On another dramatic night at the Grand Slam, Phil Taylor suffered only his third defeat in the history of the tournament – going down in a thriller to big rival Ted Hankey.
It means that Taylor will take on Wes Newton on Wednesday night in an all Unicorn showdown for a place in the 2nd Round….the winner takes it all and the three-times Grand Slam will be under a bit of pressure!
Clearly Taylor is finding hard to come to terms with his new glasses and again, he was far from his best. “Take nothing away from Ted,” he said. “He played really well, but these glasses are making things a bit difficult for me. It will take time to get used to them. Maybe I will leave them off against Wes!”
Hankey averaged nearly 104 in a match which burst into life after the break…..it was two apiece, then ‘The Count’ produced a 13 darter, Taylor replied with a 12 dart leg, only for Hankey to come up with another 13 darter to lead 4-3.
The BDO star then missed two darts at D19 for the match as the pair swapped 180s for fun!
In the decider, Hankey hit another maximum, followed by a 140 and D5 won him the match to take him through to the knock-out stages. Taylor averaged a below par 97 and he looks vulnerable at the moment.
And Taylor against Newton will be some match on Wednesday, that’s for sure!
Newton is certainly hanging on in there! A nail-biting win over Michael van Gerwen keeps him in the Grand Slam but he now knows that he’ll have to beat Taylor!
Newton was 3-1 in front but Van Gerwen then took control, winning three straight legs. Newton levelled and a brilliant 82 finish won it after the young Dutchman missed a dart at the bull to take it.
Paul Nicholson made it two wins out of two with a terrific victory over Ronnie Baxter in Group G, but the Unicorn ace isn’t yet guaranteed a place in the knock-out stages. He will still have to beat Steve Beaton in his last match to make absolutely sure.
The turning point came in the 7th leg when Nicholson took the only break of throw in the match to go 4-3 up and he won it with a stylish two dart 84 finish…..T16, D18.
Raymond Van Barneveld faces a last match shoot-out for a place in the 2nd Round, after he was beaten 5-3 by Colin Lloyd at the Wolves Civic.
Quite simply, Barney takes on Darryl Fitton in the last group match on Wednesday night….the winner goes through and the loser goes home.
There was only one break of throw in the game. It came in the third leg and Lloyd got it…..Barneveld came close to hitting back in the sixth leg, as he left D4 but Lloyd took out 96 and he is now definitely into the next stage.
But Adrian Lewis is out of the Grand Slam….huge disappointment for Lewis, who lost 5-3 to Co Stompe and combined with Scott Waites victory over Martin Phillips in Group E, it means the end of the Wolverhampton road for the Unicorn man.
He was playing well against the Dutchman and was looking fairly comfortable…..but at 3-3, he had left 60 only to see Stompe nail a 148 finish. It turned the game and Stompe sealed the win in the next leg.
Team Unicorn’s Arron Monk and Tricia Wright are both out of the tournament after both suffered second defeats on Monday night in Wolverhampton.
To be fair, 20-year-old Monk didn’t do a lot wrong but he found his opponent Steve Beaton in top form. Monk missed two darts to take the opening leg and he paid a heavy price, eventually losing 5-1
Beaton averaged over 100 and hit his five doubles from only eight attempts, but this is all good experience for Monk, as he builds towards his PDC Unicorn Under 21 World Championship Final against Van Gerwen at the Alexandra Palace.
Wright gave Darryl Fitton a real fright, before the BDO star edged to a 5-3 win!
She won her first leg of the Grand Slam with a 70 finish and then put Fitton under real pressure, as she came from 3-1 down to level the match.
A 180 and a 13 darter made it 2-3 and another maximum and D16 made it three legs apiece…incredibly, she had a chance to go 4-3 in front but missed three darts at doubles.
Fitton regained his composure to take out 118 and then a brilliant 157 finish to wrap up a hard fought 5-3 win.
Results – Monday Group games:
Adrian Lewis 3-5 Co Stompe
Scott Waites 5-1 Martin Phillips
Darryl Fitton 5-3 Tricia Wright
Raymond van Barneveld 3-5 Colin Lloyd
Steve Beaton 5-1 Arron Monk
Paul Nicholson 5-3 Ronnie Baxter
Wes Newton 5-4 Michael van Gerwen
Phil Taylor 4-5 Ted Hankey
Tuesday night at the Grand Slam will see Groups A to D decided with the final round of matches. Team Unicorn stars James Wade and Colin Osborne both must win to go through to the knock-out stages.
Wade takes on Vincent van der Voort, while Osborne plays Dave Chisnall.
By STUART PYKE at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Taylor/Hankey photo abovecourtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Niciholson photo below courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC
Newton photo below courtesy Chris Sargeant