#JB35 The Flying Scotsman steams ahead…
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
The Flying Scotsman steams ahead…
I’m no psychic but you may recall on the 7th of September I picked Gary Anderson as a player to watch out for. ‘I am very confident that Anderson will continue his form and he is definitely capable of a huge major success’ were my exact words! Joking aside, it didn’t take any darts expert to predict that Anderson would win a major as he has been in such excellent form all year.
Anderson was the number 1 seed going into the Players Championship this weekend and he held on to that spot to lift only his second PDC major title. His only other major title was the Premier League back in 2011. Even the weekend before the main event, Anderson had shown he meant business by winning the final Players Championship Qualifier in Coventry.
The tournament kicked off for Anderson with a tight 6-5 victory over Christian Kist in which he averaged over 110 and hit eight 180s! He then went on to defeat Stephen Bunting 10-5 in the second round before knocking out Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in the quarter-finals. This was incredibly the first time in seven years that Anderson had defeated Taylor in a televised knockout match. In the semi final, Vincent Van Der Voort, the tournament’s surprise package, stood in Anderson’s way but despite a late comeback from 10-3 down, Anderson still went on to win the match 11-7. Finally, only two time world champion Adrian Lewis stood between Anderson and the trophy but it was a comfortable win for the Scotsman who came away 11-6 winner.
This win rounded off an excellent tournament for Anderson who averaged over 100 in every match. He is now 4th in the Order of Merit and this triumph will provide him the perfect platform for success at the Ally Pally. Incidentally, the bookies now have him as third favourite to lift the Sid Waddell trophy.
Another talking point from the Players Championship was the absence of both Phil Taylor and Michael Van Gerwen from the semi-finals. Incredibly, it was the first time since the 2012 European Championship that this had happened. Again, this shows that darts is getting more and more unpredictable! When the world’s top two players aren’t reaching the semi finals, it shows the strength of the full field. In one match, every player in the world’s top 30 is capable of beating each other and that is what is going to make the upcoming World Championships so exciting.
For instance, who would have predicted that after a underwhelming year Vincent Van Der Voort would reach the semi-final of the Players Championship playing with such conviction? Similarly, did you predict that Wes Newton would turn his form around to also reach the last four? Credit must also go to Terry Jenkins for knocking out Taylor and to Jamie Caven who was extremely unlucky to lose 10-9 in the quarter finals against Adrian Lewis. Undoubtedly, darts is in a better place than ever and I can’t wait for the action to begin.
The Alexandra Palace is now officially the next stop on the PDC Circuit. The final qualifiers took place today and the draw takes place tomorrow. The only controversy dampening my spirits tonight is the rumours regarding Richie Burnett that are circulating on Twitter. It is worth noting that no official statement has yet been made and as far as we know, the reports could just be vicious rumours. I hope that this is the case and that Burnett can continue to compete on the main stage but if the rumours about potential drug use are true, I hope he is punished accordingly.
The only other case of a darts player being banned for drug use was in 2006 when Robbie Green was banned for eight weeks after testing positive for marijuana. However, I’m sure the PDC will release a statement in due time so let’s turn our attentions to the best tournament in the world…
It’s 17 days to go…
I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait!