For Raymond van Barneveld, it was a case of what might have been as the Premier League hit Sheffield.
But defending Premier League Champion Gary Anderson, he now needs a miracle to reach the play-offs after defeat to James Wade and only a draw against Andy Hamilton, when he missed three match darts.
But Barney will be kicking himself after losing to his nemesis Philip Taylor in another great all Unicorn showdown.
Taylor had led 4-2 at the break with a 109 average! That included two 12 darters, a 124 finish and three 180s.....the Dutchman took out 82 and 76 to stay in contention.
And when Barneveld broke the Taylor throw for 4-3, it was all on.....unbelievably though, Barney then proceeded to miss EIGHT darts at doubles to make it 4-4 and unfortunately, that was that.
He blew chances at D16, D8, D4 and D2 and Taylor carried on inflicting the tungsten pain as he raced away to an 8-3 win.
Barneveld will know he missed a great chance.....Taylor remains unbeaten in the Premier League and despite the defeat, the Dutchman is still in with a great chance of qualifying for the play-offs next month.
A two-dart 85 check-out won it for Taylor....end average 105 to Barneveld’s 100.
Anderson was well beaten in his first match, as James Wade raced to an 8-3 win in their all Unicorn affair....and it is a result which gives Wade a terrific chance of qualifying for the O2 and the play-offs.
Wade’s average never dipped below the 100 mark as he outscored the Scot from the off....the match turned in Wade’s favour either side of the break.
First Anderson missed a dart at ‘tops’ to make it 3-3 and in the 7th leg, he missed two darts at D8....that meant Wade was 5-2 in front and he wasn’t going to lose from there.
He finished with an average of 101 to Anderson’s 95 but Wade, who plays Hamilton next week in Bournemouth, knows two more wins from his last four matches should see him into the semi-finals.
And it was Andy Hamilton who may well have ended Anderson’s qualification hopes.
‘The Hammer’ came back from 4-7 down to pinch a point in a dramatic finale to week ten.
Anderson was two legs up, then Hamilton won four on the spin, including a 124 finish and three 180s....it was Anderson’s turn top hit top gear, as he hit a 121 finish on the bull and won five straight legs!
But he missed one dart at D12 to win it 8-4 and then two at ‘tops’ to win 8-5 and Hamilton refused to throw the towel in!
And he took out 102 under pressure to secure the point and break Anderson’s heart and loosen the Scot’s grip on the Premier League trophy.
Kevin Painter’s hopes of reaching the play-offs in his debut PL season are over after the Unicorn star went down to a fifth consecutive defeat.
‘The Artist’ had his chances against Simon Whitlock, but was beaten 8-5 despite winning the first two legs.
The Aussie hit back with a succession of 180s and won six out of the next seven legs to take a firm grip on proceedings.....Painter came back though, and three 180s in four legs should have taken the match to a deciding leg.
He nailed a 119 finish, but missed one dart at D13 to break the Whitlock throw in the 13th leg and the Australian hit D10 to clinch the win which takes him a giant step closer to the semi-finals.
Week 10 results:
James Wade 8-3 Gary Anderson
Simon Whitlock 8-5 Kevin Painter
Phil Taylor 8-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Andy Hamilton 7-7 Gary Anderson
Latest PL table:
1 – Phil Taylor – 19 pts
2 – Simon Whitlock – 12 pts
3 – James Wade – 10pts
4 – Raymond van Barneveld – 10pts
5 – Adrian Lewis – 9pts
6 – Gary Anderson – 7pts
7 – Andy Hamilton – 7pts
8 – Kevin Painter – 6pts
Week 11 Bournemouth schedule:
Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson v Kevin Painter
James Wade v Andy Hamilton
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
By STUART PYKE in Sheffield
Photos courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC