Taylor's Speedy Services UK Open Glory
SENSATIONAL TAYLOR CLAIMS SPEEDY SERVICES UK OPEN TITLE
PHIL TAYLOR claimed his fifth Speedy Services UK Open title in thrilling fashion as he defeated Andy Hamilton 11-4 at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton on Sunday night.
World Champion Taylor completed a superb weekend in 'The FA Cup of Darts' by scooping the £40,000 first prize as he took the title with a super-show in an all-Stoke final.
Taylor had begun his challenge on Thursday night against Kevin Dowling and also defeated Ronny Huybrechts, Adrian Gray, Brendan Dolan and Michael van Gerwen before seeing off Peter Wright 10-5 in Sunday evening's semi-finals.
He then returned to the stage and produced his best performance of the tournament to defeat Hamilton, erasing the memories of his loss to Robert Thornton in last year's UK Open final with a 107.04 average.
Hamilton shared the final's first four legs, hitting a 140 finish in the process, but Taylor landed a killer 167 checkout as he took the next four to take command of the game at 6-2.
Hamilton, appearing in his third major final after his dramatic deciding-leg semi-final win over Raymond van Barneveld, hit back with a 100 checkout, but Taylor took out 121 and 106 in taking a 10-4 cushion before sealing victory on double four.
"I'm very proud of winning this title and it's great to be the champion for a fifth time," said Taylor.
"I was absolutely terrified about coming in on Thursday and getting past Kevin Dowling was my main objective, and once the format got longer I could relax, so to come through the whole field and win this is very special.
"I had to get in front of Andy early on in the final and I managed to do that, but it's great to see him doing so well and he's shown that he's got the game to win major tournaments.
"He's a player who you can't give half an inch because he'll batter you, and I'm a big fan of him and his concentration and dedication. He's a workaholic. I used to practice with him and I know what he's like, so I'm chuffed to beat him."
Hamilton had won through to the final with a dramatic 10-9 defeat of two-time UK Open champion Raymond van Barneveld in the semis, with the Dutchman missing the bullseye for a 170 checkout to claim victory before then missing a further five match darts in the deciding leg.
"I couldn't be any prouder of myself," said Hamilton, who earns £20,000 as runner-up. "I've played some great darts and had a great weekend and I'm happy with what I've done tonight.
"Last year I reached the quarter-finals and I'm happy to have reached the final - and I think I've proved that I'm getting closer to my first major.
"If someone had said at the start of the week that I'd get to the final, I'd have taken that but I'll be back.
"The UK Open's probably the hardest tournament to win and I didn't play badly in the final but Phil played out of his skin and I take my hat off to him. He's a legend and he was on top of his game.
"When you're facing Phil it's so hard to get back in the game. You have to stay with him or you'll lose the game, and I'm afraid that happened to me tonight."
The tournament also saw colourful Peter Wright win through to his first major semi-final before he lost out to Taylor.
The Lowestoft thrower enjoyed a brilliant weekend, defeating world number three Adrian Lewis in Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals before losing to another Stoke ace in the last four.
"To be honest, I think I played Phil instead of the board," he admitted. "I tensed up and was snatching darts, but it's experience that I can take into the next competition.
"I'll the positives from this weekend, work on it and move into the coming events, and hopefully I can go one step better. It's not quite there on the big stage yet, but it will be one day.
"I'm really proud of the weekend and very happy with how I've played. I want to push on now towards the top 16 and by the end of the year I want to be in the top ten and pushing for a Premier League place. I'll be pushing myself hard!"
Van Barneveld had edged past Ronnie Baxter in the quarter-finals and was also taken to a deciding leg by World Youth Champion Michael Smith earlier in the tournament, but saw his luck run out as he was edged out by Hamilton in the last four.
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Speedy Services UK Open
Raymond van Barneveld 9-10 Andy Hamilton
Phil Taylor 10-5 Peter Wright
Best of 19 legs
Click here for Semi-Final Photo Gallery
Andy Hamilton 4-11 Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs
Click here for Final Photo Gallery
See video interviews with Phil Taylor, Andy Hamilton and Peter Wright in the OfficialPDC YouTube Channel
Raymond van Barneveld v Andy Hamilton
0-0 - Raymond van Barneveld won the bull and will throw first
1-0 - Hamilton kicks-off the match brilliantly with a 180 but three missed darts at doubles allows van Barneveld to take out 58 on tops.
1-1 - The Stoke ace lands double five with his third dart to level.
1-2 - Hamilton hits double 11 at the third attempt to secure the first break of throw of the match.
1-3 - Hamilton wins a third leg in a row on double top to move two legs clear.
2-3 - van Barneveld hits his first maximum of game before landing double 12 for a 14-dart finish.
2-4 - Hamilton takes out 116 with his opponent waiting on a two-darter.
3-4 - van Barneveld hits double 18 at the first attempt to reduce the deficit to one leg.
4-4 - The five-time World Champion converts an 88 finish in just two-darts to level the contest.
5-4 - van Barneveld hits double 16 to complete a 13-darter and regain the lead.
5-5 - One missed dart at double nine from the Dutchman proves costly as Hamilton hits double 16 with a pressure third dart.
5-6 - Hamilton edges ahead thanks to an accurate first dart at double top.
5-7 - Hamilton fires in a third maximum and wins the leg on double 16 after van Barneveld is off-target with his attempt at bullseye.
5-8 - The world number six wins a fourth leg in a row thanks to a superb 132 checkout, comprising of single 25, treble 19, bullseye.
6-8 - van Barneveld takes out a crucial 64 in two-darts with Hamilton waiting on tops to break throw.
7-8 - The tension mounts as van Barneveld wastes four chances to win the leg. However, Hamilton is off-target with two attempts of his own and the Dutchman returns to hit double ten.
8-8 - van Barneveld takes out 71 with an accurate third dart at double top with Hamilton waiting on a two-darter.
8-9 - Hamilton converts a 91 finish on tops for a 12-darter against the throw to move a leg away from the UK Open Final.
9-9 - Hamilton hits scores of 180 and 139 to take command but two missed darts at double 16 to win the match go agonisingly off-target and van Barneveld shows his class by taking out 100 in just two-darts.
9-10 - A dramatic decidng-leg sees Hamilton miss a second dart for the match but the Dutchman is guilty of wasting six chances of his own and the Stoke star returns to hit double 16 to conclude a thrilling contest.
|Raymond van Barneveld||9-10||Andy Hamilton|
|4||Breaks of Throw||5|
|9/24 - 38%||Finishing %||10/27 - 37%|
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright
0-0 - Wright wins the bull and throws first
1-0 - Taylor puts immediate pressure of his opponent as he records a 180 before winning the first leg with just 13-darts thrown.
2-0 - The world number one hits double eight thanks to an accurate third dart.
2-1 - Wright posts a leg on the board with an excellent 13-dart finish.
3-1 - The 16-time World Champion hits a second maximum before landing double ten to restore his two leg lead.
3-2 - Wright holds throw on double ten to keep in touch with his opponent.
4-2 - Taylor hits a third 180 before landing double 12 to hit his second 13-darter of the match.
5-2 - Taylor repeats the trick as he lands double 18 for a 13-dart finish for a second break of throw after Wright is off-target with one attempt at double 16.
6-2 - The Stoke star moves four legs clear as he records a third successive 13-darter.
6-3 - Wright hits double eight with a pressure third dart to reduce the deficit to three legs.
7-3 - Taylor lets three chances to win leg slip away but Wright is unable to land tops and the Stoke man returns to hit double four.
8-3 - Both players hit maximums before Taylor goes on to win with a fabulous 11-darter.
8-4 - Wright hits a superb 161 checkout to break Taylor's throw for the first time.
8-5 - Wright takes out a 109 finish after Taylor is guilty of missing two attempts at double eight.
9-5 - Taylor hits double 12 thanks to an accurate third dart to move a leg away from victory.
10-5 - Taylor powers to victory as he hits scores of 180, 140 and 165 before hitting double four to end the match with a second 11-dart finish.
|Phil Taylor||10-5||Peter Wright|
|4||Breaks of Throw||1|
|10/26 - 38%||Finishing %||5/11 - 45%|
Andy Hamilton v Phil Taylor
0-0 - Hamilton wins the bull and throws first
1-0 - Hamilton starts the Final confidently as he hits double 16 to take the first leg in just 14-darts.
1-1 - The world number six hits a 177 but Taylor wins the leg by landing tops for a 70 finish.
1-2 - Hamilton hits a 174 but is guilty of missing three attempts at doubles and Taylor hits double ten to secure the first break of throw.
2-2 - Both players hit 180s before Hamilton converts a fabulous 140 checkout to level after Taylor is off-target with two chances to win the leg.
2-3 - Taylor records a maximum to leave 32 which he takes out to regain the lead after Hamilton was unable to hit double top.
2-4 - The world number one hits a fantastic 167 checkout to move two legs clear of his opponent.
2-5 - Taylor hits double top at the first time of asking with Hamilton waiting on 36.
2-6 - Taylor takes out 86 on double seven after Hamilton missed an attempt at bullseye.
3-6 - Hamilton wins first leg in five as he hits a two-dart 100 finish for an excellent 11-darter.
3-7 - Taylor restores his four leg lead thanks to a clinical 121 checkout.
3-8 - Hamilton wastes four darts at doubles and Taylor lands double ten to edge closer to victory.
3-9 - Taylor hits double top at the first attempt to leave his Stoke rival trailing by six legs.
4-9 - Hamilton continues to fight as he pulls a leg back by hitting double five.
4-10 - Taylor takes out 106 with ease to go a leg away from a fifth UK Open title.
4-11 - Taylor hits double four for a 15-dart finish to win the match with an average of 107.04
|Andy Hamilton||4-11||Phil Taylor|
|1||Breaks of Throw||5|
|4/16 - 25%||Finishing %||11/19 - 58%|