Steve Beaton booked his place in the Championship League Darts Winners Group on Thursday with a 6-4 victory over Kevin Painter in the Group Seven final at Crondon Park GC in Essex.
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Beaton ensured that he will compete for the £10,000 first prize for the second successive year in the internet-streamed event with a fine performance in the penultimate group.
The former World Champion won five of his seven league matches to finish joint top of the table with Vincent van der Voort, before edging out John Part 6-5 in the semi-finals and then defeating Painter in the decider.
Beaton had trailed Part 4-2 before taking out 108 and 80 on the bullseye to level, and although the Canadian moved back ahead at 5-4, it was the world number 26 who took the next two legs to prevail.
In the final, Painter took out 96 to lead 2-1 before Beaton opened the fourth with back-to-back 180s, hitting treble 20 and treble 19 before wiring double 12 for a nine-dart finish.
He returned to win the leg in ten darts, and after Painter finished 76 for the fifth he hit further legs of 12 and 11 darts to move 4-3 up.
Painter finished 65 for a 14-darter in reply to win the eighth, but a missed double eight for a 96 finish in the ninth proved crucial, as Beaton stepped in to finish 90 on double five to lead 5-4 and then traded 180s with his opponent before sealing victory on double ten.
"I'm delighted with that," said Beaton. "I felt I played pretty well during the day, although a couple of times missing doubles cost me.
"To come through as a winner against John Part and Kevin Painter in the play-offs is a massive confidence boost for me and I can't wait to play in the Winners Group on Thursday now."
Painter will now return to compete for a fourth day in the tournament on Wednesday in Group Eight as he seeks to claim the final place in the Winners Group.
He will be joined by Vincent van der Voort, who saw a 3-0 lead against Painter slip as he went down 6-4 in their semi-final, with the Dutchman having finished top in the league stage alongside Beaton on five wins.
Part, Alan Tabern and Mark Dudbridge will also return to play in Group Eight, with Steve Brown, Dennis Priestley and Jelle Klaasen entering the event to complete the eight-played field.
There was disappointment, though, for Andy Smith and Robert Thornton, who were knocked out in a tight Group Seven, with both suffering defeats in their final league games to be eliminated from the tournament.
Played over nine days from September 27-29, October 11-13 and October 18-20, the event offers £50 per leg won prize money in the league phase and £100 per leg won in each group's Play-Offs, with prize money doubled in the Winners Group.
The Winners Group will feature Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, Paul Nicholson, Mark Walsh, Mervyn King, Simon Whitlock, Steve Beaton and Wednesday's Group Eight winner.
Championship League darts group seven results and table
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Andy Smith
Mark Dudbridge 6-4 John Part
Steve Beaton 6-3 Robert Thornton
Kevin Painter 6-3 Alan Tabern
John Part 6-2 Vincent van der Voort
Andy Smith 6-5 Mark Dudbridge
Alan Tabern 6-4 Steve Beaton
Robert Thornton 2-6 Kevin Painter
John Part 6-4 Kevin Painter
Vincent van der Voort 5-6 Robert Thornton
Alan Tabern 5-6 Mark Dudbridge
Andy Smith 3-6 Steve Beaton
Not before 2.00pm
Kevin Painter 2-6 Vincent van der Voort
John Part 6-1 Robert Thornton
Andy Smith 6-5 Alan Tabern
Mark Dudbridge 4-6 Steve Beaton
Mark Dudbridge 3-6 Kevin Painter
Steve Beaton 2-6 Vincent van der Voort
Robert Thornton 6-5 Andy Smith
Alan Tabern 6-4 John Part
Not before 4.15pm
Steve Beaton 6-5 John Part
Andy Smith 3-6 Kevin Painter
Robert Thornton 5-6 Mark Dudbridge
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Alan Tabern
Mark Dudbridge 3-6 Vincent van der Voort
John Part 6-5 Andy Smith
Alan Tabern 6-2 Robert Thornton
Kevin Painter 3-6 Steve Beaton
Semi-Final 1 - Vincent van der Voort 4-6 Kevin Painter
Semi-Final 2 - Steve Beaton 6-5 John Part
Final - Steve Beaton 6-4 Kevin Painter
Vincent v d Voort 7 5 2 37 25 +12 £1850 10pts £2250
Steve Beaton 7 5 2 36 30 +6 £1800 10pts £3000 (Winner)
John Part 7 4 3 37 30 +7 £1850 8pts £2350
Kevin Painter 7 4 3 33 29 +4 £1650 8pts £2650
Alan Tabern 7 3 4 32 34 -2 £1600 6pts
Mark Dudbridge 7 3 4 33 38 -5 £1650 6pts
Andy Smith (E) 7 2 5 33 40 -7 £1650 4pts
Robert Thornton (E) 7 2 5 25 40 -15 £1250 4pts