Golden Ticket Qualifier Leonard Gates completes superb run, wins inaugural World Seniors Champion of Champions title

Leonard Gates flew 6000 miles from his home in Dallas to take part in the one shot Golden Ticket Qualifier on Friday evening for the 2023 World Seniors Champion of Champions and is going back to the US with the title after a 13-10 win over Richie Howson in the final.

Gates saw off Phil Taylor, Martin Adams and Howson who has reached back-to-back WSDT finals and become a stalwart of the tournaments since their inception but his wait for a maiden title goes on as 'Soulger' went all the way to the title in Blackpool.

Gates sealed an opening hold with a 60 checkout. Howson missed 112 to hold himself and Gates hit a 75 checkout to break and go 2-0 up. Howson broke back at 2-1 down but only after Gates had opportunities to go 3-0 up.

Howson missed a dart to hold and seal parity and Gates pinned double 14 for a 68 checkout at 3-1 and was throwing for 4-1 which he sealed. A 61 checkout was missed by Gates but with Howson unable to hold, Gates broke again for 5-1. The procession continued at 6-1 for Gates.

Gates missed 157 to break again and Howson stopped the rot at 6-2 down. Howson added another hold on double 16 to go into the break 7-3 down.

Gates had a slip missing 106 for 8-3 but Howson couldn’t take advantage and ‘Soulger’ continued to head towards double figures. Howson hit a 110 checkout to hold throw and go 8-4 down.

But this was just a hold as Gates went 9-4 ahead. Howson took a last dart hold from 52 with Gates waiting to go into double figures and it was 9-5. A 41 checkout saw him achieve that at 10-5 and he was three away from the title.

On return from the interval, an 81 checkout saw him break and go two away at 11-5. Howson responded with a 116 to break back at 11-6.

Gates missed 101 to go one away to break again and Howson made it 11-7. Gates went one away on double four. Howson missed 85 to stay in the match and Gates got a match dart but missed 66 on double 20.

This allowed Howson to make it 12-8. Gates missed two darts for the title but returned only to miss two more darts at double four. Howson hit an 85 checkout to break back and make it 12-9.

Gates missed the bull for a 95 checkout for another match dart and he missed another two allowing Howson to hold and make it 12-10. Gates missed 71 for the match but finally sealed it on double 10.

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