The Wizard Wins the 2012 European Championship

Simon WhitlockSimon Whitlock won his maiden major title with a thrilling 11-5 victory over Wes Newton in Mulheim, Germany, to put a new name on the trophy and end Phil Taylor’s four year dominance of the tournament.


Whitlock 11 v 5 Newton

Brendan Dolan 9 v11 Wes Newton
Kim Huybrechts 9  v 11 Simon Whitlock

With 3 matches played throughout the course of the final day of play, the relatively short race to 11 final was all about consistency and stamina.

In an explosive opening exchange that saw each leg won on throw, Whitlock took the initiative and first session 3-2. A lead which he went on to extend to 5-2.

A 180 to set up tops in the 8th leg saw The Warrior return to kill off 40 in one dart, only for the Wizard to take the next and resume his 3 leg advantage. Newton playing to the crowd then powered in an 11 dart leg to go into the second interval 4-6 behind.

Heavy scoring including a 167 checkout for the Australian extended his lead to 9-4 before Newton struck again in the 14th leg. A 104 finish from Whitlock though put one hand on the trophy at 10-5.

Staring down the barrel of defeat Newton kicked off with a 180, but some loose and non scoring darts offered Whitlock the opportunity to land double 8 and secure the title.

Wes NewtonIn a  big night of darts for The Wizard he picked up the £50k cheque, title of 2012 European Champion and a climb up the rankings. He now leapfrogs Andy Hamilton and steals Newton’s 5th place in the Order of Merit.

The semi-finals of the European Open proved to be a truly international affair, with England, Ireland, Belgium and Australia being represented by the 4 players.

England’s Wes Newton opened his semi-final against friend and room mate Brendan Dolan with a brace of 180’s to take the first leg and hold throw. Two holds and a break form Dolan though, saw the Irishman with the early advantage at 3-1. The Warrior took the next leg to enter the break 2-3 behind.

When the pair returned to the stage the first two legs were shared, before Newton broke back to level at 4 each. Going into the second break all square at 5-5, Newton’s misses created the chances for Dolan to again forge a two leg lead upon their return.

At 7-6 a timely 180 from Newton gave him the opportunity to break and level the match, but 8 missed darts at the double allowed Dolan to finish 20 and hold throw to move within 3 legs of the finish line.

Cue the Warrior fightback as he reeled off the next 5 legs for a memorable 11-9 victory and a place in the 2012 European Championship final, the second major TV final of his career.

Misery then for Dolan who proved that eliminating Taylor does not guarantee further tournament progress, as has been the case for many a tungsten technician before him.

In the second semi Simon Whitlock raced into a 3-0 lead against Kim Huybrechts, but the Belgian hit back with 3 legs before and the first after the break to move 4-3 ahead. The Wizard leveled but a 122 finish on the bull nudged Huybrechts back in front.

Tit for tat tungsten followed as 5-5 evolved into 7-7 before both players felt the pressure in the 15th leg with over 10 darts missed at a double between them. Huybrechts eventually held his nerve taking out double 9 to edge closer to a meeting with Wes Newton.

The Wizard kicked off the next two legs with a 180, to hold and break, as the momentum swung the Australians way he needed just 2 more legs to book his final place. A bull, bull, double 16 combination gave Huybrechts the 19th leg, but Whitlock checked out 95 on the bull cool as you like for the right to play Newton.

Photos – Tip Top Pics