Mile High^ hits the heights again!
Following his tremendous efforts in qualifying for all the Sky Majors in just over 18 months ‘Mile High’ again justified the increasing praise and notice he has been receiving. After a few unspectacular weeks leading up to the Grand Prix Mark again should his big game temperament and love of the stage in Dublin at The World Grand Prix.
A very untimely bout of the flu threatened all of Team Hylton’s plans for this event. However Mark’s gritty spirit shone through when he came back from 1 set and 1-0 down to defeat Mark Walsh, taking 6 of the last 7 legs to do so. The Pink shirted Hylton had had a nightmare time at the Pro Tour event in Dublin going out early on both days whilst in his debilitated condition, so to pull this game out of the bag was evidence of his strength of character.
The last 16 of the Grand Prix saw Mark taking on Simon Whitlock, the world number 5 has always had a high opinion of Mark and been friendly and helpful since Mark joined the tour. However Mile High is proving a handful for almost anyone on the big occasions. Although he fell behind early on, the crowd seemed to take to Mark again and his relaxed confident mood ensured that he could up his game at the right time and come through with a superb 92 finish to claim the match and his 2nd TV Qtr final of 2011. The only question that remained was how much was left for the encounter with Richie Burnett who had stormed through his section in superb style.
Until this stage Mark had been able to rest and fend off the flu for a day between each game, for the Quarter however it was straight into action the following day. This was asking a little much, despite a strong start Mile High did not appear to have the gas to produce another fight back, Richie played strongly at the right times and produced a seasoned and experienced, professional performance to reach the semi and an encounter with `The Power’. Those who follow Mark and Mark himself were enormously proud of his achievements here, winning a tough encounter against the odds and again defeating one of the elite. In some ways this was his greatest achievement so far!
As is the way with professional darts, the bandwagon kept on rolling and after only 3 days back home in the midlands it was off to Kilarney for this years Festival of Darts! Mile High has been a little short of sharpness and this provided a perfect opportunity to regain his floor form. The Irish Masters on day 1 provided a few good games and the edge began to return, a narrow defeat to Wayne Jones at the last 16 stage representing a good start. Day 2 was the Pro Tour event The Gold Dart. After two solid games a board final against Chris Aubrey showed Mark was back to form with a superb 6-1 win. A very awkward encounter followed with practise partner and friend Ian White awaited in the last 16 stage. Again Mark completed the job strongly with a 6-2 win and then avenged his defeat of Saturday with a 6-3 win over Wayne Jones from 0-3! Mile High’s final work of the weekend was a very entertaining high performance game against Gary Anderson. A quality game ensued on stage with both players hitting 180’s for fun , 7 were counted in the first 4 legs. Gary edged the game with a 106 finish to win leg 8 and then opened the 9th with a 180 to claim a 6-3 win.
So, a fantastic couple of weeks for Mile High, he has ensured qualification for both The World Championships and The Players Championship Finals, reached his 2nd Major quarter and gone a little further in ensuring that the next 12 months with be spectacular!