CRAYONS, Super Mario and some of the most outlandish onesies the high street has to offer – the outfits at Bournemouth’s annual date with the darts tonight were as colourful as ever.
Maybe the standard at the oche was not as majestic as usual but the action was gripping nonetheless with shocks aplenty at the BIC – none more so than Phil Taylor’s defeat to fellow Stokie Adrian Lewis.
As soon as the Potteries pair hit the stage, the atmosphere kicked up a notch. Chants of ‘One Phil Taylor, there’s only one Phil Taylor’ rattled the rooftop but what was to follow threatened to stop the show.
Having been whitewashed by man of the moment Michael van Gerwen last week, the superstar synonymous with perfect arrows lost his first five legs.
It was immediately too much for one poor young lady. Her hero missed five attempts at doubles in the first leg as she belted out ‘Come on Phil!’ with her foam hand waving through the air.
What she shouted when Taylor only racked up 93 midway through the second was less printable but the 16-time world champion doubtlessly uttered the same to himself.
‘The Power’ did battle back with four 180s and amassed an average of over 100 but it was too little, too late as he slipped to a 7-3 defeat.
It was, however, a familiar tale after the evening began with the mother of all upsets.
Revered Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld suffered a sensational capitulation after last week’s stellar start by losing 7-5 to rank outsider Wes Newton.
Barney was bashed after suffering the jitters on seven leg-winning opportunities, including a pair of shots at double eight with the match poised at 5-5.
In the battle of the newcomers, Dave Chisnall salvaged a share of the spoils with a stunning comeback against brash Scot Peter Wright.
From 5-1 down, Chisnall got back to 5-4 before snaring two maximums in the 10th.
With his first nine-darter in the Premier League on the cards, ‘Chizzy’ pulled low on his seventh dart but still secured a swift finish, checking out with 82.
On his close shave, Chisnall told the Daily Echo: “To be honest, at that stage I wasn’t really thinking about it, I had to win the leg.
“All I thought about was getting the score down and was happy with two 180s. From there, it all depends on where the next dart goes and missing it took off the pressure in a way.
On the atmosphere at the BIC, he added: “It was brilliant for Peter, they kept shouting his name! But seriously, it was great.”
Gary Anderson hit fine form with a 98.13 three-dart average and a 70 per cent record on doubles as the Flying Scotsman railroaded rival Simon Whitlock 7-2.
Top dog Michael van Gerwen endured a tight tussle against Robert Thornton but eventually broke his throw in the eighth to win 7-5.