PHIL TAYLOR won the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts title for a fourth time with a clinical 16-4 demolition of Gary Anderson at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Sunday night.

The Stoke great followed up his 16-9 semi-final triumph over Adrian Lewis earlier on Sunday with another thrilling performance, averaging 109.03 in winning back the trophy.

After Anderson took out 140 and 128 to lead 2-1, Taylor won seven successive legs to pull clear and after Anderson cut the gap to 9-4 he reeled off seven more to seal the £100,000 title.

Anderson kicked off the match with a superb 140 checkout, and after Taylor finished 72 the Scot posted a 128 finish to lead 2-1.

Taylor hit tops in the fourth before a double eight checkout broke Anderson for the first time and put him 3-2 up.

Taylor then hit a 180 in taking the sixth, having enough breathing space despite a miscount when needing 57 to return and hit tops.

Finishes of 86 on the bull, double 16 for an 11-darter which featured two 180s and a 92 checkout moved him 7-2 up before double 18 won Taylor a seventh successive leg.

Anderson hit a 180 and double top to claim his third leg of the match and end that run, and after Taylor posted tops he finished double ten to pull back to 9-4.

Taylor, though, took the next and punished misses from Anderson to move 11-4 up with an 88 checkout.

He then hit a 177 to set up double 16 and finished 81 twice in three legs to move to the brink of victory – also landing a double one checkout in the run.

Anderson landed his fifth maximum of the game as he battled to stay alive, but as Taylor wavered on the finishing line he was unable to land darts at the bull and double eight to allow the Stoke ace in on double two for his fourth Wolverhampton win.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Taylor, who dedicated the victory to Sky Sports commentator Sid Waddell, who is fighting bowel cancer.

“I’d forgotten how heavy this trophy was after losing it last year but it’s great to be holding it again!

“Everything has come right for me this week and it all came together in the final. I wanted to out-score Gary and put him under pressure to make him miss – we say to each other ‘don’t miss’ when we’re up there and it’s true because if you give him an inch he’ll take a mile.

“The start was fantastic for me because to go into the first break 3-2 up was really important. He came back well at me and hits 180s for fun at times but I was so caught up in the match that, at times, I didn’t even know the score!”

The victory sees Taylor win a fifth successive major title after claiming glory in the World Matchplay, European Championship, World Grand Prix and Championship League Darts since the summer, and he added: “It’s a special period for me.

“I was written off earlier this year but this shows that those people were wrong. I’m going to keep trying to win everything and we’ve got the Players Championship and World Championship coming up, and I’m building up to Alexandra Palace now.”

Anderson admitted: “Phil was brilliant and he taught me a lesson in how to play darts, he annihilated me.

“After four legs I thought I was in with a chance but that disappeared pretty quickly! The second session killed the game off and he battered me – every time I looked up he was hitting 180s.

“After I lost my first group game last Saturday I didn’t think I’d make it to the final but it’s done me the world of good to get this far.

“I’m happy with how I played and it’s picked me up. I’ll put this behind me now, move on to play in the ProTour events in Wigan and then the Players Championship and World Championship.”

Semi Finals

PHIL TAYLOR will take on Gary Anderson in the final of the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts on Sunday evening following their semi-final victories over Adrian Lewis and Mark Walsh in Wolverhampton.

Taylor’s bid for a fourth Grand Slam of Darts title continued as he handed PDC World Champion Lewis a masterclass with a fine display in their tussle, taking a 16-9 win.

Taylor averaged 107.76 but, perhaps more crucially, hit key finishes of 119, 111 and 108 with Lewis waiting on a finish at important stages of the contest.

Lewis performed admirably in reply, hitting nine 180s and finishes of 145 and 131, but was unable to prevent Taylor from winning eight legs out of 11 in pulling clear in the second half of the contest.

“It was a brilliant game,” said Taylor “We went blow for blow and you don’t see those type of games too often.

“I’ll chill out and relax and when I go up for the final my mindset will be the same as it was against Adrian – I don’t want to miss a thing.”

Premier League Darts champion Anderson had to come from behind to win his place in the final with a 16-11 defeat of Mark Walsh, whose debut challenge in the Grand Slam of Darts came to an end in the semis.

Anderson trailed 10-6 as Walsh punished a string of missed doubles from the Scot, who won ten of the final 11 legs and hit 13 180s to take the victory.

“It was a struggle for me but I scraped home at the end,” said Anderson. “Mark was hitting 180s at the right time and took his chances, and I began to wonder if it was going to be his day.

“Phil won’t exactly have been shaking in his boots after seeing that but I’ll have a couple of coffees and get back on the practice board to prepare for the final.”

Walsh claims a career-best £25,000 in prize money in his best performance in a major since he reached the 2005 UK Open final.

“Gary’s a fantastic player and he turned it on at the end there,” said Walsh. “When he hits his finishes he’s a very dangerous player and he deserved the victory.

“I’ll take a lot of confidence from this week and it’s been a great tournament for me. It’s one of the best weeks of my life and I can’t wait to come back in 2012.”

PHIL TAYLOR 16-9 ADRIAN LEWIS
PHIL TAYLOR produced a darting masterclass to defeat Stoke rival Adrian Lewis 16-9 and win through to the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts final.

The world number one remains on course to win his fourth Grand Slam title on Sunday night following another stunning display which left World Champion Lewis applauding his display.

Taylor averaged 107.76 in the game, but finishes of 119, 111 and 108 proved crucial in keeping Lewis at bay as he swept into the final.

Lewis opened the game well by hitting a 180 in the first leg, but Taylor replied in kind as he hit a 13-darter which he followed with a 12-dart finished, including a second maximum and an 89 finish to break.

A second 180 from Lewis gave him the chance to break back in the third, but he missed two darts at double 18 as Taylor pinned 87 on the bull for a 3-0 lead.

Lewis finally got off the mark in the fourth leg, although he missed double 12 for a break in the fifth before Taylor landed double 16 for a 4-1 cushion.

The World Champion took out a brilliant ten-darter to win the sixth, although the leg was technically a nine-darter with one bounce-out as he hit a 180, 120, 177 and double 12.

After trading the next two legs with Lewis, Taylor punished a missed bull from his younger opponent – for a 167 checkout – to hit tops before landing the same bed to break throw in 12 darts and lead 7-3.

Taylor posted another maximum in the next, but when he missed two darts at double 12 Lewis stepped in to follow a 174 score with a fine 131 checkout to break in 12 darts before he notched his fifth maximum in a 13-dart finish to halve the deficit.

Taylor hit a 180 to set up an 84 finish in the 13th as he moved 8-5 up, but Lewis replied with another maximum and tops to win his sixth leg of the contest.

Lewis also left 24 with a superb 177 in the next as he sought to cut the gap to one leg, but in perhaps the game’s most crucial moment Taylor finished 119 on tops to deny him and take a 9-6 lead into the break.

He returned with legs of 11 and 12 darts to break throw in a run of three more legs in taking a 12-6 cushion to pull away from Lewis, who finished 70 for the 19th leg.

Taylor then won three more in a row, finishing 108, 80 and 111 to move one leg away from a place in the final.

Lewis hit a 180 and finished 145 to hit back and took out 74 to pull back to 15-9 and threaten a comeback.

Lewis then landed his ninth maximum of the contest to threaten a further fightback, but Taylor replied in kind to leave 24 and finished double 12 for a 13-dart finish which sealed victory.

“It was a brilliant game,” said Taylor “We went blow for blow and you don’t see those type of games too often.

“Adrian doesn’t give in and I had to keep hitting him hard and not miss. I had to take out my doubles and the 119 finish probably won me the game.

“I’ll chill out and relax and when I go up for the final my mindset will be the same as it was against Adrian – I don’t want to miss a thing.”

Lewis admitted: “I was pushing hard early on and at 4-1 down at the first break I’d had chances.

“He took out some massive finishes – I hit the 177 to leave 24 and he took out the 119, and what a shot that was.

“It hurt me and I came back and he did it again on a couple of occasions That’s why he’s 15-time World Champion.

“It was a brilliant game and the ten-darter with the bounce-out was nice – but not quite enough!”

GARY ANDERSON 16-11 MARK WALSH
GARY ANDERSON produced a remarkable comeback to defeat Mark Walsh 16-11 and progress to the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts final on Sunday afternoon.

The Scot looked set to suffer semi-final heartbreak at the Wolverhampton Civic for a third time in five years of the event when Walsh punished his misses to take a 10-6 advantage.

But Anderson, who hit 13 maximums in the match to equal the tournament record for 180s in a game, won ten of the game’s final 11 legs to set up a tantalising clash with Taylor.

Anderson set the tone for the match in the game’s opening leg as he began with a 180 but missed doubles to break as Walsh hit double ten to lead.

The Premier League Darts champion hit back with two more maximums in legs of 13 and 14 darts to move 2-1 up, only for Walsh to finish 80 in the fourth and then punish two misses from the Scot to hit double five to lead 3-2.

Further misses allowed Walsh in to move two legs clear on double five before he traded 180s with Anderson and then finished 102 – with his opponent waiting on 61 – to lead 5-2.

Anderson hit double four to win the eighth leg and then took out 130 to reduce the gap to 5-4 with a fine bullseye checkout as Walsh waited on 24.

Walsh regathered himself to win the tenth with a 95 finish after Anderson missed three darts at double ten, and then moved 7-4 up by hitting double ten.

Anderson landed another 180 and finished 62 to win his fifth leg, and traded maximums with Walsh as the Hertfordshire man took out double 18 for an eighth leg.

The pair both opened the next with 180s as Anderson hit tops to pull back to 8-6, but after posting his tenth maximum the Scot missed the same bed to reduce the gap to one leg as Walsh punished him to move three legs clear.

Further misses from Anderson allowed Walsh to lead 10-6 courtesy of double two, but the Scot’s relentless scoring continued as he chipped away at the former UK Open finalist.

Misses at tops allowed Anderson in to win two successive legs before he hit a 75 finish to trail only 10-9 before slotting in another 180 to set up a 103 checkout as he levelled.

Walsh then burst his score on 65 in the 21st leg as Anderson finished 101 to lead for the first time since the opening exchanges.

Anderson could also have led 12-10 but missed five darts at a double before Walsh hit double 15 to level.

Anderson, though, broke with a 13-darter and then took out 85 and 70 in the next two legs as Walsh faltered, putting himself 14-11 up.

Double 16 moved Anderson a leg away from the win, and he sealed the comeback on double four.

“It was a struggle for me but I scraped home at the end,” said Anderson. “Mark was hitting 180s at the right time and took his chances, and I began to wonder if it was going to be his day.

“Phil won’t exactly have been shaking in his boots after seeing that but I’ll have a couple of coffees and get back on the practice board to prepare for the final.”

Walsh claims a career-best £25,000 in prize money in his best performance in a major since he reached the 2005 UK Open final.

“It’s a disappointing but I’m proud to have shared the stage in the semi-finals with three brilliant players,” said Walsh. “I was the dark horse but if I’d hit all my doubles it might have been a different story.

“Gary’s a fantastic player and he turned it on at the end there. When he hits his finishes he’s a very dangerous player and he deserved the victory.

“I’ll take a lot of confidence from this week and it’s been a great tournament for me. It’s one of the best weeks of my life and I can’t wait to come back in 2012.”

Source – PDC/Lawrence Lustig