JOHN PART 7-2 KIRK SHEPHERD
(3-2, 3-2, 3-0, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 2-3, 3-1, 3-2)

JOHN PART claimed victory in the 2008 Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship with a ruthless 7-2 demolition of Kirk Shepherd at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Qualifier Shepherd defied all odds to battle through to the final in a stunning World Championship debut, with the 21-year-old from Ramsgate seeing off five big-name opponents, including Terry Jenkins, Peter Manley and Wayne Mardle, on his way to the final.

But his dreams of a fairytale ending to an amazing journey were shattered by Canadian Part, who picked up his third World Championship title.

Part took the game’s first four sets to stamp his authority on the contest, and held off a Shepherd fightback to take the £100,000 winner’s cheque.

“It’s fantastic, it feels absolutely brilliant,” said Part. “It’s a bit surreal but here I am as World Champion!”

Part broke throw at the beginning of the match, but Shepherd hit back to take the next two legs and lead 2-1.

Part took the fourth leg with a 14-dart finish, and then hit a clinical two-dart 80 checkout to take the opening set.

Shepherd broke Part’s throw at the start of the second set but Part hit a 12-dart finish to break-back, and then took the third leg for a 2-1 lead.

He then had a dart at double in the next leg to win the set. But he failed to convert, and Shepherd hit double sixteen to pinch it.

But Part kicked off the deciding leg with a 140, followed by a maximum, and went on to take the leg in 15 darts to double his advantage.

The Canadian was now dominant and took six legs in a row to open up a 4-0 lead.

Shepherd started the fifth set well, hitting a 101 finish to win his first leg in eight.

Part hit a 14-dart finish to take the second leg, and then took a 2-1 lead by breaking throw in the third leg, after both players had missed earlier opportunities to win it.

Part had a dart to take a 5-0 lead in the fourth leg, but he missed the bullseye and Shepherd landed double four.

The Canadian missed another dart to win the set and Shepherd hit the winning double, at the sixth time of asking, to take his first set of the final.

Part opened up a 2-0 lead in the sixth set, breaking throw in the second leg with a 12-dart finish.

But he missed six darts for the set over the course of the next two legs, and Shepherd levelled-up with an 84 finish.

However, Part made no mistake in the deciding leg and held throw by landing double eight to restore his four-set cushion.

The opening two legs of the seventh set where shared. Part then took a 2-1 lead with a superb 11-dart finish, but Shepherd came back to take the fourth leg in 12.

Part missed a dart at double 16 for a 106 finish, which would have given him the set, and the 21-year-old hit a fantastic 160 checkout to reduce the deficit to 5-2.

That disappointment did not seem to affect Part as he hit a 139 checkout to win the first leg of the eighth set. Shepherd hit back to level with an 88 finish, despite Part hitting his ninth maximum of the match.

Part landed a 52 finish, to take the third leg, and then hit an 80 checkout, completing it on double ten, with his last dart, to go within touching distance of victory.

Part took the first leg of the ninth set, breaking throw with a 112 checkout. But Shepherd hit back to take the second after Part missed opportunities to double his advantage.

Part hit a 15-dart finish in third leg, to break Shepherd’s throw for the second time in the set.

In the fourth leg, Part had left himself 80 after 12 darts, and had one dart at double top to take the title, but he could not convert, and Shepherd landed double sixteen to keep the match alive.

Part missed further opportunities to win in the deciding leg, but Shepherd could not cash in, missing four attempts at doubles, and Part landed double ten to take the title.

“Kirk was exceptional all week at doing what I normally do – punishing guys who miss doubles, but tonight I out-did him on that side of things,” said Part.

“That 160 he took out for his second set was fantastic.”

Shepherd, who came through the PDPA Qualifiers to win a place at Alexandra Palace, has jumped up to 21st in the PDC Order of Merit with his run, after starting the event at 140th in the world.

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow and even worse when you don’t play half the game you can play,” said Shepherd. “But I started very slowly and if you play like that you get punished by a player of John’s quality.

“He took full advantage in the first four sets and it was very hard to get back into the match after that.

“I’ll dust myself down and try again another time – I’m very happy with finishing second in the hardest competition in the world.

“I’m very proud of what I’ve done. I’m going to give it a shot as a full-time pro and hopefully I can do big things in this game.”

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