Raymond van Barneveld produced a stirring fightback against James Wade in a bad-tempered contest at the Grand Slam of Darts, as Gary Anderson was sensationally dumped out by Mark Webster in the last 16 stage.
Wade led van Barneveld 7-4, before the Dutchman produced an inspired comeback, reeling off six successive legs to seal a spot in the quarter-finals.
However, Wade didn’t shake hands with the Five-Time World Champion, after becoming frustrated at what he perceived to be Barney slowing him down.
Nevertheless, in his post-match interview, Raymond explained that the extra time he took to reach the oche was purely for his benefit, to aid his concentration. It certainly paid off handsomely for the legendary Dutchman.
It was a contest littered with quality. The opening five legs went with throw, with Wade converting 96 and 80 finishes, and Barney taking out 98 and 84. However, ‘The Machine’ led 3-2 at the first interval.
The next two legs were shared, before Wade capitalised on an indifferent scoring leg from Raymond to break throw and establish a 5-3 advantage. He was in cruise control of the ninth leg, but inexplicably missed 9 darts at double, allowing Barney to take out 95 and break back instantly.
However, RvB missed one dart at D20 in the following leg, therefore Wade regained his two-leg advantage heading into the second intermission. Wade converted D20 to forge 7-4 ahead, before van Barneveld converted D5 to stay in touch.
Wade was scoring superbly, but van Barneveld was showing tremendous fighting spirit and composure and he reduced the arrears to 7-6 with a fabulous 120 finish, before restoring parity with D20.
The momentum had shifted completely and after hitting three consecutive 140’s, van Barneveld hit D16 with his final dart to move ahead for the very first time in the contest. He refused to surrender this advantage, hitting D10 with his last dart in hand to move 9-7 ahead, after Wade had missed three clear darts on his usually reliable D20.
van Barneveld’s more methodical and composed approach was working wonders and he produced a fantastic leg against the throw, leaving 76 after 9 darts. Wade wired D20 for a magnificent 135 checkout, but after Barney missed one match dart at D18, Wade appeared destined to reduce the deficit to 9-8.
Nevertheless, the left-hander was showing uncharacteristic fragility on the doubles, missing a further three darts at double, enabling Raymond to return and hit D9 to complete a famous fightback. It was a tremendous performance from the Dutchman, which sees him return to the Top 16 in the PDC Order of Merit.
Elsewhere, Mark Webster produced a master-class in finishing as he stunned World Champion Gary Anderson 10-6, to set up a quarter-final clash against van Barneveld on Friday evening.
Anderson averaged 104, 10 points higher than the Welshman, but Bobby George’s old adage: “Trebles for show, doubles for dough” was certainly relevant in this encounter. Webster hit a remarkable 10 doubles from 14 attempts, a ratio of 71%, to defeat the Flying Scotsman.
Webster established a 2-0 advantage with finishes of 92 and 80 and he never relinquished control from this moment onwards. Anderson failed to break Webster in the entire match, which is staggering given the Scot’s scoring power.
Anderson was scoring superbly but Mark was nerveless in the latter stages of legs, taking out finishes of 96, 127 and 108 to move 7-3 ahead at the second interval. Anderson continued to battle and hit a total of four 180’s in the match, but Webster produced when it mattered, sealing the victory with a two-dart 46 finish.
Phil Taylor survived a major scare to preserve his hopes of retaining his title, recovering from 4-0 down to beat Terry Jenkins and book his place in Friday’s quarter-finals.
Taylor was considerably below-par, averaging a miserly 91, but fortunately for the Power, Jenkins also struggled for consistency, as Taylor eventually closed out a 10-6 victory, winning 10 of the final 12 legs.
The 16-Time World Champion appeared in cruise control of the opening leg, but inconceivably missed seven darts at double, allowing Terry to capitalise on D10. This gave the ‘Raging Bull’ confidence, as he raced into a commanding 4-0 advantage, with Taylor’s average loitering in the 70’s.
Jenkins was poised to take an astonishing 5-0 lead into the interval, but Taylor won his opening leg courtesy of a clinical 97 checkout and this proved decisive. After the break, the 55-year-old Stokie exploited some sloppy scores from Jenkins and restored parity at 4-4.
In recent months, Jenkins has been plagued by wayward darts and this came to fruition at a critical juncture in the contest, as he missed a single 12, preventing him from having a shot at the bull.
Taylor capitalised, hitting D16 to lead for the first time in the contest. He then won his sixth successive leg, to turn the match completely on its head going into the second interval.
Taylor was set to take a 7-4 lead, but with Jenkins sat on 158, The Power opted not to go for the bull. This is a tactic that has backfired handsomely in recent times and he was once again punished, as the 9-Time major finalist produced a roof-raising finish to reduce the arrears to 6-5.
Just moments later, Terry converted D16 to level proceedings in this topsy-turvy encounter. Taylor managed to post D10 after multiple missed doubles to regain his lead, before a pivotal 14th leg ensued.
Jenkins appeared in complete control of the leg, but some sloppy scoring from Terry and back-to-back 140’s from Taylor brought him back into contention, as ‘The Power’ produced a fantastic 116 checkout for a break of throw and an 8-6 lead.
Jenkins narrowly missed D11 for a 124 checkout in the following leg, but Taylor cleaned up D16 to move to the cusp of victory and he completed the comeback victory with an impressive 99 checkout. Taylor was honest about his performance in his post-match interview and he will need to improve against Robert Thornton.
The World Grand-Prix Champion sneaked through to the last eight after surviving an inspired comeback from Robbie Green. Thornton claimed the opening leg with a clinical 96 finish for a 12-darter, before delivering a sensational 160 checkout to double his advantage.
Green missed key doubles in the following two legs and suddenly, the Thorn led 4-0. However, ‘Kong’ managed to open up his account in fine style, with a spectacular 170 checkout. This gave the former BDO man fresh impetus as his performance improved considerably after the break.
All five legs in the second interval went with throw, as Thornton held a commanding 7-3 lead, but Green was displaying tenacity that would see him mount an unlikely comeback.Green won three successive legs to reduce the deficit to just 7-6, which included a quality 95 finish culminating on the bullseye.
The Scouser was arguably playing the better darts, but Thornton is an experienced and tenacious campaigner and although he was being pressured, he eventually prevailed 10-8, to set up a repeat of the 2013 Grand Slam final.
Thornton only averaged 93 himself, but crucially he produced key shots in decisive moments, whereas Green’s lacklustre start proved costly.
SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts
Wednesday November 11 (7pm-11pm)
Robert Thornton 10-8 Robbie Green
Phil Taylor 10-6 Terry Jenkins
Gary Anderson 6-10 Mark Webster
James Wade 7-10 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 19 legs