At the precise moment Phil Taylor set a new World Record three dart average of 118.66 during a 9-0 demolition of Kevin Painter during the 4th round (you have to feel sorry for Painter, who didn't have a shot at a double during the whole 9 legs; still, I bet it made Wayne Mardle feel better...) I was struggling up a hillside in Northumberland, pushing my girlfriend in her wheelchair up to see Houseteads Fort. Still, we had a lovely day in that most beautiful part of the world, and I'm extraordinarily proud of managing to push a wheelchair to, round and from Housesteads (if you've seen it, you'll know why), even if I am sun burned.
Anyhoo, the upshot is I missed the 4th round - results and a write up can be found here courtesy of the nice gentlemen at the PDC - so all I'll say on it is congratulations to Phil Taylor for an astonishing performance and the breaking of yet another record.
On to the 5th round, which I watched during an orgy of after-sun application, and the 16 survivors of round 4 certainly did not disappoint. Highlight of the schedule was Phil Taylor v. Simon Whitlock, which promised a cracking fixture between the two best players in the world at the present time. It was a great match, with Simon Whitlock applying more pressure to the Power than any other player has done so far; for once Phil showed signs of pressure too, missing multiple darts at a double in the 13th leg. Whitlock, also feeling the pressure as anyone who plays Taylor does, couldn't capitalise though, and the Power came through. He'll now face his own apprentice Adrian Lewis, who beat an out-of-sorts looking Wayne Jones 9-4, in the Quarter Finals.
The highlight of the evening, in this author's humble opinion, was the match between Mervyn King and Gary Anderson. This match had everything; a break down at one stage, Anderson hung in, throwing some fantastic darts and managing to overcome finishing problems which were dogging him. Mervyn King was on great form too, and slammed in a milimetre perfect 9 dart leg. Neck and neck for most of the match, it ended, as it had to, with a 17th leg shoot-out; King, who had the throw in the 17th, started as favourite, but Anderson threw brilliantly to break King's throw and clinch a well-deserved 9-8 victory.
Another great aspect of King v. Anderson was that the crowd respected and even seemed to get a bit behind Mervyn King, who has been on the receiving end of more than his fair share of stick from some crowds. Granted, he doesn't always handle stick from the crowd in the best way, some heckling is inevitable, and having heroes and villains is all part of the theatre, but sometimes it goes too far. Mervyn King is a brilliant player; when Anderson hit his final double to win the match, King reacted like a true sportsman; he deserves respect for that, and I'm glad to say that last night, he got it.
Another great match was Andy Hamilton v. Ronnie Baxter. The Hammer staged a brilliant come-back from 7-5 down to overhaul the Rocket 9-7. Andy Hamilton will now play Gary Anderson.
James Wade strolled past Kevin McDine 9-2 to book his place in the Quarter Finals, where he'll face Tony Ayres, who knocked out Alan Tabern 9-5. Veteran pro Denis Ovens overcame pie-man Andy Smith 9-1 and will go on to face Wes Newton.
Well that just about wraps up a terrific evening of sport ladies and gentlemen; I hope you all enjoy the feast of darts that is the UK Open's Super Sunday - Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals all in one gruelling day.
I'll be in Newcastle for the afternoon and won't see the Quarter Finals, which means Phil Taylor will probably hit 3 back to back 9 darters or become the first man to do a perfect 3 x 167 9 dart leg :o)
I'll be watching from 7 though, so hopefully the last 4 players will save some magic for me....