World champion Gary Anderson saw off former winner Raymond van Barneveld in one of the greatest games ever staged at the Grand Slam, to set up a semi-final showdown with eight-time major winner James Wade at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Saturday evening.
Anderson remains on course to win his maiden Grand Slam crown after defeating Van Barneveld 16-13 in a pulsating tussle. The scores were locked at 13-13, until ‘The Flying Scotsman’ produced an astonishing sequence of darts, winning the final three legs in just 34 darts.
The world champion averaged 103.81, fired in an incredible 13 maximums and converted 46% of his doubles to prevail. Van Barneveld acquitted himself magnificently, averaging 98.24, landing nine maximums and hitting 43% of his attempts at double.
The Dutchman struggled in the opening stages of the contest, as Anderson established a commanding 4-1 lead. However, Barney showed impressive character to respond after the interval, winning four of the next five legs to restore parity at five apiece.
After the break the standard rose at an astonishing rate. Van Barneveld went ahead for the very first time with a sensational 164 checkout, but Anderson fired back instantly with a classy 121 checkout culminating on D18.
The five-time world champion regained the lead with a clinical 68 checkout, but Anderson levelled up on tops after Barney wired the bull for a 122 checkout. The Scotsman then claimed a crucial break of throw with a 13-darter heading into the break, but Van Barneveld fired back immediately with a 13-dart break of his own.
The next two legs were shared, until Anderson registered back-to-back maximums and pinned D4 for an 11-darter to edge back ahead. Nevertheless, his lead was short-lived as Van Barneveld conjured up an inspired 126 checkout on the bull to draw level at ten-apiece.
RvB converted a 78 checkout on tops to reclaim the lead after the interval, but Anderson responded by pinning D10 to draw level once more. The next two legs both went with throw before a dramatic 25th leg ensued.
Anderson fired in six perfect darts, eventually leaving 41 after 9 darts. Despite this, the world champion was unable to break throw after missing two big numbers, allowing Van Barneveld to record a vital hold with a nerveless 62 kill.
However, this sparked an astonishing surge of form from the ‘Flying Scotsman’. He held throw with a commanding 13-darter, before securing a precious break of throw with a 96-darter to round off a 12-dart leg. Anderson then produced a majestic 100 finish for an 11-darter, to move to within a leg of the last four.
Van Barneveld displayed admirable tenacity throughout the encounter and he fired in a 180 and 177 as he fought to stay afloat. Nevertheless, the 49-year-old Dutchman missed the bull for a 12-dart hold and the Scot pounced, taking out 41 to complete a second straight 11-darter to seal his progression in sumptuous style.
It was an incredible contest, with both men illustrating exactly why they’re world champions. However Anderson’s surge in the latter stages was simply mesmeric. The current world champion averaged 128.74 in the final six legs and that inspired spell was ultimately decisive, but Raymond should depart with his head held high.
Elsewhere, James Wade breezed through to the Grand Slam of Darts semi-finals with a comprehensive 16-5 victory against Chris Dobey, who was appearing in his maiden PDC major quarter-final.
Although the scoreline was very one-sided, this wasn’t reflected in the averages. Wade averaged 92.18 compared to Dobey’s 92, whilst Wade registered two maximums to Dobey’s six. Nevertheless the decisive factor was the clinical finishing from ‘The Machine’, who also capitalised on his opponent’s indifferent set-up shooting.
Wade claimed the opening leg of the contest, but ‘Hollywood’ also started strongly, hitting two maximums in as many legs as he levelled up proceedings. However, the eight-time major winner then reeled off three successive legs to establish a 4-1 advantage, after Dobey missed the bull for a spectacular 170 checkout.
Dobey won two of the next five legs to reduce the arrears to 7-3 at the second interval, but Wade’s experience shone through midway through the contest, as he won six consecutive legs to establish total control at 13-3, taking out finishes of 76 and 112 en route.
Dobey managed to stop the rot and grab a consolation after Wade displayed some uncharacteristic fragility on the doubles, and the 26-year-old then won his second straight leg with a majestic 152 finish.
Yet, this wasn’t the start of an inspired comeback. Dobey missed darts at double for his third straight leg but Wade regained his composure, winning the final three legs without reply to close out a thoroughly professional victory and set up a semi-final tie against Gary Anderson.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts
Saturday November 19
Chris Dobey 5-16 James Wade
Gary Anderson 16-13 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 31 legs
Sunday November 20
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Gary Anderson v James Wade
Best of 31 legs
Evening Session (7pm)
van Gerwen/Wright v Anderson/Wade
Best of 31 legs