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    Designed by yours truly. Made by the best! These are the darts I've played with since 2005!

     Van Gerwen or ... ???

    Dart TournamentsCharis writes
    It was sunny again on the last day of the UK Open. The breakfast-pub was much more crowded than the days before and Adrian Lewis had cleared off into a quiet corner but was all the time interrupted by fans.

    I took another walk - as I had learned the day before that not only the UK Open take place here in Horwich but that the cycle and the running route of Ironman UK for some years already go through Horwich as well. At the round-about outside the hotel there usually is a refreshment station. The map I found on internet was not good enough to really identify the routes but it was a pleasant walk nevertheless.

    In the reebok everybody wondered who would win the tournament. Michael van Gerwen still was the favorite especially after Phil Taylor had some problems against Brendan Dolan the day before. And there of course were Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade and Adrian Lewis still in the hunt. Hamilton, Baxter and Wright were more thought of as the underdogs. But those underdogs proved to be quite strong in the quarterfinals! 

    Raymond van Barneveld was in trouble against Ronnie Baxter in the first quarterfinal. The Dutch had dominated in the beginning but then Baxter showed that he didn't intend to give in easily and won five Legs in a row to lead. Now van Barneveld was in a tight spot!! In the deciding leg Baxter had a matchdart and missed. Raymond van Barneveld stumbled over the finishing line first and stood in the semi-finals. 

    Then Andy Hamilton played against James Wade and again it was the underdog who was way out in front after he had overcome his initial difficulties. Hamilton just finished better and so Hamilton was the second player to reach the semifinals.

    Next on was the much anticipated match between Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen. Till the five all it was head to head but then despite his similarly high average the young Dutchman just couldn't keep up any longer and Taylor moved on to lead 9:6. It looked van Gerwen could get again into the match but Taylor secured himself with a brilliant performance the 10:7 win.
    The last quarterfinal was a surprise as well - and once again the underdog prevailed. Peter Wright - on this day dazzling yellow - didn't give the two times World Champion Adrian Lewis a chance and lead already 8:1 before Lewis was in the game. Wright at this time was not as sharp as before and suddenly it was 9:6. But Wright kept his nerve and won 10:6.

    This time in the break between the sessions cricket was on TV. Speedy had Asian specialties on the menu. Of course all wondered who now could win the tournament - Taylor now to be sure was the favorite though we were not sure how he would bear up. I heard that Sky for the last year televised the tournament which was confirmed now by the PDC. ITV will take over for the next three years. I can't say whether a might be change of the venue only is a rumor. Some years ago that was a topic as well but nothing happened in the end. It's not known yet whether Speedy will still sponsor the UK Open in future.

    In the first semi-final Andy Hamilton and Raymond van Barneveld stood at the oche. It was an epic match; none of the players seemed to be able to get an advantage. Both had some times problems with their doubles. The deciding leg was not different. Hamilton threw away his first Matchdart. Van Barneveld had six darts to win - but none hit the double. Hamilton returned to the oche and this time hit the double 16. Not only the players looked exhausted, the commentators looked worn out as well when they left the commentary box. So Andy Hamilton stood in the final - certainly a surprise! What would happen now in the second semi-final between Phil Taylor and Peter Wright? 

    Well - Wright won the throw for the bull but couldn't use his advantage as Taylor managed to win the first leg with his first break. Till the first break Wright could keep up but after it Taylor just moved further and further away winning quite some legs against the throw. Not even Wrights clean finishing helped him any more - his average in the end was around ten points less than Taylor's over 106.

    So the not really expected final was Taylor v Hamilton and though it was not quite clear how Taylor would recover till the final most now believed in a Taylor win. Once again it was not Taylor who won the bull and this time he even lost the first leg but till the first leg he was in front and never gave up his lead only extended it. In the end despite Hamilton's good performance it was an 11:4 win for Taylor and it was a deserved win. Hamilton didn't appear to be devastated when he turned up in the press room - in a shirt that was so soaked with sweat one could have wrung it out. Taylor looked happy but tired. Though I am not really the biggest Taylor fan I was impressed by his motivation and determination and by his readiness to go to the limits of his capacity or even beyond should it be necessary. Not all players are ready to crucify themselves like this.

    As soon as Taylor had disappeared from the pressroom the breakup started. It's always unbelievable how fast people and equipment vanish from the venue when the tournament is over. I headed for my hotel as well. On Sunday night the supermarket was closed only a lonely rabbit scuttled over the huge parking place.


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