STARS SHINE IN ABERDEEN AS ANDERSON ROCKS AECC
GARY ANDERSON, Simon Whitlock & Phil Taylor turned on the style to thrill a sell-out crowd for Thursday^s 888.com Premier League Darts at the AECC in Aberdeen.
Anderson delighted his Scottish supporters by hitting seven 180s in an 8-3 win over Terry Jenkins which kept him four points behind league leader Phil Taylor, who averaged 107.07 in an 8-1 defeat of Mark Webster.
Those displays, though, were surpassed by an exceptional performance from Simon Whitlock, who equaled the record for 180s in a Premier League game with eight and averaged 107.93 in defeating Raymond van Barneveld 8-5.
The Dutchman played his part in an epic, averaging almost 105 in reply, but sees the Australia overtake him into third place in the Premier League Darts table.
"It feels fantastic," said Whitlock. "I knew I had to play well because Raymond was sensational the last time we played and I was up for a big match - I went out there to do a job and I did that."
Anderson^s superb performance erased the memories of his loss to Adrian Lewis in Glasgow recently, when a minority of fans spoiled his return to Scotland.
"The crowd were brilliant and I^m as proud as punch," said Anderson. "I^ve always said the Scots can sing really loud and tonight was brilliant."
Taylor, meanwhile, continued his ruthless run of form by defeating Webster, who is left alone on four points at the foot of the table after 2009 champion James Wade defeated Adrian Lewis 8-3.
Lewis led 2-0 early on, but left-hander Wade won eight of the next nine legs to complete a league double over the World Champion and claim only his third victory of the season.
"I^m making a mountain for myself to reach the play-offs but, without being big-headed, if anyone can do it I can," said Wade. "My game^s coming back slowly and surely and I^m producing my best in fits and spurts."
888.com Premier League Darts
Week Nine - AECC, Aberdeen
Gary Anderson 8-3 Terry Jenkins
Adrian Lewis 3-8 James Wade
Mark Webster 1-8 Phil Taylor
Raymond van Barneveld 5-8 Simon Whitlock
Latest League Table
R v Barneveld
GARY ANDERSON 8-3 TERRY JENKINS
GARY ANDERSON delighted his home Scottish crowd with a thrilling 8-3 victory over Terry Jenkins in the 888.com Premier League Darts at Aberdeen^s AECC.
The Scot landed seven 180s - the joint-most by any player in a game this season at the time - as well as averaging over 101 in claiming his sixth victory of the year.
He landed 180s in the opening five legs and restricted Jenkins to only six darts at a double in the contest to claim victory in front of 4,000 fans in Aberdeen.
Having been welcomed to the stage by a spine-tingling Scottish reception, Anderson made the perfect start by hitting 180s in the opening three legs in establishing a 3-0 lead, breaking throw in the second with a 12-dart finish.
Anderson also hit a 180 in the fourth, replying to a 180 from Jenkins, but it was the Ledbury man who took out 41 on double top to get off the mark.
Jenkins also had a chance in the fifth leg, but missed the single 16 which would have set up the bullseye on a 123 finish and was punished by Anderson, who followed another 180 with double two for a 4-1 cushion.
Jenkins hit back on double top going into the break, and after Anderson posted a sixth 180 in an 11-dart leg to lead 5-2 the 2007 runner-up took out 111 to win a third leg and maintain a 100 percent record on his finishing.
Anderson, though, took out a pair of 64 finishes to win the next two legs - punishing a missed bullseye and two missed double fours from Jenkins in the latter after hitting his seventh 180 of the game.
He also landed scores of 137, 140 and 140 in the next, before raising the AECC^s roof by sealing victory with a 13-dart leg.
Anderson admitted afterwards that the win had erased the memories of his loss to Adrian Lewis in Glasgow recently, when a minority of fans spoiled his return to Scotland.
"The crowd were brilliant and I^m as proud as punch," said Anderson. "I^ve always said the Scots can sing really loud and tonight was brilliant.
"The big thing was for me to win the game - both for me and the fans. I thought it would be a lot harder but Terry had a few stray darts and I made the most of it."
JAMES WADE 8-3 ADRIAN LEWIS
JAMES WADE won only his third 888.com Premier League Darts game of the year, completing a double against World Champion Adrian Lewis with an 8-3 triumph in Aberdeen.
Wade has saved some of his best displays for Lewis, and hit back from 2-0 down to kick-start his play-off challenge by moving from the foot of the Premier League table.
Lewis had started the better, edging a nervy opening leg before winning the second in 14 darts to double his advantage.
Wade produced a superb 12-dart leg to get off the mark in the third, hitting a 180 in the process, and took out 77 to level before breaking on double ten.
Double top put him 4-2 up, and the left-hander hit a 180 before punishing a missed double 12 for a 141 finish from Lewis by posting double 19 to win a fifth straight leg.
Double five extended that run to six successive legs as he moved 6-2 up, before Lewis hit a 180 and double 14 for a 13-dart leg to hit back.
Wade, though, took the tenth with a 62 finish for a 14-darter and went on to seal the victory by hitting his third maximum of the contest and double top.
"I^m making a mountain for myself to reach the play-offs but, without being big-headed, if anyone can do it I can," said Wade. "My game^s coming back slowly and surely and I^m producing my best in fits and spurts.
"I^m concentrating on enjoying myself more and getting my throw back. It^s becoming natural again and more fluid."
PHIL TAYLOR 8-1 MARK WEBSTER
PHIL TAYLOR continued his charge towards the 888.com Premier League Darts play-offs with an 8-1 win over Mark Webster at the AECC in Aberdeen, as the Welshman hit the foot of the league table.
Taylor^s brilliant form in recent weeks continued with a 107 average as he picked up his eighth successive victory since a defeat on the opening night of the event.
Whilst he remains four points clear at the head of the league table, a second successive 8-1 loss for Webster - his fifth straight reverse - leaves him bottom of the table on just four points.
The Welshman actually won the opening leg, with Taylor hitting a 177 score but missing three darts to break as Webster followed up a 180 with double ten.
However, he missed double 19 for the second leg, and after Taylor landed double top and then broke throw with a 104 finish the third the reigning champion pulled clear.
Webster hit another 180 in leg four, but Taylor took out 76 to lead 3-1 and hit maximum scores in the next three legs, which he took in 12, 11 and 12 darts.
Double ten in the eighth gave Taylor a 7-1 lead, and he hit another 180 and double top in the next to wrap up a convincing victory.
"It was a steady, solid performance," said Taylor. "I thought Mark might be under pressure and I put him under more pressure from the start, and kept it up throughout the match.
"Mark^s a tough player to beat but it^s getting serious for everyone. He^s probably trying too hard at the moment but I like him because he^s a winner and he^s got a great attitude."
SIMON WHITLOCK 8-5 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
SIMON WHITLOCK edged out Raymond van Barneveld 8-5 to win one of the finest ever 888.com Premier League Darts matches in a thriller at the AECC in Aberdeen.
Whitlock averaged almost 108 and equalled the Premier League Darts record of eight 180s in a game to jump above the Dutchman on leg difference in the league table.
Van Barneveld played his part in an epic, averaging 105 in reply but eventually paid the price for a missed dart to level at six-all as Whitlock stepped in to move 7-5 up and then take the win.
Whitlock opened the game with what proved a key break of throw, hitting a 180 in a 14-dart leg as he edged in front.
He doubled his lead with an 80 finish in the second, and after van Barneveld won the third on double eight the Australian won two more legs for a 4-1 advantage - firstly finishing 90 before hitting two 180s in an 11-dart leg.
Whitlock then missed four darts at a double to win the sixth leg, as van Barneveld landed double top to pull back to 4-2.
The Dutchman then took the seventh despite another maximum from Whitlock, landing double top for a 13-dart finish, and the pair traded 180s in leg eight, which the Australian took with a 102 finish.
The high standard continued as van Barneveld punished Whitlock for a missed bullseye for a 170 finish by landing a pressure 67 checkout to reduce the gap to 5-4.
Whitlock landed two 180s in a leg for the second time in the match in taking the tenth in 13 darts, but a miss at double 16 to break in the next was punished by van Barneveld on double eight.
The Dutchman then created the opportunity to level in the 12th leg, but missed double nine for an 81 finish, as Whitlock stepped in to land double ten with his third dart - ensuring he would earn at least a draw at 7-5.
Van Barneveld fought to keep the match alive with his second 180 of the contest, but a miss at double 18 gave Whitlock the chance to seize victory, which he took on double four.
"It feels fantastic," said Whitlock. "I knew I had to play well because Raymond was sensational the last time we played and I was up for a big match.
"I went out there to do a job and I did that, but I missed a few doubles and am trying to work out what my average would have been if I hadn^t! I^ve put a lot of time in practising and it paid off because this was close to my best."
Van Barneveld admitted: "It was a real privilege to play in that game, it was brilliant.
"Simon played some absolutely fantastic darts and was the better player. It would have been better to win with a 97 average than lose with a 104 average, but I had chances and didn^t take them."