Thornton switches off the Power in Dublin
Robert Thornton is proving to be Phil Taylor’s nemesis as the Scot battled to a final leg victory to knock him out of the World Grand Prix.
Thornton demolished the Power 11-5 in the final of the UK Open earlier in the year, and once again he had Taylor’s number, this time at the World Grand Prix, as he held his nerve in a final set final leg to seal his place in the quarter-finals, with Taylor missing six match darts.
Taylor was searching for his 11th title in Dublin this week, and he began the match by taking the opening set, looking immense on his doubles. However, Thornton was hanging onto the Power like a little terrier, and after taking the second set, he edged the third set 3-2, hitting scores of 160, 140 and 139 to check out 62 on tops for the lead in the encounter.
Taylor was unable to shake off Thornton, and now that he was trailing, the 15-time champion of the world had to dig extremely deep, which he did by quickly racing to the fourth set 3-0 to force a deciding one, something the match deserved.
Thornton was hitting maximums for fun, and his seventh kicked off the final set, but it was Taylor who took the opening leg of it on double 16 after finishing 64.
When Thornton made it one each, Taylor went one leg from victory, but, Thornton was still hanging on, and inevitably a final leg was required to decide the outcome.
Taylor had already seen one missed dart for the match on the bullseye, and a further five more came his way in the final leg. Surprisingly, when he had three clear darts on double 16, Thornton didn’t expect to come back, but he did, and clinched the win for himself on tops.
Brendan Dolan was the first man to reach the quarter-finals, with the Irishman delighting the home crowd in Dublin after beating Vincent van der Voort 3-1.
Dolan, last year’s finalist and the only man to hit a nine-darter at this event, which he threw in the semis 12 months ago, just fed off the support of the crowd, and he was inspired on the oche as he was too strong for Dutchman Van der Voort.
Justin Pipe booked his place in the last eight of the World Grand Prix for the very first time by beating reigning Players Championship finals champion Kevin Painter 3-2.
Pipe was always in front in the match, going 1-0 and 2-1 up, but Painter was sticking with him all the way. However, in the final set his game let him down at the crucial time, as despite winning the first leg he had to stand back and watch Pipe take three in a row for a fine victory. Mervyn King also made it through, beating Dave Chisnall 3-1 with a 94 average.
Whether Scott Waites will win as many world titles as Phil Taylor may not be a matter for debate if only because it is hard to believe anyone matching the Power.
Scott Waites will play Tony O'Shea in the final of the BDO world Championship at the Lakeside Country Club.
The BDO world championship might be the poor relation in the world of darts but it is fashioning a Cinderella story this year.