The Australian Tony David became one of the game's most unlikely heroes last night when he captured the Embassy World Championship title with a 6-4 victory over Mervyn King at Frimley Green. The 34-year-old Queenslander, a 66-1 outsider at the start of the tournament, held off a gutsy fightback from King to the claim £48,000 first prize.
For much of the contest it looked like being a stroll for Davisd as he stormed into a 5-1 lead. But King then produced a thrilling comeback, taking four consecutive sets, before David sealed his success to become the first Aussie to land the coveted crown.
It is a wonder that David, the world No 18, was able to appear at the Lakeside at all, let alone reach the final given the health problems that have afflicted him throughout his life. After being diagnosed with a blood-clotting disorder, he spent much of his childhood in hospital and his parents were told by doctors that he would probably not live beyond his teenage years.
Both men were edgy in the opening set but David eventually won it with an 81 checkout. King then levelled and was one leg away from going 2-1 up, but David took the third to a decider with his seventh dart at double top and hit a 106 finish to move ahead himself.
Davis then raced into a 5-1 lead. But King fought back courageously, making it 5-2 and then 5-3 after David had missed a double top for the championship. Three more chances slipped away for David as King pulled back to 5-4. But he did not let his next opportunity go begging in the 10th set, hitting double 10 after his first dart had landed in the single 20 and the second just outside the wire.
"It's unbelievable I dreamed of this and now it's reality, and the reality is even better," said David. "It's nice to be described as the people's champion. The last time I heard that expression was for the snooker player Alex Higgins and I'm honoured to be branded the same way."Reuse content