The culmination of the Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock trophy was played out on Sunday at the Geelong Greyhound Club with the last two events as part of the 2023 Winmau Pro Darts Series.
The quarter finals saw Darren Penhall continue his run with a 5-2 win over local Tic Bridge. GG Mathers eliminated Brandon Weening 5-1, Mal Cuming crushed Barry Ledington 5-0 and Joe Comito got past Dean Gibbs 5-3. Thus four of the most successful players this season made the semi finals. Mal Cuming and GG Mathers put on a much tighter match than the night before, with the match going to a final leg decider where Cuming secured the match and another final. The other semi final would see Comito upset Penhall 5-3 to move into his first final of the weekend, although he had been consistently in the closing stages of all three previous events.
The final would see both players hold throw after three legs but three triple digit visits in leg four was enough to help Cuming take the first break of the match. He then held throw after busting and giving his opponent a shot at a double (one which Comito did not take) and then returning to the oche to move one leg away from the win. Comito just missed checking out 108 in the next leg on throw, leaving 16, and a double 16 form Cuming gave him the win and make it game on between him and Penhall in the chase for the trophy in the final event of the weekend.
The final event came down to the head to head match up of the two most successful players of the weekend, Darren Penhall and Mal Cuming. Their semi final victories (Penhall 5-1 over Harley Kemp and Cuming 5-2 over GG Mathers (third successive semi final result between the two)) were set up with wins in the quarter finals over WA stars Bailey Marsh and Brenton Lloyd (both 5-1). Kemp had made the semi finals with a win over another WA star in Joe Comito (5-3) and Mathers had progressed thanks to his 5-1 quarter final win over Barry Ledington.
Thus the final was not just for this event but would determine the winner of the Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock trophy. Both players held throw early before Cuming broke the throw of Penhall in the third leg. However he was unable to consolidate that success by holding his own throw and thus the match was tied at two all after four legs. Penhall then threw Shanghai to hold throw and take a 3-2 lead. He then broke the Cuming throw in 14 darts to move a leg away from the title. Despite a 140 start from Cuming Penhall was able to hold his nerve and aided by a maximum on his penultimate visit he collected the remaining 51 needed with his next two darts to take the final 5-2, thus becoming the inaugural Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock trophy winner.