Phillips admits he can take the title back to Wales
The left-handed Welshman who has now reached the last four for the second successive year was in blistering form, battling back from 2-0 down to upset the odds. At the start of the tournament he was a 20/1 long shot, reduced to 8/1 before the match with Robson but his odds will shorten again as he bids to reach his first world final.
A fast and furious pace was adopted by the two speedy players, which caught out referee Barry Gilbey on a couple of occasions in the 75 minute thriller.
The opening set went all the way to the fifth leg which was taken on double five by Big Robbo and despite losing the opening leg of the second the Northumberland ace took a 2-0 match lead with a 3-1 set success. The third set went all the way, Phillips battling back from 1-0 down to clinch victory on double 20.
The duo left the stage for a short break with Robson holding a two set cushion after hitting an 83 finish to take a 2-0 lead and scooping the set with 48, finished on his favourite double 16.
The fifth set went with the throw, Phillips coolly exiting on 66 with double tops to reduce Robson’s match lead to one set again. Strangely the first three legs of the next all went against the throw and then the Welshman pounced to grab the fourth with the advantage.
After hitting a maximum in the opening leg of the next set Phillips exited from 78 on double tops after Robson failed to put away the same score. A 137 score edged him into the lead and the left-hander from Dolgellau fired in a set-winning 72 on double 18.
Just when the Northumberland giant appeared to be down and out, Robbo focused and swept through the eighth set 3-0 to take the match into a deciding ninth set.
The opening three legs went with the throw, Phillips twice exiting from 64 on double 16, while Robson had hit a 180 during a 15-dart finish. In the next Robson powered in his eighth maximum to level .
The gutsy Welshman replied with a blockbusting 164 checkout – the second highest of the tournament - finished on bull helped him defend his throw. He followed up with a maximum to set up a match-winning double 12.
Afterwards Phillips admitted for the first time this week that he could end the week as Lakeside champion: “Deep down I think I can do it.
“The match with Gary was a battle. The way he started I was struggling to keep up but I did as I always do, just plodded on. I will not give up until the game is over. There was emotion but I do not show it,” said darts’ new “prince of Wales.”
Report from www.bdodarts.com