Neil Duff of Northern Ireland rose to the occasion for Sunday’s showpiece, producing an incredible comeback to claim the inaugural WDF World Championship and a £50,000 winner’s prize.
However, it was the 32-year-old Frenchman who got off to a faster start than Duff, racing to a 2-0 lead in Surrey as Duff’s jitters began to show.
Tricole seized the lead after landing a double four in the first leg, then won the second with a score of 41.
Duff regained his composure to win the third leg, but Tricole came back to take a 3-1 lead, with Duff missing a vital 93 checkout to tie the game.
The Northern Irishman eventually clawed it back to 3-2 with a comfortable 80 checkout, and he took that momentum into the sixth set, which he won with an 81 checkout to tie the match at 3-3.
With the tides turning, Duff won a third leg in a row to grab a 4-3 lead in the match, landing a D17 to do so.
Despite the rising pressure from Duff’s comeback, Tricole delivered a clinical eighth set, landing a nice D20 to tie the game at 4-4 and set up a dramatic climax.
Tricole raced into the lead in the ninth set, appearing to be one set away from winning the event, but Duff recovered to turn the set around from 2-0 down, with the 49-year-old landing two 180s en route to taking a 5-4 lead in the clash.
But the Frenchman roared back to tie the game at 5-5, delivering a D8 to seal the leg.
The ‘Duffman’ stormed to a 2-0 lead in the last and deciding set, then showed no signs of jitters as he nailed a checkout of 50 to take the prize.
The title is birthday gift for daughter
Duff, 49, received a £50,000 prize for winning the event on Hayley’s 18th birthday.
Earlier in the week, he claimed that he would win the world title as a gift for her.
The success was “life-changing” for the Ballyclare joiner, who has worked on construction sites since he was 15 years old.
“I am over the moon and so is Hayley and my wife Erin,” he told BBC News NI.
“We are planning a family holiday now, our first proper one since 2016.
“It will be Mexico, as that’s where Hayley said she wanted to go.
“I have been working on building sites from the age of 15, that’s hopefully the building career finished.
“The £50,000 prize money is massive for me and sets me up for the next 12 months, there is more to be made as world champion with tour events and exhibitions etc.
“The next year could be my retirement fund.”