Adams and Winstanley set up World Final
Reigning champion Martin Adams dug deep to send plucky Welshman Martin Phillips packing at the semi-final stage for the second year in a row, as “Wolfie” moved into his fourth final in the last six years. The match started with some spellbinding darts, as Adams signalled his intent with his second 161 finish of the week in the opening leg, before Phillips followed up with a 12 dart finish of his own, and then kicked on to lead 1-0. A 157 from Phillips to break Adams’ throw in the second set was huge, but Adams recovered with a 121 check, but then staggeringly missed 7 darts to take the set as Phillips punished for a 2-0 advantage. This rattled the champion into action as he cruised the next two sets to pull back level, amidst some still nervy finishing, but then flashes of inspiration, with a 90 finish on the bull and a 101 outshot. A sixth leg in a row from Adams was halted as Phillips hit a brilliant 161 finish of his own, but then Adams nearly responded with the impossible, hitting seven perfect darts in a attempt to emulate Paul Lim some 21 years ago. A crucial fifth leg before the break saw it go the way of Adams, as he completed three sets in a row to lead 3-2 at the break. A handful of missed doubles in the sixth clearly frustrating Adams as the Welshman wouldn’t lie down to get back into the match at 3-3, the crowd sensing an upset. Adams again was forced to stamp his foot down as he won the seventh set, the highlight being a 101 outshot, and the eighth set turned to be pivotal as Adams missed four darts throughout the course of the set, before Phillips missed two darts of his own, as Adams finally hit to lead 5-3. The redoubtable Philips edged the ninth amidst a handful more of missed doubles from Adams, who had a checkout percentage in the 20 percents. Phillips was on a nine-dart finish of his own in the next set but failed to hit the treble 20, but then lost the leg as Adams won through for a chance to emulate his heroes. “I enjoyed that. I was not bothered about going down 2-0. I just talked myself back into the match. Really I should not have taken out 161 in the first leg because there is only way to go after that, and that’s down!” joked Adams. “I was a little bit nervous today but I don’t worry and just take things as they come. Once I got into the match I settled. There is a lot of stuff going round in your head up on stage but I am an old hand and experienced enough to know how to handle it and push it to the back of my mind.”
Winstanley comes out on top in battle of the debutants…
Yorkshire star Dean Winstanley brought comeback-kid Jan Dekker back down to earth with a bump as he confidently wrapped up a 6-2 win against the battling Dutchman. Dekker took the opening set of the match before Winstanley settled down to the job in hand, occasionally pointing to his family and then at his head to show concentration, and this was reflected in an 11 dart finish to equalise. A 128 finish contributed to the crucial third set going all the way, as Dekker missed three darts to take it and Winstanley stepped in. Again, the fifth leg-syndrome which has blighted Dekker this week, raised its ugly head again in the direction of the Dutchman, as Winstanley cleaned up for a 3-1 lead. However, the fifth leg was kind to him just before the break as he kept himself in the game with a successful fourth dart at the double to go in at 3-2 down. Winstanley took command again afterwards, as he swept into a 5-2 lead, the Dutchman struggling with his throwing shoulder, most likely due to the marathon he endured against Garry Thompson in the quarters. The eighth set went to a deciding leg, and when Dekker fluffed his lines on 85, failing to hit single 20 to give himself a shot at bull, Winstanley kept his concentration to book a showdown with the defending champion.