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Anderson and Priestley Battle it Out in World Championship Match

2010-PDCChamps-Anderson1
Photos courtesy Lustig/PDC

GARY ANDERSON held off Dennis Priestley’s fightback to win an epic Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship clash at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday afternoon, as Andy Smith and Colin Osborne also moved into the last 16.

Anderson looked set to cruise into the third round of the £1 million event when he took the opening three sets with a 110 average in a scintillating display.

Veteran two-time World Champion Priestley, though, took the next two to mount a thrilling comeback, only to miss darts to win the sixth set and level before Anderson – who hit 13 180s in the game – sealed victory.

“I was cruising at 3-0 and then started to miss doubles,” said Anderson, who ended the game with a second successive 103 average. “It probably should have gone to three-all but I got lucky and pulled through.

“A 103 average is only average compared to what I do in practice, when I hit 116-125 averages and it would be great to do that on stage.”

Priestley, who turned 60 in July, admitted afterwards that the defeat could be his last World Championship appearance, should he slip out of the world’s top 32 over the next year, and also praised Anderson’s performance.

“He was absolutely awesome for the first three sets – as good as anything I’ve played against, including Phil Taylor,” said Priestley.

“I was wondering what I had to do to get back in the game. I rode the storm and got myself back into it by hitting the scores he had been doing and put the pressure on him, but I couldn’t get that double to make it three-all.

“If I keep playing decent darts I should be back next year but you never know what’s going to happen.”

Andy Smith picked up the biggest win of his career, hitting six ton-plus finishes in a 4-3 win over former semi-finalist Mervyn King to set up a clash with Anderson on Thursday.

“I’m so happy to be through but I’ll have to play a lot better than that to beat Gary,” said Smith. “I’m not happy with that performance and I know I can improve, but I stuck in there and did the job.”

2010-PDCChamps-Osborne1

Colin Osborne was the afternoon’s other winner, defeating Jamie Caven in straight sets in the ‘Derby derby’ to win a place in the third round, where he will play the winner of Wednesday night’s game between Raymond van Barneveld and Kevin McDine.

“I’m over the moon to win 4-0,” said Osborne. “In my first World Championship I made the quarter-finals but I’ve not had the best run in the last few years so I’m pleased to be in the third round.”

After van Barneveld’s clash with McDine completes the second round, the third round begins with in-form Mark Webster facing Mark Hylton and reigning champion Phil Taylor facing Peter Wright.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 29
Afternoon Session
Colin Osborne 4-0 Jamie Caven
Gary Anderson 4-2 Dennis Priestley
Mervyn King 3-4 Andy Smith

Evening Session (7pm)
Raymond van Barneveld v Kevin McDine
Third Round
Mark Webster v Mark Hylton
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright

COLIN OSBORNE 4-0 JAMIE CAVEN
(3-2, 3-1, 3-2, 3-1)
COLIN OSBORNE defeated Jamie Caven in the last 32 of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a straight-sets victory in the ‘Derby derby’.

The 14th seed hit the vital finishes when they mattered to end hopes of his local rival, and will now face either Raymond van Barneveld or Kevin McDine in the next round.

Osborne, who defeated Chris Thompson in his first match, held throw to win the first leg of the match by hitting double top before Caven replied to win the second with a solid 108 finish.

Caven then capitalised on eight missed attempts at doubles by Osborne to win the third leg before the 2009 UK Open finalist hit straight back to win the fourth in 14 darts.

Osborne had advantage of throw in the deciding leg and made that count by getting to a finish first, and he hit double 16 to gain an early lead.

Caven hit a maximum in the process of winning the opening leg of the second set, but missed a dart at double 15 for a 90 finish in the next and Osborne took out 91 on the bullseye to level.

Osborne then won the third leg against the darts and despite missing four darts at doubles in the next leg he was able to return and hit double four to take the set.

Osborne also made a winning start to the third set by taking the first leg in 15 darts after Caven missed an opportunity to steal the leg when a dart at the bullseye for a 121 finish was off-target.

Caven made no mistake in the second and hit the bullseye for 121 to win it before Osborne hit his third maximum of the game at the start of the next leg.

Osborne went on to win that leg with a 13-dart finish by hitting double six, but Caven took the fourth by landing double 14.

Osborne was first throwing in the deciding leg and, although his scoring power deserted him and Caven was first to the double, six missed doubles allowed him back in to hit a 74 finish to steal the leg and win a third consecutive set.

Both players hit maximums in the first leg of the fourth leg but Osborne hit the winning double as he landed tops to break throw.

Osborne gave away the advantage in the second as he missed five darts at doubles, and Caven stepped in to hit double six.

But a fifth 180 followed by a two-dart 65 finish gave Osborne another break of throw, and a solid 15-dart-finish in the fourth leg secured Osborne a third round place.

“It really was a battle out there,” said Osborne. “The scoreline does not really reflect the game, but I dug in and got the job done.

“In our floor tournaments, Jamie is probably one of top five players in the game, but things are different on that big stage and it can be difficult to adjust.”

GARY ANDERSON 4-2 DENNIS PRIESTLEY
(3-1, 3-2, 3-1, 1-3, 2-3, 3-2)
GARY ANDERSON survived a spirited comeback by two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley with a 4-2 victory in an enthralling second round clash at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Anderson was on fire in the opening three sets and his three-dart average had reached the 111 mark at that stage of the contest as he blew the 60-year-old.

The Scot could have ended the contest in the fifth set, but Priestley showed typical grit and determination to fight back to 3-2 – only to miss chances to level as Anderson secured victory and a place in the last 16.

Anderson started the game in sparkling form, hitting a maximum in the opening leg and then winning it with a fantastic 144 checkout.

Two maximums were recorded by Priestley in the second but it was not enough as Anderson took out 140 to win the leg.

Anderson missed a dart at bullseye to win the set in the third leg and Priestley managed to get off the mark by hitting double four.

But Anderson hit his third 180 in the fourth leg and went on to hit double top to complete a 13-dart finish and claim the first set.

Priestley, who defeated Bernd Roith in the first round, hit a maximum at the start of the second set and went on to win the leg against the darts after Anderson missed chances to win it for himself.

The Scotsman was clinical in winning the second leg however, as a 100 finish was successfully completed in two darts, and the third was won in 13-darts as he moved ahead.

Anderson hit three consecutive 140s in the fourth leg to establish command, but four missed attempts at doubles allowed Priestley in to hit double top at the first time of asking.

In the deciding leg, Anderson made no mistake despite heavy pressure from Priestley as he hit double 12 to win the leg and double his advantage.

Anderson, who impressively defeated Japan’s Morihiro Hashimoto in his first match, kept up the pace at the start of the third set by breaking throw with a two-dart 72 finish to win the first leg.

Priestley continued to fight and produced a showpiece 100 checkout, which included two double tops, to win the leg.

However, Anderson secured another break of throw to win the third, with the aid of his fourth 180 of the game, and a two-dart 64 gave the Scotsman the set to leave Priestley with a mountain to climb.

Priestley made a winning start to the fourth set by hitting double top with his third dart after Anderson had missed one attempt at the same double.

Priestley hit a 13-darter to double his lead after both players had hit 180s before Anderson won the third in style with a 141 checkout.

But Priestley hit his seventh maximum of the contest and went on to win the next leg with a 14-darter and reduce the deficit.

The start of the fifth set was fast and furious as three maximums were recorded – two of which fell to Anderson – and he won the leg in 11 darts to gain an early lead.

Anderson hit two more maximums in the process of taking the second leg to go one leg away from victory, and when he hit his 11th 180 he seemed on course to win the match.

But missed darts at doubles allowed Priestley to step in and win the leg by hitting double top.

Priestley did the same again in the fourth leg after the 11th seed was off-target with another dart to the end the game.

In the decider Priestley won his third consecutive leg with some class by taking out 111 to win the set and give Anderson something to think about.

The opening leg of the next saw Anderson miss three attempts at doubles and Priestley made his opponent by landing double six with his final dart.

Priestley hit a 13-dart finish to win the second leg before Anderson won his first leg in six by hitting double top.

The fourth leg proved to be a dramatic affair and a costly one for Priestley as he missed six chances to win the set and force a decider and Anderson, who had missed chances of his own, hit double one.

Anderson hit his 13th maximum of the game in the deciding leg and went on to hit a 70 finish to end Priestley hopes of an incredible comeback.

“I was hitting 140s and 180s with regularity in the opening three sets but things started to go wrong,” admitted Anderson.

“Dennis is a true legend of the game and a tough competitor. I had prepared myself for a deciding set but I managed to get the job done in the end.”

Priestley, who put up a gallant effort said, “I was never going to give when I was 3-0 down even with the superb standard that Gary was producing.

“I do regret missing those opportunities to take the match into a deciding set as you never know what could have happened.”

ANDY SMITH 4-3 MERVYN KING
(3-0, 1-3, 3-2, 3-1, 1-3, 2-3, 3-1)
ANDY SMITH claimed the biggest win of his career as he came out on top in an epic second round encounter with a 4-2 triumph to end Mervyn King’s hopes of claiming a first Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship title.

Smith had led the match 3-1 but saw King come to level at three apiece before winning the deciding set to confirm a place in the third round of this competition for the second time in his career.

“I took the chances when I had them in the early part of the match, and I had the match won, said Smith, who hit six ton-plus checkouts.

“But I let things get away from then on and gave Mervyn chances. He wasn’t at his best and I stuck in and got the win.”

Smith started the match in excellent fashion converting a 140 checkout to win the first leg and went on to take the second, defying a maximum from his opponent.

Smith, who had lost in the first round the last three years, hit a 180 of his own in the third leg and went on to hit double 12 to win the opening set without reply from King.

King got off the mark at the start of the second set by hitting double 16 at the first time of asking and then won the second, capitalising on a missed attempt at double top from Smith.

Smith won the third leg against the darts but King won the next leg by hitting an 84 finish, completed on double 11 to win the set and level the game.

King won his third leg in succession at the start of set three by taking out 61 but Smith hit a 14-dart finish to level.

The sixth seed hit a 14-darter of his own to win the third leg but Smith took the fourth by hitting double nine with King waiting on double four.

The deciding leg saw Smith hit his third maximum of the game to reach a finish first, but two darts at doubles to win the set were off-target – only for King to miss tops for a 120 checkout as he returned to hit double two to edge the set and lead again.

In the fourth set Smith, who defeated Australian Shane Tichowitsch in the first round, produced some superb finishing to lead the match 3-1, hitting a 136 checkout to win the first leg and a 114 finish to win the second after King had landed a maximum.

Both players hit 180s in the third leg before King managed to win it in 13 darts, but Smith won the fourth with a 121 checkout to seal the set in impressive fashion.

Smith held throw to win the opening leg of the fifth set, but King replied to win the second by hitting double two.

Both players hit maximums in the third, but King took it against the darts with a 121 finish and then won the fourth by taking out 72 in two darts to win the set.

King kept up the momentum to start the sixth set with his fifth maximum of the match and won the leg with a 62 finish.

Smith landed double top to win the second and level, but King hit a 14-dart finish to win third leg and regain the lead.

In the fourth, King had left himself on 62 to take the set but Smith hit a 120 checkout to go one leg away from winning the match.

Smith hit a 140 with his first three darts of the deciding leg but he couldn’t keep that consistency and King was first to a finish.

However, he missed a dart at double top allowing Smith a chance to win the match – only for his attempt at double top to fall agonisingly short and King returned to hit double ten and keep the match alive.

Smith managed to hit double top to make a winning start to the final set and then took the second after King was off-target with six darts at doubles to level.

That put Smith one leg away from winning the match, but he missed two more chances – this time at double eight – and King, who had missed three previous opportunities to win the leg, hit the double his opponent had missed.

The fourth leg saw Smith miss another chance to take the match, but King failed to land double top with four attempts and Smith stepped in to hit double eight and end a dramatic match.

“I’ll have to play a lot better than that to beat Gary but I’ve won all five games we have played before and I’ll be confident,” added Smith.

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