Count on me, says Ted as he drives Wolfie out of title race

Hankey 31.96 | Adams 31.51

As a full moon rose over the frozen Lakeside complex, prince of dartness Ted “The Count” Hankey buried “Wolfie” Martin Adams 6-4 in a pulsating 106-minute encounter.

The 2000 winner produced his best match of the week, blasting out 14 180s and equalling the tournament’s top checkout of 161 – ironically hit by Adams at the beginning of the semi final showdown.

Both players notched 31 plus dart averages and there were 12 and 13 dart checkouts plus 200 plus scores of a ton and over.

The opening sets went with the throwing advantage, Hankey swooping to take the third against the throw 3-1, despite a maximum from Wolfie.

Twice The Count led in the fourth but battling Adams levelled and then took the crucial fifth leg.

It was Hankey who seized the initiative to open up a 3-2 interval lead, charging back from losing the opening leg to take the set 3-1 on double seven after missing double 14.

Despite two maximums from The Count, Wolfie leapt in to take the sixth set with a 180 and double 12 with his second throw. Hankey blazed into the seventh set, equalling the tournament’s highest checkout set by Adams in the second leg of the game – 161 – against the throwing advantage.

Adams returned the compliment in the next leg and then held his throw, Hankey levelling and then firing in a superb pressure 116 checkout finished on double tops against the set advantage for a slender 4-3 match lead.

Hankey opened up a 2-0 lead in the next but had an agonising three scrape the wire of the double 18 for a shock two-set lead. Throwing first in the fourth leg, Adams who had started missing doubles, recovered from a missed double 16 to hit double eight but then missed double tops for a set-winning 76 checkout, Hankey edged 5-3 in front after hitting double two.

The opening legs of the third went with the throw, Adams missing double 10 for a blockbusting 140 finish, Hankey then hitting two treble 16s and hitting the wrong side of wire for double tops. Adams grabbed the leg on double five to defend his throw and then took the next against the throw to reduce the match lead to 5-4.

Throwing first in the next Hankey started hammering nails in Wolfie’s coffin as he moved ominously 2-1 ahead after hitting double tops.

He powered in a 180 – his 14th of the match and 27th of the week – to leave himself 81, hitting treble 19, double 12 when he returned to the oche to swoop into his third final in 10 years, after Adams had left himself 24.

Victorious Hankey was delighted with his performance: “That’s the best I have played all week, I can’t believe I have reached the final.

“Martin was awesome, he kept hitting 140s and 180s. I missed a few doubles but I did not want the it to go to 5-5.

“I’m looking forward to the final but have never beaten Tony O’ Shea on stage in the 20 years I have been playing him. Even in last month’s World Masters I lost to him in the last 16.

“Tony has had good form for six months but I know it is down to me to put the work in and decide how I am going to play him.

“I am really proud to be in the final of the world championship here at Lakeside,” declared Hankey.

Defeated semi finalist Adams was philosophical about his defeat: “It’s the way it goes – that’s darts!”

O’Shea wins “battle of Cheshire” to march into his first final

O’Shea 31.11 | Fitton 30.81

Ninth seed Tony O’Shea won the battle of Cheshire, toppling his childhood friend and county team mate Darryl Fitton 6-4 to reach his first world final.

It was an absorbing 99-minute clash which proved “one step beyond” for Madness fan Daryl Fitton, the fifth seed.

The clash of the two Stockport sharpshooters had attracted huge interest with Hollyoaks actor Will Mellor from Stockport joining the capacity crowd to cheer on the Cheshire darts aces.

Tony O’Shea stole the march in the opening set, leading 2-0 after taking the opening leg against the throw but then Silverback missed double 16 and double eight to take the lead, Fitton striking double tops.

O’Shea defended his throw in the next for a 3-1 success, finished on double 16.

Fitton opened up with back-to-back 180s in the next and then took the next against the throw, hitting his fifth 180 to finishing the set on 66 for a 15-dart leg.

O’Shea edged 2-0 ahead in the fourth but then missed double tops for the set, recovering to take the deciding fifth leg on double 16.

Forty seven-year-old grandfather O’Shea took the crucial third leg in the fifth set against the throw with a 80 checkout finished on double 10 and then held on to take the match on double 16 – the first break of the match for an interval 3-2 lead.

Despite Fitton, 46, taking the opening leg of the sixth against the throw, Silverback won three straight legs to open up a 4-2 match lead, pressing home the advantage in the next 3-0 – against the throw – to move closer to a dream final place.

But determined Darryl took the next 3-1 – despite a brace of 180s from O’Shea – to narrow the match lead.

The opening four legs were shared in the ninth set, Fitton squeezing home his favourite double tops to further narrow O’Shea’s lead.

Fitton then missed three doubles for the 10th set after opening up a 2-1 lead, his opponent striking double eight with his first strike. Fitton hit his second maximum of the set but it proved one step beyond as Fitton wired three match-saving doubles, his Cheshire team mate firing out 76 on a bull finish.

Both players were in tears after the game and emotionally hugged each other.

O’Shea said: “It was a terrific match for both of us. There have been so many good players from Cheshire – particularly Stockport – but this is the first time that anyone has reached the final.

“Darryl was absolutely awesome and I am absolutely gutted for him,” said O’Shea.

Fitton added: “The crowd was fantastic and Tony’s bull was right in the middle.”

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