GARY Anderson admits he was “annihilated” by Phil Taylor in the final of the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts, but the Eyemouth man believes his run to the final will stand him in good stead for the challenges that lie ahead.
Averaging 109.03 in a one-sided final, Taylor won the title for a fourth time with a clinical 16-4 demolition of Anderson at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
“Phil was brilliant and he taught me a lesson in how to play darts. He annihilated me,” admitted Anderson, who has now amassed more than £310,000 in prize money this year. “After four legs I thought I was in with a chance but that disappeared pretty quickly! The second session killed the game off and he battered me – every time I looked up he was hitting 180s.
“After I lost my first group game last Saturday I didn’t think I’d make it to the final, but it’s done me the world of good to get this far. I’m happy with how I played and it’s picked me up. I’ll put this behind me now, move on to play in the ProTour events in Wigan and then the Players Championship and World Championship.”
After Anderson took out 140 and 128 to lead 2-1, Taylor won seven successive legs to pull clear and after Anderson cut the gap to 9-4 he reeled off seven more to seal the £100,000 title.
Anderson kicked off with a superb 140 checkout, and after Taylor finished 72 the Scot posted a 128 finish to lead 2-1. Taylor hit tops in the fourth before a double eight checkout broke Anderson for the first time and put him 3-2 up. Taylor then hit a 180 in taking the sixth, having enough breathing space despite a miscount when needing 57 to return and hit tops. Finishes of 86 on the bull, double 16 for an 11-darter which featured two 180s and a 92 checkout moved him 7-2 up before double 18 won Taylor a seventh successive leg.
Anderson hit a 180 and double top to claim his third leg of the match and end that run, and after Taylor posted tops he finished double ten to pull back to 9-4.
Taylor, though, took the next and punished misses from Anderson to move 11-4 up with an 88 checkout. He then hit a 177 to set up double 16 and finished 81 twice in three legs to move to the brink of victory - also landing a double one checkout in the run.
Anderson landed his fifth maximum of the game as he battled to stay alive, but as Taylor wavered on the finishing line he was unable to land darts at the bull and double eight to allow the Stoke ace in on double two for his fourth Wolverhampton win.
Taylor said: “I wanted to out-score Gary and put him under pressure to make him miss – we say to each other ‘don’t miss’ when we’re up there and it’s true because if you give him an inch he’ll take a mile.”
Anderson had produced a remarkable comeback to defeat Mark Walsh 16-11 in the semi-final. The Scot looked set to suffer heartbreak for a third time in five years of the event when Walsh punished his misses to take a 10-6 advantage. But Anderson, who hit 13 maximums in the match to equal the tournament record for 180s in a game, won ten of the game’s final 11 legs to reach the final.