Robert Thornton produced a dominant display to defeat three-time world champion Martin Adams and lift the inaugural World Seniors Championship title on a historic night at the Circus Tavern.
The 54-year-old was imperious in the early stages against ‘Wolfie’, and despite an edgy conclusion to proceedings, Thornton held his nerve to add the World Seniors crown to his World Grand Prix, UK Open and World Masters successes.
‘The Thorn’ relinquished just two sets in reaching the final, and he underlined his favourite tag by averaging 92.66 and firing in nine 180s to scoop the £30,000 top prize.
The Scot made a blistering start to Sunday’s showpiece, posting a staggering 118.66 average to clinch the opening set without reply, including legs of 14, 11 and 13 darts, aided by two maximums and a 177.
The Ayrshire ace inevitably couldn’t maintain that meteoric standard, yet he continued the procession to double his cushion, converting a two-dart 77 outshot to make it six legs on the spin.
Adams opened his account to draw first blood in the third, but Thornton refused to relent, registering a classy 116 finish alongside a brace of 68 checkouts to extend his lead, with ‘Wolfie’ crashing in two 180s but failing to register a dart at double in the closing stages of set three.
The pair produced the leg of the tournament midway through set four – exchanging maximums to each leave a double after nine darts, although it was Adams who claimed the spoils, completing a ten-darter via double eight after Thornton had frittered away three set darts.
The three-time world champion followed up his ten-darter with a 15-dart hold to force a set decider, yet Thornton was undeterred, closing out a 16-dart hold to move to within a set of the title.
Adams was on the brink of suffering just his second whitewash defeat in his 80th World Championship contest, only to be handed an unexpected reprieve when Thornton squandered five match darts in the penultimate leg of set five.
The 65-year-old capitalised to open his account with a 72 skin-saver, though it appeared to only delay the inevitable as Thornton moved a leg away with a 14-dart hold in the sixth, before he fashioned out further match darts courtesy of his eighth maximum.
The drama was prolonged however, when Adams produced a nerveless 71 outshot after Thornton fluffed three more opportunities to prevail, but at the 12th attempt, the 54-year-old wrapped it up, following up a ninth 180 by pinning double 12 to etch his name into the history books.
Robert Thornton 4-2 Kevin Painter
Earlier in the day, Thornton fired in eight maximums as he maintained his march towards glory with victory over Painter in the opening semi-final.
‘The Artist’ ended a remarkable 31-match losing run against 16-time world champion Phil Taylor in the last eight, only to become yet another player to depart a World Championship after claiming the scalp of ‘The Power’.
‘The Thorn’ signalled his intent with an eye-catching 116 finish in leg one, breezing through the first set without reply. The second was a high-quality affair, but after both men were presented with set-winning opportunities, Painter struck back with a clinical two-dart 78 kill to level.
The pendulum continued to swing in a dramatic third set, with Painter converting 114 and 83 checkouts in succession to force a fifth and decisive leg, but Thornton regained the initiative by following up a brace of two-treble visits with a 15-dart hold.
The Scot tightened his grip on proceedings with back-to-back 15-dart legs early in the fourth, before Painter raised the roof at the Circus Tavern with a spectacular 170 checkout – the first of the tournament.
Thornton was undeterred however, opening up the following leg with six perfect darts, before defying some double-trouble to extend his cushion with a 16-darter.
‘The Artist’ displayed his trademark tenacity to reduce the arrears in the fifth, beginning the set with five perfect darts, before firing in legs of 13 and 16 darts to preserve his World Championship dreams.
Nevertheless, Thornton struck the decisive blow after the pair exchanged holds early in the sixth, conjuring up a 13-dart break which propelled him to a 4-2 success.
Martin Adams 4-2 Terry Jenkins
Adams booked his place in Sunday’s showpiece with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over nine-time major finalist Jenkins, who saw his bid for an elusive first televised crown curtailed in a compelling contest.
‘Wolfie’ was bidding to add the World Seniors title to his three BDO world crowns, yet for the third consecutive tie, the 65-year-old was forced to recover from a sluggish start.
Adams drew first blood courtesy of a 13-dart break, featuring visits of 180 and 171, yet it was Jenkins who captured the opening set, punishing his opponent’s profligacy on the outer ring.
The three-time world champion responded with legs of 17 and 16 darts in the latter stages of set two to avoid falling further behind, before producing a majestic 145 outshot to seize the initiative and leave Jenkins shell-shocked.
Adams continued his purple patch with a sumptuous 11-darter midway through set four, although Jenkins responded emphatically; restoring parity at two apiece courtesy of back-to-back 14-darters.
The high-quality continued after the interval. Jenkins kicked off the fifth set with a superb 12-darter and added a clinical 78 checkout to his tally, only for Adams to steal it in dramatic fashion, landing 83 and 74 finishes, before pinning double five after the 59-year-old had squandered two at double for a 3-2 lead.
‘Wolfie’ cemented his advantage by storming 2-0 ahead in the sixth within just 29 darts, and although Jenkins fought back with a 91 skin-saver on the bull, Adams’ exemplary timing saw him follow up his fourth maximum with a 14-darter on tops to seal the deal.
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