TAYLOR EDGES PAST HAMILTON IN THRILLER AS WHITLOCK, PIPE & HUYBRECHTS REACH SEMIS
TAYLOR EDGES PAST HAMILTON IN THRILLER AS WHITLOCK, PIPE & HUYBRECHTS REACH SEMIS
PHIL TAYLOR made a miraculous comeback from 9-5 down to win his place in the Cash Converters Players Championship semi-finals on Sunday afternoon, and is joined in the last four by Simon Whitlock, Kim Huybrechts and Justin Pipe at the Butlins Minehead Resort.
Taylor, twice previously the champion of the £250,000 event, looked set to suffer his first-ever televised defeat to Hamilton when his Stoke rival came from 3-1 down to lead 7-3 and 9-5.
Taylor, though, took two legs to kick-start his comeback and punished one missed dart at tops from Hamilton to pull back to 9-8 before finishing 102 to force a deciding leg and snatching victory with a brilliant 14-darter.
"I was dead and buried at 9-5 and I just wanted to give the fans a show but then I started to peg Andy back and he gave me a glimmer of hope," admitted Taylor. "It was a great game and to win it like that sets me up for the semi-finals."
Hamilton was left to rue one missed dart at tops for the match, when needing 60 he threw his first dart out of the board before then landing the single 20 to leave him a single dart at a double, which agonisingly landed on the wrong side of the wire.
"I probably rushed the 60 and thought I was at the finishing line," admitted Hamilton, who hit seven 180s and a 142 finish. "It^s disappointing to lose but there are so many positives to take from my performance and the only negative is that I lost."
Taylor now plays Simon Whitlock in the semi-finals, after the Australian star held off Gary Anderson^s fightback from 4-0 and 6-1 down to take a thrilling 10-8 win over the Scot.
"It was a great game and I was pretty nervous at the end because Gary hit me with a barrage of 180s and came back like the champion he is," said Whitlock. "It^s great to be in the semi-finals now and I^ll have to prepare myself for the evening."
The other semi-final features two players who are in the last four of a televised major for the first time, with Kim Huybrechts and Justin Pipe overcoming Peter Wright and Mervyn King respectively.
Huybrechts averaged 104.34 in a superb 10-6 defeat of Lowestoft^s Wright, with a mid-game surge seeing the Belgian win five straight legs to take an advantage he would never surrender.
"We both played some really good darts but my finishing was the difference today," said 26-year-old Huybrechts. "I^m a very happy man and I^m getting a lot of trust in my game, especially my finishing, at the moment."
Taunton^s Pipe, meanwhile, was a 10-7 winner against former finalist Mervyn King as he won through to a first major semi-final.
"I thought at one point that Mervyn was going to come back at me so I^m glad I got it finished," said Pipe. "Mervyn^s been playing really well lately, so to beat him on stage is massive and it means a lot to me.
"I feel a lot more comfortable on the stage and I^m getting used to it, and I^m over the moon to be in my first TV semi-final. Kim^s a great player and one of us will be in our first TV final, so it^s a big opportunity tonight."
The semi-finals and final will be played on Sunday evening as the desting of the £60,000 first prize is decided, with both Pipe and Huybrechts seeking their maiden majors and the added incentive of winning a place in the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts for the next two years.
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Sunday December 2
Peter Wright 6-10 Kim Huybrechts
Justin Pipe 10-7 Mervyn King
Simon Whitlock 10-8 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 10-9 Andy Hamilton
Play Commences 7pm
Live on ITV4 from 6.45pm-11.30pm
Kim Huybrechts v Justin Pipe
Simon Whitlock v Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs
Huybrechts/Pipe v Whitlock/Taylor
Best of 25 legs
Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts
0-0 - Peter Wright wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Wright opens the game with a 180 but misses two darts at tops, and Huybrechts finishes 121 on the bull to break throw.
1-1 - The Belgian misses double 18, and Wright finishes double five to break back.
2-1 - Wright lands double 16 to edge ahead.
2-2 - Huybrechts lands a 180, and when Wright misses double 11 for a 124 finish, the Belgian lands double ten.
2-3 - Both players land maximums, with Huybrechts being let back in when Wright misses double 18, and double 16 gives him a break of throw.
2-4 - Double 16 again sees Huybrechts win a fourth leg.
2-5 - The Belgian takes out 81 for an 11-darter to continue his impressive start.
2-6 - Wright hits a 180 but Huybrechts finishes 130 on the bull to move four legs clear.
3-6 - Tops for Wright sees him win his first leg in six.
3-7 - Huybrechts lands a 180 and tops to regain his cushion.
4-7 - Huybrechts posts another maximum but Wright finishes tops to hit back.
4-8 - Huybrechts^ clinical finishing continues as he posts double 16 once again.
5-8 - Wright lands a 180 and finishes double ten.
5-9 - Huybrechts opens with a maximum, and when Wright misses the bull to finish 121 he steps in to finish double 18 for a 13-darter.
6-9 - Wright fires in a 180 and double eight to keep his hopes alive.
6-10 - Huybrechts lands double 18 with his third dart, sealing victory with an impressive 104.34 average and a 63 percent finishing ratio.
Kim Huybrechts: "We both played some really good darts but my finishing was the difference today. I^m a very happy man and I^m getting a lot of trust in my game, especially my finishing, at the moment."
Peter Wright: "I scored really well and if I^d hit my doubles it may have been a different story. I^m disappointed to lose but pleased to have reached the quarter-finals and I^ll look forward to the World Championship now."
Justin Pipe v Mervyn King
0-0 - Mervyn King wins the bull and throws first
0-1 - King lands double 18 to win the opening leg
1-1 - Pipe posts a 180 and a 99 finish to level.
2-1 - Pipe opens with another maximum, and when King misses four doubles he takes out double five to break throw.
3-1 - Pipe lands double ten to move two legs clear.
3-2 - King hits his first 180 of the game as he cuts the gap to one leg.
4-2 - Pipe finishes 111 to edge away.
4-3 - King lands double 16 to hit back
5-3 - King misses a second bullseye to complete a 125 finish, and Pipe hits the same bed for a 126 checkout to break throw.
6-3 - Pipe opens with 140 and 180, and after both players miss the bull, the Taunton man returns to finish double eight.
6-4 - Pipe misses two darts at double 16 and King capitalises on double ten.
7-4 - King misses double ten for a 128 finish, and Pipe takes out 122 on the bull.
7-5 - Pipe lands a 180 but is punished for a missed double as King lands double nine.
7-6 - King lands double six to pull back to just one leg behind.
8-6 - Pipe opens with a maximum and takes out 78 to edge away from his opponent.
9-6 - The Taunton man lands a sixth maximum of the game, with double 16 moving him a leg away from the win.
9-7 - Pipe misses darts at double top and ten to take victory, with King returning from earlier misses to land double four.
10-7 - Pipe finishes 61 on double 18 to win through to his first major televised semi-final.
Justin Pipe: "I worked very hard for that but I thought at one point that Mervyn was going to come back at me so I^m glad I got it finished. Mervyn^s been playing really well lately, so to beat him on stage is massive and it means a lot to me. I feel a lot more comfortable on the stage and I^m getting used to it, and I^m over the moon to be in my first TV semi-final. Kim^s a great player and one of us will be in our first TV final, so it^s a big opportunity tonight."
Mervyn King: "It wasn^t my day and my scoring wasn^t as good as I wanted, but I gave it my all. When your luck^s in, the deflections go the right way for you and today they didn^t, but I came back at him and made him nervous there."
Simon Whitlock v Gary Anderson
0-0 - Gary Anderson wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Anderson misses one dart for the opener, at double five for a 130 finish, and Whitlock breaks throw with a 13-darter.
2-0 - Anderson lands a 180, but Whitlock finishes 100 for an 11-dart finish.
3-0 - Anderson posts another 180 but misses double 13 to finish 81, and the Australian again steps in to win a 12-darter.
4-0 - Double eight sees Whitlock continue his wonderful start to the game.
4-1 - Anderson misses double 16, eight and four, but Whitlock misses double 16 for a 112 finish to allow him back to pin double two.
5-1 - Whitlock posts his first 180 and lands double 16 to win a fifth leg.
6-1 - Whitlock hits a 168 score to leave eight, and when Anderson misses double 16 and eight, the Australian hits double four to move further clear.
6-2 - Whitlock fires in a 171 score, but Anderson takes out 99 on double 16 to hit back.
6-3 - Whitlock misses double 16 and Anderson punishes him by landing double eight with his third dart to win a second successive leg.
7-3 - The European Champion scores 171, 140 and 170 before hitting double five for an 11-darter.
7-4 - Anderson lands a 180 and double ten to win his fourth leg of the game.
8-4 - Whitlock hits a 180 but misses double 19, although Anderson is off-target with two darts at double 16 and he returns to post double eight.
8-5 - Anderson misses tops for a 118 finish, but Whitlock fails to land the bullseye when needing 91 and the Scot hits double ten.
8-6 - Whitlock misses double top for a 104 finish, and Anderson takes out 112 to pull back to within two legs.
8-7 - Anderson takes out 136 to continue his revival and pull back to just one leg behind the Australian.
9-7 - The drama increases further, with Anderson hitting a 180, Whitlock missing double 18 for a 150 finish before the Scot wires the bull for a 161 checkout, allowing his opponent back to finish double nine and move a leg away from the win.
9-8 - Anderson opens with two 180s, missing the seventh treble 20 but taking the leg in ten darts on double 18 to keep the game alive.
10-8 - Anderson hits his seventh 180 of the game and adds a 140 to leave 81 after nine darts, but misses the bull and two darts at double eight and Whitlock lands double four with his third dart to complete a brilliant win.
Simon Whitlock: "It was a great game and I was pretty nervous at the end because Gary hit me with a barrage of 180s and came back like the champion he is It^s great to be in the semi-finals now and I^ll have to prepare myself for the evening."
Gary Anderson: "It wasn^t a slow start from me because I had chances to win the first and third legs, and once I got going I was okay. My darts are going well again and I^m looking forward to the World Championship now."
Phil Taylor v Andy Hamilton
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Hamilton breaks in the opening leg, with Taylor missing the bull and two darts at double eight to let him back in on double 16.
1-1 - Hamilton misses the bull for a 121 finish and Taylor follows up a 170 score by finishing 32 on double eight.
2-1 - Taylor hits a 180 as he edges ahead.
3-1 - Taylor finishes 84 on double 11 to break and move two legs clear.
3-2 - Taylor misses two darts at tops and Hamilton steps in to break back.
3-3 - Hamilton fires in a 180 and completes a 12-darter with an 85 finish.
3-4 - Taylor misses tops and Hamilton hits the front by posting double 16.
3-5 - Taylor misses another double, this time at double 16, and Hamilton pins tops to pounce and move two legs clear.
3-6 - Hamilton hits a 180 and finishes 118 to win a fifth successive leg.
3-7 - Taylor agonisingly misses two darts at double 14 on the wire, and Hamilton again takes advantage by hitting tops.
4-7 - Taylor hits back, initially missing double top but returning to punish four misses from Hamilton to land double eight.
4-8 - The players trade maximums before Hamilton restores his cushion in style, finishing 142.
5-8 - Taylor finishes 105 on double 16 to hit back.
5-9 - Hamilton fires in another 180 and takes out 84 in two darts to move a leg away from his first-ever televised win over his Stoke rival.
6-9 - Taylor opens with a 180, with Hamilton kicking off with a 174 but only able to watch the world number one finish 102 to win a sixth leg.
7-9 - Taylor finishes 88 in two darts to keep the game alive, breaking throw to cut the gap to two legs.
8-9 - Taylor opens with a 180 and adds a 140, with Hamilton replying with a maximum - his seventh - to leave 60, but when Taylor misses the bull for a 122 finish, Hamilton misses a dart at tops, and Taylor lands double eight to save the game.
9-9 - Taylor is first to a finish, leaving 102, with Hamilton landing a 177 to leave 46 only for the world number one to take out 102 on double 16 to force a decider!
10-9 - Taylor, with the throw, is again first to a finish by leaving 71 after 12 darts, and he completes an incredible comeback with treble 13 and double 16!
Phil Taylor: "I was dead and buried at 9-5 and I just wanted to give the fans a show but then I started to peg Andy back and he gave me a glimmer of hope. It was a great game and to win it like that sets me up for the semi-finals."
Andy Hamilton: "I probably rushed the 60 and thought I was at the finishing line. It^s disappointing to lose but there are so many positives to take from my performance and the only negative is that I lost."