Last week’s matches in the McCoy’s Premier League witnessed mixed fortunes for the two Scots involved. Robert Thornton looked mightily impressive from the off against World Champion Phil Taylor and immediately broke his throw with an eleven darter. Once in the lead he showed few signs of faltering despite a barrage of high scores from Taylor. The Scot opened the vital eleventh leg with a 180 and required only eight more darts to checkout for a 7-4 win, his third televised victory over Taylor in the past year.
The Thorn moved up to fourth place in the Premier League, just a point behind joint leaders Michael van Gerwin, James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld.
‘I’m very proud to be where I am in the table,’ he told Sky’s Dave Clark after the match, ‘and this week ranks amongst the best nights in my career.’
Next up for Robert in week 10 at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena will be Simon Whitlock, last year’s beaten finalist and another win could be crucial for Robert’s chances of making it to the Play-Offs at the O2 in May.
With its new format and the threat of relegation, this year’s competition has ensured far more meaningful matches than previously and before a dart had been thrown on what Sky hyped as ‘Judgement Night’ there were 21 possible permutations regarding relegation.
Gary Anderson’s hopes of extending his stay looked to have improved significantly when former World Champion Adrian Lewis was beaten comprehensively by Raymond van Barneveld and Andy Hamilton’s win over Wes Newton eliminated the debutant from Fleetwood. As the Flying Scotsman toed the oche against James Wade, he knew precisely what was required to secure his Premier League survival: a 7-4 victory or better.
The Somerset based Scot started with a 180 and few could criticise his darts on the evening (he managed a ton plus average) but the recently revitalised James Wade was far more precise with his doubles, hitting an incredible 7 of his 8 attempts to record a 7-3 win that was closer than that scoreline might suggest.
So, sadly no more Gary Anderson in this year’s Premier League; the man who on his first appearance in the event in 2011 was crowned champion has now frustratingly finished bottom for a second successive season. Hopefully he’ll be back in 2014 and we’ll see more than just the glimpses of brilliance he’s shown this time round.
Over in the BDO at the weekend, the Scottish Darts Association hosted the 34th annual Home Internationals event at the CISWO club in Glenrothes. Captained by Ross Montgomery, who last month reached the semis of the International Mariflex Open in Holland, the men’s side now has a very solid look to it and certainly some of the more recent additions like the current Scottish Singles champion, Fife’s Alan Small and Craig Menzies of Ayrshire look like fine additions to the team.
Scotland got the better of Wales on Saturday 7-5, with wins from the aforementioned Ross the Boss, Menzies and Small together with Steve Ritchie, Gary Stone, Harry Todman, and Alan Soutar.
Sunday morning then saw Wales race into a 4-0 lead against England, though England clawed their way back into the contest and eventually matched the Scotland’s 7-5 win to set up a decider against the hosts later that afternoon.
Playing in front of a full house, this time it was the Auld Enemy who raced into a 4-0 lead, Tony O’Shea then just edged Cameron Menzies in a game that could have went either way until the Stockport man threw the winning dart in the fifth leg.
Scotland, though, weren’t accepting defeat just yet and the very promising Craig Baxter can be rightly proud of starting the comeback by comfortably defeating the current BDO world champion Scotty Waites 3-0.
We then witnessed the highlight of the weekend, England’s Mark McGeeney and Larkhall man Gary Stone both achieving 100+ averages in a topsy-turvy thriller which McGeeney snatched in the deciding leg. He may not be one of England’s better known players but remember that name – I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Mark in the near future.
Jamie Bain then revived Scotland’s spirits again by beating Yorkshire county stalwart Martin Atkins, while Euan Callander and Harry Todman each triumphed against a former World Champion (Martin Adams and John Walton) before Ross Montgomery showed his quality with a tight victory over Glen Durrant to make the final score – England 7 Scotland 5, which meant a clean sweep for the English in each of the weekend’s four contests, their Men and Women retaining their BDO British Internationals titles, and their Boys and Girls also coming out on top. Congratulations to them.
Written by Jamie Havlin