Simon Stevenson's treble top after Champions win
SIMON STEVENSON became only the third player in 28 years to win the Champion of Champions title three times when claiming the 2012 crown at the Kings Arms in Oreston.
Nobody had achieved the feat in 17 years since Flynn Jones won his third title in 1995 following on from John Goves, who claimed his hat-trick in 1993.
The luck of the draw for the quarter-finals was certainly against Stevenson (right) when he was paired against last year's losing finalist John Mann, but he put in an awesome performance to progress in what was arguably the tie of the evening.
Stevenson took the opener in 15 with a 135 checkout only for Mann to respond by levelling in 16. Mann seized the initiative in the third and hit a maximum 180 to leave 65, only for Stevenson to hit another 15-darter with a finish of 156.
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Another 15-darter and another ton-plus finish of 101 for Stevenson in the fourth saw him prevail 3-1 with a superb average of 31.68.
The 1996 champion Ralph Lancaster made it through to the last four with a 3-0 victory over John Donald, but Col Maddocks, who won the title in 1989, had his aspirations ended by Neil Dudbridge, despite hitting two 180s in a 3-1 defeat.
Malcolm Johns was left to rue missed opportunities as he bowed out 3-1 to Robbie Bisgrove.
Johns spurned five darts to take the opening leg before Bisgrove checked out on the bull when needing 83.
Bisgrove also took the second before emerging a 3-0 winner when checking out from 104 to win in 15 and achieving a place in the last four.
The first semi-final brought together Bisgrove and Lancaster and not surprisingly went the full seven legs.
Lancaster came from behind to level at 1-1 with a 110 checkout and the duo were still locked together at 3-3 before Bisgrove took out an 81 finish to win by the narrowest of margins.
Stevenson took the opening leg of his semi against Dudbridge and doubled his advantage with an impressive 11-dart leg, aided by two 180s.
Dudbridge reduced the deficit when taking the third only for Stevenson to take the next in 15 and clinch a place in the final with a win in 18.
The final was contested over the best of nine legs and it was the former champion who took an early advantage when taking the opener with a 91 out-shot.
Bisgrove, though, was not fazed and showed his prowess when winning the next in 15 with a finish of 128.
Stevenson claimed another 15-dart leg and again Bisgrove levelled but unfortunately for Bisgrove that was to be his last success.
Stevenson took the lead again when winning the fifth and secured the next two in 17 and 16 to claim his third title.
James Cook deserves praise for organising the event for the first time and his efforts helped raise a total of £2,800 for Cancer Research.