Darts: Manley silences the critics with deadly accuracy

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The Independent Online

Peter Manley is a great bear of a man and not the sort of opponent you want to face when angry. It was Wayne Jones' misfortune at the Professional Darts Corporation's World Championship at Purfleet yesterday to meet the man they call "One-Dart" at his furious best. Manley won their semi-final 6-0 to earn a place in tonight's final against the winner of last night's other semi-final between Phil Taylor and Wayne Mardle.

Manley, who lost to Taylor in his two previous finals, went into his semi-final angry about the furore following his quarter-final against Adrian Lewis. His opponent, Taylor's protégé and practice partner, had walked off the oche at one stage after complaining that Manley had been talking while he was throwing in an attempt to put him off. Manley denied the accusation.

The world No 5, who said that he had phoned Taylor the morning after the Lewis match in an attempt to clear the air, was determined to let his darts do the talking against Jones, No 36 in the world, who had never been beyond the third round until this year.

"Sometimes you can miss a lot if you're throwing when you're angry, but tonight I just wanted to get on with the game," Manley said.

The opening set was tight as the two men traded legs until Manley won it with his fifth dart at a double at 2-2.

Jones began the second set promisingly, taking the first leg with his first attempt at double 16, but Manley's response was awesome.

He took the set by winning the next three legs, the last two with an 11-dart finish and a 90 check-out, and when he won the next set at a canter he was halfway towards a place in the final.

Jones was being heavily outscored at this stage - his three-dart average of 87 a full 11 behind Manley's - and when he was given his chances he usually fluffed them.

The fourth set summed up his night. Attempting a 151 check-out, Jones hit treble 20 and treble 17, but failed to close out the first leg leg with his next four darts and Manley duly cashed in.

Jones wasted another chance to draw level at 1-1 and although he then ended a run of eight successive losing legs, Manley closed out the set with a 121 check-out.

Jones made a fight of it in the fifth set, but there was no stopping Manley, who took the first leg with his first attempt at double top and the second and fourth with check-outs of 144 and 156 respectively.

Poor Jones had checked out in spectacular fashion in the third leg, hitting 121 with 20, treble 17 and the bull. An 80 check-out in the first leg of the sixth set briefly revived Jones' hopes, but Manley immediately levelled and put himself within one leg of victory when he hit two maximums on his way to a 12-dart finish.

The 15-dart finish with which he wrapped up victory was sluggish in comparison. Jones said afterwards that he had never seen Manley play better.

Manley said that his wife, Chrissy, herself a formidable darts player, had been particularly upset by the Lewis controversy, and he refused to be put off by taunts from the crowd.

"At the start there were a couple of silly women shouting out 'miss, miss' every time that I was throwing at a double," Manley said. "I got away with the first set when I won it on double five. Afterwards I walked outside into the fresh air to cool down and talk to myself. It seemed to work."

The victory earns Manley a minimum of £50,000 in prize money, which he will double if he wins tonight's final. He said that he would use the cash to pay off a mortgage he had taken out on a house three weeks ago. "If I win the final I'll have an extension," he said.

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