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Wales stun holders England to win British Internationals for the first time since 1981

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Wales ended a 35 year wait to be crowned men’s winners of the British Internationals as they finished top of the pile in Fife on Sunday afternoon.

Not since sharing the title with England in 1981 have the Welsh men’s team claimed success at the annual tournament contested between the three British nations.

But led by experienced captain Martin Phillips, Wales came back from 6-3 down to salvage a 6-6 draw with host nation Scotland on Saturday.

And then on Sunday, Wales raced into a 5-1 lead against holders England before wrapping up the win with three games to spare and finishing off as comfortable 8-4 victors.

Scotland’s 6-6 draw with England in the final game of the tournament ended any hopes the hosts had of taking the title, as Wales took home the trophy outright for the first time with three points to their name.

Two draws left Scotland in second place for the fourth consecutive year, while England finished last for only the second time in the event’s history.

The men’s tournament began on Saturday afternoon as Scotland took on Wales in a match which both sides knew they could not afford to lose, with holders England waiting for them the following day.

Breconshire’s Mark Layton gave Wales an early lead in the tie, with back-to-back 13 dart legs securing him a 4-3 win over Scottish debutant Steve Robertson.

It would also prove to be a losing debut for Glamorgan’s Richard Edwards, who paid the price for losing three straight legs to Stevie Plank. A 4-2 win for the Central thrower levelling up the match.

From the new caps to the experience of Gwynedd’s Phillips, who represented Wales for the 137th time and marked the occasion with a 4-1 win against Scott Robertson.

Ayrshire’s Cameron Menzies enjoyed a winning return to the Scotland team with a 4-2 victory over Jim Williams to make it 2-2, before Steven Mitchell edged past Scott Docherty 4-3 in a match which saw every leg go with throw and put Scotland in front at 3-2.

Neither side could pull away from the other as Tim Jones won a deciding leg against Steve Taylor to get Wales back on level terms, with two 14 darters securing Scotland captain Ross Montgomery a 4-3 win over Dafydd Williams.

That win inspired the hosts to win the next two games to go 6-3 up, but Wales showed great fight to salvage a draw.

Wayne Warren looked to have thrown it away for Wales when he let a 3-0 lead slip against Alan Soutar, but came through a decider to keep the match alive.

Wins for Christopher Harris and Mike Gillett secured Wales a share of the points, and that fightback would be the catalyst to an 8-4 win over England the next day.

Former England captain Martin Adams ran out a 4-1 winner over Harris in the opening game, and few would have predicted what was about to follow.

Jamie Hughes, Dave Parletti, James Hurrell, Dennis Harbour and Brian Dawson all tasted defeat as the Welsh surged into a 5-1 lead.

Shaun Carroll offered brief resistance for the holders by beating Williams 4-2, but it could not stop Wales from cruising to victory and eventually the title.

Gwynedd’s David Arwyn Morris showed all the nerves of a new cap as he bust a 118 checkout by hitting treble 20 going for double top.

Yet in the end it did not matter as he managed to beat England’s Darren Peetom 4-2 and put Wales on the verge of a memorable win.

And they would not have to wait long as Nick Kenny got the better of Mark McGeeney 4-2.

Player of the tournament Glen Durrant posted a 97.92 average in his 4-2 win over Docherty, but it did not mask his and England’s disappointment.

Durrant was in good form again when England took on Scotland to bring the tournament to a close, with a 92.40 average putting his side 4-3 in front in the tie.

With five games left to be played it confirmed Wales were the winners, as they would have won more legs than Scotland if the hosts won 8-4 and the title was decided via that method.

Despite the trophy now no longer in their sights, Scotland won the next three games to put England on the brink of finishing the tournament with no points.

But captain Scott Mitchell and McGeeney won the final two games to seal a 6-6 draw.

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