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Article: Thornton Edges Through a Thriller to the Last 32

Thornton Edges Through a Thriller to the Last 32

By Phil Lanning EXCLUSIVE RED-HOT Robert Thornton won a heartstopping Players Championship clash and then called himself a “plank” for missing a perfect nine-dart leg. The Thorn edged out James Richardson 6-5 in Minehead yesterday after narrowly missing a nine-darter before then fluffing NINE darts to win it. But just when it seemed that the Ayrshire ace was going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, he somehow hit a double three from an almost impossible angle to win it. Thornton said: “What a match. I think I just wanted to win it too much. I wanted to win for my wife Chrissy who couldn’t be here today after a knee replacement op last week. “There were a few complications with the op and she can’t travel now and she’s always usually at the tournaments with me. “So I wanted to give her something to smile about. Trouble is I think she might need extra morphine after that match. “I thought I’d hit the nine-darter and then I thought I’d blown the match. What a rollercoaster of emotions in the space of seconds. “I felt I should have won easier. But we got to the decider and I hit the nine perfect darts just with double 12 to hit. When I threw it I thought it was in. Then the dart just dipped before hitting the board and missed, I thought to myself ‘you absolute plank’! “Then typically I couldn’t hit the double to win the match and it let James back into it and he missed a chance to win it. “In the end I threw two darts at double three which blocked it completely. I knew I hadn’t throw the darts hard enough. So I just felt if I aimed bottom left it would go in. Thank God it did. “I’ve always had bottle and that proves I’ve still got what it takes to win.” Thornton has been slipping down the rankings after a barren run and it looked like this match might slip away despite his powerful scoring. The Scot showed flashes of his brilliant best which has made him a two-times major winner over Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen in the UK Open and Grand Prix in recent years. He added: “I got to the final in this tournament 10 years ago and lost to Phil which really helped launch my PDC career and got me up the rankings, I hope this weekend can do the same. “I had three darts drop out early on in the match and that’s typical my luck. I should have been 4-1 up at the break but was 3-2 down. “I’ve only been using new Red Dragon Darts with tinted blue barrels for a couple of weeks and I love them. They are my usual darts but with titan ends and they are working great for me. “I’m a bit double rusty at the moment but that will get better with more game time. My scoring was brilliant so I’m happy if I can keep improving. “For the rest of the tournament I’m just going to enjoy myself and hope to keep progressing. But I’m buzzing after that win right now. I think I need a lie down!”

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