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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS | SPORTS REVIEW

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Champions League of Darts 2017, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.

Sunday evening saw the curtain fall on a full weekend of high-octane darts from Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. The 2017 Champions League of Darts tournament returned the the capital city for the second consecutive year, and produced somewhat of a surprise as the growing crowd-favourite Mensur Suljovic stunned the star-studded field to pocket the £100,000 winning prize.

The likeable Austrian didn’t lose a match all weekend, and held his nerve to dispose of two-time world champion, Gary Anderson 11-9 in the final.

Held over four sessions, across two days, eight of the top players in the world were split into two groups and faced each other in a round robin phase. The top-two players then progresses to the semi final stage. Amongst the players competing were current World Number 1 Michael Van Gerwen, 16-time World Champion Phil “The Power” Taylor, Five-time World Champion Raymond Van Barneveld and the colourful Peter Wright.

In what will probably be his final appearance in Cardiff before retirement, Phil Taylor successfully knocked out pre-tournament favourite Van Gerwen in the group stages, setting up a mouth watering semi-final against Scot, Gary Anderson; but what was to go down turned into a huge disappointment for fans of “The Power”. Taylor could not match the high scoring and checkouts of Anderson, ultimately losing 11-6 – a score which flattered Taylor to be honest.

On the whole it was quite a turn on the form of what darts fans are used to. The usual formidable skills of top players Van Gerwen, Taylor, Van Barneveld were only seen in patches. While former two-time world Champion Adrian Lewis failed to register a win in his three matches.

However, living up to his nickname of Gentle; the Vienna native Mensur Suljovic went about his business very gently indeed. An impressive unblemished 100% record in his five matches.

The humble Austrian could not believe his fortune when he clinched the title, and fell to his knees with joy at the conclusion of the final. During his post match interview on-stage he said,

“It’s a perfect feeling. I never thought I could win this tournament. Gary is a brilliant player, I have so much respect for this guy. I never gave up.”

A deserved winner, and will hopefully propel one of darts’ characters further into the spotlight. A great ending to an entertaining, fun-filled weekend.

words OWEN SCOURFIELD

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