Wes Newton enjoyed the highs and lows of the World Matchplay as he hit a sensational 9 darter at the Winter Gardens, but lost his high profile clash with Justin Pipe.
Newton joined the exclusive club of stars who have achieved a 9 darter on ‘live’ TV but it counted for nothing, as he threw away a 10-8 lead to lose 13-10.
Also on another dramatic Blackpool night, Phil Taylor was a 13-3 winner over Ian White and he will face Andy Hamilton in an all Unicorn quarter-final after ‘The Hammer’ produced a virtuoso performance to beat Mark Webster 13-7.
But for Newton, joy and despair....
“I am gutted,” he said. “I have never felt so bad after any defeat in my entire career. The 9 darter doesn’t really matter now because I lost.”
In years to come, it will matter and he can look back on it with pride but you can understand where he is coming from after this heartbreaking defeat.
He was in front for most of the match; he hit 9x180s, averaged 97 but still lost. The 9 darter came in the 11th leg....180, 177 and 144 on D12 to raise the roof of the Winter Gardens....it also broke the Pipe throw and Newton led 6-5.
Pipe had kept in touch with a series of sensational finishes....132 (bull, bull, D16), 104 and 100 (with two D20s).
Newton was in total control and when he hit a 126 finish and then a 90 check-out after the 9th 180, he was 10-8 in front.
But his game suddenly fell apart as his opponent visibly grew in confidence....incredibly, Pipe won five straight legs, hitting three 180s in the process.
But still there was more drama to come.....at 12-10, Pipe missed EIGHT match darts and Newton blew five chances of his own to stay in the hunt before the Taunton man hit D3 to reach his first ever Major ‘TV’ quarter-final.
Taylor was far from his best, but he was still good enough to reach those quarter-finals.
The great man averaged only 91.71 and missed 22 darts at doubles. It was one of his lowest averages in 19 years of the World Matchplay.
“I know I have to improve because that wasn’t good enough!” Taylor admitted.
When he was 4-2 up, Taylor was averaging just 83....he followed that with a 109 check out, but to show how strangely out-of-sorts Taylor was, in the 9th leg he hit six perfect darts and lost it!
But from 6-3, it was a ‘Power’ procession.....he won seven successive legs, which included a great 170 check-out....job done, but that’s about all.
And Taylor will know he will have to play significantly better against Hamilton is he wants to keep his dream of winning a 13th Blackpool title alive.
Hamilton grew in stature as he completed that convincing victory over Mark Webster.
He was 6-3 in front in no time at all....finishes of 86, 96 and 97, four 180s and an 11 darter as well, but costly missed doubles from the Unicorn man allowed the Welshman to level at 6-6.
Hamilton was angry! He put his foot on the accelerator and reeled off seven consecutive legs to race to victory. In that sequence, Webster didn’t have a single dart at a double.....Hamilton took his 180 tally to seven and took out a terrific 127.
He will give it a real go against Taylor in Friday’s quarter-finals, that’s for sure!
In the final 2nd Round match, Ronnie Baxter reached his 88th World Matchplay quarter-final with a 13-8 victory over Dean Winstanley.
Winstanley hit nine 180s but missed 24 darts at doubles and that was the big difference.
Thursday 2nd Round results:
Andy Hamilton 13-7 Mark Webster
Wes Newton 10-13 Justin Pipe
Phil Taylor 13-3 Ian White
Dean Winstanley 8-13 Ronnie Baxter
Friday Quarter-Final schedule (best of 31 legs)
Justin Pipe v Ronnie Baxter
Adrian Lewis v Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor v Andy Hamilton
James Wade v Michael van Gerwen
By STUART PYKE at the Winter Gardens
Photos courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC