Raymond van Barneveld defeated his old rival Phil Taylor to set up a semi-final showdown with his compatriot Michael van Gerwen, whilst Gary Anderson defeated Dave Chisnall in an Ally Pally classic to set up an all-Scottish clash with Peter Wright on a stunning day of quarter-final action at the Alexandra Palace on Friday evening.
Ten years on from their iconic World Championship final at the Circus Tavern, Van Barneveld defeated Taylor once more in a hard-fought affair to set up a pulsating last four showdown with Michael van Gerwen, in a repeat of their classic affair twelve months ago, where Barney produced a heroic display to oust the world number one.
In a topsy-turvy tussle, Van Barneveld averaged 96.31, landed six maximums and converted 33% of his attempts at double to record a 5-3 victory, as Taylor was dumped out after averaging 95.65, hitting six maximums and boasting a 37% checkout success rate.
Barney made an assertive start to the contest to draw first blood. The opening two legs were shared before the Dutchman edged ahead on D1, and Barney followed this up with his first maximum en route to breaking throw on D10 to move 1-0 ahead.
Taylor and Barney exchanged 64 and 71 finishes respectively early in set two, but Taylor then posted maximums in successive legs to level up at 1-1. ‘The Power’ led 2-0 in set three, but Van Barneveld pulled a leg back after landing another maximum, before capitalising on missed set darts from the Stokie to draw level and throw for set three.
Taylor seemed destined to clinch the set but Van Barneveld converted a clean 76 kill on tops to snatch it, and he produced some stunning finishing in set four to extend his cushion. Taylor led the fourth set 2-1, but RvB stayed afloat with a majestic 167 checkout, before converting a quality 120 finish to round-off a 12-darter to claim a 3-1 lead.
The five-time world champion appeared in cruise control but suffered a temporary lapse as Taylor won the fifth set to nil. The 55-year-old then dispatched finishes of 81 and 97 to extend his winning sequence to five straight legs and although Barney fought back to force a set decider, Taylor fired in his sixth 180 to restore parity at three apiece.
The 16-time world champion had the momentum, but Van Barneveld showed terrific resilience to bounce back in the seventh set. The Dutchman drew first blood on D1, before crashing in a timely maximum and taking out 76 for a 12-dart break of throw. Taylor was stunned and Barney pinned D3 to clinch the set without reply to move one set away.
The first two legs of the following set were shared before a dramatic leg ensued. Van Barneveld missed two darts to break after leaving 91 after just 9 darts, and Taylor ruthlessly punished this by conjuring up a majestic 123 finish (T19, T16, D9) to hold throw.
This was a bitter pill to swallow for the Den Haag ace but he responded superbly to this setback. He hit D8 to force a set decider and heap the pressure on ‘The Power’, before posting a stunning leg against throw. Barney hit his sixth maximum to leave 86 after nine darts and converted this outshot on the bullseye to round off a magnificent triumph.
Gary Anderson remains on course for a third successive world title after defying an astonishing twenty-one maximums from Dave Chisnall to prevail in one of the greatest games ever staged at the Alexandra Palace. Chizzy threw everything at ‘The Flying Scotsman’ but it wasn’t enough, as Anderson averaged 105.9 to record a 5-3 win.
Both players made a blistering start to the contest, with Anderson breaking Chisnall’s throw in the deciding leg of the set which included nine maximums. The barrage of maximum hitting continued after the interval, as the Scot doubled his lead with the St Helen’s star again putting in a lacklustre leg in the set decider.
However, the seventh seed responded magnificently after the interval. He fired in maximums in successive legs to seal control of the third and although Anderson fought back to force a third straight set decider, Chisnall enjoyed a stunning sequence of four consecutive legs which saw him level up the tussle at two sets apiece.
Anderson fired back in fine style however. The world champion converted a superb 124 checkout on the bull to break, before pinning D16 and D8 to clinch the set without reply as his maximum count rose to 11.
Chisnall wasn’t deterred however. He dispatched finishes of 84 and 105 with some aplomb to seal control of set six and whilst Ando stayed alive with a vital 80 checkout, ‘Chizzy’ followed up his 16th maximum with a ten-dart leg culminating on D2.
The seventh seed maintained his fine form early in set seven, holding throw with a stunning 96 checkout to round off an 11-darter, before pegging D3 to extend his cushion. However, Chisnall then spurned four set darts as Anderson hit D8, before the world champ held his nerve to take out finishes of 76 and 66 to snatch the set from the St Helen’s star.
This visibly deflated Chisnall as Anderson won the opening two legs of set eight to move to the cusp of victory. However, the Scot squandered three match darts as Chizzy stayed alive on D4, before he registered back-to-back maximums to level the set and equal Raymond van Barneveld’s PDC record of 21 maximums hit in a single match.
Despite Chisnall’s record-breaking maximum hitting, it wasn’t enough to secure his spot in a maiden World Championship final, as Anderson regained his composure to complete a 15-dart hold on D10 to record his sixteenth successive triumph on the Ally Pally stage.
World number one Michael van Gerwen stormed into the last four with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over 24th seed Daryl Gurney. The Northern Irishman was competing in his maiden World Championship quarter-final and acquitted himself impressively, averaging 98.52 and landing eight maximums.
Nevertheless, Van Gerwen was in cruise control and recorded TWO 170 checkouts en route to victory. ‘Mighty Mike’ averaged 103.58, fired in seven maximums and converted 41% of his attempts at double to keep his hopes of winning a second world title alive.
Van Gerwen stormed to the opening set with a 125 average. MvG kicked off proceedings with majestic 101 and 170 outshots, before sealing the set with a 12-darter via a classy 92 kill. However, Gurney fought back to level up proceedings; converting finishes of 76 and 108 before pinning D5 after MvG missed one dart at D16 to double his advantage.
The Dutchman responded in typically stunning fashion however. He won the third set without reply and rounded it off with his second 170 finish of the contest, before clinching a hard fought fourth set with a 12-dart leg in the decider, despite the fact that Gurney was first to a double in the opening four legs of the set.
The opening two legs of set five were shared, before ‘The Green Machine’ broke in 14 darts and established a 4-1 cushion with a 76 kill. Van Gerwen crashed in his sixth 180 to move within a leg of victory, but Gurney prolonged the drama with a 76 kill. Nevertheless, his hopes were soon extinguished as MvG effortlessly dispatched a 65 checkout to triumph.
Elsewhere, Peter Wright produced a masterful display to edge out a typically tenacious James Wade and reach the last four. Snakebite averaged 104.79, landed ten maximums and converted 48% of his double attempts as he won four of the final five sets to win 5-3.
Wade also played his part in a magnificent contest, averaging 99.13, firing in twelve maximums and boasting an impressive checkout ratio of 54%, but The Machine’s wait for an elusive World Championship title goes on.
The opening two sets went against the darts, before the left-hander produced two moments of magic to also seal the third set against throw. Wright appeared in control but Wade levelled the set with a classy 144 finish, before converting a majestic 155 outshot to regain the lead, after Snakebite had spurned set darts at D16 and D8 respectively.
Wade drew first blood in set four, but Wright fired back to level up proceedings by taking out a 130 checkout on the bullseye to seal the set with a 110 average. The third seed repeated the feat in the next, converting finishes of 90, 61 and 60 to lead for the first time in the match.
Wright extended his winning sequence to eight straight legs to seal command of set six and although Wade capitalised on four missed darts from the Scot to break, the former finalist fired back with a 13-darter to move to within a set of the semi-finals.
‘The Machine’ won the opening two legs of set seven and although Wright posted a 124 checkout to stay alive, Wade reduced the arrears to 4-3 with a clean 80 kill. However, Wade was unable to complete another heroic comeback on this occasion, as Wright wrapped up victory in the eighth set with a stunning 134 checkout.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
William Hill World Darts Championship
Friday December 30
Afternoon Session (1pm)
James Wade (6) 3-5 Peter Wright (3)
Gary Anderson (2) 5-3 Dave Chisnall (7)
Evening Session (7pm)
Michael van Gerwen (1) 5-1 Daryl Gurney (24)
Raymond van Barneveld (12) 5-3 Phil Taylor (4)