MARTIN ADAMS 5-4 ROBERT THORNTON

Defending champ Martin Adams turned the screw to topple tournament sensation Scot Robert “The Thorn” Thornton 5-4 in a 114 minute thriller. Wolfie’s fans howled in delight as Adams twice battled back from behind to keep a tight grip on the trophy he regards so highly.

But he was forced to feature in one of the most exciting matches at the Lakeside by the brave man from the north of the border who has endeared himself to fans this week. It was entertainment with a capital “e” 15 180s, several 100 plus checkouts and an 11-dart finish.

Scot Thornton made a perfect start to the match blasting in maximums in each of the first two legs and then clinching the third – and set – with double 10 after Wolfie missed three attempts for double 12. The Scot started how he left off in the next, Adams levelling with an impressive 121 checkout finished on bull and a 180 steered him to the third. “The Thorn” replied with an 11-darter, including two 180s and finished on double 18 but then missed bull in the next, Adams levelling the match with double eight.

“The Thorn” lost the opening leg of the next but battling back to lead 2-1 despite a maximum from Adams. The Scot then missed bull for the set, Adams nervously levelling with is third throw for a double after narrowly wiring double 12 for a 101 exit. The deciding leg saw Thornton miss three attempts for double 18, Adams suffering a bounce-out while going for bull and his opponent gratefully taking double nine for a 2-1 match lead.

Pure brilliance from the defending champion saw him level the match in the next set. Thornton broke the throw, moved 2-1 in front but then missed four darts for the fourth set, Adams levelling with a 103 finish. A 180 steered “The Thorn” ahead in the fifth leg but he missed double 14, Wolfie pouncing to finish 80 on double tops. The world champ scooped the next unchallenged, completing the rout on eye-catching 116, Adams then proving to be a real thorn in the Scotsman’s side taking the sixth set 3-2 after twice trailing.
Two 180s from The Thorn saw him annex the seventh 3-1, taking the match to a tantalising 4-3 in favour of the defending world champ.

Legs were exchanged in the eighth, Adams levelling the fourth leg to take it into a tense deciding leg, with a remarkable set-winning finish produced from the Scot of 120 – treble 20, double tops, double 10! Adams twice led the deciding ninth set leaving himself 16 in the fourth leg, Thornton hitting two treble 20s, suffering anguish as his third dart missed double 19 by the width of a wire for a match-saving 158 finish. The world champ with his familiar trembling hand missed double eight but howled in delight as his second pierced the double four segment.

Adams declared after his last gasp win: ”Lakeside would not be Lakeside if I did not have a close match!
“The crowd got a bit carried away at one stage and one fan made a wolf howl when I was throwing for a crucial double 10 in the eighth set. I’m sure his mates jumped on him and gagged him! The boys and girls out in the crowd got really excited but they should know better than to shout when we are throwing
for a double because this is the important bit.

SIMON WHITLOCK 5-0 TED HANKEY

Millennium champ Ted Hankey was the latest big name casualty, whitewashed by Wizard of Oz Simon Whitlock 5-0. It was spellbinding hour-long show from the 38-year-old Aussie who ruthlessly punished The Count’s lack-lustre performance.

For the second time this week seventh seed Hankey was upset by sections of the crowd, which seemed to affect his concentration, while his opponent remained passive and focused. For Whitlock – who averaged 31.57 – his eight-month-old son Locke is proving to be a lucky mascot this week.

Whitlock made the best start possible taking the opening set 3-0 and then sneaked the second 3-2, as Hankey struggled to settle. He then added the next 3-1 as Hankey seemed preoccupied with disruptive fans, the cool Aussie concentrating on his play, rather than what was happening in the crowd. The Aussie led 2-1 in the fourth but then missed double 16 for a 4-0 interval lead, Hankey producing a set-saving double 10. But it was shortlived, The Wizard conjuring up double 17 in the next leg for a commanding match lead. Boosted by a 12-darter and 180 he took the opening leg of the fifth set against the throw and then added the next after Hankey squandered chances for double 10 and double five.

Both players hit 180 in what was to be the final game of the match, The
Count missing his favourite double tops for a 160 match-saving checkout, Whitlock
swooping to bury him with double tops.

TRINA GULLIVER 2-0 KARIN KRAPPEN

Seven times world champ Trina Gulliver marched defiantly into the final of the women’s championship toppling third seed Karin Krappen to continue a remarkable unbeaten run at Lakeside, which started in 2001.

The Warwickshire county player failed to reach her best form but needed just 23 minutes to dismiss the Dutch third seed. Second seed Gulliver missed doubles but her power scoring – including a maximum – allowed her to take complete control of the match right from the opening leg, which she took against the throw, despite missing three doubles. Krappen narrowly missed a match-equalling 158 on double 19 and the Golden
Girl nipped in to hit double 20 with her first dart to lead 2-0.

The Dutch player took the third on “tops” and Gulliver bounced back to score a psychological 1-0 set lead. Defending her throw in the next Gulliver missed double 20 with her first dart but there was no mistake as she exited on double 10, with Krappen failing to pressurise the seven times world champion. Krappen missed 116 with double 18 and then three further doubles, Gulliver leaving 40 before the Dutch player hit double four – her sixth attempt for a double. Leading the race to the double, Gulliver clinched the third leg with her fourth attempt for a double, following up with 180 and clinching victory on 75, finished on her favourite double tops.

“I was pleased with my performance and always felt in command. Karin did not play her best, I know she can play a lot better, so she did not put any real pressure on me. “I’m looking forward to the final and don’t mind who I play but would prefer to play Stef (Stephanie Smee) so it is an-English affair,” said Gulliver.

ANASTASIA DOBROMYSLOVA 2-0 STEPHANIE SMEE

Russian Anastasia Dobromyslova surged into the women’s final with a clinical 2-0 demolition of Hampshire’s Stephanie Smee. It sets up an intriguing clash between the East European darts ace and seven times world champion Trina Gulliver.

Smee, only a shadow of the player who toppled top seed Francis Hoenselaar never really settled in the match against the fast-throwing 23-year-old, who has won the Russian championship six times.She swept to the first set 3-0 despatching the doubles with pinpoint accuracy.

Anastasia missed two shots for double tops in the opening leg of the second set, recovering to take finish with her third dart. She followed up with double tops – hit with her first dart to move into a threatening 2-0 lead. And it was double 20 that gave the victory to the talented Dobromyslova who now looks to add the world championship title to the World Youth Masters title she won several years ago on this very Lakeside stage!

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