For James Wade and Andy Hamilton – the spoils!
For Raymond van Barneveld and Kevin Painter – the heartache!
Wade’s dramatic draw against Barney earned ‘The Machine’ a semi-final Premier League showdown against Phil Taylor, while Hamilton’s convincing 8-1 win against Painter will mean ‘The Hammer’ takes on Simon Whitlock at the O2 in London.
But Phil Taylor remains the man to beat as he chases a 6th PL crown and he featured in a terrific 7-7 clash with Gary Anderson.....but a 4th draw in five matches wasn’t enough to haul the Scot off the bottom, so last year’s PL Champion ends up with the wooden spoon in 2012.
But the signs are certainly encouraging for Anderson.
Taylor said: “It has been the best PL season and it will be a great finale at the O2. James has deserved his place and it will be a hard battle that’s for sure, but I’ll be ready!”
Wade was thrilled: “It was hard because of the booing from the crowd, but to qualify is a great achievement for me and I am not afraid of playing Phil....quite the opposite actually. I am already looking forward to it!”
Hamilton was thrilled by what he had achieved.
“I showed true grit and determination to get the job done. I was really focused and I think I deserve it after my performance in the second half of the Premier League season.”
After six weeks, Hamilton had won just once and was bottom of the table, but a run of just one defeat in eight matches and here he is – in those semi-finals.
“I have showed everyone what I can do. The Play-offs are another day but I will be ready. I am not scared of anyone!”
Painter was obviously bitterly disappointed.
“It just wasn’t my night,” he said. “Fair play to the Hammer, but it didn’t happen for me. I have enjoyed the ride and I have proved that I belong in the elite. I hope I can get another crack at it next year.”
Two 180s and two 78 finishes and Hamilton raced into a 4-0 lead and there was nothing Painter could do....the only leg ‘The Artist’ won came with a 111 check-out, which was his 17th ton plus finish of the PL season.
The pair traded 180s but Hamilton was always in total control and another run of four consecutive legs did the trick, with D10 sealing his impressive victory.
It wasn’t pretty, but Hamilton got the job done....for Painter, a case of what might have been as he saved his worst performance of the PL campaign for the most important game.
Barney knew he had to beat Wade and he looked on course when he was 4-2 in front at the break.
But Wade then found his touch and put together a run of four successive legs to take control, because he knew all he needed was a draw.
At 6-4 though, the pressure began to tell.
Back came Barney....a fabulous 161 finish on the bull, an 80 check-out on the bull and another leg after Wade missed two darts to get his draw.
So the Dutchman led 7-6 going into the last leg....if he won the decider, he was through but to be fair, he didn’t get close.
Wade hit a fourth 180 and ‘tops’ sealed the draw and his passage through to the play-offs.
Taylor and Anderson gave the full house of 7,000 in Newcastle some great entertainment to round the night off.
The Scot never trailed throughout the match . He followed Barney with a brilliant 161 finish to go 3-1 up, only for Taylor to level.
It was nip and tuck....5-3 Anderson, then 5-5, 6-5, 6-6 and a 12 darter from the PL Champion to guarantee the draw, but Taylor won the last leg and 7-7 was about right!
Anderson said: “I feel things have been improving. Now I have to focus on a busy summer and make sure I am playing well when it matters.”
Adrian Lewis’ hopes of qualification were ended by Simon Whitlock.
The World Champion knew a win would be enough to see him through, but he threw away a glorious opportunity....Lewis was 4-1 and 5-2 in front before the Aussie fought back.
And when Whitlock nailed a 140 finish to move 7-6 ahead, Lewis’ face told its own story - the game was up.
Week 14 results Newcastle:
Adrian Lewis 6-8 Simon Whitlock
Andy Hamilton 8-1 Kevin Painter
Raymond van Barneveld 7-7 James Wade
Gary Anderson 7-7 Phil Taylor
Final League table:
1 – Phil Taylor – 24pts
2 – Simon Whitlock – 16pts
3 – Andy Hamilton – 13pts (0 leg diff)
4 – James Wade – 13pts (-6 leg diff)
5 – Raymond van Barneveld – 13pts (-11 leg diff)
6 – Adrian Lewis – 12pts
7 – Kevin Painter – 11pts
8 – Gary Anderson – 9pts
Play-Off Semi-Finals at the O2:
Phil Taylor v James Wade
Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton
By STUART PYKE at the Metro Arena, Newcastle
Photos courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC