Well, we've entered the knock out stages, and the Giants are beginning to fall.
First to go was Robert Thornton, defeated 10-6 by local boy Wayne Jones. Thornton's doubles let him down; 20 ton plus scores, 17 140 plus scores and an average of over 90 is not bad throwing by anyone's standards, but he missed multiple doubles to win legs, and against an in form Jones it just wasn't good enough.
Another man with double trouble was the next to leave, Silverback Tony O'Shea. O'Shea's scoring was phenomenal, with 22 ton pluses, 11 140 pluses and 10 maximums, but some missed doubles cost him, and his opponent Terry Jenkins, who's rapidly becoming part of the furniture in the Grand Slam Quarter Finals, capitalised and took the match 10-7.
Wizard Colin Osborne seemed to have broken his wand against Gary Anderson; the Flying Scot just never looked close to losing. Anderson is known for being a prolific scorer whose finishing can let him down, but despite the odd wobble he got the job done in style, defeating Osborne by 10 legs to 3.
The last match, and the match of the evening by quite some margin, saw James Wade take on Mervyn King. My girlfriend spent most of the match on the edge of her seat; she's quite fond of James Wade, as I may have mentioned before... :o)
Both players threw some fantastic darts, including a magnificent 161 checkout from Wade, and the whole match was an example of top notch darts at its nerve-racking, nail-biting best. With both players taking legs against the throw towards the end, the key question was who would have the throw in the final leg?
King looked set for victory in the 18th, at 9-8 on his own throw, but he missed two darts for the match and Wade, showing terrific nerve as he's just been staring oblivion in the face, steped up to the oche and took the leg to set up a deciding leg on his own throw.
Both men showed nerves of steel; King hit a 140 followed by 3 successive tons, but Wade was first to a finish. He couldn't take that chance, and missed double top for the match - by this point I was yelling in agony as my girlfriend gripped my arm with the sort of grip that only women in labour seem to manage. King stepped up take out 61, hit the bullseye instead of the 25, hit the big 3, and set his sights on double 4 for the match.
Then it happened, and I really wish it hadn't. As King threw for double 4 a great boo went up from the crowd, and King missed the shot. It's impossible to say whether he would have hit it without the distraction, but the thought will now always linger that this absolutely cracking match was decided by crowd intervention, which is a real pity.
Wade stepped up to the mark and took out his trusty double 10 to take the match, relieving my girlfriend by winning and me by doing it before my arm got ripped off at the shoulder. Wade was clearly unhappy with the way the match ended, and like a true hero tried to get the crowd to cheer for a clearly narked off King. Both players deserve every credit; Wade showed tremendous nerve and concentration when staring defeat in the face, and it brought him through a truly awesome game of darts.
And as if that wasn't enough excitement, tonight we have Taylor v. Baxter, Barney v. Waites, Hankey v. Beaton and Lloyd v. Stompe - isn't life just grand? :o)