KIM HUYBRECHTS claimed the final place in the Championship League Darts Winners Group with an amazing comeback from 4-0 down to win the Group Eight final against Peter Wright on Wednesday. The Belgian star will now compete alongside the likes of Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Andy Hamilton in Thursday's big-money Winners Group, where a £10,000 first prize is on offer alongside £100 per leg in the league phase and £200 per leg in the Play-Offs.
Huybrechts, though, came close to missing out on winning through in a keenly contested Group Eight at Crondon Park GC in Essex, which saw him competing in a sixth day of the event.
Huybrechts edged out Gary Anderson on leg difference to claim the fourth semi-final spot, with a 6-3 win over Mark Walsh in his final league match, coupled with Anderson's defeat to Steve Beaton, proving crucial in keeping his hopes alive.
Huybrechts then performed superbly to defeat table-topper Paul Nicholson 6-3 in the semi-finals, breaking the deadlock from three-all by taking the last three legs without reply, and produced a stunning comeback in the final.
Wright, competing in his fifth day of the event this year, took the final's first four legs without reply as he punished some shaky doubling from the Belgian to lead 4-0.
Huybrechts, though, fired his challenge with an 11-darter in leg five, before finishing 67 in the next, and he then hit a 177 to set up double 16 as he cut the gap to one leg.
A 14-darter then saw him level the game, and when Wright missed a dart at double 16 in leg nine, Huybrechts followed an earlier 180 by taking out 108 on tops to lead 5-4.
Huybrechts added a 177 score in the tenth leg, with Wright missing the bull for a 132 finish which would have sent the match into a decider as the Belgian returned to hit double four to end an amazing day.
The triumph continues a superb spell for the Belgian, who hit a nine-darter earlier in this event and won a Players Championship in Killarney last Sunday, and he is determined to claim the £10,000 first prize in Thursday's Winners Group.
Wright reached three finals in his five days competing in the event, losing to Michael van Gerwen and Ian White in Group Five and Group Six, and again fell just short of sealing a Winners Group spot.
The Scot won four of his seven league games on the day and raced to a 6-1 semi-final triumph against Andy Smith before running out of steam in the decider - although £12,650 prize money for the event softens the blow of his exit.
Nicholson, appearing in his fourth successive group, finished at the top of the league table following the round-robin stage but suffered a second semi-final defeat.
Andy Smith, in his first day of the year, had won his opening six league matches, but lost out to Nicholson in their final match, with the 6-1 reverse also costing him top spot, before he was defeated in the semi-finals by Wright.
Scottish star Anderson was narrowly denied a semi-final place on Leg Difference to Huybrechts as he competed in a fifth successive day of the tournament.
Steve Beaton eventually joined Anderson and Huybrechts on three wins, losing his opening four matches before finishing with a flourish, but again missed out on the Play-Offs on Leg Difference.
2009 Championship League Darts winner Colin Osborne won just two of his matches on the day as he missed out on the chance to win back the title, while Mark Walsh picked up just one victory from his seven games.
Thursday's Winners Group sees the eight group winners from the internet-streamed event return to Crondon Park GC in Essex, with prize money doubling to £100 per leg in the league phase and £200 per leg in the Play-Offs.
In addition, there is a £10,000 first prize, with the runner-up taking home £5,000 and the semi-finalists £2,500, while the finalists will also qualify for next month's William Hill Grand Slam of Darts - giving an additional incentive for Terry Jenkins, Ian White and Richie Burnett.
That trio are joined by Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton and Huybrechts for the Winners Group, with play commencing at 10.30am and broadcast live online through www.LIVEPDC.TV and the websites listed below.
2013 Championship League Darts
Group Eight Results
|Board One||Board Two|
|Kim Huybrechts 4-6 Peter Wright||Mark Walsh 5-6 Colin Osborne|
|Steve Beaton 0-6 Andy Smith||Gary Anderson 6-3 Paul Nicholson|
|Colin Osborne 1-6 Kim Huybrechts||Peter Wright 6-4 Mark Walsh|
|Paul Nicholson 6-4 Steve Beaton||Andy Smith 6-3 Gary Anderson|
|Colin Osborne 2-6 Gary Anderson||Kim Huybrechts 4-6 Andy Smith|
|Paul Nicholson 6-2 Mark Walsh||Peter Wright 6-4 Steve Beaton|
|Gary Anderson 4-6 Kim Huybrechts||Colin Osborne 1-6 Andy Smith|
|Peter Wright 3-6 Paul Nicholson||Mark Walsh 6-2 Steve Beaton|
|Mark Walsh 5-6 Gary Anderson||Steve Beaton 6-5 Kim Huybrechts|
|Andy Smith 6-5 Peter Wright||Paul Nicholson 6-4 Colin Osborne|
|Steve Beaton 6-4 Colin Osborne||Peter Wright 6-4 Gary Anderson|
|Andy Smith 6-2 Mark Walsh||Kim Huybrechts 2-6 Paul Nicholson|
|Mark Walsh 3-6 Kim Huybrechts||Colin Osborne 6-5 Peter Wright|
|Paul Nicholson 6-1 Andy Smith||Gary Anderson 3-6 Steve Beaton|
|Paul Nicholson 3-6 Kim Huybrechts||Andy Smith 1-6 Peter Wright|
|Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Peter Wright|