THE last eight players from an entry of nearly 100, contested the final stages of the 2019 Champion of Champions tournament at the Victory Inn, Plymouth and it was Antony Hayman who prevailed, repeating his Champion’s success of 2011.
He was drawn to play the reigning champion Neil White (24.16) in the quarter-final, who was bidding to become only the fourth player in the 35-year history of the tournament to successfully defend the title.
Twice Hayman (27.16) went in front with legs in 20 and 16 but twice he was pegged back when White levelled in 21 and 18 but it was Hayman who clinched the deciding leg in 18 for a 3-2 victory.
Reg Matthews (22.73) surprised a lot of people by defeating the 2013 champion Dan Johnson (23.74), but Matthews made the most of his checkout opportunities to move into the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory.
Mike Nancholas (20.83) defeated Liam Campbell (20.40) 3-1 while a clinical display from Andrew Nation (26.84) saw him defeat Scott Wapshott (20.09) in 16, 20 and 20.
Hayman (25.69) was once again on top of his game in his semi-final against Matthews (22.49) and hit three maximums in a 4-0 win, after taking the opening leg in 15.
There was also a win in four straight legs for Nation (24.44) against Nancholas (20.54) and the result was never in doubt after Nation took the opening leg with a checkout of 113.
Jodie Hawton (21.92) was bidding to retain her title when she faced her Devon County team-mate Chrissie Kinnaird (21.27) in the ladies’ final.
Although Hawton was out scored, she displayed some clinical finishing while racing into a 3-0 lead.
Kinnaird pulled one back when winning the fourth leg but Hawton wrapped it up in the next to win 4-1.
Antony Hayman (26.51) began the men’s final in style and raced into a 3-0 lead with legs won in 18, 14 and 18.
A lot of players would have given up against such an illustrious opponent but all credit to Andrew Nation (24.82) who won the fourth and fifth legs before pulling out a finish of 146 to tie the final at 3-3.
Hayman took the next in 16 and Nation had chances in two visits to level at 4-4 but it was not to be and Hayman, aided by his fourth maximum of the evening, checked out for a 5-3 victory and the 2019 Champion of Champions title.
QUARTER-FINALS: Antony Hayman (140×5, 100×5) bt Neil White (180, 140, 100×8) 3-2.
Reg Matthews (100×6) bt Dan Johnson (180, 140×3, 100×2) 3-1.
Mike Nancholas (100×6) bt Liam Campbell (140×3, 100×2) 3-1.
Andrew Nation (180, 140×2, 100×2) bt Scott Wapshott (100×3) 3-0.
SEMI-FINALS: Hayman (180×3, 140, 100×4) bt Matthews (140×3, 100×3) 4-0.
Nation (140×2,100×9) bt Nancholas (140, 100×4) 4-0.
LADIES’ FINAL: Jodie Hawton (100×3) bt Chrissie Kinnaird (140, 100×7) 4-1.
MEN’S FINAL: Antony Hayman (180, 165, 140×5, 100×10) bt Andrew Nation (146, 140×6, 100×8) 5-3.