SIMON WHITLOCK won through to the Championship League Darts Winners Group at the sixth time of asking when he defeated Vincent van der Voort in a deciding leg in the Group Six final on Thursday.
Whitlock, who had hit a nine-darter in Wednesday^s Group Five, extended his ever-present record in the play-offs by winning six of his seven league games in Group Six of the internet-streamed event.
He then defeated Andy Smith 6-4 in the semi-finals to reach a fourth final of the tournament, and finally took victory against van der Voort.
The Dutchman gave as good as he goes during a tense final, coming from 2-1 down to lead 4-3 with a 100 finish and a brace of double eight checkouts.
Whitlock took the next two to edge ahead before van der Voort won leg ten on double 12 to force a tense decider.
The Australian opened with a 177 and added two 140s to take the initiative, before finishing double 16 for a 12-darter to secure his place in next Thursday^s big-money Winners Group alongside Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson, Paul Nicholson, Mervyn King & Mark Walsh.
"It^s brilliant to finally qualify!" said Whitlock. "It^s been a good journey in these six groups and very hard at times but it shows that my persistence paid off.
"I^ve been consistent enough in the league games but not had the success in the play-offs, but I was desperate to win and pulled out a great final leg against Vincent.
"I can relax on Tuesday and Wednesday now knowing I don^t have to play and can prepare for the Winners Group, and hopefully I^ll be successful there."
Van der Voort had finished sixth twice so far this week, but edged into the play-offs before defeating league leader Steve Beaton 6-5 in their semi-final by taking out 118 in the deciding leg.
Alan Tabern and Kevin Painter missed out on a semi-final place on leg difference to van der Voort, while Denis Ovens and Colin Osborne were eliminated.
2009 champion Osborne lost all seven league games, although he could feel somewhat unfortunate after suffering 6-5 defeats in his opening three games.
Van der Voort, Beaton, Smith, Tabern and Painter will now return to Crondon Park GC in Essex next Tuesday to compete in Group Seven of Championship League Darts, alongside Co Stompe, Robert Thornton & Mark Dudbridge.
Championship League Darts is screened solely on the internet through LIVEPDC.TV and a series of 30 bookmakers^ websites worldwide, and offers a potential total prize fund of over £200,000, plus places in the Grand Slam of Darts for the eventual finalists.
Played over nine days from September 27-29, October 11-13 and October 18-20, the event offers £50 per leg won prize money in the league phase and £100 per leg won in each group^s Play-Offs, with prize money doubled in the Winners Group.
CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE DARTS GROUP SIX RESULTS
Board One Board Two
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Vincent van der Voort Alan Tabern 2-6 Steve Beaton
Kevin Painter 0-6 Denis Ovens Andy Smith 6-5 Colin Osborne
Steve Beaton 3-6 Simon Whitlock Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Alan Tabern
Colin Osborne 5-6 Kevin Painter Denis Ovens 1-6 Andy Smith
Steve Beaton 6-5 Andy Smith Simon Whitlock 6-2 Denis Ovens
Colin Osborne 5-6 Alan Tabern Vincent van der Voort 3-6 Kevin Painter
Andy Smith 6-3 Simon Whitlock Steve Beaton 6-1 Denis Ovens
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Colin Osborne Alan Tabern 6-2 Kevin Painter
Alan Tabern 3-6 Andy Smith Kevin Painter 3-6 Simon Whitlock
Denis Ovens 2-6 Vincent van der Voort Colin Osborne 1-6! Steve Beaton
Kevin Painter 4-6 Steve Beaton Vincent van der Voort 5-6 Andy Smith
Denis Ovens 4-6 Alan Tabern Simon Whitlock 6-4 Colin Osborne
Alan Tabern 5-6 Simon Whitlock Steve Beaton 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Colin Osborne 4-6 Denis Ovens Andy Smith 4-6 Kevin Painter
Steve Beaton 5-6 Vincent van der Voort Simon Whitlock 6-4 Andy Smith
Vincent van der Voort 5-6 Simon Whitlock
GROUP SIX FINAL LEAGUE TABLE & PRIZE MONEY
Pl W L Won Lost Leg +/- £Won Pts £Total
Steve Beaton 7 6 1 39 23 +16 £1950 12 £2450
Simon Whitlock 7 6 1 39 28 +11 £1950 12 £3150
Andy Smith 7 5 2 39 29 +10 £1950 10 £2350
Vincent v d Voort 7 3 4 35 34 +1 £1750 6 £2850
Alan Tabern 7 3 4 33 35 -2 £1650 6
Kevin Painter 7 3 4 27 36 -9 £1350 6
Denis Ovens 7 2 5 22 34 -12 £1100 4
Colin Osborne 7 0 7 27 42 -15 £1350 0