in the final.

It was the Australian’s first major title win following three defeats in finals.

Whitlock edged out Kim Huybrechts 11-9 in the semi-finals at the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim earlier yesterday, then raced into a 5-2 lead in the final.

He landed a 167 checkout in establishing a 9-4 cushion, and not even seven 180s from Newton was nere enough to save him from defeat.

A delighted Whitlock said: “I’ve been so close to winning a major in the last couple of years and I’m absolutely ecstatic to finally win one.

“I came into the weekend confident after winning a Players Championship last Sunday and I’ve taken that form into this tournament.

It had been a couple of years since I’d won a tournament but this is two in as many weeks now and I’m just over the moon.

“I want to go on and win more major titles – the World Championship and become world no.1. I want the lot”

Both players hit 180s in the opening leg and shared the first four before Whitlock took three in a row to take command

Fifth seed Newton, who had never previously progressed beyond the second round in this event, fired in a 13-darter and bettered that with an 11-dart finish as he cut the gap to 6-4 in his best spell of the game.

Whitlock found an extra gear to win the next three legs, with a brace of 14-dart finishes sandwiching a magnificent 167 checkout as he moved within two legs of the title.

Newton, aided by his sixth maximum, took the next to stay in the hunt but could only watch on as Whitlock finished 94 to lead 10-5 before defying a 180 from the Lancastrian to seal victory with double eight.

The result means Whitlock takes the world no.5 spot ahead of Newton, for whom this was a second major final defeat after being runner-up in last year’s UK Open.

Newton said: “It’s been a good weekend, and although I’m disappointed to lose the final I’ll take the positives out. I felt good going into the final but it just didn’t happen for me. It was a really hard game – the crowd were on Simon’s side and he played really well. He deserved it.

“It hurts to lose in the final because you’re so close, but I’m taking steps in the right direction.”

Newton also won 11-9 in the semi’s, against his room-mate Brendan Dolan. The Northern Irishman, who had ended Phil Taylor’s four-year domination of this event in the previous round, led 9-6 only for Newton to win five straight legs for victory.

Newton defeated Andy Hamilton 10-8 in the quarter-finals, also yesterday and took home £20,000 as runner-up.

Fourth seed Hamilton set up his last-eight clash with Newton by overcoming Blackpool’s Ronnie Baxter 10-8 in the second round on Saturday, when Newton defeated Kevin Painter 10-5 with a run of six straight legs.