Jamie Caven won through to the PDC Championship League Darts Winners' Group
Last Updated: October 30, 2012 9:36pm
Jamie Caven (r): Through after seeing off Paul Nicholson
Jamie Caven won through to the Championship League Darts Winners' Group, defeating Paul Nicholson 6-4 to take victory in Group Seven.
Derby's Caven, 36, continued his return to form with a superb display of darts in a highly-competitive group.
Michael van Gerwen, the recent PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix champion, won all seven league matches with some superb darts, completing a league stage win over Caven with a 170 checkout and a 107.7 average.
The Dutch ace finished at the top of the league table, but lost 6-3 in the semi-finals to Nicholson - who only took fourth place in the final round of league games with a 6-1 win over Richie Burnett.
That victory also eliminated the Welshman, who had gone into the last games as one of four players alongside Nicholson, Mark Walsh and Brendan Dolan, who could either take a play-off place or be eliminated.
Burnett's loss, coupled with a win for Walsh over Dolan, meant that the former World Champion was eliminated - despite three league wins - alongside 2009 Championship League winner Colin Osborne, who failed to win a league game on the day.
Caven defeated Robert Thornton 6-2 in the semi-final and then enjoyed a fine tussle with Nicholson in the decider, breaking throw with a 14-dart finish and taking out legs of 12 and 11 darts as he led 3-1.
Nicholson posted an 11-darter of his own in reply, then took out 110 and 64 to level the game before hitting a 180 and double eight to lead 4-3 - but Caven found another gear to hit back with the game's final two legs.
Caven now returns on Thursday for the big-money Winners' Group, when he will join Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock, Wes Newton, Justin Pipe, Dave Chisnall and Ronnie Baxter in competing for the £10,000 first prize and a place in the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts.
"I'm speechless after that!" said Caven. "I'm shattered, mentally drained, but I'm over the moon to get through this group. My form over the last couple of years has dipped and I've had a lot of personal stuff to deal with."