Campbell Out Of This World in Galaxy Grand Prix

Championship Darts Corporation kicked-off the 2022 season Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana. With COVID restrictions a thing of the past, Americans and Canadians did battle face-to face for the first time since 2019 on a combined Tour as designed. 14 Canadians made the trip across the border to join 49 Americans for the Galaxy Grand Prix – sponsored by Galaxy Barrel Design – with the “Ginga Ninja,” Matt Campbell, taking the title over fellow Tour Card holder, Danny Baggish.

Canadian Jim Long posted the highest First Round average of 95.23 with a 5-1 victory over John Steinhofer in a best of 9 format. Darin “Big Daddy” Young landed the first 180 of the tournament almost immediately in the first leg of his matchup with Louis Vessels.

Doug Boehm triumphed 5-3 over Shawn Brenneman in what was arguably the most nailbiting first-rounder, with 5 breaks of throw between the two.  Boehm grabbed control of the match in the 5th leg with a 13-darter, followed by a 12-darter in leg 6, seeing out the next two legs despite Brenneman hitting his first 180 in leg 7.

Newly-minted US Darts Masters qualifiers, Danny Lauby Jr and Doug Boehm, fell in the second round to Jeff Springer and Joey Lynaugh, respectively.  Fellow US Masters player David Cameron tossed a 93.66 average to glide into the Last 16 with a win over Jason Brandon.

The Last 16 saw an even split of 8 Canadians and 8 Americans vying for spots in the Quarterfinals.

American Jeff Springer continued his run against 3-Time World Champion John Part, despite Darth Maple executing a beautiful 11-dart break of throw in the third leg. Springer stole the darts in the fourth leg and checked out 105 in the fifth to keep the advantage.   The two traded holds until the end, where Springer came out on top, 6-3.

In other notable last-16 matches, Canadian John Norman Jr bowed out 6-4 to a charging Alex Spellman in a match that saw no leg go more than 19 darts, Larry “The Eagle” Butler fell to New Brunswick’s Keith Way 6-4 and “Captain America,” Jim Widmayer, saw-off Canada’s Kiley Edmunds 6-1 with a 93.51 average.

The Quarterfinal Round saw Jeff Springer in continued top form in defeating Alex Spellman 6-3, logging a 158 checkout along the way and sealing the match with an 11-darter. Meanwhile, Danny Baggish ended Widmayer’s bid for glory with a 6-1 win and Newfoundland phenom, Jacob Taylor, ground out a victory over Chuck Puleo, despite averaging under 80 and managing only one 180 in ten legs.

The Semifinal lineup guaranteed that both countries would be represented in the final, with Baggish going up against Springer and a Taylor-Campbell matchup in the other half of the draw.

Taylor shook-off his subpar performance with eleven 140s and averaging almost 94, but it wasn’t enough to put away Campbell, who claimed the 7-5 victory with steady play and a 14-dart break of throw to advance to his finals tie with Danny Baggish.

Baggish started slow in the all-USA semifinal and Springer bounded out to a 2-0 lead before “The Gambler” went all-in with 134, 140, 100 to set up a 14-dart break and get back into the game. After a thrilling 13-dart hold of throw, the two were back on equal terms before Springer hit back with a 17-dart hold of his own to pull ahead once again. However, that would be the last leg the Washington man would win on the day as Baggish took control with successive finishes of 13, 14 and 12 darts and cruised into the final with a 7-3 victory.

The mouthwatering final did indeed live up to its billing and was everything one would expect from two PDC Tour Card holders. Campbell averaged 98.5 and Baggish 96.8 in a tungsten shootout that would have wowed audiences on any stage. The proceedings opened with a 12-dart break-of-throw from Campbell, sealed with a tournament-topping 160 finish (matched only by Gary Mawson in Round 1). Baggish broke back immediately with a 15-darter of his own, and the race was on. Both players were exceptional in cover shots throughout the match, firing-in consistent 134s and 137s.

Campbell would go up 4-1 before Baggish put up clinical 13 and 14-dart finishes to close within one. Following three straight holds of throw, the Florida man failed to finish 85, allowing the Canadian a look at 25 – which he finished off in two for a 13-dart break to seal the 7-4 win and hoist the trophy.

CDC and NAWDA Announce Partnership

Three-Year Agreement Provides Opportunity for Top Women to Join Sport’s Elite in US, Canada

(Chicago, Illinois and Nashville, Tennessee – March 14, 2022) Championship Darts Corporation, owner of the Championship Darts Circuit – North America’s professional darts tour – and the North America Women’s Dart Association, the premier organization showcasing top-level talent in the ladies’ game, today announce the formation of a three-year strategic partnership that will provide two women players the opportunity to join the ranks of professional darts players on the “CDC Tour.”

Beginning in 2022, the winner and runner-up in the NAWDA Championship (to be held in conjunction with the Music City Classic in Nashville in August this year) will receive their CDC Tour Cards for the following calendar year, allowing them to enter the otherwise-closed professional events and play against the continent’s best. Championship Darts Corporation will also sponsor entry fees into two of the CDC Tour events for each player. Further, the two NAWDA-qualified players will be able to take additional sponsorship dollars earned via NAWDA play and apply it to either:
• Assist in covering costs for the following year’s Women’s Series events run by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) in Europe; or
• Cover entry fees to the remainder of the CDC Tour events for the year in which their Tour Card is valid (not to exceed 10 additional events, for a total of 12 paid event entries between CDC and NAWDA sponsorship).

“We’re excited to partner with Rita (Wilkinson) and Amy (Fahey) at NAWDA to provide top women players the opportunity to play alongside the best on the continent,” said Peter Citera, CEO of Championship Darts Corporation, “darts is a sport where the biological differences between men and women are largely irrelevant. Look, for example, at the success Fallon Sherrock has enjoyed in the most elite events put on by our partners at the PDC. There is no reason that talented women with the drive and determination to succeed in our game shouldn’t have the opportunity to compete and prove themselves against all comers.”

In addition to providing the Tour Cards and sponsorship, CDC stands ready to advise and assist the NAWDA leadership team on an as-needed basis in event planning and any potential future expansion of the organization.
“Given the talent our women darters possess, I believe they will have no problem competing with the men of the CDC,” said Rita Wilkinson, Administrator of the NAWDA. I’m so excited for NAWDA to partner with the CDC to provide equal opportunities for North American women darters they would not otherwise have. This organization started off being an avenue for women to compete in the PDC World Championship qualifiers in hopes to advance to the Alexandra Palace stage in England. The women will still have that opportunity if they choose but, given the international travel challenges at the moment, providing them an added opportunity stateside is more than we could have hoped for!”

‘The Silencer’ wins the Continental Cup

 Canada’s Jeff Smith used his big-game experience to overcome a strong field and win the 2021 Championship Darts Circuit Continental Cup. Smith defeated Jacob Taylor 8-6 in the finals. An early break in leg four, followed by another hold of throw, opened up a 4-1 lead for Smith. The pair then traded legs on throw, putting Smith on the cusp up 7-4. Taylor followed with a hold, and then his first break of throw, to pull within one, but Jeff Smith would go on to win the fourteenth leg and win his first Continental Cup championship. 

The first round, which pitted the top 8 US players vs the top 8 Canadian players, saw 4 players from each country emerge victorious. American players Danny Lauby Jr, Gary Mawson, Adam Sevada, and Leonard Gates, and Canadian players David Cameron, Jeff Smith, Kiley Edmunds, and Jacob Taylor, earned victories to advance. 

Jacob Taylor, who led 4-1 over Jules Van Dongen, fought off a furious comeback to win a last leg decider and move on with a 5-4 score. Gary Mawson, who trailed 3-1 against Jim Long, was able to complete the comeback and win 5-4. Canada’s #1 seed, John Norman Jr, was upset 5-4 by US #8 seed, Adam Sevada, who put in a strong performance in his victory. 

The second round would see victories by all 4 remaining Canadians, which ensured the Continental Cup champion would reside North of the border for the first time. 

Defending champion, and US #1 seed, Danny Lauby Jr, failed in his bid to become the first repeat champion with a hard-fought 6-3 loss to Kiley Edmunds in the quarterfinals. Edmunds jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Lauby reeled off the next three on the spin to close the gap. Missed darts in the eighth leg would cost Lauby, as Edmunds converted his doubles to win the leg, and would win the ninth leg as well to finalize the victory. 

David Cameron put in a brilliant display against 2017 champion Leonard Gates. Cameron opened up by winning three of the first four legs, and after Gates battled back to win the fifth leg, Cameron won the final three on the spin to seal the 6-2 victory. 

Adam Sevada came out gunning for a second consecutive upset, this time against Jeff Smith, and opened up a 4-2 lead. Smith who answered back, winning four of the next five, including a last-leg decider, to end Sevada’s night and advance to the semi-finals. 

Jacob Taylor won the last quarterfinal, against Gary Mawson, in another last-leg decider. Mawson again found himself trailing the match, rattled off three straight to force a winner-take-all leg. Taylor would produce a 15-darter to seal the match, in what would end up being the match of the night. 

The all-Canadian semi-finals didn’t fail to deliver. The first match saw Kiley Edmunds come out running, winning five of the first six legs before Jacob Taylor turned it on. Taylor would erase the deficit with brilliance, winning the final six legs for a 7-5 victory and a spot in the finals. 

The second semi-final, between two competitors who have each appeared at multiple World Championships, saw Jeff Smith defeat David Cameron 7-6 in a streaky contest. Cameron would win the first two legs, before Smith took the next five in a row. Not to be outdone, Cameron would come back to 

win the next four on the spin to move within a victory of a berth in the finals. Jeff Smith dug deep and won the twelfth leg to force a last leg decider, which he also won, to advance to the finals. 

With the victory, Jeff Smith will qualify for the 2022 William Hill World Championship as the CDC Continental Cup champion. His qualifying spot earned via the PDC Pro Tour will revert to the next highest player on the Pro Tour Order of Merit. He has also qualified for the 2022 Professional Darts Corporation US Darts Masters and North American Darts Championship to be held at Madison Square Gardens. 

Championship Darts Circuit players Danny Lauby Jr, John Norman Jr, and Matt Campbell, who all qualified prior to today, will join Jeff Smith at the World Championships in London. 

Top 16 

Danny Lauby Jr 5-1 Ben Garner
Kiley Edmunds 5-3 Seth Steffano
Jacob Taylor 5-4 Jules Van Dongen
Gary Mawson 5-4 Jim Long
Adam Sevada 5-4 John Norman Jr
Jeff Smith 5-2 Chuck Puleo
Leonard Gates 5-1 Shawn Brenneman
David Cameron 5-3 Kevin Luke 

Quarter-finals 

Kiley Edmunds 6-3 Danny Lauby
Jacob Taylor 6-5 Gary Mawson
Jeff Smith 6-5 Adam Sevada
David Cameron 6-2 Leonard Gates 

Semi-finals 

Jacob Taylor 7-5 Kiley Edmunds
Jeff Smith 7-6 David Cameron 

Finals 

Jeff Smith 8-6 Jacob Taylor 

—————————————-
~ Article by Brian Fraser
November 20, 2021 

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