What a night at the Grand Slam!
James Wade won an epic last leg decider against Mervyn King to set up an all Unicorn quarter-final clash with Terry Jenkins on Saturday.
It was drama all the way in Wolverhampton, as Wade edged out King, while Jenkins won a terrific match with Tony O’Shea.
There was a touch of controversy as well in the deciding leg of Wade’s match, as the crowd booed King when he was aiming for the winning double…..he missed D4 and Wade nailed D10 to clinch a thrilling victory.
“As an honest sportsman, I can sympathise with Mervyn, because it happened to me here last year. I just had to keep my concentration and hit the winning double. It’s all about the winning and of course, I will take that,” Wade said.
After losing the opening two legs, Unicorn’s World No.2 hit back with three 180s and a brilliant 161 finish to level the match.
It was brilliant stuff. The next eight legs went with the throw, which took it to six apiece….then came to real drama and tension.
King broke, then Wade hit back…..King broke again, but Wade hung on in there with D10 after King missed a dart at ‘tops’ for a 9-7 lead.
But a 74 check-out from King gave him yet another break of throw and he was one away from the win….but he blew two match darts at D18 and D9 and Wade’s trusty friend D10 set up that last leg shoot-out!
First Wade missed ‘tops’ for a 115 finish and victory, then the pressure and the heckling got to King, as he blew that dart at D4.
Up stepped Wade to hit D10 for the sixth time in the game to clinch a fabulous victory!
Jenkins produced a memorable performance to pip Tony O’Shea in a Grand Slam classic.
The BDO star looked like racing away with it, when he stormed into a 4-1 lead, but in the second session, Jenkins fought back brilliantly to level the match, despite four 180s from his opponent.
The next five legs went with throw and the tension cranked up a notch.
‘The Bull’ held to snatch the lead at 8-7 and then crucially broke the O’Shea throw with a 100 finish, before clinching the win on D2 in the next leg, despite a 10th O’Shea maximum.
In fact, O’Shea averaged 101.24 to Jenkins’ 97 but the most important statistic was the check-out success rate for the Unicorn star…..10/18 and that won his the game.
“My finishing was excellent,” he said. “I won a lot of legs with the last dart but to come back from 4-1 down and the way Tony was playing, showed a bit of fight and that was very pleasing.”
There was no magic from ‘The Wizard’ in Wolverhampton, as Colin Osborne slumped to a heavy defeat against Gary Anderson.
The Unicorn man just couldn’t get going….there was no rhythm, no consistency and he was outscored throughout by the Scot.
Osborne trailed 4-1 at the first break and despite a couple of 180s, there was no way back. Anderson won five straight legs to take him to the verge of victory. He then missed three darts to claim a 10-2 win, but wrapped up victory in the next on D10, with an average of 98.5
Osborne could only manage an average of 84 and unfortunately, that summed up his night.
Anderson will now face hometown boy Wayne Jones in the quarter-finals….Jones beat Robert Thornton 10-6
Thursday 2nd Round results:
Robert Thornton 6-10 Wayne Jones
Tony O’Shea 7-10 Terry Jenkins
Gary Anderson 10-3 Colin Osborne
Mervyn King 9-10 James Wade
Friday 2nd Round schedule:
Colin Lloyd v Co Stompe
Ted Hankey v Steve Beaton
Scott Waites v Raymond van Barneveld
Ronnie Baxter v Phil Taylor
By STUART PYKE at the Grand Slam of Darts
Photos courtesy Chris Sargeant