England retain World Cup of Darts title

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Lawrence Lustig / PDC

England’s Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis retained the Betfair World Cup of Darts title with a 3-1 defeat of Belgian brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts in Hamburg last night.

The duo repeated their success in the 24-nation event of 12 months ago by flirting with disaster, as South Africa and Wales missed darts to knock them out and Japan pushed them all the way, before claiming glory in the final.

The Huybrechts brothers had won through to the final in an emotional tribute to their father Ludo, who passed away suddenly in December, but were unable to take the £40,000 title as Taylor and Lewis found top form.

With Kim Huybrechts having missed double 12 for a nine-darter in their semi-final win over Finland, Lewis matched that by wiring the same double in his Singles victory over Ronny Huybrechts, as he averaged 105.75 in his best performance of the weekend.

Taylor, meanwhile, defeated both brothers by dropping only one leg to mean that Kim’s superb 4-0 whitewash of Lewis in their Singles tie came in vain as the English duo retained their crown.

“It’s been a tough weekend and we scraped through a couple of games but the difference was that the people who had chances against us didn’t take them and we did.

“The Belgians were great this weekend and Kim, in particular, was superb. To come through such a strong field is a great achievement, and when the seeds fell like flies on Saturday we were worried that we’d be one of them!

“We’ve worked really hard and it’s special for us to retain the title. We love representing England and hopefully we can make it three in a row next year.”

Lewis added: “It was great to play so well in the final.

“I felt like I’d maybe let Phil down a little bit in some of the games earlier in the tournament and it got worse for me the harder I tried.

“But in the final I was close to the nine-darter and hit a 105 average against Kim so it was nice, but winning the title was the main aim and we’ve managed to do that.”

The Belgians had shared tears on stage after winning through to the final, and revealed their pride in reaching the decider after claiming £10,000 apiece as runners-up.

“It’s amazing for us to have reached the final,” said Kim Huybrechts, who lost out to Taylor in the final of the Players Championship Finals in December. ”

“When the teams were announced we said to each other that we wanted to reach the final, but obviously we knew it would hard because there are so many good players.

“Phil’s got another win against me so hopefully the third time will be my turn! Phil’s the best player in the world and to beat him you have to do something special.

“I’ve only had one full year on the PDC circuit and it’s Ronny’s first TV tournament, so I believe we can do something magical.”

Ronny admitted: “To be in the final with my brother, against the number one and two in the world, is a dream.

“It’s very new for me and I hope for many more moments like this, and I’m very happy to have done so well this weekend.”

Wales, the 2010 runners-up, were left to ponder a second successive semi-final defeat after Richie Burnett missed one dart at double ten for a 140 finish to put himself and partner Mark Webster into the final.

“We always do ourselves justice in this tournament and we’re pleased to have reached another semi-final, and but for the width of a wire we could have been in the final,” admitted Webster.

“We can build on this and hopefully do better next year because we’re a good team. Adrian and Phil have won 18 World Championships between them and they put us under pressure at the right time, but I’m really proud of the pair of us.”

Surprise package Finland, represented by newcomer Jani Haavisto and Jarkko Komula, last year’s Scandinavian Order of Merit winner, followed up their stunning second round win over Holland and their defeat of host nation Germany by pushing Belgium all the way in the semis.

Haavisto had lost to Kim Huybrechts in their Singles game, but Komula defeated Ronny 4-3 to take their semi-final tie into a Doubles decider before the Belgian brothers proved too strong.

The tournament also saw Japan win through to the quarter-finals for the first time as Haruki Muramatsu and Sho Katsumi gave England a scare – with Katsumi defeating Lewis in their Singles tie before they also led in the Doubles decider – while South Africa won through to the Last 16 represented by new Tour Card holder Charl Pietersen and Shawn Hogan.

Croatia’s Robert Marijanovic and Tonci Restovic also won through to the quarter-finals alongside Spain, whose pairing of Antonio Alcinas and Carlos Rodriguez pushed Wales all the way in their bid to emulate the achievement of 2010, when they reached the semis.

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