ALAN TABERN staged a sensational comeback from 5-3 down to defeat Gary Anderson in a deciding leg and win Group Three of Championship League Darts.
The left-hander entered the tournament on Thursday and enjoyed a superb day at Crondon Park GC in Essex in the internet-streamed tournament.
Six wins from seven games in the group stage saw him top the league table, before he defeated James Wade 6-2 in the semi-finals and Anderson in the decider, earning a spot in the Winners Group plus £3,200 prize money on the day.
His semi-final included finishes of 121 and 138 as he took a 4-0 lead against world number three Wade, who hit back to 4-2 but had no answer as the left-hander closed out the win with a brace of double top finishes.
Anderson took leads of 3-1 and 5-3 in the final, but after Tabern took out 100 in the ninth leg the Scot was made to pay for a missed dart at the bullseye for the match and two at double eight in the next.
Tabern landed double nine to force a deciding leg, and was the first to a double despite a 180 from Anderson, before hitting double ten to seal victory.
Tabern now progresses to compete in October’s big-money Winners Group, which offers £10,000 to the eventual champion plus a place in the Grand Slam of Darts for the finalists – an event the St Helens man is now targeting.
“I’m delighted to win and it’s been a memorable day for me,” said Tabern. “Gary played really well in the final but I was determined to just hang in there and keep fighting away, and it paid off.
“I can relax and look forward to the Winners Group now. The Grand Slam is an extra incentive for me but I’ll come back in October and do my best.”
Anderson’s loss meant he suffered defeat in the final for a second successive day, having lost out to Simon Whitlock in Group Two’s decider.
The Scot finished second in the table thanks to a 6-2 win over Andy Hamilton in the final round of games, and defeated reigning champion Colin Osborne 6-4 in the semis, but will now have to return for Group Four on September 21.
Osborne and Wade will also return for Group Four, alongside Adrian Lewis and Co Stompe, with Ronnie Baxter and Andy Hamilton eliminated from the event.
Lewis was unlucky not to win a semi-final place, losing out to Wade for fourth spot on Legs Won over the course of their seven league matches, but will maintain an ever-present record this year when he returns to Essex in a fortnight.
Championship League Darts is streamed exclusively live around the world through 16 bookmakers’ websites, as well as to PDCtv subscribers at the PDC’s official website, www.pdc.tv.