Andy Hamilton was just one dart away from winning his first PDC ranking title in five years!
Team Unicorn’s World Championship runner-up lost a last leg decider against Colin Lloyd in the final of the Players Championship tournament in Crawley on Sunday.
‘The Hammer’ looked on course for a terrific win.
He was 5-3 in front, but lost 6-5....a victory which guarantees Lloyd’s place at next month’s World Matchplay.
Hamilton had come from 1-4 down, winning five straight legs, to beat Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts in the semi-finals.
And in the final, after the first six legs went with throw, ‘The Hammer’ nailed a brilliant 152 finish to break and a 72 check-out in the next gave him a 5-3 advantage.
But Lloyd hit back with a 130 finish and then forced the decider after Hamilton just missed D16 for a 112 finish and the match.
And ‘Jaws’ bit hard by taking out D5 to win a nervy deciding leg.
Hamilton will be disappointed that he came so close, but he will also know that he is in form just at the right time with the Matchplay only three weeks away.
Even so, a classic case of what might have been for the Stoke man.
Elsewhere, Terry Jenkins was in good touch all day, but ran into an inspired Lloyd in the quarter-finals as he lost 6-4.
Team Unicorn youngster Arron Monk pocketed £600 after he reached the last 16....he was eventually beaten 6-3 by Hamilton.
Four Unicorn stars lost in the last 32.
Colin Osborne was beaten 6-2 by Peter Wright and he now needs a big performance in next week’s European Tour event in Dusseldorf if he is to qualify for the World Matchplay through the Pro Tour Order of Merit.
At the same stage, Jamie Caven lost 6-1 to John Part, James Wade went down 6-2 to Dean Winstanley and Kevin Painter just never got going against Steve Beaton and lost 6-1.
Wes Newton’s disappointing weekend was completed as he lost in the 2nd Round – going down 6-2 to Andrew Gilding.
And there were four Unicorn losers in round one.....Devon Petersen was beaten 6-4 by Steve Hine, Paul Nicholson was whitewashed by Monk, Keegan Brown was defeated 6-1 by Michael Mansell and Joe Cullen was hugely disappointed by his 6-3 loss to Ian White
Results – Q/Finals:
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Andy Hamilton 6-4 Mark Hylton
Colin Lloyd 6-4 Terry Jenkins
Ian White 6-2 Justin Pipe
Andy Hamilton 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Colin Lloyd 6-4 Ian White
Colin Lloyd 6-5 Andy Hamilton
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC