AUSTRALIA kicked off a ‘life changing’ PDC World Cup of Darts as Simon Whitlock finally claimed victory in this darts team competition.
Whitlock and Oche partner Damon Heta were jigging on stage at Down Under by Men at Work when they shocked Welsh couple Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton in the final in Frankfurt.
Heta, 34, made up for a lack of match darts by defeating Clayton 3-1 in the fourth leg – the first non-European nation to triumph since their inception in 2010.
It was a career highlight for both Australians and a particularly emotional triumph as it comes 10 months after the death of popular compatriot Kyle Anderson at the age of 33.
On a personal level, Whitlock ecstatically erased memories of losing to England’s Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis in 2012 by a sudden-death leg as he and Paul Nicholson regretted missed match darts in Hamburg.
Whitlock, 53, said: “I thought that day would come. It’s life changing, I’ve dreamed of this moment my whole life and I finally got there.
“I did it with a great buddy and great darts player. I wish I’d done it with Kyle sooner, but he’s gone.
“Damon took responsibility. He is great. I love this guy, he’s the best player in the world right now.
“Damon is on fire, he’ll be the next world champion, I can guarantee that.”
Australia, who will be handing out a first prize pot of £70,000, started the four-day, 32-country event fifth seeded, beating Belgium 2-1 in the quarter-finals and then England 2-0 in the semi-finals.
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Originally from Perth but based in Derbyshire, Heta, 34, was playing in his third tournament after being eliminated from the quarter-finals in 2020 and 2021.
The Heat said: “Simon dragged me through the beginning, let’s put it that way.
“I’m absolutely blown away by this guy, blown away by Australia and all the support at home.
“Everything we sacrifice by being here is in the bag, baby. Maybe that’s a good stepping stone for me. I just wish my wife was here.”
Price, 37, and Clayton, 47, won that tournament in 2020 but will now seek individual glory at next month’s World Matchplay in Blackpool.
The Iceman, a former world No. 1, said: “We weren’t at our best in the final. Simon and Damon played fantastic.
“I said to Jonny at the beginning of the tournament, this is the final, we will play them in the final. I predicted we would win, but I was wrong.
“Fair play for them, a fantastic couple, a good team. We didn’t shoot but we will come back and be stronger.
“It’s a good platform for me to push the rest of the season forward. Hopefully I’ll play a little bit better and beat that man Jonny in all the other tournaments.”
Clayton, who is quitting his job as a plasterer for Carmarthenshire County Council to play darts full-time, said: “I have not performed. I tried to get a job but it didn’t happen, I couldn’t get that man in the last game.
“All the best to these two guys, they played fantastic, well done.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5596299/darts-world-cup-final-australia-wales-simon-whitlock/ Australia wins the PDC World Cup of Darts against Wales while Simon Whitlock finally gets his redemption for the 2012 loss