ANDERSON DELIGHTS GLASGOW CROWD AS BARNEY EDGES HEAVY-SCORING TAYLOR
GARY ANDERSON wired double 12 for a nine-dart finish as he enjoyed a winning Scottish homecoming in the Betway Premier League, as Raymond van Barneveld overcame Phil Taylor 7-4 in a classic in Glasgow.
World Champion Anderson was given a rousing reception from a 10,000-strong crowd at The SSE Hydro before repaying their support with a 7-5 win over Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts.
After coming from a leg down to lead 3-1, Anderson retained a two-leg cushion through to sealing a point at 6-4 before Huybrechts followed an earlier 105 checkout by taking out 84 to force a deciding 12th leg.
Anderson opened the final leg with a 177 and then fired in a 180 to leave 144 for a perfect leg, hitting two more treble 20s before wiring double 12 to complete a nine-darter which would have raised the roof of the imposing Glasgow arena.
Anderson did return to win the leg on double 12 with an 11-darter, and admitted: "I thought the double 12 was going in when it left my hand but it wasn't to be - but the main thing was getting the win.
"Kim's been playing well and I was nervous coming back to Scotland, so I'm relieved to get the win. It was perhaps a scrappy game but I nicked it and it's two points. I think every hair in my body was standing up when we walked out there and it was a great reception from the fans. It's a great night for me."
The night did feature one slice of history, albeit unwanted, for Phil Taylor as recorded the highest ever losing average in a televised game of 115.80 as he lost 7-4 to Raymond van Barneveld, landing nine 180s in defeat.
Taylor opened the game with a 180 and broke with a 12-dart leg before doubling his lead, but the match turned in a dramatic third leg when the Stoke great opted not to throw for the bull on a 125 finish - instead setting up 32 - only to see van Barneveld take out 144.
The Dutchman levelled before Taylor landed seven perfect darts in a 12-darter to move 3-2 up, but reigning Premier League champion van Barneveld levelled before punishing his great rival for two missed doubles in each of the next two legs.
Van Barneveld also took leg nine to lead 6-3, and though Taylor posted two 180s in a leg for the third time in the game as he hit back in the next, the Dutchman landed a maximum of his own as a 14-darter sealed only his second Premier League win over the world number two.
"Phil was out of this world in the first two legs and I was thinking that it was going to be a long night, but I finished the 144 in the third leg and it changed the whole game," admitted van Barneveld.
"I'm extremely happy because I've struggled for a few weeks, so to play the best player in the world and win is great. It's amazing to beat a player who has a 115 average but it's about getting the two points. The players nowadays are so good and my game isn't there yet, but I'd love to play like this every week - maybe I need the focus of playing Phil, Gary Anderson or Michael van Gerwen every week."
2013 Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen now sits two points ahead of Anderson at the top of the league table following his 7-4 win over Dave Chisnall, who suffered a second successive loss.
A 124 checkout was a perfect start for van Gerwen before he pushed on to take leads of 2-0 and 5-1, and though Chisnall took out 142 as he won three of the next four, missed doubles cost him dear as the Dutchman sealed victory.
"Getting the two points was the most important thing but I'm really disappointed with how I played," said van Gerwen. "I felt like I played rubbish and maybe it was my worst performance of the year, but it's a win. I want to play well all the time, which is why I'm disappointed, but Dave wasn't at his best either and I think if he had pushed me I still had a couple more gears."
The night in Glasgow also featured two draws, as James Wade shared the points in a tight opener against Adrian Lewis before Peter Wright thrilled the Scottish crowd by coming from 5-1 down to claim a point against Stephen Bunting.
Wade and Lewis both averaged above 102 in a high-quality game which saw the two-time World Champion lead 2-1 early on before the left-hander hit back for a 4-2 cushion.
Lewis took out 138 as he levelled before the game's final four legs went with throw to leave Wade on seven points in mid-table and his opponent in the midst of the battle to avoid elimination on five points ahead of Judgement Night on April 2.
"It's got to be a point gained for me," said Lewis. "I missed a few chances early on but I hit the crucial doubles later in the match. I've had two ton-plus averages in the past two weeks and only come out with one point but I'm putting the hard work in and I'm happy with my form, so hopefully the results will come."
Wade, a Players Championship winner last Sunday, admitted: "I'm quite happy because I've played well in most games but I'm disappointed that I didn't make the most of the opportunity tonight.
Adrian made the most of the chances he had but it's another point on the league table for me. I'm still pleased with my form at the moment and I'll go onwards and upwards from here."
Wright and Bunting remain locked on six points following their stalemate, as the former World Championship finalist hit back to win five of the final six legs, including a 106 finish to force a decider and a 14-darter to secure the draw.
Wright is now unbeaten in five games, following three other draws and a win in recent weeks, and said: "To get a point from another World Champion is great but I've been feeling really ill and the crowd support pulled me through. I'm proud to get a point after that because I'll always keep fighting and the crowd inspired me. It feels like a win in many ways."
Bunting admitted: "At 5-1 up I had the game sewn up and there were plenty of chances for me to win that game so it feels like I've dropped two points, but I'll bounce back and focus now on next week in Dublin. I've learned not to look back and I'm a positive player."