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Winmau are the Exclusive Darts Partner of the World Disability Darts Association
Vincent D'Hondt, reinforced his positon as one of the world's best disability darts player, by retaining his World Disability Darts Association (WDDA) Winmau World Masters title thanks to a stunning doubling display.
His 75% success rate on the outer ring proved too much for runner up and Lakeside debutant Richard Green to handle.
Despite both players struggling with nerves in the opening leg and a half, it was d'Hondt who managed to find the more consistent darts of the two to open an early need.
Hitting a ton to leave 122 after 18 darts, the Winmau sponsored Belgian, who uses 22 gram Winmau Crisis darts, had the luxury on not having to go for an out shot as his opponent was not on a finish.
A score of just 40 left him needing 82 which he was unlucky not to take out, missing a dart at double 12.
However, with Green closing in on a two-dart checkout, D'Hondt pinned double six first dart next throw.
With the throw in the next leg, Green needed to hit straight back in the first to three legs final.
The added importance of having to get off to a good start proved too much as he opened with scores of 26 and 25. D'Hondt forced the open door wider with scores of 60 and 83, and left a three dart 130 finish after 15 darts.
Although Green put some pressure on with a ton, the Belgian hit 90, including a bull to leave a handy tops finish, which took out next visit with one dart for a two legs to zero lead.
With potentially just one leg left in the final, the nerves once again kicked in with both players hitting low scores with their first three darts of the third leg.
D'Hondt was the first to rediscover his range though, swapping to the 19s to hit scores of 95 and 94. Green soon found some form as well, hitting his third ton of the match to put himself back in the leg.
The day belonged to d'Hondt though as he stepped up for a 60 finish.
Making sure to avoid the treble 20 bed, the Belgian hit tops with his third dart but held his nerve to finish double ten with his third to wrap up the win three legs to nil.
"Retaining my title feels amazing," says D'Hondt.
"It means so much to me because I am aware of the standard of darts in the WDDA today.
Richard and I were both nervous and it took us both time to warm up – we were like a pair of diesel engines on the stage.
It was Richard's first time on the big stage and I think that having a little more experience helped me settle just a little quicker."
Having only taken up the sport in 2014 after taking time out of the sport, d'Hondt retained his title at the Sevenum Darts Festival earlier this year.
"That was the first title I managed to retain and I hoped at the time it was a good omen for the World Masters," he says.
"I did not play my best, but I was really pleased with my doubles," D'Hondt adds. "I have been practising doubles on a Winmau Champions Choice board.
After the tiny beds on that, the doubles and trebles on the Winmau Blade 5 looked enormous."
The Belgian star is looking forward a rest over the Christmas break, but will be looking to retain his Belgian Open title in the new year and compete in more competitions in Bruges and possibly Germany.
"Retaining my WDDA Winmau World Masters title is a great way to end the year. I'm looking forward to continuing my best form in the new year,".**Image courtesy: DGmedia/David Gill