Andy Hamilton dramatically booked a McCoy’s Premier League Darts semi-final place, defeating Play-Off rival Kevin Painter 8-1 in their decisive contest.
The pair went into the final league game of their debut Premier League Darts seasons knowing that victory would push them into next week’s Play-Offs – and it was the World Championship finalist who triumphed with a fine display.
Hamilton hit four 180s and finished 42 percent of his chances at a double to pounce, completing a remarkable fightback from finding himself bottom of the table halfway through the season.
Painter never recovered from missing doubles in the opening two legs as Hamilton – who kicked off the match with a 180 – was allowed back to land double ten to win the first leg before he took out 78 in two darts for the second.
Hamilton posted another 180 and tops to take the third before repeating his 78 checkout to break in the fourth to lead 4-0.
A fine 111 finish from Painter got him off the mark in the fifth, but two misses at double eight in the next allowed Hamilton back to post double ten and regain his cushion at 5-1.
Painter hit a 180 in the seventh but could only watch as Hamilton posted double 16, and a missed bull for a 121 checkout in the next allowed the Stoke ace to follow an earlier maximum by posting tops.
Hamilton gave Painter a glimmer of a fightback in the next, missing tops for a 118 finish for the match, but the Daventry thrower was unable to land the bull again, and his rival landed double ten to seal his semi-final place.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have qualified and I feel privileged to be in the top four out of the eight best players in the world,” said Hamilton.
“Kevin wanted to win this as much as I did, and nobody probably thought that either of us could have reached the semi-finals at the start of the season, so it’s great that I have done it – and I feel like I’ve done it for both of us.
“Getting a good start was important again, and I stayed strong and my finishing was pretty good – it’s put me into the last four and that’s all I’m worried about.
“It’s been an amazing second half to the season, I’m grinding results out and taking my chances. Whatever happens now is a bonus for me but I’ll keep fighting next week against Simon.”