Gary Anderson stormed through to the semi-finals of the PDC Home Tour with a clean sweep of victories in Group Three of the Play-Offs on Thursday evening.
Anderson’s participation in the innovative event was in serious doubt last month due to concerns over his WiFi, but he breezed through on Night 30, dismantling Dirk van Duijvenbode and the Belgian duo of Kim Huybrechts and Dimitri Van den Bergh for the loss of just four legs.
The two-time world champion had seen his Premier League colleagues Peter Wright and Glen Durrant crash out on the opening two nights of the Play-Offs, but he enjoyed serene progress on Thursday for the loss of just six legs.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ was pitted against World Youth champion Luke Humphries, 2018 World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis and former BDO star Nick Kenny, who secured his PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School in January.
Anderson kicked off the evening against Kenny, who ironically defeated Humphries to seal his progression on Night Five. Ahead of the clash, the Welshman revealed to Sky Sports that Anderson was his darting idol, but he was unable to topple his hero in their first competitive meeting.
Anderson fired in a brace of 15-darters to establish an early lead and although he was nowhere near his vintage best, a series of clutch last-dart-in-hand doubles saw him run out a convincing 6-2 winner with a modest 88 average.
Humphries – a back-to-back World Championship quarter-finalist – took on Lewis next up and ‘Cool Hand’ lived up to his name despite some early technical difficulties, crashing in four maximums and averaging 100.73 to complete a 6-2 success over the Night One winner.
This set up a must-win showdown between former Welsh team-mates Lewis and Kenny. Lewis raced into a 5-1 lead, only for Kenny to launch a spirited fightback with 15, 13 and 12 dart-legs to reduce the arrears to 5-4. However, ‘Fireball’ regained his poise to keep his slim hopes alive.
The fourth clash of the night saw Anderson lock horns with Humphries, in a repeat of their Premier League clash in March. Humphries prevailed on that occasion to become the first ‘challenger’ to register a win in the competition, but Anderson avenged that defeat to some tune.
The pair traded 15-dart holds to kick off proceedings, before Anderson unleashed a blistering barrage of scoring. The World Cup winner reeled off five consecutive legs in 13, 11, 12, 16 and 16 darts to prevail with a whopping 110 average to Humphries’ 102.
This meant that ‘Cool Hand’ needed to defeat Kenny without conceding more than two legs to maintain his title bid and he kept up his part of the bargain, converting finishes of 96, 114, 117 and 160 en route to a clinical 6-1 success, despite an improved display from Kenny.
Nevertheless, Anderson required the solitary leg against Lewis in the evening’s finale and the two-time Premier League champion claimed top spot in style, firing in four maximums and landing 103 and 106 kills to record a convincing 6-3 victory and maintain his 100% record in the competition.
The 49-year-old will take on former BDO world champion Jelle Klaasen and talented Belgian Mike De Decker in Group One of the semi-finals, with the fourth and final representative in the group set to be decided on Friday.
Anderson has dropped just ten legs in his six matches up to press and is one of only three top ten stars left in the competition, with his Premier League colleagues Rob Cross and Nathan Aspinall returning to action over the coming days.
Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Low6 Home Tour Play-Offs
Group Three – Thursday May 28 (1930 BST)
Gary Anderson 6-2 Nick Kenny
Luke Humphries 6-2 Jamie Lewis
Jamie Lewis 6-4 Nick Kenny
Gary Anderson 6-1 Luke Humphries
Luke Humphries 6-1 Nick Kenny
Gary Anderson 6-3 Jamie Lewis