Dave Marland wrapped up the NSW events in the Winmau DPA Satellite series of 2021 with his first dual event win over a weekend and his sixth win in a 2021 Final. Of the ten events played at the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club this year he made seven Finals and won six of them. This was even more remarkable as he could only attend eight of the events and thus his ‘worst’ performance was a loss in the quarter-finals in one event. Add to that the fact that over the series there was an average of 60 plus players an event and the quality of his opponents in the Finals were the likes of Mitchell Clegg, Justin Frey, Peter Wilmott and Liam McLennan and it measures the mark of the achievement.
On Saturday four of the most consistent players in NSW this year made the semifinals before Dave Marland defeated Mitchell Clegg in a final once again in 2021.
Earlier in the day the top 16 round had seen wins to Marland, Clegg, Peter Wilmott, Justin Frey, Barry Jouannet Jnr, Tyrell Coppini, Pokotea Munokoa, and Dave Hanel. Clegg and Wilmott then went on to win in deciding legs in the quarter-finals (over Jouannet Jnr and Hanel respectively.) Frey defeated 14-year-old Coppini 4-2 whilst Marland had the biggest winning margin of the round with a 4-1 victory. He would not have such a comprehensive margin for the rest of the Saturday event.
The semifinals saw Clegg take on Wilmott and Marland throw against Frey. Clegg held throw in his opening game before his opponent won three legs in succession to move only one leg away from the Final. Wilmott then missed darts at tops for the match in the next two legs and Clegg pounced on both occasions to take the match to a deciding leg, a leg in which he had the first walk. 17 darts later and Clegg was into another Final, and it was left for Wilmott toy reflect on what could have been.
Justin Frey has been ever consistent this season and in his semifinal he broke his opponent in the opening leg. He then held throw in 15 darts before two successive 140 visits put pressure on the Marland throw and despite Marlo getting a shot at a 38 check out, Frey was able to break once more to take a 3-0 lead, including two break of throws, in the first to four clash. Marland missed the bull in the next leg and had to watch as Frey threw for the same target on his next visit to take the match. Frey missed and Marland was able to pounce. He then built on this break by holding throw in the fifth leg of the match. Consistent high scoring in the next leg saw Marland break the Frey throw a second time and with all the momentum Marland threw a 104 check out in a 15 dart deciding leg to take the match 4-3.
The Final was another classic clash between two of the best players in NSW. Clegg held throw in the opening leg before Marland secured three legs in a row, including a 14 dart effort in leg 2 and a 116 check out in leg three. In leg four Marland missed multiple check-out darts and Clegg pounced for the break which was consolidated by Clegg thanks to a 14 darter on throw on leg six. After nine darts Clegg had only 161 left but remarkably never got a shot at it as Marland took the seventh leg with his 12th dart thanks to visits of 125, 123, 140 and a 113 check out. Clegg was not going to go away easily though and held his throw to move the Final into a deciding leg. Clegg opened with visits of 100 and 140 whilst Marland started with a 125 before throwing just 43. Another 125 left Marland requiring 208. Clegg only scored 60 on his next two visits with Marland throwing a 140 in between. It left Marland requiring 68 and it took just his 13th and 14th darts of the leg for him to secure yet another win in the 2021 season.
On Sunday in the round of 16 Clayton Collins upset Mitchell Clegg in a last-leg decider whilst Scott Johnson, Marshall Allen, Daniel Pearson, David Cairns, Chris Donaghy, Nathan Reed and Mark Taafe all fell by the wayside in the same round.
In the quarter-finals Collins took care of Mark Wortley 4-1 whilst Justin Frey went one better with a 4-0 victory over Dave Hanel. Dave Marland survived a scare with a 4-3 win over Alex Clarke. As in the semifinals, the day before Marland had found himself 3-0 and two breaks down before coming back to level pegging without giving his opponent a chance at a check out. The deciding leg would present Clarke with a chance to win after Marland busted a chance at 16 but Clarke missed the chance by busting himself when requiring just eight and Marland made him pay the full price by checking out on his next visit. 14-year-old Tyrell Coppini continued his remarkable development by making this stage once more, having already beaten Dave Marland in the round-robin section earlier in the day.
As happened 24 hours earlier, he could not progress to the next stage though. He made his more experienced opponent in Peter Wilmott work hard though, and the 4-2 loss needed a remarkable 11 dart (two 180 visits and a 100 check out in two darts) Wilmott's final leg (leaving Coppini needing 130) to have the match concluded.
The semifinals were comprehensive affairs with Frey taking a quick 3-0 lead before holding throw in the fifth leg to win 4-1 over Wilmott. The same scoreline saw Marland progress past Collins, both players holding throw in the first three legs before Marland broke the Collins throw and then held his own for the 4-1 win.
Thus Marland and Frey faced off in the event 10 Final. Both players started nervously but it was Frey who held his nerves the best and he broke the Marland throw at the first attempt. They then both missed multiple opportunities at the second leg with Marland finally securing the break back. After two poor legs from both players Marland switched on in leg three and with 15 darts, including a 101 check out, he was able to take the lead for the first time in the match. Four visits of a ton or more had Frey in a good position in the next leg and despite not putting 21 away on the first attempt, he was able to hold throw and move the match back into parity. Marland was then able to hold throw, thanks in main to his first three visits of 140, 180 and 140. His next visit of 25 left him requiring 16 which he put away with his 14th dart.
The sixth game proved critical. Frey left 20 after requiring 53 for the checkout and Marland then threw double ten with his next dart to take another break of throw and move to within one leg of the match. Having the first visit Marland threw just 30 but he was not punished by his opponent. At the back end of the leg Frey missed the bull and then busted 25 on his next visit. Marland had been unable to secure 16 on his previous visit but with Frey giving him another chance Marland hit the four required with last dart in hand to take the Final 5-2.
Lead image: Winmau/DPA