BRILLIANT BEATON CLAIMS GERMAN DARTS MASTERS TITLE
STEVE BEATON won his first ranking title for almost four years with a thrilling 6-5 defeat of Mervyn King in the final of the German Darts Masters on Sunday night.
The 49-year-old completed a brilliant weekend of darts in the European Tour event at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen by taking the 20,000 pound first prize in dramatic fashion.
Beaton had dropped only four legs in his run to the semi-finals, whitewashing Mick Todd in the first round, defeating Paul Amos and Jamie Caven 6-2 and then seeing off Brendan Dolan 6-2 in the quarter-finals.
The former World Champion then averaged 100 in a superb performance to defeat world number four Simon Whitlock 6-3 in the semi-finals as he set up a decider against King.
King actually broke throw with a 13-darter in the final's opening leg, before Beaton levelled by punishing five misseed doubles from his opponent and then taking out 70 to lead 2-1.
King finished 116 to take the fourth, with Beaton edging back ahead with an 11-darter before being punished for a miss at tops in the sixth as the Norfolk ace levelled at three-all.
Beaton moved back ahead at 4-3 and then broke in a dramatic eighth leg, as King burst his score on 134 before seeing his opponent take out a huge 160 finish.
King responded superbly by hitting 180s in the next two legs as he sent the game into a decider, but Beaton scored 140, 95 and 100 in being first to a finish before finishing 76 on tops for the title.
"It's very special," said Beaton, who had reached at least the quarter-finals in the last three European Tour events. "I've been knocking on the door all year but it's great to finally win one. The format of these events suits me and I had to pace myself throughout today, but the crowd spurred me on by creating a great atmosphere.
knew I was playing well this weekend and I just wanted to keep it going. Sometimes I fall at the last hurdle but this time I didn't - although I thought I was going to blow it at the end! I'd seen Mervyn laughing when he burst the 134 but I thought to myself that I could really rub it in by finishing the 160, which I did to go 5-3 up. I've had so many great battles with Merv down the years and I knew he would come back at me so it was important I didn't give him a chance in that final leg."
Beaton has recently moved from Warwickshire to the Norfolk coast, and admitted: "It's absolutely brilliant to have got over the winning line, and things couldn't get much better for me at the moment. I love the challenge and it's great to be the champion this weekend."
King picked up 10,000 pound as the runner-up as he tasted defeat for a second time this year in a European Tour final.
He had also been in superb form throughout the weekend, kicking off Sunday's final stages with a narrow win over Peter Wright before whitewashing James Wade in the quarter-finals and seeing off Wayne Jones 6-4 in the semis.
"I got off to a good start in the final but I let Steve back in and I paid the price," said King. "Steve's in great form at the moment and he did well to win this. I've played some great darts this weekend and I'm very proud to have reached the final."
Jones' run to the last four continued a welcome return to form for the Wolverhampton ace, whose wins over Gary Anderson - where he hit four ton-plus finishes - and Mareno Michels, with a 6-0 whitewash, helped him to snatch qualification for the partypoker.com World Grand Prix.
Whitlock also continued his superb recent form by reaching the semi-finals, defeating Stuart Kellett and Kevin Painter on Sunday before losing out to Beaton.
Whitlock's result also means that he retains fourth place in the PDC Order of Merit ahead of James Wade, who reached the quarter-finals on his return from suspension before losing out to King.
Dutch youngster Mareno Michels had won through to the quarter-finals of a PDC event for the first time before he was defeated by Jones, while Painter and Dolan also progressed to the last eight.
The year's final European Tour event will be the Dutch Darts Masters, to be held at the NH Hotel Koningshof in Holland from October 25-27.